Mumia Abu-Jamal on death row: 1968, Then and Now

The following Aug. 20th commentary was prepared for protests at the Democratic National Convention.

Onamove! Thank you, Recreate ’68, for inviting me to join your efforts in Denver to practice democracy in the shadows of the empire.

When I think of the DNC, I am reminded of the words of the great French writer Voltaire who when speaking of the Holy Roman Empire quipped, “It was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.”

The Democratic National Committee is neither democratic, nor national, nor a committee. If it were democratic, why would it reject the voices of the people who protest against its rule? If it were national, it wouldn’t be driven by imperialist and globalist corporate interests. And if it were truly a committee, then anybody could join it, not just the political puppets of corporate power.

In 1968 a Democratic mayor named Daley unleashed brutal, vicious cops on people who dared protest against the atrocities in Vietnam, young folks who were allegedly protected under the constitution. Instead they got the crap beaten out of them. It was imperial war then and it is imperial war now, and only the names and faces have changed.

In fact, things are more repressive today than they were in ‘68. For then anti-war activists and students could march through the streets. They got their asses whipped, but at least they marched.

Today, city governments have built cages for protests—so much for respect for the constitution. Now, as in LA 2000, you can get your ass whipped in a cage. That is what democracy looks like in 2008.

For another idea, look at what Pakistan did a few days ago. When a head of state violated the constitution, the people took to the streets. When he brought out the troops, they continued to protest and they demanded impeachment. There, democracy forced a dictator to resign. There, democracy marches—Onamove.

Here, democracy is in cages, hidden in the boondocks while alleged representatives sell their soul to the highest corporate bidder to further the interests of imperial war. Here, politicians take the label of democrat, hire the cops to beat you, hire the media to slander you, so that they can send your children to war for oil pipelines or to protect foreign dictators.

Here, democracy is on life-support, while paid-for politicians give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to imperialism, rampant globalization and ravaging of the poor.

Our revered ancestor Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without demand; it never has and never will.” Your protests are in that great, proud rebellious spirit. We need more.

Onamove. Long live John Africa!

From Death Row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Go to www.prisonradio.org and www.millions4mumia.org, respectively, to listen to Mumia’s commentaries and read updates on his legal and political case.

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