OAKLAND: 150 people rallied at Noon at 14th and Broadway on a work day–Nov 9th–to demand: MUMIA IS INNOCENT! FREE MUMIA! END THE RACIST DEATH PENALTY!
Chants of “An Injury To One Is An Injury To All, Free Mumia Abu-Jamal,” rang out on the sidewalk below Oakland’s ornate City Hall, as Jack Heyman, executive Board member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10, served as chair of the demonstration and rally. ILWU Local 10 members like Heyman were fresh from their local’s recent Bay Area port shutdown to honor Oscar Grant, the young black man shot down in cold blood by BART cop Johannes Mehserle in 2009.
August 2010. The case of internationally renowned death-row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal is now before the Third Circuit Court–on the sentencing issue only. Mumia’s 1982 kangaroo-court conviction for a crime he did not commit has already been upheld by the US Supreme Court. The sentencing issue revolves exclusively around reinstating Mumia’s death sentence, or putting him away for the rest of his life, without the possibility of parole. A ruling could come very soon.
In this context of an imminent new threat to execute Mumia Abu-Jamal, a handful of supposed death-penalty “opponents” has proposed, in a “Confidential Memorandum,” dropping Mumia’s name from anti-death penalty activities. Why? Because mentioning Mumia “alienates” potential “allies,” such as the Fraternal Order of Police! The cops, you see, might go for abolishing the death penalty that they have hitherto supported if they could be convinced that it is “too expensive.” This outrageous move to drop mention of Mumia in anti-death penalty activities was made by certain leaders without consulting their own boards of directors or memberships–hence, “the secret memo.”
(For more details on how the “Memo” came about behind the backs of the anti-death penalty movement, and for the text of the “secret memo itself,” see the article, “The Politics of Death: Throwing Mumia Abu-Jamal Under the Bus,” below.)
This is the statement of the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal (LAC) on the “Secret Memo.”
David Lindorff’s, The Politics of Death: Throwing Mumia Abu-Jamal Under the Bus, is an excellent exposure of the “secret memo,” and how it came to be that a few leaders of the anti-death penalty movement–acting independently of their own members and boards of directors–turned their backs on the world’s best-known death-row prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal. We find it interesting that these “leaders,” identified here by Lindorff, should have picked the completely innocent Abu-Jamal to try to exclude from mention by the abolitionist movement.
The Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu-Jamal stands squarely on the conclusion, based on the evidence, that Mumia Abu-Jamal is completely innocent of the murder charge for which he was convicted in 1982. While we have had our differences on this point with Lindorff in the past, we salute him here for this excellent denunciation of those who would treat his threatened execution–and his innocence–as if it was nothing.
Mumia Abu-Jamal is an innocent man on death row. In two recent decisions, the US Supreme Court has ignored both evidence of his innocence and it’s own precedents to deny Mumia’s appeal and bring him closer to execution. In this statement, the Labor Action Committee To Free Mumia Abu Jamal lays bare the truth behind these actions, and proposes a course of workers’ and mass action to free Mumia:
For Labor Action to Free Mumia!
Mumia Abu-Jamal is a former Black Panther, award winning journalist, behind-bars commentator on critical social issues–and an innocent man on death row. In April 2009, after more than two decades of court rulings that ignored mounting evidence of his innocence, the Supreme Court upheld his 1982 frame-up conviction without comment. Then, this January, the Court moved closer to reinstating his death sentence–which had been put on hold by lower court rulings.
The US Supreme Court has shown it will do anything necessary to support the rule of their big corporate bosses, as seen most recently in the Citizens United ruling, which threw out the ban on independent corporate spending during an election. Years of legislation was undone in a single blow, to further tighten the death grip of big money over politics in the US. But the courts also obey the commands of their armed thugs in the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), and politicians that support them, even if it means walking all over their own legal precedents and trampling on the most basic principles of justice.
Mumia Abu-Jamal, an innocent man on death row and the world’s best-known political prisoner, now faces an immediate new threat to his life from the US Supreme Court. The Court ruled last year on Mumia’s appeal, by summarily refusing to even consider a reversal of his unjust 1982 murder conviction in a blatantly racist court. And last week, the Supreme Court discussed a cross-appeal by the State of Pennsylvania to reinstate Mumia’s death sentence, which had been put on hold by a federal court in 2001. A ruling could be announced as early as Tuesday this week.
It would be an illusion to expect good news. Supporters should stay tuned, and be prepared to participate in actions to free Mumia!
The Vendetta Against Mumia
In making it’s flat-out rejection of Mumia’s appeal (which it did without making any statement), the Supreme Court had to knowingly violate its own precedent in the 1986 Batson v Kentucky decision. This ruling famously said that purging a jury on the basis of race was unconstitutional. In Mumia’s case, at least 10 black jurors were excluded for reasons not applied to their white counterparts. Under Batson, such violations require that the conviction be thrown out!
But this was Mumia Abu-Jamal, the falsely accused “cop killer.” And while evidence of his innocence has always been available, along with evidence of the corruption of the cops who framed him, Mumia is the object of a world-wide vendetta led by the Fraternal Order of Police and numerous pundits and politicians. So an exception was made…
World-renowned revolutionary journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted and sent to death row in the killing of a police officer in Philadelphia, has now gone through 27 years of fruitless appeal proceedings. Despite mounting and irrefutable evidence of Jamals innocence, all of these hearings have upheld his conviction in a 1982 trial, which was rightly called a monumental miscarriage of justice from beginning to end, by crime reporter J Patrick OConnor.
Then, last April, the US Supreme Court finished off this cowardly charade by denying Jamal a final hearing, without so much as a word of explanation. In making this flat-out rejection of Mumias appeal, the Supreme Court–like the Federal Third Circuit Court a year earlier–had to knowingly violate its own well-established precedent in Batson v Kentucky–the 1986 ruling which said that purging a jury on the basis of race was unconstitutional…
The Education Committee of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU)–the longshore workers of the West Coast US–held a rally against racism titled: RACISM, REPRESSION AND REBELLION: THE LESSONS OF LABOR DEFENSE, at the longshore hiring hall in San Francisco, yesterday, the 14th of February, 2009. Attended by over 300, this energized rally was addressed by (among others) Martina Correia, the sister of Troy Davis, an innocent man on death row in Georgia. She detailed Troy’s case, in which 7 out of 9 witnesses have recanted their testimony, citing police pressure.
The 11th Circuit recently heard what may be Davis’ last appeal, in a case that shlould have been thrown out years ago. Davis is a police frame-up victim in a system which is crowded with injustice. Attendees chanted “FREE TROY DAVIS,” after her address…
The flyer for the ILWU “Racism, Repression and Rebellion: The Lessons of Labor Defense” rally, held on February 14th. Mumia Abu-Jamal’s commentary on the police murder of Oscar Grant, “Oscar Grant — and You,” is included in this flyer, which was produced with LAC assistance…
An emergency email/flyer produced by the LAC after the brutal police murder of Oscar Grant, a young black man who was shot in the back while lying face down on a BART (subway) platform on New Year’s Day…
The Labor Action Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal is a group of union activists dedicated to educating workers about Jamal’s case and promoting labor action in solidarity with his struggle. Our founding statement dated January 10, 1999, is posted in the “Who We Are” page.