RN: Mumia is important to our future


Jan Slakov

Dear RN list,    Nov. 9

Just this morning I visited a web site from which it is possible to send a
message to several addresses, including to the US President and the Governor of
Pennsylvania urging action on Mumia Abu-Jamal's behalf:

The site comes up relatively easily and is very good.

I believe we need Mumia Abu-Jamal. This Renaissance-Network list is intended
to help build the links we'll need to make a revolution for a better,
livable world a reality. As the passage I copied from the web site (below)
shows, Mumia Abu-Jamal's struggle is our struggle.

all the best, Jan
Mumia's Life and All Our Futures

from Refuse & Resist! 

Mumia Abu-Jamal has come to mean something very special to a whole new
generation of young activists. They are moved by his penetrating writing.
They are touched deeply by his gentle manner. They are emboldened by the
utter fearlessness of his dedication to the people in the very face of
death. Can we be less dedicated now to saving his life? 

The case of Mumia Abu-Jamal concentrates the criminalization of Black men,
the suppression of dissent, the expanded death penalty, the gutting of
defendant's rights, and a whole political atmosphere based on blame and
punishment of the most oppressed. Only twice in the 20th century have there
been court ordered executions of political dissidents in the United States.
And the government has not dared to carry out the legal execution of a
prominent Black revolutionary since the days of slavery. 

The movement to save Mumia has been a formative experience for this new
generation awakening to political life. That experience has been much more
than just a cause to believe in. It has shown them the power of people
working together - - people of different races and nationalities, people coming
from different social backgrounds and political outlooks, coming together
against injustice and repression. For many, the battle that stayed Mumia's
execution date in 1995 was their first real taste of the power of the people. 

We have now reached a turning point in this movement. The decision of the
Pennsylvania Supreme Court to deny a new and fair trial means that a
political decision has been made at the highest levels to try to push ahead
with Mumia's execution. It means that all the new evidence brought forward
in the various hearings since 1995 has been officially rejected. It means
that the gross prejudice shown Mumia in the court system has been endorsed.
It means that his case will now be in the federal courts with their new
political agenda of speeded-up appeals and swift executions. 

The government has thrown down a challenge. How we respond and whether we
succeed is going to shape the political climate of this country for years to

Power concedes nothing without demand. And justice will not come in Mumia's
case simply by wishing for it. Only a mass movement that is characterized by
a conscious attempt to build its breadth and diversity, and by a spirit of
selfless determination, can stop the wheels of state-sponsored murder. Our
movement cannot be narrowly based. It must take in people from all walks of
life and varying points of view - - both those who are appalled by this
injustice and those who see it as another step in a larger agenda. Mumia's
name must become a house-hold word, with the broad public straining to hear
the latest news in the battle and moving to take Mumia's side. 

Our victory in 1995 was won by bringing so many different forces into motion
that it threatened a larger anti-Black youth, "law and order" political
alignment that government leaders had worked so hard to create. That is, our
movement to save Mumia opened so many eyes to this flagrant injustice, that
it threatened larger political goals of the leaders of both major parties.
They were forced to back off for a time. 

It was and is possible to do this precisely because, as we say in Refuse &
Resist!, it's all one attack. The politics of poverty, punishment and
patriarchy is the same politics that wants to silence Mumia's voice forever. 

Refuse & Resist! calls on people everywhere to make your voices heard in the
coming days and weeks. Determination comes in many forms, but its common
essence is the refusal to stand by in silence where the ability to act
exists. The time is now. 

download a PDF version of this statement 

[posted October 31, 1998] 

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