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The Internationalist
December 2021

The “Voice of the Voiceless” Held 40 Years in Pennsylvania’s Racist Dungeons

Mobilize Labor/Black Power
to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

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On December 11, a demonstration in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania marked the 40th anniversary of the imprisonment of Mumia Abu-Jamal, the U.S.’ most prominent class-war prisoner. He was sentenced to death in a rigged trial on the trumped-up charge of murdering a cop. Mumia is innocent – it is the capitalist “justice” system that is guilty, of throwing him and countless other innocent black and oppressed people into the labyrinth of racist dungeons. 

A contingent of two dozen supporters of the Internationalist Group/Revolutionary Internationalist Youth participated prominently in the protest. Our signs called for workers action to free Mumia and all class-war prisoners, notably former Black Panthers who have been behind bars for more than half a century.

Yet our contingent was almost half of the march. The failure of the left to mobilize for this anniversary of Mumia’s 1981 imprisonment is another expression of the “Biden effect” on the U.S. left. In their eagerness to repudiate the racist, misogynist, xenophobic Republican Donald Trump, the large majority of the left either voted for Democrat Joe Biden, or called to install him in the White House in the event of Trump resistance. In contrast, the large IG banner calling to “Free Muma Abu-Jamal!” proclaimed: “Democrats, Republicans – Racist Legal Lynchers.”

In 2020, following the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis, Minnesota cop, millions took to the streets across the country to protest racist police terror. But with Biden in office, in 2021, as police have continued to kill civilians at the same rate as in 2020, there have been virtually no mass protests.

Internationalist contingent at December 11 protest in Philadelphia marking 40 years of imprisonment of Mumia Abu-Jamal. (Photo: Internationalist photo)

In brief remarks at the end of the event, comrade Gordon of the IG stressed the importance of workers mobilizations to free Mumia in which the League for the Fourth International has played a leading role. In April 1999 school teachers in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, stopped work for Mumia, and the next day longshoremen shut down the U.S. West Coast demanding his release.

He also highlighted the call for Mumia’s freedom by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa, the largest union on the entire African continent. A forum has been announced for 1 February 2022 calling for international workers action to “Free Mumia Abu-Jamal and All Anti-Racist and Anti-Imperialist Freedom Fighters!” To register: https://bit.ly/iwa-2022. For more information, contact InternationalWorkersAction@gmail.com.

The latest development in Mumia’s endless battle in the racist judicial system was an October 26 ruling by the Pennsylvania Superior Court quashing Mumia’s fifth appeal in 40 years. Philadelphia judge Leon Tucker in December 2018 granted Mumia’s petition for more appeal rights. But district attorney Larry Krasner, who was elected with the support Democratic “progressives” and pseudo-socialists (including the DSA and Socialist Alternative) appealed Tucker’s ruling.

This shows once again that through decades of prosecution and persecution, for former Black Panther Abu-Jamal, as for so many others, there is no justice in the capitalist courts. Despite his innocence and no matter what the law states, there is always a “Mumia exception.” While supporting using any legal opening, the Internationalist Group and League for the Fourth International look not to a new trial but call to mobilize labor/black power to free Mumia and all class-war prisoners. ■