Mumia Abu-Jamal

Matt Davidson afn02065 at
Mon Jun 5 14:54:50 MDT 1995

At 7:48 AM 6/5/95, Alfred Joseph wrote:

>It really doesn't matter if Mumia Abu-Jamal is "innocent" or not.  He
>should be defended and supported against the law machine of the capitalist
>state.  What does guilty or innocent mean divorced from the class question?
> Some racist cop is no longer with us, so what?  He is no longer stopping
>young black and latino men just because of who they are.  They don't have
>to lie face down in the street.  He is not beating and arresting strikers.
>A pity he won't be able to shoot or stomp another child of the
>working-class.  Too damn bad.  All police are the enemy of the working
>class.  They are the shock-troops of the capitalist class.  When you start
>thinking about guilt or innocence think about the civil rights workers
>being clubbed, think about all the workers beaten and gassed trying to form
>unions, think about all the students beaten and jailed because of their
>opposition to the war, think about Fred Hampton-murdered as he slept, along
>with Mark Clark.  Is Mumia Abu-Jamal guilty or innocent?  Please!!!!!

Doug Henwood responded:

>I haven't heard a tantrum like that in years.

What made it a tantrum?  It's too bad more people aren't willing/able to
call out exactly where the cops stand in the overall picture.  That is to
say, even a nice pig is still bacon-in-waiting.

>I'm not about to defend the bourgeois state and its special bodies of armed
>men, but it sure makes a difference for your rhetoric and political
>strategy whether Mumia shot the cop or not.

Well, I'd say the main difference is whether or not Mumia's politics are
worth tying ourselves to.  Which is not to say that we should ever defend
the right of the bourgeois state to execute anyone.  But to the extent we
"defend the life of ..." etc., how much are we defending what he was (BPP),
how much are we defending what he became (I can't see how MOVE is a
political ally in any serious sense), how much are we defending violent
"dissidents" in general (which I guess could include psychos like McVeigh),
how much are we "simply" aiming to tie the state's hands when it comes to
executing folks in general?

>Unless the cop has a gun pointed at you or a comrade, I'd say shooting cops
>is a juvenile and self-defeating strategy. Maybe I've just turned into a
>squishy social democrat in my old age, though.

Maybe you have.  Terrorism isn't a winning strategy, sure.  But on the other
hand, no point in getting dewy-eyed over a dead cop.  Getting shot's about
the only price those bastards ever pay for their reign of terror.

--Matt D.

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