Mumia Abu Jamal

Black Agenda Report for Week of Oct 24, 2016

20 Years of Genocide in Congo

Friends of Congo marked the 20th anniversary of the invasion and genocide that has killed at least six million Congolese with an all-day event at Thoughtworks, in New York City. “We’re not just fighting against our own government,” said Nita Evele, of the Congo Global Action Coalition. “We’re fighting against our neighboring countries” in the Great Lakes region of the continent “who figured out that they can make tons of money by helping the big multinationals and the big powers, the United States, France and Canada,” who are allied with the invaders, Rwanda and Uganda.

The Black Panther Party at 50, Bobby Seale at 80

On the same weekend that the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding, in Oakland, California, hundreds gathered to roast and toast former Party chairman Bobby Seale on his 80th birthday. Seale put forward a far less revolutionary version of the Party’s origins and history. “When we went out there to patrol the police, it was a tactic to capture the imagination of the people,” he told the crowd. However, it was Seale’s intent all along to “organize a political-electoral unit and to take over some of these damn cities. My objective was to get more Black politicians, and that’s what happened.” Seale also supports Hillary Clinton for president.

Better a Dog Than Clinton for President, Says Haiti Activist

“The only reason that Hillary Clinton is not in jail; the only reason that the Clinton Foundation is not shut down, is precisely because they are protected by the highest levels of government,” said Daoud Andre, a Haitian community activist and radio host in New York City. Andre said the Clintons have stolen billions from the Haitian people. “It’s like Barack Obama gave Haiti to the Clintons as a gift,” he said. “With regard to this election, whatever is able to stop Hillary Clinton, we have to support that; if it’s a dog running against Hillary Clinton, you have to vote for that dog because of the harm that this family has caused to our people.”

Theater in the Service of the Struggle

The National Black Theater, in New York’s Harlem, hosted a radical political theatrical production titled “Survival Crimes,” produced by the Campaign to Bring Mumia Home and the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC). The plot focuses on two current cases:  Mumia Abu Jamal’s legal battle to force the state of Pennsylvania to provide medical treatment for the thousands of prison inmates suffering from Hepatitis C, including himself; and the arrest in The Bronx of 120 people on gang-related conspiracy charges -- the biggest such roundup in New York City history. Activist Kyle Fraser said the play points out the “theatrics of the state, swooping in with helicopters to this neighborhood, using Shock and Awe tactics,” and perverting the rule of law in the Pennsylvania prison system.

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: one hour.
 
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The People Demand Treatment for Mumia and 10,000 PA Inmates Suffering from Hepatitis C

by Marilyn Kai Jewett

Legions of labor leaders, elected officials and health professionals demand that Pennsylvania prison officials immediately begin treating Mumia Abu Jamal and approximately 10,000 other state prison inmates suffering from the Hepatitis C virus. The nation’s best known political prisoner nearly died earlier this year, and “faces an increasingly serious risk of suffering from fibrosis and cirrhosis, liver cancer, complications of his diabetes and eventual death.”

Black Agenda Radio, Week of May 19, 2015

“Corinthian 100” Reject For-Profit School Debt

Former students of the now-defunct Corinthian Colleges are on debt strike, despite pressures from the U.S. Department of Education to continue repaying loans. “These students were systematically defrauded, preyed upon, and lied to” by the for-profit college enterprise, said Laura Hanna, of the Debt Collective, an Occupy Wall Street outgrowth that represents the Corinthian 100. “They’ve already paid: once, in the form of their own tax dollars, and again by spending years going through a fraudulent system, and the idea that they would have to pay monthly for this disservice is just baffling,” said Hanna. Half a million students, disproportionately Black and brown, have attended Corinthian Colleges, and could claim billions of dollars in any bankruptcy settlement.

Marchers Mark 1985 Police Bombing of MOVE

Thirty years ago, under the watch of Wilson Goode, Philadelphia’s first Black mayor, police bombed a house occupied by the MOVE organization, killing six adults and five children and burning down two blocks of the neighborhood. Pastor Pamela K. Williams, of the Ark of Refuge Tabernacle, spoke at a march and rally marking the May 13th anniversary of the mass killing. Williams and her mother were witnesses: “We saw the police officers hoisting up the canisters of heavy artillery on their shoulders.... We were there when they decided to kill members of our neighborhood.” Williams’ mother had to identify some of the burned bodies. Today, “We must identify everybody that is affected by the atrocities that are perpetrated against us,” she said.

Mumia: Why the Bombing Matters

What happened 30 years ago in West Philadelphia was a “harbinger” of police killings to come, said Mumia Abu Jamal, the nation’s best known political prisoner, who covered MOVE-police confrontations as a young radio reporter. “The visceral hatreds and violent contempt once held for MOVE is now visited upon average people – not just radicals and revolutionaries,” he said, in a commentary for Prison Radio. “When many people stood in silence, or worse, to the bombing, shooting and carnage of May 13th, 1985, they opened the door to the ugliness of today’s police terrorism.”

Abu Jamal is himself deathly ill, held incommunicado at a medical center in Danville, Pennsylvania. “The Department of Corrections is releasing no information about his whereabouts, or his condition, and they’re not letting his lawyer talk to him, his wife see him,” or allowing his doctor to speak with prison doctors, said Prison Radio’s Noelle Hanrahan. Abu Jamal almost died from complications of untreated and undiagnosed diabetes. Prison doctors continue “doing things that are not adequate or correct, so we need to have all our eyes on his care,” said Hanrahan.

Youthful Leaders Emerge from Baltimore and Ferguson

The ongoing struggle in Ferguson “is the second-longest resistance in modern history, second only to the Montgomery bus boycott,” said Rev. Osagyefu Sekou, speaking before a crowd of 1,000 at Baltimore’s Metropolitan United Methodist Church. “This new generation of leadership” represents “all of our children, even when they’re throwing stones at police officers,” said Rev. Sekou, who until recently pastured in Massachusetts. The mass meeting was convened by Baltimore United for Change.

UNAC Conference: Free All Political Prisoners

Lynne Stewart, the people’s lawyer and former political prisoner who was released from federal custody on compassionate medical parole, in January of last year, addressed a national conference of UNAC, the United National Anti-War Coalition, in Secaucus, New Jersey. “The fact that there are so many political prisoners betrays the weakness and ineffectiveness of our movement,” said Stewart, who told the gathering that her cancer is no longer advancing. She called on doctors and lawyers to lend their “pro bono” services to the movement.

Peace activist Johnny Achi, of Arab Americans for Syria, said the U.S. proxy war is buttressed by “the vicious media campaign against Syria,” which circulates stories that are “the reverses of facts.” If the Syrian army falls, said Achi, “then you will have a true genocide in Syria” at the hands of U.S.-supported jihadists and mercenaries.

Good News: TPP in Trouble

President Obama’s forces in the U.S. Senate were first beaten, then regrouped, in his bid to “fast track” the still-secret Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal through Congress. Most Democrats oppose TPP. Kevin Zeese, of Popular Resistance, a key organizer against TPP, believes the scheme can be stopped in the U.S. House. “We already have about 60 to 75 Republicans on our side,” he said. “If we can add 10 or 15 to that, it becomes almost insurmountable.”

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: One hour.
 
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Why Mumia Must Live, and US imperialism Must Die: The Link Between Political Prisoners and the War on Terror

by Danny Haiphong

The so-called War on Terror and the national security state did not emerge full-blown from the rubble of 9/11. Both are products of previous waves of police repression, mainly targeting Black radicals. “The FBI's counter insurgency war on the Black Panther Party chapters and leaders like Mumia established for local police departments a direct link to Washington's war and surveillance arsenal.”

Black Agenda Radio, Week of April 8 2015

Attempted Murder of Mumia Through Medical Malpractice

Pennsylvania prison officials allowed the political prisoner’s condition to worsen until he was in horrific pain and on the brink of a diabetic coma, said Pam Africa, of International Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal. His supporters are demanding that “specialists be allowed to go in and see Mumia,” who is back in prison after being released from a hospital that had no specialists in diabetes. The State of Pennsylvania is trying to torture and kill the world renowned former death row inmate, said Ms. Africa. “Can you imagine your body burning from head to toe, your skin erupting, and you’ve blown up to the point that your skin starts bursting open?” Supporters of Mumia should telephone their concerns to prison officials listed at FreeMumia.com.

Democrats Gang up on Seattle Socialist

Kshama Sawant, the Socialist Alternative Party leader whose campaign for a $15 an hour minimum wage won her a seat on the Seattle city council, now faces three Democratic challengers, including the head of the local Urban League. Sawant has earned broad support, but must still contend with the popular mindset that Democrats are the “lesser evils” of politics. “The problem with the logic of ‘lesser evil-ism’ is that it’s ad infinitum,” she said. If we accept that logic, “there’s never going to be a point when we can say: ‘At this moment we have to make a clean break to make sure that we build a movement independent of the two business parties.’”

Obama’s TPP Trade Pact Empowers Global Corporations

Documents recently released by Wikileaks reveal that the Trans Pacific Partnership trade treaty would rig international law to the decisive advantage of multinational corporations. “It confirms the worst of our fears,” said Patrick Woodall, research director of Food and Water Watch. “It includes language that grants powerful new avenues for corporations to attack common sense public health, environmental and consumer protections” – all to protect anticipated corporate profits. Other language would keep the contents of the treaty secret for four years, even if it is rejected by the U.S. Congress. President Obama wants Congress to pass TPP with no amendments or effective debate.

Charter Schools are for Black and Brown Kids, Only

Union County, New Jersey, has 21 municipalities, but all five of its charter schools are located in the majority Black city of Plainfield. “There’s a pattern in New Jersey, and in the country, of taking local control away from majority Black and brown cities, said David Rutherford, a member of the Plainfield board of education. State officials constantly override Black and brown school boards and encourage charter school companies to set up shop. “As a board of education, we have no say on whether there will be charter schools in our city, how many there will be, or who will run them,” said Rutherford. “Our only obligation is to pay these charter schools, per student.” If charter schools are so beneficial, he asks, why don’t white communities want them?

UNAC to Hold National Conference May 8 – 10

The United National Anti-War Coalition will hold a national conference in Secaucus, New Jersey – just outside New York City – under the banner “Stop the Wars at Home and Abroad.” UNAC used the same slogan at its founding conference, said spokesman Joe Lombardo. “It’s become more and more clear as time went on that there’s been militarization of the police, more heavy-handed intervention into the Black and brown communities, more people deported, more austerity, more assaults on civil liberties. So, these wars have had a real impact on the people of the United States.”

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Length: One hour.
 
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Black Agenda Radio Week of March 16, 2015

Rand Paul is Ally in Fight to Repeal Patriot Act

Congress will consider a bill to completely repeal the Patriot Act, which is up for renewal, this spring. President Obama campaigned on a platform to rein in U.S. intelligence agencies, but “will soon leave Washington in even worse shape than he found it” in terms of civil liberties, said Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee. Buttar said GOP presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul and elements of the Tea Party are more willing than most Democrats to stand up to the CIA and NSA.

A Multi-Generational Movement

“We need to create an intergenerational dialogue between those who represent the older movement and those who are representing the newer movement,” said Nyle Fort, a young minister from Newark, New Jersey, and contributor to the latest issue of the journal Socialism and Democracy. The journal is sponsor of a public forum on “Mass Incarceration, Police Violence and Political Imprisonment” at the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Center in New York City, March 20.

Mumia: What Was “Unsaid In Selma”

“Selma is a vivid example of an evil that still lives with us: that of police immunity for their violence,” said Mumia Abu Jamal. President Obama’s speech at the 50th anniversary ceremonies in Selma was a “masterwork” of oratory, said the nation’s best known political prisoner. The president “could have addressed police immunity, but that would have shattered his ‘we’re all better’” off than we used to be speech.

A 20-Year Cap on Prison Terms

No one should serve more than 20 years in prison, no matter what the crime, said Marc Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project. About 3,000 people sit on death rows in the U.S., while 160,000 are serving life sentences – comprising one out of every nine inmates, said Mauer. Sentences are a lot shorter in Europe, where “some countries have found life sentences to be unconstitutional, and those that still maintain it generally have only a few dozen people serving those kind of terms,” he said.

Obama goes Reagan on Venezuela

President Obama last week invoked the same language against Venezuela that President Ronald Reagan deployed against Nicaragua, in the Eighties, when the U.S. waged a proxy war against that country. In imposing economic sanctions against seven Venezuelan officials, Obama declared the country an “extraordinary threat” to the national security of the United States. Obama is attempting, like President George Bush, “to inoculate Latin America from the contagion that Venezuela represents in terms of social and political change,” said Miguel Tinker Sala, professor of history and Latin American Studies at Pomona College, in Claremont, California. However, all of Latin America has denounced U.S. sanctions against Venezuela. Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, said the U.S. foreign policy establishment doesn’t under “that the hemisphere has changed drastically in the last 15 years, and is truly independent of the United States for the first time in 150 years.”

Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network is hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey. A new edition of the program airs every Monday at 11:00am ET on PRN. Click here to download the show. Length: One hour.
 
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