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Black History One (2:01) by Mumia Abu-Jamal
Black History 1[col. writ. 2/13/14] © ’14 Mumia Abu-Jamal Every year, Black History is celebrated, from coast-to-coast. Great Black names are recalled, their exploits praised, and February, the shortest month, staggers to an end. But what shall we say today? A month may come and go, but for millions of young Black people, they’ll know less and less, year by year. That’s because they have no idea about their history, for who will teach them? School teachers? DJs? Preachers? Rappers?  Barbers? Parents? These questions aren’t strictly rhetorical. For the answers to all of them are, “no.” About a year ago, a man came up to me, telling me of a discussion he had with a younger man. The Younger had a question for the older: “Was Martin Luther King a rapper?” Think about that.  ‘Was Martin Luther King a rapper?’ (As my mother would say, “Umph-umph-umph!”) Generations ago, leaders like the great DuBois, Paul Robeson, Malcolm X, Dr. Ben (Yosef Ben-Jochannon), Dr. John Henrik Clarke- these learned men- were heroes of the Black World. It’s not like that now, for the waters of our culture, our music, has been polluted by the greed of the corporations – and their interest to bring harm to the Black community. Today, ignorance is bliss. History?  ‘We ain’t into that!’ Woe to those who forget their history – for they know not from whence they came. --© ’14 maj
A Tale of Two Men (2:04) Mumia Abu-Jamal
Tale of 2 Men© ’15 Mumia Abu-Jamal (11/30/15],PAM Sometimes, events occur which, although separate in locality, have features in common, or, when compared, reveal a clarity that they would not possess apart. Cases in point:  A-- A young man, reportedly for the high crime of possessing a 3 inch knife, gets shot repeatedly, until dead. His alleged offense: Causing fear in a cop;  B-- A middle-aged man, armed as if about to engage in war, drives to a Colorado Springs abortion clinic, and engages in an hours long rampage, shooting 9, and killing 3 before quitting his tantrum --- and submitting to arrest.  Upon arrest, he is neither beaten, nor kicked, nor stomped, nor shot. I am, of course, referring to the cases of Laquan McDonald, 17, late of Chicago, IL, and of Robert L Dear, 59, of Colorado Springs, site of a Planned Parenthood clinic. It must be said that Black men receive hyper-attention when in the presence of cops, so much so that, as a rule, white guys fade into the background of normality, unseen, unchallenged - even when they are carrying arsenals. Again, as in Dear’s case, he drove to the clinic, and then carried arms into the site of Planned Parenthood. One man - was virtually invisible. Another man was hyper-visible. In such cases as this, both paths led to disaster. © ‘15maj
A Message from Prison Radio Correspondents (0:53)
You can support these commentaries at bit.ly/fight4prisoners.Thank you. 
Bend the Bars Address (8:34) Bryant Arroyo
SCROLL DOWN FOR AUDIO Speech To "Bend The Bars" ConferenceBy Bryant Arroyo  Dear environmentalists, ecologists, bioneers, blue-gold/rain forest protectors, movers, shakers, GMO opponents, green tech innovaters, indigenous leaders, social justice activists, and jail-house environmentalists gathered here today, as one. I want to thank you for your magnanimous invitation to join all of the "environmentalregulators," at this unprecedented "Bend the Bars," conference. Today, I'd like to re-introduce myself to the watchers and protectors of the earth—revolutionary environmentalist. I speak with conviction to share with all those gathered here today the uncommon inspiration and energy to further encourage a “peculiar people” to continue to fight wherever an environmental "hot-spot" crises arises, or the most extreme situation beckons your call to rise to the occasion. It's a bird, it's a plane—no. It's the 1st “jail-house” environmentalist! My name is BryantArroyo, a bilingual Puerto-Rican, who, at this time has spent a third of my life in prison, at SCI Mahanoy, Southeastern part of Pennsylvania. In part I didn’t fathom to plan on such an endeavor, and as far as I was concerned, I didn’t ever consider myself an environmentalist—much less, a “jail-house” environmentalist, in the State Correctional Institution, at Mahanoy. This was unforseenly forced upon me. As a “jail house lawyer” my routine consisted of religiously visiting the prison law library, and by happenstance, I discovered a sixty (60) day Environmental Impact Statement notice indicating the building of the collosal coal-gasification plant, adjacent 300 feet from the center point of the prison yard. At this juncture, I was determined to get acquainted and acclimated with environmental regulatory law, which compelled me to take a crash-course. I began working to engineer a proposed “formal objection letter,” wherein, it was initially designed to include everyone—all inmates, etc. Resolute in my stance, I whole-heartedly went up against the “corporate raiders” who consisted of former Gov. Tom Ridge, Jack W. Rich, Jr. (Anthracite Baron of the Eastern Region), WMPI Party., LLC, who formed a team that included Rich's waste management team &. Processors, Inc., SASOL fuels of Africa, Uhde, GmbH, Bechtel, Shell and Chevron Texaco. Eastman Chemical was named as the company that may operate the monsterous coal-gasification plant. The idea of knowing about Jack Rich Jr.'s many financiers were enclosed by the world's “corporate elite”— Morgan Stanley and United Bank of Switzerland would be co-managing the financing of $612 million coal-to-diesel project in Frackville, and undertake subsidized in $47 million in state tax credits coupled with a $100 million in federal grants, was amazing. One of the main obstacles immediately encountered was the Department Of Correction's unambiguous rule that severely hampers and discourages inmates from signing a petition. By definition a petition is considered a petition when it is signed by two inmates, or more. This is not only frowned upon, but, categorically prohibited by the DOC.I revised the “formal objection letter” from "we, our, us" to “I, me, my," which circumvented the DOC's rule regarding petitions by re-defining it into a singular “formal objection letter.” This was a first—defying the DOC's policy in such an unprecedented way—which agitated and riveted the attention of the security department, which scrutinized me for several weeks, in hopes of either manufacturing and/or fabricating a pretext of allegedly violating a DOC rule to have me locked up under adminsitrative custody— out of the way—to stop me from mobilizing and organizing, on an individual basis. I must admit, I was cleared. To organize effectively you need to utilize that which "bends the bars" to access the people who make up your community—your voice!!! It starts with "we the people," challenging well settled laws that violate community and human rights. People need to be willing to bend/break illegal laws that are designed to run over the average citizens with impunity. On Aug. 9, 2006, I received a letter from the Environnmental Legal Defense Fund attorney, Thomas A. Linzey, acknowledging our efforts, which were highlighted in the Pottsville Republican & Morning Herald entitled: "402 Inmates Slam-Plant," opposing the proposed "coal-to-diesel" plant. Finally, we garnered the attention of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) who would assist us in leveling the playing field, against the “corporate-giants.” On Sept. 25, 2006, I met with both Atty. Thomas A. Linzey and community organizer, Benjamin Price to discuss the proposed local ordinance. Also, I was honored to become the 1st prisoner to take the "Daniel Pennock Democracy School Curriculum" named after Daniel Pennock, a teenager in Robesonia, Berks County, whose life was tragically cut-short by contracting an infection from sewage applied to neighboring farms by a corporate sludge hauler. There are many fundmaental truths I've learned beyond the ones I know. When it comes to the decisions that affect your community and your children, and what the common future will be like, who will decide? Hopefully, it is you. If not you, then who??? The material interest of corporations are superior to the interest of the working class people. We should never allow the corporate bullies to just bogart their way into our community without protesting and laying out the proper local ordinance to truncate their intentions to build a coal-gasification plant which would exploit the citizens and future unborn generations, at our expense. We have a voice and face—all we have to do is use them simultaneously coupled with a plan to execute a local ordinance and get it passed and signed by your township supervisors. The environmentalists are the new, original pioneers responsible for mankind’s future. Then, what is required to "bend the bars?" You are going to have to accept uncomfortable circumstances which forces you—of your own volition—to take action to raise your voices, and broaden out to speak to your local community base. So, here are some ideas to think about what is required of us to "bend the bars.": 1) We must accept and validate that we are all in synch with the beating heart of mother earth; 2) By knowing we are all on planet-earth, we are inter-connected and inter-dependent on on another as a family circle; 3) If we are not challenged by all of the ecological threats to our water supplies, clean air, and the damages done to our ozone layer, then, what is the sense of living and remaining, as part of the problem, and not the solution?  As a prisoner, and citizen, one would think about what would be literally required to actually "bend the bars", as an example, a hammer, chisel, blow-torch, hack-saw, saw-blade, electric saw, etc. Well, you are correct in your common way of thinking to have come up with these instruments, tools to assist one, in the arduous task to "bend the bars." Ultimately, I challenge you to an unprecedented way of thinking. As human beings, we need to continuously and consistently remain curious about educating ourselves and become engaged through other people's experiences, in life. To "bend the bars," one must free the "bars of your mind" and be willing to feel vulnerable about uncommon experiences. Expose yourself to unchartered waters and become vulnerable to the uncommon experiences right in our own backyards. As I close, I depart with the words of  Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." I humbly ask for everyone to raise your right index-finger and repeat after me: "It takes a village to raise a village,"  but, I say to all of you—It takes one person to start a fire. You are the blaze that the corporate raiders will have to reckon with, as the environmental pioneers of the future. Set them on fire by presenting yourselves to welcome the fight of your lives on behalf of mankind. The face and voice inside the Nation of Prisoners,Bryant Arroyo For Prison Radio Copyright 8/26/16
Feeding on Fear (1:48) by Mumia Abu-Jamal
 FEEDING ON FEAR[col. writ. 2/25/15] © ’15 Mumia Abu-Jamal Every day, every night, through various media, we feed on fear. We feast on it. It matters not the measure, nor its girth; we devour it, for we cannot get enough. ‘So and So is coming!’, ‘ISIS threatens!’ –and we munch our muffins of terror. The nation throws billions into government and private security – and ends up more insecure than ever. New barriers are built; cameras click on more and more street corners more doors are locked. And fear grows. Since 9/11, a kind of madness erupted in the country, and after all is said and done, all the wars, all the carnage, all the loss – has led to little more than pixie dust (nothing). Newscasts have become fear-casts, as government and media converge to sow dragon’s teeth of fear into the minds of millions: “Coming up next – new threats!” The road taken by this nation after 9/11 led to this mad, fear-drenched hour. It could only have led to this; for fear can only lead to fear. It fuels governments. It feeds media. It devours reason. Yet it grows, eating us as we eat it. And we are still not full. ©’15maj 
I Must Repeat These Six Words (1:07) by Kevin Cooper
I Must Repeat These Six WordsBy Kevin Cooper In this struggle for life, no person or family of people should ever have to experience what happened to the MOVE Family on May 13, 1985. This crime against our collective humanity must never be forgotten or allowed to ever happen again! It’s this system that allows for we poor and minority people to be murdered by, and at the hands of, law enforcement, as we so well know. With this understanding, I must repeat the words of one of our most respected and loved warriors — sister Pam Africa — who states in six words the truth:  “Down with this rotten ass system!” I wholeheartedly agree. Down with this rotten ass system!                                 In struggle and solidarity from Death Row                               at San Quentin Prison, Kevin Cooper 
Dallas Six (4:25) by Kerry Shakaboona Marshall
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and County D.A.’s Bogus Charges Against the Dallas 6By Kerry “Shakaboona” Marshall            Andre Jacobs, Carrington Keys, Derrick Stanley, Duane Peters, Anthony Kelley and Anthony Locke are The Dallas 6. A group of courageous Pennsylvania state prisoners who have stood up against prison guards’ torture, abuse and terror of prisoners in solitary confinement at SCI-Dallas prison and whom have suffered retaliation at the hands of prison guards with the filing of the bogus criminal charge of riot.          When prison guards tortured fellow prisoner Isaac Sanchez by strapping him into a “torture restraint chair” for 18 hours overnight, causing the prisoner numbness in his limbs and to urinate and defecate on himself, The Dallas 6 protested this cruel treatment by covering their cell windows with paper to bring attention to the incident.          On April 29, 2010, the guards responded to The Dallas 6’s covering their cell door windows with paper by arming up in black SWAT team uniforms, canisters of deadly O-C tear gas spray, Roman-style plastic riot shields, Taser guns, and a hand-held video camera to perform cell extraction assaults on each of the prisoner’s assigned cells.          In prisons, cell extraction assaults are performed on prisoners for refusing to obey an order while inside his cell, such as refusing to return a meal tray, refusing to speak with a prison official or covering the cell’s window, vent or light with paper. Prison guards use such reasons as a pretext to perform cell extractions on prisoners in order to physically beat and brutalize them.          On April 29, 2010, a six-man, armed, cell extraction team bull rushed into the individual cells of The Dallas 6 members, while being recorded by video camera and handcuffed, punched, kicked, tasered and tear gassed as they lay on the floor in a face-down position of surrender.          Prison guards left The Dallas 6 injured in their cells, naked, beaten bloody, with burnt skin, burning eyes and in great pain.          The Dallas 6 filed grievance complaints and civil action lawsuits with the PADOC and the Courts concerning the prison guards’ April 29th assaults and in retaliation the prison guards had the Luzerne County District Attorney  cover-up their criminal assault against them.          The criminal charge of “Riot” brought against The Dallas 6 are bogus, because the alleged riot supposedly occurred in the solitary confinement area of the prison. In every prison in the USA solitary confinement is custody level 5 and the most secure area of a prison. The Solitary Confinement area is isolated from the general prison and it is where prisoners are held confined to a cell 24 hours a day. Prisoners confined in solitary never leave their cells unless they are handcuffed or shackled.          During this so-called “riot” by The Dallas 6 they were confined to their cells and only covered their cell door windows with paper in peaceful protest over cruel treatment. Where was this so called “riot” in solitary confinement where none of The Dallas 6 were outside of their cells of confinement; where no prison guards were overpowered; where no prison property was destroyed, and where no prisoner sought to riot in anyway imaginable?          The Dallas 6 are scheduled to begin trial on the bogus criminal charge of riot next week, but it is apparent that the people who should be standing trial here are the law breaking prison guards and county District Attorney.          Let’s acquit The Dallas 6 and convict the PADOC.           I am Kerry “Shakaboona” Marshall, Co-founder and Editor of The Movement magazine, founding member of the Human Rights Coalition, Prison Radio correspondent and can be reached at: SCI-Rockview, Box-A, #BE7826, Bellefonte, PA 16823.           Thank you for listening. 
"For Lynne" (1:29) by Mumia Abu-Jamal
Scroll down for the audioalso check out the indiegogo campaign http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/send-lynne-stewart-a-valentinewww.lynnestewart.org February 14th: An Evening of Song and Celebration with Lynne! (NYC)January 31st, 2014
On Reconstruction (Lecture) 2-11-2014 (6:37) by Mumia Abu-Jamal
ON RECONSTRUCTION[Lecture writ. 2/11/14] © ’14 Mumia Abu-Jamal Dear fellow students; I thank you and your professor, Dr. Fernandez, for this brief opportunity to share some time with you, as you study what I think was a pivotal point in time for the United States: Reconstruction. Most of us spend little time and perhaps less thought on this period, for let’s face it; it’s ancient history, right? I can hear the rolling of eyes, the sucking sounds of mouths, the closing of minds snapping shut – and the whispered thought; “what does this have to do with me? All this stuff from the 1870s and 1880s!” But Reconstruction is more than a word historians attach to an era; it was, for the first time in American life, a real attempt to change America’s trajectory from a slave nation to a truly free nation. And that brave, noble attempt ended in failure and betrayal. Reconstruction, formally, refers to the years 1866-1876 (other historians and authors differ on these dates).  These dates are bookmarks in time, for when Congress began passing the Reconstruction Acts which became the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution and supportive legislation; and the congressional-presidential deal that made Rutherford Hayes president, on the condition that the U.S. Army be removed from southern territory, exposing African – Americans to a deluge of white terrorism, most often organized by an army of the Democratic Party, known as the Ku Klux Klan. Some will argue, in protest, that the South was defeated by the military power of the North, and while true, it doesn’t tell all of the story. For, what the military wins in the field, politicians can deal away at the negotiating table. That’s what happened in the Hayes-Tilden compromise of 1876, when the Democratic candidate, Samuel Tilden seemed to land more votes than Hayes.A congressional committee was established, and the Electoral College gave Hayes one more vote than Tilden. Hayes took the presidency and fulfilled a campaign promise to pull out the U.S. Army (actually tens of thousands of Black troops), and Reconstruction came to a dirty, brutal end. In the recent book, The Day Freedom Died: The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of Reconstruction, by Charles Lane, we see clearly how all levels of government turned their faces from African Americans, and left them to the cruel, tender mercies of their former tormentors and enslavers of the white South. Lane writes:                         Instead of a new Civil War, there had been a new compromise; a grand                        bargain, between the white Republicans of the North and the white                        Democrats of the South. The latter had traded the presidency to the                        former in return for control over their own states. And that meant                        control of their colored population –because the Supreme Court had decreed                        that the Negroes must look first to the states for protection against violence                        and fraud. They must look to the likes of Wade Hampton and Francis                        Nicholls. The Compromise of 1877 was less formal than the Missouri                        Compromise or the Compromise of 1850, but its basic logic was similar.                        The Union was to be preserved at the risk of the rights of four million                        Americans of African descent. “The Negro”, the Nation opined, “will                        disappear from the field of national politics. Henceforth, the nation, as a                        nation will have nothing more to do with him.”                         Reconstruction was over (Lane 245).                       Lane took the implications of what that meant further:                         The South pushed on Republican fault lines until they cracked. The                        Confederate States of America lost the Civil War militarily and                        economically, but in the ways that mattered most to white Southerners                         -- socially, politically, and ideologically – the South itself did not. [U.S.                        President] Ulysses S. Grant died on July 23, 1885, having tried but                        failed to secure the new birth of freedom for which he had fought                        the Civil War. (254).                        Because the U.S. government ceded the issue of states’ rights, or local power                        and control, for all intents and purposes, the South won the war to treat                        Black people as slaves in everything but the name.                        When a Civil Rights bill was passed in 1875, it would take less than 10 years                        for the Supreme Court to strike it down.                         Black people were free, according to the Constitution, but in reality, their                        lives were virtually indistinguishable from that of their captive ancestors.                        They could not vote. They could not hold office. They could not take certain                        jobs and professions.                        They were denied the right to travel from what used to be plantations.                        They were betrayed, and it would take a century to rebuild movements of the                        1960s, for voting rights, for so-called ‘freedom.’                        For the South had won the war politically, which they lost on the fields of                        Gettysburg. _-© ’14 maj {Source: Lane, Charles. The Day Freedom Died; The Colfax Massacre, the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of Reconstruction. (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2008)}
Obama's Surveillance State (3:10) by Mumia Abu-Jamal
OBAMA’S SURVEILLANCE STATE[col. writ. 1/17/14] © ’14 Mumia Abu-Jamal   When an American President announces a speech on his intelligence agencies, eyes and ears tune in.  That’s especially since the (Edward) Snowden revelations, of NSA (National Security Agency) dishes receiving billions –billions! – of bits of information from Americans, foreigners – everybody.  But that President, smart, smooth as Chinese silk, handsome, took the mike to try to calm the storm, by giving privacy activists and security agencies something to take home.  Twitches here, tweaks there, and statements designed more to ease national anxieties than to actually shut down the surveillance state.  When President Barack H. Obama said that the NSA doesn’t tap phones except when serious national security threats are at stake, he, frankly, sounded more like his predecessor, George W. Bush, than he surely intended. For, try as I might, I could not resist the recollection of Bush standing at the lectern, the presidential seal reflected in dozens of camera lenses, saying, “The United States does not torture.”  For was German Chancellor Angela Markel a national security threat?  Was any other leader?And by declaring no more tapping of phones of leaders, does this now mean second-tier leaders will be surveilled even more aggressively? It would seem so. The business of intelligence is – intelligence! The business of spies is – spying! As long as such agencies exist, that’s what they’ll do. Period. That’s the real bottom line. And no President will dare to challenge such a powerful tool in his arsenal. Indeed, he (or she) would welcome it! Think of every US President since Harry Truman (president when the CIA was established in 1947). Can you name one who didn’t use the Agency against his opponents, or refused intelligence data? There are none to name. It matters little that then-Senator Obama was critical of US intelligence when running for office, for once in, the game changed.It was his. Truman, once out of office, said he never wanted a cloak and dagger outfit: but, out of office is out of power. And John F. Kennedy, embarrassed by the Bay of Pigs fiasco and failure in Cuba, reportedly told friends he wanted to “break” CIA into “a thousand pieces.” He never lived long enough to do so. Obama, like every president before him, has fallen before the golden dream of intelligence; a dream that always promises far more that it can ever deliver. --© ’14 maj
Bird dogging Bergdahl (2:04) by Mumia Abu-Jamal
Bird-dogging Bergdahl [col. writ. 6/4/14] © ’14 Mumia Abu-Jamal For the American captive of the Taliban, U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the homecoming he has long dreamed of may be more bitter than sweet. For, on the day of the announcement of his release from his Afghanistan captors, before a full swell of celebration could grow, came claims of his desertion – and even calls for his imprisonment in an American military jail.From hero to heel under the pressure of the 24-hour news cycle, Bergdahl, who has spent five years in Taliban custody, may, if he’s aware of this cacophony, opt for a return flight to Kabul.Unfortunately, this has more to do with President Barack Obama than Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. For the politics of the present demands all-attack all-the-time on Obama’s efforts. He must be denied even the illusion of success.Hence the noise on the right. But of Bergdahl, a then 20- year old U.S. soldier, it is reported that he was sickened by the carnage unleashed by U.S. forces against the Afghan people.Because his human instincts were awakened, he is now called “deserter”, “betrayer”, and “coward”.But is it cowardly to face one’s enemies unarmed?Is it cowardly to see the violence unleashed on an oppressed people, and feel their pain? People the world over have looked at the mass death visited upon Afghanistan -- and were sickened by it. Perhaps Bergdahl felt it too.Now, he is on the brink of joining the nation he has longed for.Perhaps this too, will sicken him. (c)’14maj
Yuri Kochiyama (3:24) by Mumia Abu-Jamal
YURI KOCHIYAMA:  A Life in Struggle[col. writ. 6/2/14] © ’14 Mumia Abu-JamalHer name was Yuri, a Japanese woman born in the United States. I hesitate to call her a Japanese-American, for to do so suggests she was a citizen.In light of how she, her family and her community were treated during World War II, especially after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, to call any of them citizens would be an exaggeration.Yuri was barely 20 when she, her parents, her brothers and the Japanese living on the West Coast – some 110,000 children, women and men – were forced to leave their homes, their schools, their jobs and businesses, and were transported to concentration camps in the nation’s interior.Two-thirds of these people (like Yuri) were born in the United States, and thus American citizens according to the Constitution.This meant nothing. They were Japanese – that was enough.She remembered her experiences in those camps as a naïve banana (yellow on the outside, white on the inside). She recounted to oral historians:I was red, white, and blue when I was growing up. I taught Sunday school, and was very, very American. But I was also provincial. We were just kids rooting for our high school….Everything changed for me on the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. On that very day – December 7th – the FBI came and took my father. He had just come home from the hospital the day before. For several days we didn’t know where they had taken him. Then we found out that he was taken to the Federal prison at Terminal Island. Overnight, things changed for us. * In December, 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “military necessity” was the basis of the mass evacuation and detention of tens of thousands of us in the Korematsu case.Yuri would later become a strong supporter of Malcolm X, and the Black Freedom Movement. She joined and worked in various liberation organizations and grew to become an icon of the Black Freedom and Asian-American rights movements.Born Yuri Nakahara on May 19, 1921 (4 years to the date before Malcolm was born), she married Bill Kochiyama. The Kochiyamas moved to Harlem in 1960, where they worked for the civil rights movement, in education and fair housing practices. Yuri Kochiyama, freedom fighter, after 93 summers, has become an ancestor. -© ’14 maj[*Zinn, Howard and Anthony Arnove, Voices of a People’s History of the United States, 2nd ed. (NY, 7 Stories Press, 2009)] 
"Journalism: Activism or Profession [NABJ presentioation] (4:42) MP3 by Mumia Abu-Jamal
 2014 NABJ Convention & Career FairJuly 30-August 3, 2014Sheraton Boston HotelJohn B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center39 Dalton StreetBoston, MA 02199 Journalism: Activism or Profession?[Speech writ. 7/29/14] © ’14 Mumia Abu-Jamal When we consider the historic role of journalist amond Black people, we are left with the deep conviction that, for Black people, the necessities of the time demand that activism must play a role in the performance of the profession. It must be so, I argue, then - in our not-too-distant past - and now, in our troubled present, for to fail to do so leaves our people at the not-too-tender mercies of a system that has demonstrated a kind of vehemence and animosity that few populations in America have suffered from. For ultimately, a profession is just that - a claim to act a certain way in the world, according to certain stated norms and codes that a certain area of employment must abide by. Except in the long history of Black America, we know better. We must know, as did the esteemed Black journalist, Frederick Douglass, that a constitution written on parchment would differ greatly from government and legal practice, when it came to Black people. They were promises: promises broken and unfulfilled for over a century, after the Supreme Court decided in the Plessy decision that ‘separate but equal’ was good enough. Black journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett worked long and hard to bring light to the lies used to justify lynching’s against Black people. So much so that, according to recent scholarship, she was shunned and avoided by leading lights of the early civil rights movement, who regarded her as too militant’ too outspoken. Meanwhile, under the Hayes-Tilden gentlemen’s agreement, white terrorism, expressed by lynching was the peculiar American custom that wasn’t spoken of in polite society. So, quietly (except for Wells) Black bodies hung and burned by the thousands -- across America, the courts and law deeming it mere local custom, beyond their control. When we enter the modern era, we see a panorama of Black pain that is as unprecedented as it is silent. I speak of mass incarceration, the targeting, imprisonment and criminalization of dark people in ways (and in numbers) the world has never seen. For decades. And, until recent days, the silence -even among Black journalists - has been deafening. Recently the New York Times has editorialized against it. How many Black newspapers have done so? Why not? Professionalism? A false objectivity? The late historian, Howard Zinn, for years decried the notion of professionalism. In a speech in Colorado in 2006, Zinn said: ‘We all go into professions where you’re supposed to be professional. And to be professional means that you don’t step outside of your profession. If you’re an artist, you don’t take a stand on political issues. If you’re a professor, you don’t give your opinions in the classroom. If you’re a newspaperman, you pretend to be objective in presenting the news. But, of course, it’s all false. You cannot be neutral.’ In Zinn’s words, “You can’t be neutral on a moving train.” As journalists, the choices before you are actually quite clear. Follow the dictates of your bosses; or serve the interests of your people. Black America, in the main, lives a life of hell - daily. For them, freedom is a word, but prison is inevitability. For them, civil rights are a mirage, and daily humiliations are a certainty. For all the powers of the State are arrayed against them. They know this - as do we, but such lived realities rarely flow from our pens, our mouths or our fingers. So, we write dross on the life-styles of the rich and famous. Or some blathering from a politician. While our people suffer. The choice, for any journalist, should be clear. Thank you, NABJ. [National Association of Black Journalists] --© ‘14maj*Howard Zinn Speaks: Collected Speeches: 1963-2009, by Howard Zinn (Chi., IL: Haymarket, 2012)
Yuri's Struggle for Freedom" (8:45) by Mumia Abu-Jamal‏
YURI KOCHIYAMA:  A Life in Struggle[col. writ. 6/2/14] © ’14 Mumia Abu-Jamal Her name was Yuri, a Japanese woman born in the United States. I hesitate to call her a Japanese-American, for to do so suggests she was a citizen. In light of how she, her family and her community were treated during World War II, especially after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, to call any of them citizens would be an exaggeration. Yuri was barely 20 when she, her parents, her brothers and the Japanese living on the West Coast – some 110,000 children, women and men – were forced to leave their homes, their schools, their jobs and businesses, and were transported to concentration camps in the nation’s interior. Two-thirds of these people (like Yuri) were born in the United States, and thus American citizens according to the Constitution. This meant nothing. They were Japanese – that was enough. She remembered her experiences in those camps as a naïve banana (yellow on the outside, white on the inside). She recounted to oral historians: I was red, white, and blue when I was growing up. I taught Sunday school, and was very, very American. But I was also provincial. We were just kids rooting for our high school….. Everything changed for me on the day Pearl Harbor was bombed. On that very day –December 7th, the FBI came and took my father. He had just come home from the hospital the day before. For several days we didn’t know where they had taken him. Then we found out that he was taken to the Federal prison at Terminal Island. Overnight, things changed for us. * In December, 1944, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “military necessity” was the basis of the mass evacuation and detention of tens of thousands of in the Korematsu case. Yuri would later become a strong supporter of Malcolm X, and the Black Freedom Movement. She joined and worked in various liberation organizations and grew to become an icon of the Black Freedom and Asian-American rights movements. Born Yuri Nakahara on May 19, 1921 (4 years to the date before Malcolm was born), she married Bill Kochiyama. The Kochiyamas moved to Harlem in 1960, where they worked for the civil rights movement, in education and fair housing practices. Yuri Kochiyama, freedom fighter, after 93 summers, has become an ancestor. -© ’14 maj [*Zinn, Howard and Anthony Arnove, Voices of a People’s History of the United States, 2nd ed. (NY, 7 Stories Press, 2009)]
Hobby Lobby: Son of Citizens United (2:02)
HOBBY LOBBY: Son of Citizens United[col. writ. 7/2/14] © ’14 Mumia Abu-Jamal  The Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision, which protected a closely held corporation’s right of religious practice, is a direct result of the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision.  It was an affirmation of a corporation’s First Amendment rights, which rests upon the rather curious notion that corporations are persons, and thereby entitled to constitutional protections.  Every lawyer living knows that the idea that corporations are people is a legal fiction. It is a trick of the law, used to reach a certain result. And there’s the rub. For corporations aren’t people. They are creatures of statute. They are aggregations of collective wealth and power. Indeed, the actual case used to support corporate personhood (known as Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad), never really said what courts now say it said! So, a legal fiction piled on a legal fiction after another legal fictions makes for today’s absurd results. For while a corporation’s owners may have religious beliefs, how can a corporation? Does a corporation have a soul?  Corporations are concerned with profits. Period. But for years, judges have been raised to the bench who show more fealty to legal persona (corporations), than to living persons, (the poor, the imprisoned, the workers, the oppressed). Guess which kind of ‘person’ got constitutional protections - and which did not? This case is based on the legal principle of WHIPs: Wealth Has It’s Privileges. --© ’14 maj
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Podcast Details
Started
Jan 1st, 1980
Latest Episode
Jan 20th, 2020
Release Period
Daily
No. of Episodes
1876
Avg. Episode Length
4 minutes
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