Saturday, April 07, 2007

Mumia Supporters In Retreat

(Actorvist Mike Farrell)
Like an army in route, Jamal supporters have been steadily back-peddling with regards to their position of support for Mumia.

More and more those who are of sound mind have found sufficient cause to reject the notion of Jamal’s "absolute" innocence as well as some of the more outrageous conspiracy theories as floated by Jamal’s key support groups.

This is hardly a new trend, but one that has grown increasingly acceptable in the radical community.

I can remember with great vividness the uproar that Nation writer, Marc Cooper in 2000, caused when he penned a column critical of the "Free Mumia" cause.

Other writers and activists who have taken the apostate road have found themselves on the receiving end of the wrath of pro-Jamal fanatics for speaking the obvious.

After the semi-vertebrate Michael Moore wrote in his 2003 book, "Dude, Where’s My Country" that he believed that Jamal "did indeed kill the cop", he was blasted by the pro-Jamal fanatics, including "journalist" Dave Lindorff who targeted Moore for speaking the kind of truth to idiocy that Lindorff himself increasingly lacks the balls to do.

Rather than be hounded by Mumiaidiots at every turn Moore retracted his statement and apologized and moved onto more pressing issues, like what he was going to have for lunch.

Other pro-Jamal activists have shown more resolve in the face of the Pam Africa, bully tactics. Although it is quite clear that actorvist, Mike Farrell is still an adamant supporter of Jamal, he doesn’t care much for the movement that works to free him. In a recent email to someone who was also in contact with me, the former M*A*S*H, TV star had this to say about the Jamal movement:

"People have "rallied around," as you put it, the Jamal case for a number of reasons, many of them pretty stupid, in my opinion. I quite agree that there is a great deal of misinformation being cast around about the evidence in the case and the facts around it - or the lack thereof. I do not share the view of many, perhaps most, who are involved in the case and separated myself from it when MAJ fired the attorney who brought me into it and took on two who were, at least in my view, political hacks who wanted to promote an unbelievable argument in his defense. I agree with you that many of the claims made by Jamal's supporters are nonsense and I cringe when I hear them used. But there's nothing I can do about that but maintain my own position and try to keep it separate from them. Too often, however, we are all lumped together, just as you were quick to do."

Indeed, Mr. Farrell makes some salient points, but I am afraid that he is not following his instincts and observations to their very likely conclusions.

The kind that can make for a man in his position an embarrassing situation.

Mr. Farrell wants to cling to some of the Jamal myths while discarding others. It doesn’t seem to have occurred to him that if much of what is being spread about Jamal by his supporters might be ludicrous, that the whole premise of Jamal as victim might be a well-constructed fallacy. This is, after all, the same Mike Farrell who embarrassed himself during the 20/20 special back in 1998 that skewered Jamal’s supporters as ignorant dupes, when Farrell put on display for the country his lack of understanding of the case.

Now, I can agree with Farrell that there is plenty to criticize about our system of justice and the death penalty in particular, but his dogged insistence on supporting Jamal in the face of overwhelming evidence lends credence to the idea that his support is not born out of an intellectual honesty, but an ideological or egotistical unwillingness to accept reality.

Another group that has abandoned Jamal wholesale is the Bruderhof community. The very Amish-esque, community had spent thousands publishing Jamal’s books, cd’s, and had sent many of it’s members to actively work on behalf of Jamal. One of whom became Jamal’s prison spiritual advisor.

Around the time that Jamal fired Leonard Weinglass, the Bruderhof dropped out of scene, meaning the hundreds of Bruderhof devotees who had become fixtures at Jamal’s demonstrations disappeared, as did their well-funded and professional looking propaganda. It was undeniably a large hit to the Jamal movement, one that I would argue that has not been recovered from yet.

I have inquired as to why the Bruderhof so suddenly dropped out of the Jamal scene and haven’t gotten much of an answer. The Bruderhof themselves claim that Jamal became "divisive", but he always was, so I don’t put much credence in that contention.

Former Bruderhof have told me that the group is known for taking up causes and than dropping them at the behest of their authoritarian leadership structure on a whim.

Finally, while making my way through the blogosphere I could not help but notice that the pro-Jamal types have been a kind of running joke for far-left bloggers who use the cliched stereotype of the protest-groupie with the "Free Mumia" shirt as the archetype for all that is wrong and backwards in the modern progressive movement.

Whatever the reason, it is safe to say that the entity that was the Mumia machine is both under fire from it’s former adherents, shrinking from attrition, and is the butt of many a joke from legitimate activists.


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