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When Larry Krasner, Philadelphia’s new purportedly progressive district attorney, took office last January, he vowed to unflinchingly make the office’s goal “seeking justice,” instead of just seeking convictions, as a string of DAs going back to at least Ed Rendell had done. Last week, faced with a decision calling for real courage, Krasner flinched.
Just weeks after it was revealed that six previously undisclosed boxes of files labeled “Mumia” were allegedly “discovered” in an abandoned furniture closet in Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner’s office, hundreds of boxes of prisoner’s files have also been found. A Jan. 18 “supplementary verification” from the DA’s Post-Conviction Relief Act Unit (PCRA) revealed that files from imprisoned journalist and activist Mumia Abu-Jamal’s case were among hundreds of other boxes hidden in a storage room. Supporters of Abu-Jamal say the contents could prove malfeasance and lead to dismissal of charges and the release of Abu-Jamal and other defendants.
In the 20th century, few names, especially of Black people, ring louder than that of Martin Luther King. His life, his dedication to the civil rights movement and his martyrdom in April 1968 made him a global icon of social justice. Born in 1929, if he were not martyred, he would be enjoying his 90th year of life. But he was martyred and, too, he was considered an enemy of the state. Why?
On Oct. 4, 2015, at the McConnell Ad-Seg Unit located in Beeville, Texas, prisoner Jarvis Dugas, No. 1386881, was preparing for a visit with his mother. Dugas, who is known to his friends as “Homestead,” is a Black man who is mentally handicapped and physically disabled. He walks with a pronounced limp. Dugas’ mother, Regina Strange, is a former employee of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. She is all too familiar with the overt tactics of mistreatment, abuse and degradation associated with the corrupt prison agency and because she knows that, she regularly visits her son Jarvis.
On Dec. 27, 2018, Court of Common Pleas Judge Leon Tucker granted Mumia’s petition for new appeal rights, over the opposition of “progressive DA” Larry Krasner. This is the first Pennsylvania state court decision in Mumia’s favor since he was arrested on Dec. 9, 1981. In his decision, Judge Tucker ruled former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ronald Castille, who was the district attorney during Mumia’s first appeal of his frame-up conviction and death sentence, “created the appearance of bias and impropriety” in the appeal process when he didn’t recuse himself from participating in Mumia’s appeals.
Kamau Sadiki’s daughter Ksisay has issued an urgent call for help: “Augusta State Medical Prison (ASMP) wants to amputate my father’s foot. He needs a wound specialist, not amputation! What started as a wound the size of a penny spread from lack of medical care and has caused his foot to get seriously infected. He has requested a wound specialist for some time, but the prison administrators have repeatedly denied him this care. My father is asking folks to call the prison and write letters.”
It has been 40 years since MOVE member Mike Africa has been able to walk the streets. Today, he can do so, because today he is free! A text from Mike Africa Jr. announced to the world the following: “FINALLY FREE! On Aug. 8th, 1978, my dad was taken away from me. On Oct. 23rd, 2018, I got him back. – #FREETHEMOVE9!” Mike Africa is a quiet, serious man, who has suffered extraordinary repression during his prison days. Mike Africa – Free!
The important (s)election process is unfolding across the united capitalist prison terrorist states of america (ucptsa) and here in these occupied Indigenous nations. WE are working to change this deadly system that places higher profits for a few elites over the advancement of our broader population and proper stewardship of nature. Still, voters can mos def play a positive role in slowing down capitalism’s never-ending wars and destructive acts.
It is difficult to use the title that this commentary bears, but upon reflection, it must be so, for the truth supports it. For the truth is, this nation was born in rape. The rape of indigenous women (so called “Indians”) was considered but a spoil of war. African women were ravished aboard slave ships, clad in rags and chains. Many women leaped into the dark, roiling sea, preferring death to how they were treated onboard by seamen.
Palestinians confined in Israel’s brutal prisons issued a statement of solidarity on Aug. 20 with the National Prison Strike in the U.S. Members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine expressed the utmost support for their sisters and brothers jailed in this country’s horrific system of mass incarceration who courageously launched a nationally coordinated protest against their imprisonment and the oppressive conditions they face. For bravely carrying out this act of international solidarity and other acts of defiance, Israeli prison officials retaliated against imprisoned PFLP leaders on Aug. 29.
President Donald Trump’s comments regarding the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi aptly reflect the true nature of the power brokers that he represents. Instead of the usual “Empire-speak” statements, hypocritically condemning Khashoggi’s murder, followed by a pep talk on the values of “democracy” and “freedom of speech,” Trump is basically saying, as the leader of one rogue state to another, that was the “worst cover up ever,” boys, and heads should roll.
Given that Mumia’s next court hearing is on Oct. 29, two weeks away, many of us have felt that not enough attention has been paid to challenging Philadelphia’s widely hailed, new “liberal” District Attorney Larry Krasner. His deadly role in Mumia’s current legal proceedings in the Court of Common Pleas has not been understood by many Mumia supporters. We must pressure him to drop his opposition to Mumia’s current legal action aimed at giving Mumia new rights of appeal of his conviction.
“I am going to boycott the third-party correspondence system,” Bryant Arroyo, an activist and organizer currently detained at SCI Frackville in central Pennsylvania, told this Workers World reporter during an extended Sept. 23 interview. Arroyo urges all prisoners to immediately cease sending and accepting mail in response to the draconian new prison policies of current Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf.
She is known by one name. Say the name, Ramona, and all know of whom you speak. Ramona Africa, of course. She is a revolutionary. A scarred veteran of May 13, 1985, when local, state and federal cops conspired to bomb and kill MOVE members in West Philadelphia. Ramona survived – but didn’t escape the flames, the smoke, the deadly fumes, the hatred, unscathed. Several weeks ago, we learned she was ill, fell into a coma, and was hospitalized. MOVE needs your help to support her in the rest and recuperation that she needs. Please donate on GoFundMe page: Help Save Ramona Africa.
The basis for the Prison Lives Matter Campaign and this demonstration is not only to shed light on the poor treatment and inhumane living conditions that prisoners are subjected to, although we know this is the initial motivating factor for most families and supporters who get involved with the prison movement and demonstrations such as this one. However, the objective is to tie this struggle into our overall class and national struggle against racist capitalist-imperialist domination and exploitation of the proletariat.
The following statement was released by the Palestinian prisoners of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, jailed by Zionist colonialism for their role in struggling for the freedom of their people. They are among nearly 6,000 Palestinians imprisoned by the Israeli occupation today. Their solidarity comes to extend fists of resistance and hands of unity through prison bars to support the U.S. National Prison Strike, beginning Aug. 21.
On July 18, International Nelson Mandela Day, the New Afrikan Liberation Collective in partnership with IDOC Watch will be holding a panel on political prisoners followed by a demonstration outside the IDOC headquarters to call attention to the ongoing abuse in Indiana prisons. We call on all comrades and any fellow human beings with any compassion in their hearts, to join our families and loved ones as they support and fight for us at the “Prison Lives Matter: In the Spirit of Nelson Mandela” demonstration.
His name is Veronza Bowers Jr., a former member and captain of the original Black Panther Party. After more than 44 years in prison, 14 years beyond his mandatory release date, Veronza has faith that with his Freedom Team of top lawyers and the love of multitudes of supporters around the world, he will win his freedom soon. Political prisoners are kept in prison when the “law enforcers” they opposed decades ago carry grudges they pass down the generations, vowing those prisoners will die in prison. But the words of little Pharoah Dawson, who wrote, “Veronza, don’t die in prison!” are more powerful.
“Follow the Money, Flashpoints Radio Voices,” an anthology of interviews from 2009-2016 KPFA Flashpoints shows, is full of tragedy: oil wars, drone bombing, torture, mass incarceration, mass surveillance, police militarization, neoliberal trade agreements, poisoned water, botched executions, ecocide and the “too-big-to-fail” bank heist that kicked off the Obama years. “Follow the Money” can at the same time serve as an organizing and networking manual, because it’s filled with the voices of those fighting back.
In the early morning of June 16, after nearly 40 years of unjust imprisonment by the state of Pennsylvania, political prisoner and MOVE 9 member Debbie Sims Africa was granted parole and released from the State Correctional Institution-Cambridge Springs. Messaging on Instagram, the MOVE Organization wrote: “Our sister Debbie Africa is FREE! What a beautiful day to find freedom! Let’s keep fighting for our bros and sisters still behind bars — Mike [Sr.], Eddie, Chuck, Janet, Janine and Delbert! The struggle is underway!” This important victory comes exactly two years after Debbie, Janet and Janine Africa were last denied parole in 2016.