Workers Vanguard No. 892
11 May 2007
For Class-Struggle Defense to Free Mumia Now!
Join PDC Contingents!
Philadelphia & San Francisco
Thursday, May 17
The following leaflet was issued by the Partisan Defense Committee on April 26.
On May 17 in Philadelphia the Third Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments in what could well be the final legal appeal in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Shot and arrested on 9 December 1981, Mumia Abu-Jamal—a talented journalist known as the voice of the voiceless, a former Black Panther, a supporter of the MOVE organization and an outspoken opponent of racist oppression—was framed and falsely convicted for the murder of police officer Daniel Faulkner. Any ruling by the Third Circuit, which could come within weeks or months, will likely be appealed to the reactionary U.S. Supreme Court.
Mumia is the victim of the forces of racist capitalist law and order, who see in him a voice of defiant opposition to the oppression of black people that is a cornerstone of American capitalism. In the last week, the Fraternal Order of Police (F.O.P.) harassed and made threats of terror that forced a change of venue for a birthday celebration for Mumia in Philadelphia on April 24, as well as of a hip-hop event for Mumia in New York City on April 15. The states determination to carry out his execution is a warning to all who challenge cop repression, to workers who stand up for their rights on picket lines, to those who protest U.S. imperialist depredations in Iraq and elsewhere around the world.
From the unions to the campuses, all out to support Mumias fight on the day of oral arguments! The kind of pressure that will have an impact on the courts is the social power of the multiracial labor movement demanding that this innocent man be freed now. It is with this understanding that we are mobilizing Partisan Defense Committee contingents for the May 17 rallies which are called by Mumia supporters, including, in Philadelphia, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal and the New York Coalition to Free Mumia and, in San Francisco, the Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. Join the PDCs contingent under the slogans: Mumia Abu-Jamal Is Innocent—For Class-Struggle Defense to Free Him Now! There Is No Justice in the Capitalist Courts! Abolish the Racist Death Penalty!
In August of 1995, Mumia won a stay of execution based on worldwide protests, crucially involving the labor movement. From 1995 through 1999, new evidence was revealed in his case that further blew the states frame-up to bits. All the evidence proving Mumias innocence, including the testimony of William Singletary and Veronica Jones who saw the shooter run away, was rejected by the courts. Around this same time a number of reformist socialist organizations such as Workers World Party, Socialist Action, the International Socialist Organization and the Revolutionary Communist Party (and their front groups), raised the call for a new trial for Mumia. Instead of mobilizing to free Mumia as an innocent man and victim of a political and racist frame-up, these groups mobilized on the basis that Mumia could get a new and fair hearing in federal court, leading to a new and fair trial in the same Philadelphia courts that sent him to death row. These fake socialists promote illusions that Mumia can get justice from the same capitalist state that killed some 38 Panthers under its murderous COINTELPRO operations, and that massacred eleven black people, including women and children, in the 1985 firebombing of MOVEs Osage Avenue home in Philadelphia.
Many of these so-called socialist organizations now raise freedom for Mumia in conjunction with calls for a new trial. However, their politics remain in the framework of reliance on the bourgeois state. Behind the attempts to misdirect the struggle for Mumia to a call for a new trial is a political program premised on reliance on the capitalist state—a program directly counterposed to a mobilization of working-class power for his freedom. This political program of tying the masses to their class enemies and pushing faith in the capitalist state demobilized millions who once filled the streets in support of Mumia.
Mumias case lays bare the workings of the capitalist state. His frame-up conviction was not the act of one rogue cop or prosecutor or judge, but that of an entire system that cannot be reformed. Mumias innocence has been attested to by mountains of evidence, including the sworn confession of Arnold Beverly that he, not Mumia, killed Faulkner. Arnold Beverly stated that he was hired to kill Faulkner, whose interference with prostitution, gambling and payoffs made him a problem for the mob and corrupt cops. More than five years ago, Mumias attorney submitted this confession to the courts, but to the racists in black robes, a court of law is no place for evidence of the innocence of this fighter for the oppressed.
The frame-up of Mumia Abu-Jamal symbolizes what the racist death penalty in the U.S. is all about: a legacy of chattel slavery, the lynch rope made legal. We oppose the death penalty on principle—we do not accord the state the right to say who lives and who dies. With the execution in December 2005 of Stanley Tookie Williams, over substantial popular opposition, the ruling class sent a signal that they are deadly serious that Mumia will soon be another victim of the barbaric death penalty.
In the international fight to save Sacco and Vanzetti, James P. Cannon of the International Labor Defense pointed out, as the rulers geared up in 1927 for the legal lynching of the two anarchist workers: It is, of course, absolutely right to exhaust every legal possibility and technicality in the fight, provided—that the workers have no illusions. He emphasized: We must appeal at the same time to the laboring masses of America and the whole world who are the highest court of all. This is the class-struggle defense strategy that the Partisan Defense Committee stands on.
The worldwide movement for Mumia must be revived on the basis that Mumia is an innocent man who must be freed now, that his conviction is a racist, political frame-up, that there is no justice in the capitalist courts. The capitalist state and its courts are not neutral institutions but organs of repression against the working class and the oppressed. Mumias freedom will not be won through reliance on the rigged justice system or on capitalist politicians, whether Democratic, Republican or Green.
The PDC, a class-struggle legal and social defense organization associated with the Marxist Spartacist League, fights to mobilize the social power of the multiracial labor movement—those who create the wealth of this society and who can shut it down. That is why our contingents in Philadelphia and the Bay Area on May 17 are based on the need for class-struggle defense to free Mumia and the understanding that the capitalist state serves the interests of the racist ruling class. Labor must be mobilized independently of the very forces of the capitalist state that framed up this innocent man! The road to victory in Mumias case begins with the understanding that the class enemy is determined to carry out his execution. The multiracial working class has every interest in fighting against that outcome, which would further bolster the machinery of capitalist state violence whose ultimate target is the working class.
We are building contingents in Philadelphia and the Bay Area as a step toward the labor-centered, mass united-front mobilizations needed to free Mumia. Such mobilizations must send the court the message: We will not let Mumia die or rot another day in prison! Free Mumia Now!