The Labor Action Committee sent the following letter to Temple University President Neil D. Theobald protesting the firing of Dr. Anthony Monteiro, one of the nation’s leading scholars of W. E. B. Du Bois.
Monteiro was fired for his community activism, socialist views and vocal support for Mumia as one of the founders of Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal. An article about the firing on the Black Agenda Report is available here.
Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
PO Box 16222
Oakland, CA 94610
March 20, 2014
Dr. Neil D. Theobald
President, Temple University
2nd Floor, Sullivan Hall
1330 Polett Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Dear Dr. Theobald,
The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal demands the reinstatement of Dr. Anthony Monteiro to his position as an Associate Professor of African American Studies at Temple University. We demand an immediate end to retaliation against Dr. Monteiro and an end to the censorship of socialist views on the Temple University campus.
Dr. Monteiro’s academic record is distinguished and he is among the most frequently cited scholars in his department, particularly in the area of Du Bois Studies. He is the organizer of the annual Du Bois Lectures and Du Bois symposia which have a national reputation, and he is one of the nation’s outstanding theorists of “Black Reconstruction in America”. One Temple student, Sabrina Sample, has said that “many students come to Temple in particular to hear Dr. Monteiro lecture”.
Following two major events organized by Dr. Monteiro on political prisoners, one on Mumia Abu-Jamal and the other on Russell Maroon Shoatz, Dr. Monteiro was barred from reserving rooms on campus or hosting events on campus for the community. As a well known community figure who has worked to bring political and community issues onto the Temple campus, these actions by the campus administration are a blatant act of political discrimination targeted at Dr. Monteiro.
Dr. Monteiro has vocally spoken out on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal and maintained his innocence in the face of the racist frame-up led by the Fraternal Order of Police. As labor activists and political organizers working for Mumia’s freedom, we are all too familiar with spokespersons and defenders of Mumia being silenced and attacked.
As you are undoubtedly aware, despite overwhelming evidence of Mumia’s innocence, an objective presentation of his case is made impossible because of the continuing media blackout of news about Mumia, extreme bias in existing news reporting, systematic intimidation and many acts of physical violence which have been directed towards people who defend Mumia and his outspoken criticism of capitalism in America. Most recently, for example, Democratic and Republican Senators joined forces to reject Obama’s nominee to head the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department, Debo P. Adegbile, solely on the basis of his providing legal representation for Mumia as head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
The firing of Dr. Monteiro by Dean of Liberal Arts Teresa Soufas is clearly in retaliation for Dr. Monteiro’s advocacy of an alternate Chair for the Department of African American studies. It is also an attack on an outspoken and eloquent scholar of the black radical tradition. As Dr. Monteiro himself says, you cannot teach African American Studies without teaching C. L. R. James, Amiri Baraka, Du Bois and Mumia Abu-Jamal. Without an understanding of Marx and the influence of socialism on the black radical tradition, the field of African American Studies would cease to have any relevance to the real issues faced by the black community today: issues such as the expanding system of mass incarceration, the epidemic of police violence against people of color, and the continuing class warfare being waged against the black community.
Perhaps this is acceptable to your administration, but it is not so to the many working class people who benefit from his activism.
Reinstate Dr. Monteiro!
For the Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal