Radical politics

This sign from the 1960s, quoting Muhammad Ali on why he refused to be drafted to fight the Vietnamese, shows that the enormous movements for Black civil rights and Black power and against the Vietnam war, both of which filled the streets with protesters, strongly influenced each other.

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

I’m often amused when I read, hear or see a politician criticize his opponents as “radical.” That’s meant to isolate his opponent as somehow weird.

But, guess what? Radicals are as common as crabgrass in American history. That’s because without radicals, how could the nation be born, based as it was on militant opposition to British kings? At the time, Europe was dominated by hereditary royalty.

And after the US Civil War, the radicals were the Republicans, who opposed slavery and fought for Black votes, while the Democrats were the party of the Ku Klux Klan. So, radicals fought for freedom from kings and from slavery.

In 1877, Republican presidential candidate Rutherford Hayes sold out Black Republicans and Black Southerners to allow Democratic ascendancy and political autonomy. The Army left the South, and Blacks were exposed to white terrorism … again. Radicalism, it seems, only went so far.

In the 1960s, Blacks embarked on a radical freedom struggle, North and South. Predictably, they were again betrayed, often headed by Republican politicians.

Radicals like Rev. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton and thousands of others fought for Black freedom. Others fought for an end to the Vietnam War.

The point? Radicals and revolutionaries fought for freedom from all forms of oppression. And the last I looked, that was a good thing.

© Copyright 2019 Mumia Abu-Jamal. Keep updated at www.freemumia.com. Mumia’s latest book is “Murder Incorporated: Empire, Genocide and Manifest Destiny, Book One: Dreaming of Empire” by Mumia Abu-Jamal, Stephen Vittoria and Chris Hedges, published by Prison Radio in 2018. For Mumia’s commentaries, visit www.prisonradio.org. Encourage the media to publish and broadcast Mumia’s commentaries. Send our brother some love and light: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335, SCI-Mahanoy, 301 Morea Road, Frackville, PA 17932.