VANGUARD - Expressing the viewpoint of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist)
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Mumia Abu-Jamal "Voice of the voiceless" is feared dying in US prison

by Max O

"Marxism comprises many principles, but in the final analysis they can all be brought back to a single sentence: it is right to rebel against reactionaries." This aphorism by Mao sums up the principled life of Mumia Abu-Jamal, whose health is in perilous danger as a result of deliberate disregard by US prison authorities.

Mumia Abu-Jamal (born Wesley Cook ) is an acclaimed US political activist and journalist who was framed, convicted and sentenced to death in 1982 for the 1981 murder of Daniel Faulkner, a Philadelphia police officer. He became involved in black nationalism in his youth and was a member of the Black Panther Party, later joined Philadelphia's radical MOVE organization and became a radio journalist, where he earned the moniker "the voice of the voiceless". Detailed information about his trial and conviction can be found on the, "Free Mumia" website:

Perversion of the US justice system
Amnesty International in its formal investigation stated that the “Mumia Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death for the murder of a police officer in 1982 after a trial that failed to meet international standards. In this report Amnesty International conducts a full analysis of the trial of Mumia Abu-Jamal including the background and atmosphere prevailing in the city of Philadelphia in 1982 and the possible political influences that may have prevented him from receiving an impartial and fair hearing.”

Mumia Abu-Jamal has consequently spent the last 30 years in prison, almost all of it in solitary confinement on Pennsylvania’s Death Row.

He has become one of the world’s most prominent and celebrated political prisoners; however, his health is failing. Supporters have reported that Mumia Abu-Jamal is currently suffering from a diabetic coma and has been taken to a hospital shackled to the bed, alone, and prevented from knowing that his family is close by. At the moment he remains in intensive care and his family and lawyers have been denied access visits and information about his condition.

During the last 30 years as a political prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal's regular written columns and recorded speeches from prison have become quite famous in the US. So much so that authorities have repeatedly attempted to silence him.

As a result of his writings being published he was placed in solitary confinement since 1995, with the charge of engaging in 'illegal entrepreneurship'. In 1996 the documentary, "Mumia Abu-Jamal: a case for reasonable doubt" was screened; soon after Pennsylvania prison authorities prohibited outsiders from using recording equipment in interviews with prisoners in their state  prisons.

International and national defence campaigns have gathered an enormous amount of evidence to demonstrate that the frame-up of Mumia was racially biased. However the Pennsylvania courts in the US have time and again opposed a new trial.

Despite the intransigence of the judicial authorities, his death sentence was overturned and Mumia was taken off Death Row after it was eventually acknowledged that the sentencing instructions to the jury by the judge were considered to be outrageous. A small victory in a litany of institutional injustice and racism.

Fight against white supremacy runs deep
Mumia Abu-Jamal has a long association and struggle against the state's repression and oppression of African Americans and other racial minorities in the US. In his book We Want Freedom—A Life in the Black Panther Party he wrote, "Armed resistance to slavery, repression, and the racist delusion of white supremacy runs deep in African American experience and history. When it emerged in the mid-1960s from the Black Panther Party and other nationalist or revolutionary organizations, it was perceived and popularly projected as aberrant. This could only be professed by those who know little about the long and protracted history of armed resistance by Africans and their truest allies. The Black Panther Party emerged from the deepest traditions of Africans in America—resistance to negative, negrophobia, dangerous threats to Black life, by any means necessary."

The prison authorities would very much like Mumia Abu-Jamal out of the way and are doing their best to speed up his demise. He had been complained of being ill since January this year. His and other prison inmates’ critical medical condition highlights the fact that there is a severe problem of health care in American prisons, which definitely comes under the category of violation of human rights.

Supporters in the US are greatly concerned. Recently, the activist Phil Africa of the MOVE organization was rushed to the hospital in apparently good health and was dead a few days later. The fight to defend Mumia’s life, and that of all US prisoners, is vitally important and needs worldwide support.