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Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays

Commentaries by the award-winning journalist and activist Mumia Abu-Jamal
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Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays
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Now displaying: Page 1
Dec 6, 2006
(Mumia interviewed by Fred Hampton Jr and Jr Valrey) December 9th marked the anniversary of Black Panther revolutionary journalist and death-row political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal's abduction from the community and his family for political reasons. He is one of thousands if not millions of Black people who are in this situation, either as a political prisoner or as a political victim of Amerikkka's war crimes on the Black community. Mumia sits on death-row for killing a police officer, although evidence shows that the caliber of the bullet that killed the police officer didn't fit Mumia's gun, another man confessed to committing the murder, the presiding judge Sabo said that he was going to "help fry the nigger", as well as police coercion, and some more. Chairman Fred Hampton Jr and myself, Minister of Information JR talked to Mumia about the 25 years that the government took from his life. Check it... Ch. Fred: As we speak we are on the heels of honoring the anniversary of the Black Panther Party, we're also embarking on dates that I wish that I didn't have to talk about or have to deal wit'; one date December 13th will mark one year since the state of California executed brotha Stanley Tookie Williams, December 4th will mark the 37th year after the assassination of deputy Chairman Fred Hampton and Defense Captain Mark Clark, and December 9th marks 25 years after you yourself was literally kidnapped by the state of Philadelphia. If you can, touch on each one of those dates, the significance of those dates, what message the state is sending us with those dates, and the message that we got to send as the people. Mumia: You know when you were mentioning those dates, what came to mind for me was how for every year for at least the last decade, people all across the country and in other parts of the world have celebrated Black August... Concentration Camp: This call is from a "correctional" institution and is subject to monitoring and recording. Mumia: And even I have participated and written about it, and talked about it, but I've always been, I guess, impressed by the simple truth that no one month can encapsulate our people's struggle. No one month, even though in August a number of great things happened and significant things happened in our people's history, our people's long history, every month in the year is a month to be remembered for many of the reasons that you discussed right there. Every month in the year, every day in the year, has significance because after 500 years, here, in the wilderness of North Amerikkka, how could it not be significant? Many of those events evoke memories of resistance, some of them are heart rending, and some of them are inspiring, but every one of them are about our people's continuous struggle for freedom against tremendous odds. Ch. Fred: As in any battle, we will experience ups and downs, morale highs as well as battle fatigue, is there any advice or moves that we should be making, in reference to the campaign, to get you back out here on the street? Mumia: Well I would just urge people to continue to struggle because it is bad, for people that are not active in it, they may see an article in the paper or hear something on the radio, and it will come back to mind, but believe me it is not just a struggle for me, but for many people; people whose names you know, and some people's names that you don't know, people struggling in little ways that they can. They might be putting out leaflets or speaking to friends or teachers talking to students. What is missed is the campaign of repression that goes against those people for daring to speak out, for daring to wear a t-shirt, for daring to read a book. Freedom ain't free, And freedom has to be excercised. It has to become an activity or else it's just a word. And as we speak, we're literally living in a time where the state is using fascist powers, and passing fascist laws, very similar to what Nazi Germany did. I'm talking about the so-called Patriot Act, I'm talking about the recently passed M.C.A., the Military Commission Act. All of these things are profoundly repressive, and the least that can be said about it, is that it violates the Constitution, but when have they not violated the Constitution. In the past, they violated it under Cointelpro. Well they simply rewrote the laws. 9-11 gave them a perfect opportunity so what used to be illegal when Fred Hampton Sr. was active in Chicago, and the Black Panther Party was active in over 40 states, cities, and branches has been made legal in the last 5 or 6 years or so. What does that tell you? Ch. Fred: On your comments, I was just thinking about this statement that Minister Huey P. Newton said in reference to the Constitution, he referred to it as pagan poetry. Mumia: It sounds good, don't it? Ch. Fred (laughing) It sounds real good. Other than battling in the courts, what other apparatuses has the government been using to impede the process to get you out here in the community, whether it be the media or what have you? Can you comment on that? Mumia: Well its a war on all fronts. I mean, if I spoke of 5 fronts, then I would be ignoring 15 others. You know the state uses what it has, which is the power of the purse on one hand, the power of repression on the other, the power of wealth and money. The state uses all of its resources, you see, so that's why I always invite people to do what they feel they can do. You know it really is more of us than it is of them but people, especially now feel like they can't make a difference or what they do doesn't count. Well believe me, it does count. What every person does is important so they have to in a sense follow their heart. Ch. Fred: In the electoral political arena, there has been this news of the democratic majority in the House of Representatives, crazy as it sounds this day and age, I encounter some people who are breathing some sigh of relief that the democrats are in the majority, so on and so forth. Can you commit on the contradictions in that? Mumia: Well, there are always contradictions in the ruling class in every state, the problem is that many of the people who either consider themselves or are considered progressives are what I call "left-wing imperialists". We remember back in the year 2004, during the last presidential election, I keep repeating this to people because it shocks me, I remember John Kerry, the so-called democratic quasi-progressive candidate saying during a debate that the U.S. needs to send over 40,000 more troops to Iraq. What that did of course, was that it decimated the anti-war movement, and even though many millions of people who got out and voted, voted against the war, that doesn't mean that the people that they voted for would actually do anything about that, you see? So you know, we shall see. What will happen is what will happen, but already there are forces in the democratic party that are trying to quiet down those anti-war voices. They're talking about withdrawal to bases or re-positioning, or some other, really, pro-war strategy, because there are no good options, you dig, because both parties are corporate parties. Both parties are running on sheer imperialism so what can they do, you see? Ch. Fred: I'm going to tag-team wit' my comrade Minister of Information. Comrade, revolutionary love and respect. We love you, respect you, and appreciate you. Free Mumia Abu Jamal! Free'em All! Dare to struggle, dare to win! Mumia: Thank you brother. Ch. Fred Thank you. MOI JR: With all the evidence that points to your innocense, including Arnold Beverly's televised confession, the police coercion of witnesses before the "trial", and Judge Sabo saying that he was going to help the government by way of the prosecutor "fry the nigger" in reference to you, what do you have to say about this death-row case, as we fight for your life? Mumia: People who believe purely in the law are sometimes met with unbelief. They can't believe that the law hasn't done the right thing, and that's because they have a misunderstanding of the law. What has happened in my case has happened in other people's cases, the question is not the law, but the people. If people organized and people understand that it will take the power of the people to change this thing, then they'll understand what they need to do, if they feel compelled, if they feel pushed, if they feel that this is the right thing to do. If we know anything from history, we know that the law has been the force for the outlaw for hundreds of years for our people. I mean, right after the Civil War, the so-called reconstruction amendments were put in the Constitution, but for millions of our people, all across the country, it was if no such amendments were written, because our people still couldn't vote, we were not free, we couldn't make contracts or have jobs or go to descent schools. Look at our condition today. So the law is one thing, the people are another. I rely on the people. MOI JR: Black Panther political prisoner Herman Wallace of the Angola 3 recently had his conviction overturned after being held in solitary confinement for over 3 decades, what do victories like these mean to the Black Liberation Movement? Mumia: Well it means dare to struggle, dare to win. You know, it didn't just happen, that brotha and his many supporters fought for many years, I mean there was a film made, people all across the country continued to work on his behalf, and many ex-Panthers came out to support that struggle so you know, it took struggle. It didn't just happened. You know... Concentration Camp: This call is from a "correctional" institution and is subject to monitoring and recording. Mumia: Everything that led to his release could've been determined 15 years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, you know? It wasn't like there was any new information, it was just one court saying "oh, ok", so dare to struggle, dare to win. People really have to understand that they do have power. There not as powerless as the media or the politicians project them to be. People really have the power, but they have to believe that they have the power then they have to act like they have the power.
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