WSF (1996): “Partial Victory For Mumia Abu- Jamal”

WSF (1996): “Partial Victory For Mumia Abu- Jamal”

From Workers Solidarity, magazine of the Workers Solidarity Federation, volume 2, number 1, first quarter 1996. Complete PDF is here

Last year a massive international campaign managed to halt the execution of Black political prisoner, Mumia Abu- Jamal. Mumia Abu- Jamal was an activist in the struggle of the poor, Black and dispossessed of Philadelphia in the USA. For this, he was framed by that city’s bosses and politicians.

In December 1981, Jamal and his brother Billy were attacked by police. Shot in the chest and savagely beaten, he was then charged with killing a cop. His trial was a classic case of racist “justice”. Evidence clearing him was suppressed, his political history was used as evidence for his “guilt”, a biased and almost all- White jury was appointed. A hostile judge and a corrupt prosecutor rounded off the frame up.

In 1995, the new Governor of Pennsylvania signed Jamal’s death warrant for 17 August by lethal injection. This gave a massive boost to the campaign for Mumia’s release. World-wide, trade unions, left- wing groups and other organisations rallied to Mumia’s defence. Workers’ Solidarity Federation was active in this struggle, as we fight racism, injustice and the death penalty. On August 7 1995, the courts decided to grant a stay of execution. It is important to keep up the struggle, to push for the retrial and release of Jamal.. Keep up the Fight!


About Lucien van der Walt

I teach at Rhodes University, the Eastern Cape. I’m South African, born and bred. I am currently also involved in union education and have a background in social movement and left-wing activism, the Workers’ Library and Museum, the Anti-Privatisation Forum, and the National Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU). I’ve presented papers at more than 120 conferences and workshops, published in key journals like 'Capital and Class' and 'Labor History', have co-edited 3 journal specials (these on global labour history, African labour, and unions in the Global South), and written well over 130 other articles, papers and entries. I was Southern Africa editor for the 2009 'International Encyclopaedia of Revolution and Protest' (Blackwell). My focus has been on South Africa, but I have also done research in Zambia and Zimbabwe. I won the 2008 international 'Labor History' thesis prize, and the 2008/2009 Council for the Development of Social Science Research prize for best African dissertation, for my PhD thesis on South African anarchism, syndicalism and black militants. I have several books, including 'Negro e Vermelho: anarquismo, sindicalismo revolucionário e pessoas de cor na África Meridional nas décadas de 1880-1920,' and 'Anarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1880-1940: the praxis of national liberation, internationalism, and social revolution' (co-edited with Steve Hirsch, Brill, 2010/ 2014).