Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Sorry State of the "Free Mumia" Movement

The following is from the website of the Partisan Defense Committee:

"At a January 1999 "Emergency Leadership Summit Meeting," representatives of SA, Solidarity, WWP, the RCP’s Refuse & Resist, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal and others adopted a strategy and slogans for the April 24 "Millions for Mumia" demonstrations and beyond. Following a debate, the "free Mumia" slogan and opposition to the death penalty were rejected in favor of calling for a new trial. Solidarity’s Steve Bloom approvingly wrote in Against the Current (March/April 1999): "Everyone who spoke from the podium sounded a similar theme: We must build a broader and more inclusive movement, one which reaches out to the American mainstream.
For the reformists, the "mainstream" included those who were agnostic on Mumia’s innocence. At bottom, the "new trial" slogan was an appeal to bourgeois liberal forces who see Mumia’s case not as the frame-up of an innocent man but as an isolated "miscarriage of justice," an aberration that threatens to stain the reputation of American "democracy.
The reformists’ approach dissipated the forces of millions who rallied to Mumia’s defense. As Wolkenstein points out, "It meant rejecting the very reasons that millions around the globe had taken up Mumia’s cause: revulsion with the injustices inherent in capitalism—poverty, racial and ethnic bias, war. There was broad identification with Mumia’s fight against the ‘system’ and for justice for all of humanity."

There is much in the above missive that reach out to me and strike me as bizarre, strange, disturbing. It is a quite candid statement and almost seems to have been mistakenly let out for public consumption. But here it is.

For many reasons, some I have gone over on this blog, International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia and some of the other major forces behind the "Free Mumia" movement have lost some of their appeal and influence.

In order to fill the void, groups like the New York Coalition to Free Mumia and the cultish Partisan Defense Committee have arisen to advance the Jamal cause. The latter of the two groups is by no means a stranger to Jamal’s case. It was the PDC that pretty much put Jamal’s name on the political map.

However, after PDC cadre member, Rachel Wolkenstein departed from Jamal’s legal team in the mid-90’s during the conflict that arose out of the falsified confession of Arnold Beverly, the PDC took a step back.

Now, with the Jamal cause in what is arguably it’s weakest position ever, we see the emergence of the PDC and their Marxist rhetoric. We also see why the group believes the Jamal movement fell apart.

For the PDC, the Mumia movement failed because, it wasn’t Marxist enough. it wasn’t sufficiently dogmatic, it wasn’t sufficiently sectarian, in essence it wasn’t exactly what the PDC thought it should be.


The Mumia movement failed and will continue to fail because it was rooted in lies. To the extent that it continues to exist, it does so because there are ideologues whose identities are wrapped up in the Mumia shell-game and who seek either personal or collective political gain through their participation in it.

Now it is said that all politics are personal and I think this axiom can apply just as well to political movements. It is no secret that Rachel Wolkenstein carries around in her a special kind of contempt for those within the "Free Mumia" cause who did not back the "Beverly" concoction. Whether she ever believed the transparently false rants of Beverly is up for debate. What is not, is that she certainly wanted Weinglass and company to run with Beverly, no matter the fact that his testimony would have torpedoed the crux of their case and would have no doubt shattered whatever credibility they did have. Much as it crushed the already fragile credibility of Eliot Grossman and Marlene Kamish, who did go with the " Beverly " confession some five years later.

So here we are, Jamal is still on death row, millions of dollars have been spent on his behalf, organizations have come and gone, Jamal’s Hollywood friends have left him high and dry, we have seen the high water mark. There are no more millions for Mumia and there never will be again. It seems as though things have just about come full circle

The PDC, with all of their Marxist delusions have returned to their cop-killer hero. And they don’t just want a new trial, they want Jamal free and they want him free now.

Clearly, they know this won’t happen as I am sure does Jamal. He teeters rather precariously between a death sentence and life in prison. The facts of the case demand either one or the other. And despite the hyper-optimism of Jamal’s esteemed attorney’s, the much over-hyped death-row celebrity will never walk a free step.

Now I realize that many reading this will disagree with my stance on the death penalty. I do not believe that Jamal should die at the hands of the state. Death has enough advocates and I will not join my voice with theirs. From my view, Jamal suffers far more by having to live through the death of his "movement" than the death of his body. For a moment I could imagine him conceiving of getting away with all of this. I could picture him making a triumphant march down the courthouse steps much in the way that his hero Huey Newton did after beating his cop-killer rap back in the time of the Panthers.

And than he wakes up to his tiny cell, his tiny world, his soul rotted with lies.
Mumia is destined to watch the movement to free him die a thousand deaths only to be periodically resurrected by those cynical and shrewd enough to temporarily give it life, just long enough for people to put some money in their pockets and just long enough for people to figure out that it is a hoax.

He knows what he is. He knows that his life is a lie and he knows what he did to Officer Faulkner and deep down in that warped mind of his, he must know that the rest of us know too.


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