[fla-left] [MUMIA] Federal udge imposes severe restrictions on supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal (fwd)

Michael Hoover hoov at SPAMfreenet.tlh.fl.us
Fri Jun 16 09:37:37 MDT 2000


forwarded by Michael Hoover

> World Socialist Web Site http://www.wsws.org
>
> Federal magistrate imposes severe restrictions on supporters of US
> political prisoner Mumia
> Abu-Jamal
>
> [Beneath this: "Labor for Mumia Campaign"]
>
> By Joseph Tanniru
> 14 June 2000
>
> A federal magistrate has imposed severe restrictions on several prominent
> organizers of the campaign to defend US political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal
> because they allegedly refused to obey a policeman's order during a civil
> disobedience protest last July in Philadelphia. The eight
> individuals-including Clark Kissinger of Refuse and Resist; Frances Goldin,
> Mumia's literary agent; and Mark Taylor, Chair of Academics for Mumia-were
> placed on one-year probation, during which time their contact with Mumia
> and their activity in the campaign will be legally restricted.
>
> The sentences, handed out on April 23, are a gross violation of democratic
> rights and a political attack aimed at undermining the campaign for the
> freedom of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Mumia, who has spent the last 18 years on
> Pennsylvania's death row after being framed up for the murder of a
> Philadelphia
> policeman, is an internationally known opponent of the death penalty,
> racism and the US justice system.
>
> The eight individuals were arrested, along with 87 others, during a July 3,
> 1999 rally at the historic Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. They were arrested
> after allegedly refusing to move when Park Rangers ordered them to do so.
> Those arrested were charged with "failing to obey a lawful order," a petty
> offense equivalent to a traffic ticket. While most of those arrested pled
> guilty to the offense and paid a $250 fine, the eight pled not guilty and
> requested a trial. Federal magistrate Arnold Rapoport ordered the eight
> defendants to serve a one-year probation sentence in addition to paying the
> fine-an extraordinary punishment for an infraction not even considered a
> misdemeanor.
>
> The probation terms consist of an assortment of draconian restrictions and
> requirements, directly aimed at limiting the political activity of those
> sentenced. This includes a prohibition against associating with felons,
> including Mumia, and a requirement that the eight hold a regular job,
> meaning they cannot work as full-time volunteers for the Mumia campaign. In
> addition, they are prohibited from leaving the federal court district in
> which they reside without the permission of a probation officer, and must
> submit a list of all organizations to which they belong, as well as a
> detailed list of their financial records. Moreover, they must inform
> authorities of all individuals with a criminal record that they contact,
> must surrender their passports and will be visited regularly in their homes
> by probation officers.
>
> >From the beginning, those who pled not guilty were targeted for severe
> sentences. Goldin writes that "from the start, the prosecutor told one of
> our lawyers that he was going to make life so difficult for us, we'd have
> wished we'd pled guilty."
>
> Rich Goldberg, a senior staff member of the US Attorney's Office,
> prosecuted all the defendants. Normally, Goldberg would never prosecute
> such a low-level case. Andrew Erba, the defense lawyer who has filed
> appeals on behalf of several of the defendants, stated, "Somewhere there
> was a policy
> decision to make this high priority." The sentence couldn't have been more
> severe, Erba said. "[Rapoport] would never have done it on his own. The
> only reason the probation was advanced was because the US Attorney's Office
> pushed it."
>
> The prosecution's rationale for seeking the stiff probation sentence was
> that the defendants did not acknowledge the criminal character of their
> actions, and did not renounce engaging in similar activity in the future.
> "At sentencing," reasoned Goldberg, "they told the court they had not
> committed crimes, that
> they would not be deterred from doing what was right." The court, he said,
> declared that they must therefore be watched, and prevented from committing
> future "crimes."
>
> At the trial Goldin, Kissinger and Taylor stated that they were never
> ordered to move and thus could not have disobeyed any such order. Indeed
> there were a number of problems with the prosecution's case, including
> false identifications on the part of prosecution witnesses. By the
> government's own account,
> the activity of those given the parole sentences was less disruptive than
> many of those who received only the fine.
>
> More importantly, however, the defendants argued that their refusal to
> acknowledge they had committed a crime in Philadelphia was not a brief for
> disobeying orders, but simply an assertion of their legal rights to
> campaign on behalf of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
>
> The federal magistrate's ruling essentially criminalizes much of the
> political activity carried out by the defendants. The sentence, though it
> is currently being appealed, has already prohibited Kissinger from speaking
> at Mumia rallies held outside of the New York City district in which he
> lives. The clause
> prohibiting contact with felons will especially disrupt the activity of
> Frances Goldin, who has been in close contact with Mumia and has written a
> great deal on his trial.
>
> Shortly after the sentencing, Kissinger's wife received two federal
> subpoenas demanding that she turn over all her financial records for the
> last 10 years, including joint records with Clark Kissinger. She has also
> been ordered to testify before a federal grand jury, supposedly because of
> an investigation of
> her former employer. However, she worked for the individual under
> investigation for only two years, and no other employees have been
> subpoenaed. This action, in conjunction with the sentencing of Clark
> Kissinger, hardly seems coincidental. Kissinger has stated that it is an
> attempt to use "every legal
> mechanism to bring pressure on a key leader in the Mumia movement and find
> out everything about his finances and personal activity."
>
> The federal magistrate's ruling is the latest in a series of efforts by the
> authorities, the media and police organizations to intimidate and silence
> supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal. In January 1999 New Jersey Governor Whitman
> led a witch-hunt against a benefit concert for Mumia in East Rutherford. Two
> months later Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell attempted to restrict to 500 the
> number of participants at an April 1999 pro-Mumia march and prevent
> supporters from publicizing the protest the night before in many downtown
> areas. In June 1999 House majority whip Tom Delay, the right-wing Texas
> Republican, sought to prevent officials at Evergreen State College in
> Washington state from playing a taped address by Mumia to graduating
> students. A similar effort was made by the Philadelphia District Attorney's
> Office and the Fraternal Order of Police two months ago at Antioch College
> in Ohio.
>
> These efforts underscore the connection between the political vendetta
> against Mumia Abu-Jamal and the ongoing attack on democratic rights in the
> US.
>
> *****************************************************
> From: sffnb at iww.org
> Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 14:09:25 -0700 (PDT)
> To: Food Not Bombs <fnb-l at tao.ca>
> Subject: [FNB-L] Labor for Mumia Campaign
>
> On Wed, 14 Jun 2000 chris98 at pacbell.net wrote:
>
> > Labor for Mumia - 'Organizing for Justice!!'
> >
> > In an extremely significant display of Solidarity, the 1100 delegates
> > to the
> > International Convention of the Service Employees International Union
> > (SEIU)
> > voted without dissent on May 24, 2000 to demand justice for Mumia
> >Abu-Jamal.
> > Representing the largest union in the United States with 1.4 million
> > workers, this convention was assembled in the very state where Mumia
> > continues to sit on death row. Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the
> > assembled delegates voted to support a Moratorium on the Death Penalty
> > and a
> > new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal.
> >
> > It's important to salute the delegates from Local 1000 for their exemplary
> > work  in spearheading the passage of this resolution. After initial
> > rejection from the resolutions committee, the brothers & sisters did not
> > give up. They took it to the convention floor where it passed without
> > dissent.
> >
> > Many of the 49 delegates from Local 1000, which represent California State
> > Employees, had participated just one week earlier in the first Labor for
> > Mumia Conference, held in Oakland, CA on May 12.  Hosted by SEIU Local 250,
> > there was an air of optimism, even excitement, as more than 100 delegates,
> > representing hundreds of thousands of workers from more than 75 labor
> > organizations gathered to prepare a broad labor campaign to win justice for
> > Mumia.
> >
> > Labor for Mumia Conference
> >
> > The front of the flyer indicated the theme. "Mumia is an award winning
> > journalist, author of 3 books and a proud member of the National Writers
> > Union (UAW). When ABC sent Sam Donaldson with a strike breaking "20/20"
> > crew
> > to interview Mumia, during a recent CWA-NABET strike, Mumia sent them
> > packing. Mumia has stated that he'd rather die than cross a picket line.
> > We,
> > in the organized labor movement must launch a massive campaign to demand
> > justice for this union brother."
> >
> >         Chaired by Karega Hart, President of Amalgamated Transit Union 1574
> > & co-chair of the Black Radical Congress in the Bay-Area, the morning
> > session heard various union efforts for Mumia described. From the
> > Longshore(ILWU) April 24 West Coast shut-down last year to Bob Mandel who
> > spearheaded the historic teach-in developed by the Oakland teachers(OEA),
> > experiences were shared.
> >
> > Al Weinrub, Chair, National Writers Union Local 3(UAW) explained how the
> > writers union locally placed a series of ads in papers throughout the Bay
> > Area, signed by 300 writers in Mumia's defense, as part of their organizing
> > drive. D'andre Bitter from the East Bay Postal Workers Union (APWU)
> > described  developments in his union locally. He also described Morgan for
> > Mumia, a group in the Morgan postal facility in New York that developed a
> > button wearing solidarity campaign that culminated in lunch-room
> > discussions
> > of Mumia's case and support for the broader campaign.
> >
> > Robert Ford, representing Longshore workers from ILA Local 1422 in
> > Charleston, S.C. was a part of a delegation that came across the country to
> > be part of this conference. Recently beating back a union busting attempt
> > which included violent police assaults and union defense efforts, Local
> > 1422
> > has concluded that the union busting efforts, the flying of the Confederate
> > flag, and the continuing persecution of Mumia Abu-Jamal is "all part of the
> > same fight."
> >
> > The delegates broke into small groups following these reports, and plotted
> > new plans of attack, with the SEIU group being the most vibrant with much
> > representation from many locals. Following an afternoon plenary, workshops
> > were brought in by Jericho, Global Exchange & a group from the faith
> > community lead by Father Bill O'Donnell from St. Joseph the Worker Catholic
> > Church.  Workshops keyed in on areas of related concern & aided the
> > discussion on how we can effectively advance the struggle for justice, as
> > well as the concept of coalition building.
> >
> > Many workers were unable to attend, given that the conference occurred on
> > Friday, such as supporters in Teamsters Local 315, where TDU members have
> > helped develop a Mumia action group. Similarly, UTU Local 1741 school bus
> > drivers in San Francisco that also have an active Mumia group in their
> > local, couldn't attend Fridays conference. However, all showed up with
> > their
> > banners unfurled for a powerful display of Labor Solidarity for  Mumia
> > Abu-Jamal on Saturday, May 13 for a march & rally in San Francisco.
> >
> > The conference was initiated by the San Francisco Labor Council, and
> > supported by every Labor Council in the Bay Area, from Santa Cruz to Marin
> > County, including support from the Los Angeles and Madison, WI Labor
> > Federations. In concert with many locals from the CWA, ATU, HERE, SEIU,
> > NWU,
> > UAW, AFT, NEA, CNA, & more, national unions including the United Farm
> > Workers, United Electrical Workers and the Longshore Workers Union (ILWU),
> > it was indeed an historic gathering. The Black Radical Congress played a
> > critical role, with support also coming from the A. Phillip Randolph
> > Institute, Pride At Work, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement,
> > and many other individuals and organizations. A plan of action was decided
> > on and, as can be seen by the action taken at the SEIU Convention, work is
> > underway. Please contact us to help out in this critical solidarity
> > campaign.
> >
> > In Solidarity,
> >
> > Randy Christensen
> > Labor for Mumia - Coordinator
> >
> > c/o San Francisco Central Labor Council
> > 1188 Franklin St., #203
> > San Francisco, CA 94109
> > ________________________________________________________________
> >
> > Following is the action section of the main resolution adopted by the
> >gathering:
> >
> > For a Broad Labor Campaign to Win Justice for Mumia
> >
> >
> > We should initiate one or more effort of the following type:
> >
> > - A major media campaign where we would place ads in the press from union
> > papers, on up to major big-business press, such as the recent teacher's ad
> > in the NY Times. We could and should place articles in the press read by
> > working people regarding this conference, updates in the case, as well as
> > campaigns we decide to launch. We should also consider radio and community
> > TV spots, billboard space, etc.
> >
> > - Postcard/petition/letter-writing campaign. We could take these to union
> > meetings, E-boards, etc. To continue educating and gathering steam. Perhaps
> > official or unofficial communication with Mumia himself.
> >
> > - Assist Mumia groups developing in unions.
> >
> > - Encourage the adoption of Mumia as an Honorary union member.
> >
> > - Pass a resolution.
> >
> > - Distribute buttons, bumper stickers, posters & tee shirts, videos,
> >CD's, etc.
> >
> > - Shop floor actions such as lunchroom discussions button wearing
> > campaigns,
> > etc.
> >
> > - Union-initiated Community Speak-outs/Teach-ins.
> >
> > - Create packets for isolated unionists nationally.
> >
> > - Develop a speaker's bureau.
> >
> > One focus of this work should be in demanding that the justice department
> > launch an official investigation into Mumia's case. With 29 constitutional
> > violations, it shouldn't take 18 years to discover only one, which are
> > grounds to throw the case out. We must expose their inaction, which amounts
> > to complicity.
> >
> > This proposal doesn't pretend to exhaust the possibilities of what we might
> > do. Rather, it suggests that we undertake a broadly focussed campaign to
> > effectively engage the immense power of the organized labor movement to win
> > justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal.
> >
> > Anything less is Unacceptable.
> *****************************************************************************
>
> <sffnb at iww.org> Signature File Of Thursday 20 January 2000
>
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