April 23, 2019
The recent decision by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, withdrawing the DA’s opposition to Mumia’s appeal from the Tucker decision, came about because of the persistent and dedicated efforts of political organizers across the United States and internationally.
This decision did not come out of nowhere. If rallies and marches had not been organized in Philadelphia; if individuals and organizations had not taken action to convince the RebLaw Conference at Yale, in February 2019, to do the right thing and disinvite Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner; if activists had not repeatedly and consistently shown up at the DA’s office to confront DA Krasner; if individuals of conscience had not contacted DA Krasner to place personal pressure on him; and, most importantly, if the supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal had not kept up the political fight on his behalf, the District Attorney’s office would not have made this decision at all.
A detailed legal analysis cannot be made in a short statement, and is not appropriate when what is needed, at this moment, is to build on this victory. But as Rachel Wolkenstein (former lawyer for Mumia) noted in her statement, DA Krasner’s concession is premised on a false statement that Judge Tucker recently limited his decision. A careful reading of Judge Tucker’s defense of his decision confirms this.1 The District Attorney’s decision was not a legal decision based on the notion that Tucker narrowed the scope of his original decision. It was primarily a political decision based on the international pressure that Mumia’s supporters have brought to bear on DA Krasner.
The meaning of this is quite clear. For Mumia to be freed, we must organize mass mobilizations for Mumia, now.
Such mobilizations should include reaching out to the working class and unions to participate. We must build actions such as the historic longshore work stoppage and march in San Francisco demanding Mumia’s freedom, called by the Mobilization to Free Mumia and led by the ILWU, and the Oakland schools teach-in of 1999. We must organize international strike action like the Rio de Janeiro teacher’s strikes.2
International labor solidarity organized by the LAC from NUMSA in South Africa, UNITE in the UK, Doro-Chiba in Japan, the Maritime Union of Australia and the International Dockworkers Council put real pressure on the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to provide Mumia (and other prisoners) with the life-saving medication, Harvoni, when Mumia came close to death from Hepatitis C in 2015-2016. This power must be brought to bear again.
The DA’s withdrawal of their opposition to Judge Tucker’s decision does not mean that Mumia will be freed. Judge Tucker’s decision only means that Mumia will have the opportunity to relitigate his previous state collateral appeals from 1998 to 2012—the appeals which Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ron Castille (previously Philadelphia DA Castille!) presided over.
In order for these appeals to succeed, we must organize for Mumia’s defense publicly and visibly. It was such organizing which helped to keep Mumia alive, and if Mumia is not to die in prison, we have no other choice.
For Labor Action to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal!
Mumia Abu-Jamal is an Innocent Man! Free Mumia, Now!
1 Judge Tucker’s original decision, the DA’s objections, and Tucker’s defense of his decision are available at https://www.laboractionmumia.org/2019/04/19/the-tucker-opinion-and-related-documents/