Workers Vanguard No. 899
28 September 2007
Rally to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal
Paris, September 29, 2 p.m.
Espace Saint-Martin, Salle Nicolas Roerich
199 bis rue Saint-Martin, 75003 Paris
For more information: Comité de défense sociale:
(33) (0)1 42 08 01 49 or e-mail: email@example.com
With the fight for life and freedom for death row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal at a critical juncture, the Committee for Social Defense (CDDS), a legal and social defense organization associated with the Ligue Trotskyste de France, has called a rally for September 29 in Paris under the slogans: Mumia Is Innocent! Immediate Freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal! Abolish the Racist Death Penalty! Speakers will include Daniel Carreno of the Postal Workers Union, Jimmy Duclos of the SUD rail workers union and Jean-François Téaldi, general secretary of the SNJ journalists union affiliated with the CGT labor federation, as well as a representative of the LTF. Also speaking will be Rachel Wolkenstein of the Partisan Defense Committee, which is associated with the Spartacist League/U.S. As a member of Mumias legal team from 1995 to 1999, Wolkenstein uncovered a massive amount of evidence of Mumias innocence, including the confession of Arnold Beverly that he shot and killed Police Officer Daniel Faulkner.
The Paris event is the latest in a series of rallies called by defense organizations linked to national sections of the International Communist League in a concerted effort to revitalize mass, labor-centered protest on Mumias behalf. (For coverage of rallies in London and Berlin this spring, see International Rallies Demand: Free Mumia! WV No. 893, 25 May.) We print below the July 30 call for the rally issued by the Committee for Social Defense.
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Mumia Abu-Jamal, the foremost political prisoner in the U.S., has been on death row for a quarter of a century, isolated in a cell that he describes as living in a space no larger than a bathroom. All elements of the criminal justice system have colluded to rig the proceedings and convict this powerful voice of the voiceless. A former Black Panther Party spokesman, supporter of the MOVE organization and award-winning journalist, Mumia was framed up in 1982 on false charges of killing a Philadelphia police officer. A passionate fighter against racial, ethnic and class bias, against cop terror and for social justice, Mumia was sentenced to die on the basis of his political history and beliefs. The judge at his trial, Albert Sabo, was overheard by a court stenographer saying: Im going to help them fry the n----r. His frame-up shows what the death penalty is all about in the United States. Racist and barbaric, it is the lynch rope made legal, the ultimate weapon of repression against the working class and oppressed.
The fight for Mumias freedom is at a crucial turning point. The U.S. federal appeals court will pronounce on Mumias fate soon. But there should be no illusions in these proceedings. For 25 years both the Pennsylvania state and federal courts have rejected or even refused to consider the mountain of evidence of Mumias innocence, including the sworn confession of Arnold Beverly, that he, not Mumia, shot the police officer. In Mumia, the state sees the spectre of black revolt. The state is determined to carry out his legal lynching or bury him in the veritable hell of life in prison. This must not happen!
The Committee for Social Defense—a class-struggle legal and social defense organization whose purpose is in accordance with the political views of the Ligue Trotskyste de France—stands for pursuing every legal avenue on Mumias behalf while putting no faith in the justice of the capitalist courts. It will take an international mobilization of the masses, centrally the workers movement, to secure Mumias freedom. When he faced execution in 1995, a worldwide mass outpouring of protest, including from unions representing millions, stayed the executioners hand. This struggle was demobilized by those who fostered illusions in the capitalist justice system by subordinating the call to free Mumia to the call for a new trial.
In France the Communist Party (PC) raises freedom for Mumia but in conjunction with their demand for a new trial. See for example the call supporting a new fair trial for Mumia in lHumanité (4-5 February 2006) signed by hundreds of notables and politicians including PC [leader] Marie-George Buffet as well as Olivier Besancenot of the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire (LCR) and Arlette Laguiller of Lutte Ouvrière (LO). Behind these attempts to misdirect the struggle for Mumia towards the bourgeois injustice system is a political program premised on reliance on the capitalist state—a program directly counterposed to a mobilization of working-class power to free Mumia. Mass protests to demand immediate freedom for this innocent man must be revived!
Mumias appeal takes place in the context of the war on terror, under which rights won through tumultuous class struggles are being shredded in order to terrorize any who would stand in the way of the bourgeoisies drive for profits and their imperialist adventures, like the colonial occupation of Iraq or the bloody subjugation of Afghanistan in which French special forces are participating. The war on terror targets first the Muslim population, but it is ultimately aimed at the entire working class. This was seen here at Roissy airport last autumn when dozens of baggage handlers had their airport security badges pulled in the course of a racist witchhunt whose intent was to undermine the potential social power this workforce has when united against the bosses.
In France the death penalty has been officially abolished, but for the youth of the banlieues [minority ghettos] death can always be at the end of the street when the cops chase them, as was the case for Zyad Benna and Bouna Traoré, the two youth of Clichy-sous-Bois electrocuted in October 2005 while trying to escape a cop raid. Their death provoked the banlieue youth revolt. While the Ligue Trotskyste and CDDS called on the workers movement to mobilize in defense of the youth, most of the left, notably the PS [Socialist Party], the PC and LO at the time supported the restoration of order by the cops. In the wake of this revolt, dozens of prison sentences were meted out to youth in mockeries of trials run round the clock, which denied the possibility for a defense to even be prepared against the cop charges.
Mumias case shows the class nature of the capitalist state. Its legal system has an inherent class and race bias. The cops and courts that framed up this innocent man, the prison system, the executioner are all tools of organized violence used to perpetuate the domination of the capitalist class through repression of the working class and oppressed. Destroying this organ of repression requires a socialist revolution that sweeps away the capitalist system in the U.S., in France and other imperialist centers.
It is urgent to revitalize massive protests in the U.S. and internationally. It is necessary to unite working-class power with anti-racist youth in the fight to free this innocent man. His freedom will not be won through reliance on the rigged justice system or capitalist politicians. The only power that can turn the tide is the mobilization of the workers movement, which has the social power to shut down production. We need united-front actions and protests centered on the trade unions in which a range of political opinions are represented and where all are assured the right to express their own views. Organize now in your trade union, on your campus, in your community, to demand: Abolish the racist death penalty! Free Mumia Abu-Jamal now!