Sunday, April 27, 2008
Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
I just returned from the Partisan Defense Committee initiated, united-front protest for Mumia's freedom in Chicago. About one hundred or so people were in attendance at the peak of events, possibly more. Excellent speakers included representative from the PDC, Spartacist League, AFSCME, ATU, UAW, an immigrant rights group I forget the name of, the Spartacist Youth Club, Labor Black Struggle League, murdered Black Panther Fred Hampton's Brother, and the New Black Panther Party among others.
Yes, their should have been more people but after the case has been demobilized, largely by the reformist left, it is necessary to rebuild support. Kudos to Gay rights groups which showed up. I think only one other leftist group came, the League for the Revolutionary Party. Chicago is the home of Avakian's Revolutionary Communist Party, where were they? Nowhere.
Many speakers stressed the need to place no faith in the capitalist courts, responsible for the racist frame-up in the first place, to grant Mumia freedom. Others stressed the importance of labor centered protest around unions, while the Panther criticized this position as excluding the "peasants" and the lumpenized. I spoke at length with the Panthers and both agreed and sharply disagreed with their positions, especially on their issue of social service or "charity work." Other speakers made clear the link between Mumia's case and the international important of the Black liberation struggle as part of the struggle for socialist revolution. Two Amalgamated Transit Workers held their banner the whole two hours in the cold. Nice, baby.
I had the opportunity to speak to Mumia's former attorney Rachel Wolkenstein and had a great conversation.
She was the epitome of what Lenin referred to as the necessity to patiently explain positions to the masses. My wife had many questions.
As I was passing out literature I happened upon two Irish tourists who took great interest in Mumia's case and likened it to the case of the Birmingham 8 (I think it was), the story that the Daniel Day-Lewis movie In the Name of the Father was made about. They whole heartedly agreed with the notion of Marx's parallel between the historic oppression of the Irish workers in Ireland and in England with Black workers in America, and the poisonous hatred sowed by the ruling class and the system of laws and rewards that were founded in their interests. They further shared that Irish unions had successfully fought on behalf of immigrant workers for rights and benefits. Just great.