Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Discuss Mumia? Not At The "Independent Media Centers"

(Editor's Note: The Philly IMC still allows Tony Allen to post on their site)

I can’t say that I didn’t see it coming.

Ever since I have been writing about my experiences with the Mumia movement as well as my former affiliation with MOVE there have been those who have committed themselves to making sure that what is written is seen by as few people as possible.

These individuals, under the auspices of protecting the ideal of free expression and exchange have diligently labored to undermine my right to express myself in forums whose stated purpose is to foster such debate and discussion.

I would like to say that these people have failed in their efforts of censorship, but such is not the case at least with regards to the IMC.

A few months back I was banned by the NYC IMC after posting an article critical of Mumia and Pam Africa. Their official explanation for this act of removal was that I was a "right wing troll".
Since that time I haven’t bothered much with the IMC as I had, and continue to have, other things of greater importance to deal with. One of the projects that I have turned my attention to is a petition I started in response to one initiated by the New York Coalition to Free Mumia to name a street in Harlem after Jamal. In just a few weeks time I had over 25,000 signatures and was inundated by emails from people requesting more info etc...

Than, a day or so ago, it came to my attention that someone had tried to post my press release about the petition at the San Francisco IMC and the article was "hidden", or to put it plainly removed from public view by the administrators at the site. I tried myself to post the article on the site and it was removed within a couple of hours, at which point I attempted to post at other IMC sites with the same result.

I should mention that I have posted dozens of articles on various IMC websites since leaving MOVE and the "Free Mumia" cause, and there are usually sparks that fly after I do so. But, I would argue that such debates are integral to the whole concept of "Independent media". I would also argue that the issues that surround Jamal’s case are worthy of discussion and that since Jamal’s case and writings are often prominently displayed on IMC sites that such discussion would seem to be welcome.

This of course is not the case. For if there is one thing that the supporters of Mumia cannot afford at this point, it is rational, sober, and intelligent debate. The fact being that the whole Jamal facade is one that is as contrived, ill-conceived, and laden with easily discredited myths as any there is.

It is not an exaggeration at all to say that there are people who have tremendous personal investment in the perpetuation of Mumia mythology. And while the Jamal movement inches it’s way towards irrelevancy and the dustbin of bad ideas, there is still a pretty penny to be made off of the dread locked "voice of the voiceless". For those cynical enough, there is still some life to be squeezed out of the morally bereft and increasingly lifeless cult of personality of Mumia. There are still some t-shirts and books to sell. It is blood money of course, but when has that ever stopped people like Dave Lindorff or Pam Africa? The fact that Jamal is an unrepentant murderer who shot another human being in the back is hardly anything to give pause to those who see in Jamal something for themselves.

And it is those people who are responsible for the stifling of debate when it comes to Mumia. Such discussions are inconvenient obstacles to their ideological battles and money making ventures. They care not for the facts of the case and I think that I can say as someone who was for many years involved with the movement that many know that Jamal is guilty as hell and care not. Just in the same way they claim to be for free speech, yet when the opportunity arises they will do what they can to squelch speech they see as an impediment to their cause. The irony of course being that these are the same people who enable Jamal to write his books, publish them, put his radio commentaries on the air, and scream censorship at the moment anyone takes issue with a convicted murderer’s warped opinions being broadcast over the public airwaves.

But at the end of the day I feel no personal loss and will not loose any sleep over being banned from the IMC. It is their loss and not mine. They are the ones who are putting on display for all who care to see, the frailty of their cause and the looseness to which they hold onto their own ideals. They can censor me and "hide" inconvenient posts, but they cannot rewrite history and keep a grip on their revisions forever. Truth has this way of wiggling it’s way free of the grasp of cynical ideologues who use what petty little power trip they have to shut people out of debates.

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