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Workers Vanguard No. 871

26 May 2006

Trade Unions Say: Free Mumia Now!

The campaign to free class-war political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal is gaining support, in the U.S. and internationally. Mumia, an eloquent and defiant spokesman for the oppressed, has been sitting on death row for some 24 years, falsely convicted of the 1981 killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. The fight to free Mumia confronts the full force of the capitalist state’s system of injustice that originally framed up this innocent man and is still determined to see him dead. Federal and state courts have barred any of the evidence proving his innocence, including the sworn confession of Arnold Beverly that he, not Mumia, shot and killed Faulkner. While the Third Circuit federal appeals court agreed to hear a limited number of challenges to Mumia’s frame-up, its decision, expected within months, could open the door to his execution.

When Mumia faced a death warrant in August 1995, a mass outpouring of protest worldwide succeeded in staying the executioner’s hand. It is now necessary to mobilize a new generation of youth, fighters for black rights, opponents of the death penalty and, crucially, the labor movement to take up the urgent fight for Mumia’s freedom. As the Partisan Defense Committee wrote in its mobilizing brochure, “Mumia Is an Innocent Man—Free Mumia Abu-Jamal!” (25 January): “If undertaken through a mobilization based on the social power of the working class, the fight for Mumia’s freedom would be a giant step forward in the defense of all of us against the increasingly depraved and vicious rulers of this country.”

We print below two of the trade-union statements in support of the campaign to free Mumia recently received by the PDC and its international fraternal organizations. The first, dated May 4, is by Mike Payne, Chair of the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1526 Public Relations Committee in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The second, dated April 27, is from the French SUD Rail union in Paris. Join the campaign: Free Mumia Abu-Jamal! Abolish the racist death penalty!

* * *

It is with a great deal of concern and a deep sense of responsibility I issue this statement of protest and support on behalf of Brother Mumia Abu-Jamal and the campaign to free him. I truly believe that Brother Jamal is an innocent man and was targeted, set-up, framed, wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death.

Brother Jamal, a former Black Panther spokesman and supporter of the organization MOVE has spent over 24 years on death row even though there is documented evidence in the form of the confession of Arnold Beverly who swears that he, not Brother Jamal did the shooting that resulted in the death of a Philadelphia Police Officer.

The Mumia Abu-Jamal case is another blatant example that race and class bias in the U.S. Justice System continues to keep justice, fair and equal treatment out of the reach of the poor, the oppressed, the minority community and the working class of America.

This case exemplifies the fact that you will only get the amount of justice that you can afford.

It is without reservation, and with a great measure of pride that I stand proudly with the millions of workers, students, death penalty abolitionists and civil, minority and immigrant rights activists in defense and in support of Brother Jamal. FREE HIM NOW!!!

Darryl “Mike D.” Payne

* * *

The Versailles-Chartres local of the SUD Rail workers union (Solidarity, Unity and Democracy) wishes to express its full solidarity toward prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, locked away in U.S. jails since 1981.

At the same time we want to use this occasion to make a sincere and fraternal salute toward all U.S. political prisoners, like Leonard Peltier of the Native Indian movement, environmental prisoners, anti-imperialist prisoners Yu Kikumura, Tsutomo Shirosaki, David Gilbert, Richard Williams and all the others who cannot be mentioned in a simple declaration of solidarity.

For more than 24 years, Mumia has been locked away for a crime he did not commit. His innocence is internationally recognized. Mumia, former Black Panther militant, committed journalist, is a victim of a racist frame-up orchestrated by the FBI and the American government. Numerous support campaigns led by youth and workers across the world have made known the case of Mumia and of Afro-American prisoners in the U.S.

Not all Parisian rail workers know who Mumia Abu-Jamal is. This is why we, SNCF [French national railroad system] workers in commercial services (ticket offices) and in the engine and driver section, will take the opportunity of this initiative to commit ourselves to making the case of Mumia and other political prisoners known in the workshops, in our train stations and workplaces.

We will continue to mobilize against the repressive terror of the racist and capitalist governments that lock away and repress minorities, trade unionists (as is the situation of one of our own members) and those participating in the social movements. We recall that during the movement against the CPE [anti-youth First Employment Contract bill], prison terms (such as in Rennes), suspended sentences and heavy fines were handed down to youth from the ghettos, students, high school students and trade unionists.

We, workers and trade unionists, will continue to mobilize for Mumia and for others.

Immediate and unconditional freedom for Mumia and for Afro-American prisoners!

Long live international workers solidarity!


Workers Vanguard No. 871

WV 871

26 May 2006


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