[fla-left] Mumia Abu-Jamal's speech to Aug. 26 DC march against police brutality and racial profiling (fwd)

Michael Hoover hoov at SPAMfreenet.tlh.fl.us
Wed Aug 30 05:27:03 MDT 2000

forwarded by Michael Hoover

> Date: Sun, 27 Aug 2000 23:02:21 -0400
> From: "Paul Lefrak" <lefrak at bellsouth.net>
> Text of the taped statement by Mumia Abu-Jamal for the Aug. 26,
> 2000 Redeem the Dream March against police brutality and racial profiling in
> Washington, D.C.:
> On a move! Long live John Africa! Thanks for your kind invitation for my
> participation in "Redeem the Dream 2000." I think it's more than
> appropriate that I participate, for it is perhaps the only voice you'll
> hear from the American gulag. There are over two million men, women, and
> children in prisons and jails across America. Think of it: two million! Did
> you know that there are over 400,000 more prisoners in the U.S. than there
> is in China? What is this saying about America? Now what does this have to
> do with "Redeem the Dream"? I'll tell you. They can't seriously discuss
> redeeming the dream without taking account of the dreamers. And when you
> examine the life of Black America today, what do you see? A dream or a
> nightmare? And if you do see a nightmare, how can you not ask, "How? Why?"
> Let's look back briefly at the thoughts of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther
> King, Jr. Now, I won't quote from his famous August 26, 1963 "I Have a
> Dream" speech. Others will no doubt do it far better than I. I refer to a
> speech given by Dr. King some four years later, a few months before his
> assassination in April of 1968. Here, King spoke to his colleagues of the
> SCLC [Southern Christian Leadership Conference]
> and not to the nation as a whole. Here, he spoke not of his dreams, but of
> his growing insights into reality. He said, I quote: "We've got to begin to
> ask questions about the whole society. We are called upon to help the
> discouraged beggars in life's marketplace, but one day we must come to see
> that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. It means that
> questions must be raised. Who owns the oil? Who owns the iron ore? Why is
> it that people have to pay water bills in a world that is two-thirds
> water?" unquote. Are these the sounds of a man dreaming? Or the thoughts of
> a man coming to grips with social and economic injustice at the heart of
> America?
> What Dr. King was questioning was the economic infrastructure and the
> political superstructure of capitalist America, which in his words,
> "produces beggars." So what does that mean now? If you truly want to
> "redeem the  dream," then follow his example: ask questions about the whole
> society. Why are
> there billions of dollars to build prisons, but not a nickel to build a
> school?  Why does the government pay a prison guard more than a college
> professor? Why do  parents need to work two jobs or more to feed and house
> their families? Why do  you support politicians who support repression
> against you and your people? Why  do we call cops who beat, maim, and kill
> us "public servants?" Whom do they
> serve? Why vote for conservatives even if they wear the label of Democrat?
> When  will Blacks demand respect from a party that treats them like
> stepchildren? When  will African-Americans learn that the two major parties
> are both parties of  white supremacy and corporate control? Hey, look at
> the tickets! Ask questions.
> Here's another one: how can you truly consider yourself free when you can't
> walk down a city street, hail a taxi, or drive anywhere in America without
> the threat of a humiliating search or, as Amadou Diallo demonstrated, an
> execution while standing in your own doorway? How can you be free while
> judges
> in black robes rival klansmen in white robes in their contempt for Black
> life and liberty? I know that many of you may not appreciate what I'm
> saying about Democrats, but I must. When you're being pulled out of your
> car for the unwritten effects of DWB, or driving while Black, why not flash
> your voter's
> registration card to the cops? When your son or daughter goes in front of
> some racist or sellout judge, why not send him or her a xerox copy of your
> voter's registration card? When you're about to get evicted from your home
> because you're broke, whip out your voter's registration card, okay? Does
> your political
> party affiliation protect your property, your liberty, your life? Okay,
> tell them that you voted for Bill Clinton, okay? Tell them that you plan to
> vote for Gore-Lieberman, alright? Your politics is but an illusion, isn't
> it? Now don't give me that old chestnut that Dr. King died to give Blacks
> the right to vote. Nonsense. People don't fight for a vote. A vote is but a
> means to an end. What end? Power. The power to protect and enhance one's
> life, liberty, and property. The power to protect one's person from
> official oppression. The power to be let alone.
> What politician is speaking about this power, and why not? The legendary
> revolutionary teacher, John Africa said, quote: "It is insane not to resist
> something that gives nothing but sickness to you, your mothers, your
> fathers, your babies, your family." unquote. Are you getting power from
> this political system? Or sickness? Ask yourselves: are you, your babies,
> or your families better off today than they were eight years ago? Or worse
> off? If this system give you sickness, well, why support it? No doubt,
> you'll hear many climb to the rostrum and preach to you of the value of
> voting. You may even have
> some politicians come to you today promising the moon. But look at history.
> Bill Clinton, what some have called the nation's first Black president,
> savaged habeas corpus for the first time since the Civil War. So-called
> "welfare reform" -- his idea-- has been a war on the poor. From Lani
> Guinier to Joycelyn
> Elders, what you saw was an example of the politics of betrayal. The last
> eight years have brought us an explosion in the prison-industrial complex.
> And who in all of America is most likely to be cast into those steel and
> brick hells? You know  the answer. Why vote for your own oppression? Why
> vote for death row? Why vote for DWB? Why vote for the prison-industrial
> complex? As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ask questions. These have been
> some for you to consider.
> I thank you. On the move! Long live John Africa! Free the MOVE 9! From
> death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
> Transcribed by Paul Lefrak, Aug. 27, 2000.
> "Capital punishment is our society's
> recognition of the sanctity of human life."
> -- Sen. Orrin Hatch

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