Saturday, October 25, 2008

***From The Archives (2008)- Allan Greenspan Walks The Plank-Or Should

Allan Greenspan Walks The Plank- Or Should. Where Are Those Pirates of The Caribbean When You Need Them?

Commentary


One of the least edifying aspects of this international capitalist meltdown is the rush to point fingers at who is to blame. In America most conservative commentators have fixated on (surprise) the Democrats and their long ago legislation concerning Freddie Mac and Fannie Mac or the Community Redevelopment Act. These actions, rather than traditional Wall Street greed (make that super-greed) are seen as the culprits. The Democrats want to blame (surprise) Wall Street, “the bad capitalists”, for being unregulated. Here again, race and class raise their ugly little heads in the background. Behind all of this palaver are the “little guys and gals” , that is the poor working people of every race but mainly black and Hispanic, who just wanted to have their own homes-not an irrational dream in America whatever this writer’s personal take on the wisdom of such a choice might be. You see the poor are the fall guys and gals because they were in over their heads and should not have pursued that road. Well, we will let that one rest for now because we have bigger fish to fry today.

On October 23, 2008 former Federal Reserve Chairman Allan Greenspan appeared before a Congressional committee investigating the causes of the international financial meltdown. During the course of the interchange between Greenspan and members of the committee he owned up to the fact that, as long time overseer of the capitalist markets, he had miscalculated (“found a flaw” to use his expression) concerning the effects that self-interest should have played in the markets- the so-called “invisible hand” that watches out and safeguards against irrational behavior. Thanks for that insight, Allan. However there is more to it than that. Greenspan’s economic policies reflected his adherence to the ultra-capitalist notions of one of Russian Revolution refugee, Ayn Rand. A lynchpin in that thinking is the belief that markets should regulate themselves with little (really no) oversight from “big brother” government. Well, at least that was the widely accepted “wisdom” before some eight trillion dollars of “paper wealth” in the market proved to be essentially “funny money”.

None of the back and forth between the concepts of liberal “welfare state” capitalism and conservative “free market” capitalism reflected in this investigation is to the point. To paraphrase an old presidential campaign slogan- “It’s the system, stupid”. That is the elephant in the room studiously ignored by Republican and Democrat alike. Private ownership of the means of production and its adjunct credit markets and other financial devises as defined by the long history of capitalist rule has produced one constant- the continuous need for profits. No just any rate of profits but the highest possible, to put it in a word- greed. Until that glorious day when greed is not the central driving force behind economic life and is replaced by rational international socialist planning that will continue to be true. Revolutions have convulsed societies over policies that caused far less damage to the social fabric than have occurred in the present meltdown. But until that time a few heads should roll. As a contribution to that end can anyone disagree that old Allan Greenspan should walk the plank? I think not.

Friday, October 24, 2008

*From The Marxist Archives- The Irish Question-Our Day Will Come-A Socialist Day

Click on the title to link to "Wikipedia"'s entry for the Provisional IRA, provided here as background. As always with this source and its collective editorial policy, especially with controversial political issues like the Provisional IRA, be careful checking the accuracy of the information provided at any given time.


Commentary

From The Archives- The Irish Question

Spartacist Ireland Spring/Summer 2002


The protest action of 18 January 2002 by Catholic and Protestant workers in Northern Ireland against the murder of a Catholic postal worker by Loyalist paramilitaries was a rare and welcome display of united class action across the sectarian divide. However, the pro-capitalist trade union bureaucrats worked to divert the justified outrage of the workers into support for the imperialist “peace” fraud, which has in fact resulted in an escalation of anti-Catholic violence. It is precisely united working-class action which is needed to be mobilized against racist attacks and in defense of immigrants and Travellers, but the union bureaucracy here are wedded to pushing the lie of “national unity” and social “partnership”.

We of the Irish section of the ICL fight to break the workers from the reactionary “national unity” which has been the cornerstone of the “war on terrorism. In the U.S., for example, our comrades in the Labor Black League for Social Defense and the Partisan Defense Committee have raised the call on the powerful multiracial unions of the San Francisco Bay area to mobilize on February 9, 2002 against the U.S. government’s war on America’s integrated working class, on black people and on immigrants.

The struggle against racism must be linked to the fight against capitalist exploitation and for socialist revolution. It must be conducted not only against the clericalist state and groups like the xenophobic Immigration Control Platform, both of which incite murder by racist gangs, but also a political battle against the misleaders of the workers movement- the Labor Party and the trade union bureaucracy. The Irish Labor Party was in the previous government which seized on a wave or racist hysteria to enact the 1997 “Aliens Order” and slammed the door to immigrants. Their left tails, the Socialist Workers Party and Socialist Party absolve the trade union bureaucrats and the Labor Party, whom they supported in the previous elections.

NORTHERN IRELAND

The 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York City was gift to British Prime Minister Tony Blair in several ways, not least that the IRA (Irish Republican Army-Provos) announce on October 23, 2002 that they had begun to decommission their weapons. The British government claims to be waging a “war against terrorism” in the interests of “democracy’ and the “civilized world” against religious fanatics. Terrorism anyone? How about the terrorism of the British state, such as the massive bombings of Afghanistan, and before this Serbia, in which this bloodthirsty Blair Labor government took center stage? What about British imperialism’s domination of Ireland, which lasted for centuries and created a militarized garrison state in the North where the fa├žade of democracy was never much in evidence and where no-one has any reason to believe in such myths as “unarmed Bobbies”. As for religious zealots, there are very few Muslims in Northern Ireland but British rule there rests on collaboration with a gang of crazed fundamentalist Protestant bigots.

We said in 1993 that: “Any imperialist ‘deal’ will be bloody and brutal and will necessarily be at the expense of the oppressed Catholic minority. And it would not do any good for working-class Protestants either” (Workers Hammer no. 138, November/December 1993). This has been borne out: Loyalist attacks against Catholics have continued, firebombings and pipebombings are commonplace. There were 220 Loyalist attacks recorded in 213 days to August of 2001, including 75 bombings and 20 gun attacks (An Phoblacht, 9 August 2001). In the last week of October 2001 alone there were twelve bomb attacks against Catholics in North Belfast. There have, additionally, been a number of murders of Catholics including a Protestant killed by a Loyalist gunman who thought he was a Catholic.

The Catholics are an oppressed minority living under permanent siege. The plight of working- class Catholics hit international headlines in the summer of 2001 as schoolgirls in Ardoyne, North Belfast trying to walk to Holy Cross school with their parents wee shown daily on television confronting a Loyalist mob howling vile anti-Catholic and anti-woman slurs and throwing pipebombs and garbage. The British Army and Royal Ulster Constabulary- now renamed the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)- lined the streets and tried to look as if they wee making an honest effort to “keep the peace”. On the day of their name change, the PSNI escorted leaders of the Orange Order down the Catholic Garvaghy Road. Catholics know they have as much to fear from the police and the army as they do from the Loyalist death squads; indeed IRA decommissioning leaves sections of the Catholic population feeling defenseless against these forces.

Those scenes at Holy Cross school are a microcosm of Northern Ireland which show the bitter reality of British Labor’s imperialist “peace” deal. The fact that Catholic parents refused to meekly accept their status as second-class citizens brought out blatant anti-Irish prejudice from British journalists covering the story who would often report with amazement that the situation was reminiscent of the conditions of blacks in the American South in the 1950’s prior to the civil rights struggles there; nevertheless in the next breath they would ask Catholic parents why they did not use the back entrance to the school! The Irish bourgeois press, which has the same contempt for working class Catholics in the North as for those in the South, echoed Loyalist lies that the exercise was just a publicity stunt for Sinn Fein (SF). But, with or without decommissioning, Sinn Fein manifestly can offer no way forward to the beleaguered Catholics.

Sinn Fein has been organizing protests against particular military installations and complaining that the imperialists have not lived up to the ‘“program for demilitarization ‘ that was promised in the Good Friday Agreement “ (An Phoblacht, 1 November 2001). But while the British may agree to scale down the army presence to cut their costs, the Good Friday Agreement is premised on troops remaining in Northern Ireland.

We fight for the immediate unconditional withdrawal of British troops, not merely because no good can come of the British military presence there, but also because we agree with Karl Marx that the British working class cannot make a revolution against their “ own” capitalist rulers if they accept imperialist oppression in Ireland. It is in the direct interest of the working class to oppose repressive measures in Northern Ireland, which are often subsequently imposed on workers and minorities in Britain. After 9/11, Jack Straw pledged Britain would see “security of a kind people in Northern Ireland have had to live with for decades”. Sure enough, immigrants suspected of “terrorism” are being rounded up and interned without trial.
Withdrawal of the British Army does not in itself automatically ensure advance in a revolutionary direction, but it is the necessary starting point for a proletarian revolutionary perspective. We seek to break workers from illusions in Labor, which has loyally served racist, chauvinist British imperialism and the monarchy. The SL/B and Dublin Spartacist Group, sections of the ICL, fight to build revolutionary internationalist workers parties to put an end to capitalist rule and to establish a workers republic in Ireland as part of a federation of workers republics in the British Isles. Our framework is internationalist and is based on the necessity to link the struggles of the working class of Ireland, North and South, with those of workers in England, Scotland and Wales.

In Northern Ireland divisions between Catholics and Protestants have deepened, which means the prospect of united struggle by Protestant and Catholic workers for their common class interests appear remote. Although Protestant workers are only marginally better off than their Catholic counterparts, the view is pervasive that the improvements in the position of one community will necessarily be at the expense of the other. This indeed is true, unless such struggles challenge the framework of capitalist rule. A proletarian revolutionary perspective is the only way forward. There can be no just solution to the communal conflict in Northern Ireland short of proletarian rule in all of Ireland and Britain.

LABORITE “SOCIALISTS” PUSH IMPERIALIST “PEACE”

The Labor-loyal fake left have shamelessly touted British imperialism, in the guise of Blair and the Labor government, as the agency to bring peace and equality to the North. In the last British elections (2001), the Socialist Alliance-which at the time consisted of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), Socialist Party, Workers Power and others- supported the reelection of Labor and removed the call for troops out of Northern Ireland from their manifesto before launching it to the bourgeois press. We said “No vote to Labor, imperialists butchers” and “No vote to Socialist Alliance, lackeys of Labor.”

The SWP is silent about the British Army, but gushing about the “tremendous hopes for peace in Northern Ireland following the IRA’s announcement that it will destroy its weapons”. They cravenly claim Labor’s “peace” process provides “space” for united struggle of the working class. Socialist Worker (3 November 2001) says;
“That process is about reaching an accommodation between politicians representing Catholic and Protestant ‘communities”.

“It can reproduce the sectarian division that is built into the Northern Ireland state. But it does provide a space for working class people, Catholic and Protestant, to fight for their interests against sectarianism.”

This is almost exactly what the SWP said when they supported British troops being sent to Northern Ireland in 1969 (by a Labor government, of course), which they claimed would provide a “breathing space” for the Catholics. They wrote:
“The breathing space provided by the presence of British troops is short but vital. Those who call for the immediate withdrawal of the troops before the men behind the barricades can defend themselves are inviting a pogrom which will hit first and hardest at socialists.”

-Socialist Worker, 11 September 1969

Less than three years later “their” British Army shot down 14 defenseless Catholics in cold blood in Derry on Bloody Sunday.

The sectarian Orange statelet was created by British imperialism’s partition of Ireland as a police state based on subjugation of the Catholic minority. Its backbone has been the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and, since 1969, the army; both work in tandem with the Loyalist paramilitary killers. Recent history is littered with scandals about collusion between Loyalist murderers and the RUC/PSNI and British Army, and there is “no breathing space” for anyone who tries to expose this to the outside world. Thus on September 28, 2001, Martin O’ Hagan, a journalist with the Dublin-based Sunday World, who researched the collusion between the British Army, the RUC, leading Unionist politicians and Loyalist death squads, was murdered by the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF). Rosemary Nelson, a prominent Catholic lawyer who reported to the UN that she received death threats from the RUC was also murdered in 1999; ten years earlier Pat Finucane, another well-known Catholic lawyer was also murdered by the Loyalist in collusion with the state. The current Labor government (2001) is withholding documents on the 1974 bombings in Dublin and Monaghan which killed 33 people and British state involvement is widely suspected.
The Laborite left even advocate “peace” with Loyalist thugs such as Billy Hutchinson. Irish secretary of the transport union ATGWU, Mick O’Reilly, recruited the Ulster Volunteer Force’s Hutchinson and David Ervine into the ATGWU. The wretched Socialist Party has sponsored Hutchinson in public meetings and the SWP jumped on the bandwagon by taking part in a 1999 “debate” with him organized by the Scottish Socialist Party.

NOT ORANGE AGAINST GREEN, BUT CLASS AGAINST CLASS!

Following capitalist counterrevolution in the Soviet Union in 1991-92, petty-bourgeois nationalist movements like Sinn Fein and the PLO have had much less room to maneuver and have increasingly sought to make deals with imperialism. Sinn Fein played up illusions that by involving U.S. imperialism and the Dublin government they would secure a better deal from British imperialism for the Catholics. This overlooks the fact that U.S. imperialism is the most powerful enemy of the workers and oppressed of the world as can been seen in the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, or the dirty colonial wars against Korea and Vietnam; the bedrock of the system of exploitation of American workers rests on racist oppression of black people. The imperialist “peace” deal was brokered under Democratic President Clinton, who preferred to pass off imperialist marauding as “human right” imperialism, something Bush and Company do not bother with. British imperialism is the junior partner of U.S. imperialism- the City of London has close ties with Wall Street and British imperialism is also the foremost military ally of U.S. imperialism in Europe. The Irish capitalist government is certainly no better. It supported the U.S. and Britain’s military adventures, including offering facilities for NATO warplanes at Shannon airport, and is viciously repressive of workers, women, Travellers and Republicans at home.

Petty-bourgeois nationalism is a political dead-end which cannot further the interests of the Catholic minority. It is premised on the world being divided into good and bad peoples. Whether through armed struggle (“the Armalite”) or the parliamentary road (“the ballot box”) the perspective of the Irish nationalists is to pressure imperialism.

Actions such as the Omagh bombing by the “Real IRA”. Which killed and maimed both Protestant and Catholic civilians in a shopping area, was a hideous crime from the standpoint of the working class and in no way a blow against imperialism. Marxists oppose the tactic of individual terror because it is antithetical to the necessary task of mobilizing the working class against imperialist and capitalist oppressors. Rather it expresses the aims of its practitioners to be the leaders of “their” people. When Irish nationalist groups strike a blow against the forces of British imperialism, the RUC/PSNI or Loyalist fascistic killers, we defend the perpetrators of such acts against state retribution. But we have a fundamentally different attitude to indiscriminate terror directed against civilians. From a proletarian standpoint, bombings such as Omagh or the bombing of British shopping centers and pubs, are criminal acts which only serve to deepen hatred between Protestant and Catholic, English and Irish workers.

The 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York, an atrocity designed to kill as many civilians as possible, has served to weld American workers to the ruling class just as Irish nationalist atrocities against Protestants push Protestant workers toward Loyalist reactionaries. Viewed from the interests of the working class, nationalist terror ranges from criminal-such as Omagh- to merely stupid. Even when the IRA hits a military target these acts are carried out as part of a program, which writes off the Protestant-and Catholic- working class and also the British proletariat, which has an important Irish component.

In 1993, on the eve of the “peace” negotiations, the mainly Protestant workforce at Short Brothers in Belfast walked off the job in protest against the murder of a Catholic co-worker by Loyalist paramilitaries; very shortly afterwards the IRA placed a bomb in Belfast’s Shankill Road, which killed nine working-class Protestant shoppers. This led to anti-Catholic demonstrations by Protestant workers in Belfast.
A revolutionary party would struggle for an integrated, programmatically based workers militia to defend both Catholics and Protestants against sectarian attacks. As we said in our Theses on Ireland this must be based on the demand for the immediate withdrawal of the British Army and our Marxist analysis of terrorism:
“Such militias will need a broad and strong programmatic basis if they are not to be derailed or coopted. They cannot develop just out of trade unionism but fundamentally require the existence of a strong and authoritative revolutionary cadre. Each militia unit would need at least one member of each community and the presence and strong influence of trained revolutionary cadre. Consequently, the demand for an anti-sectarian workers militia is closely linked to the growth of a Leninist party based on a developed revolutionary program.”

Spartacist no. 24, Autumn 1977

We also explained there that:

“Leninism and nationalism are fundamentally counterposed political viewpoints. Thus, while revolutionists struggle against all forms of national oppression, they are also opposed to all forms of nationalist ideology. It is a revision of Leninism to claim that the ‘nationalism of the oppressed” is progressive and can be supported by communist internationalists. In one of his major works on the national question Lenin stressed: ‘Marxism cannot be reconciled with nationalism, be it even of the “most just”, “purest” most refined and civilized brand. In place of all forms of nationalism Marxism advances internationalism…’ “Critical Remarks on the National Question,’ Collected Works, Vol. 20

WORKERS REVOLUTION BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER AND BOTH SIDES OF THE IRISH SEA!

Loyalist bigot Ian Paisley howls that the Good Friday Agreement is the slippery slope to being ruled by Dublin. Partition meant that Catholics in the North constituted an oppressed minority (although they are now over 40 per cent of the population) but an overwhelming majority in the South, In the North, we oppose all discrimination against the Catholic minority. We also recognize that the Protestants are a distinct community, largely defined in opposition to the Irish Catholic nation. As Leninist we uphold the right of self-determination of all nations, which means the right to set up an independent state, but where peoples are geographically interpenetrated “self-determination” for one can only be achieved by denying it to the other. Under capitalism this leads to intercommunal slaughter. We oppose the perspective of a capitalist “united Ireland” proffered by Sinn Fein nationalists, a prospect which is used to heighten genuine fears among Protestants of a reversal of the terms of oppression. Fear of being incorporated into the clericalist state serves to compact Protestants behind the Loyalist bigots. Precluding a polarization along class lines and instead laying the basis for communal blood-bath and forced population transfers.

The fact that the bourgeois state in the South is a Catholic Clericalist state is grist to the mill of the Loyalist bigots. The struggle for separation of church and state and for free abortion on demand is key not only for social progress in the South but as a way to under mine communalism in the North. Sinn Fein shares the clerical-nationalist outlook f Fianna Fail. Sinn Fein no longer flatly opposed abortion rights, but only concedes that it should be legally available in extreme circumstances, specifically: “where a woman’s mental and physical well-being or life is at risk or in grave danger” (Irish Times on the Web, 6 December 2001). The struggle for abortion rights strikes at backward Protestant fundamentalists as well. Significantly, although Sinn Fein’s Bairbre de Brun is health minister in the Stormont Assembly (2001), Sinn Fein was conspicuously absent from a crucial debate on legalizing abortion in Northern Ireland which was opposed by Ian Paisley’s DUP, David Trimble’s UUP, the Alliance Party and the SDLP.

The DSG has actively intervened in support of struggles of the combative Irish working class, fighting for abortion rights and counterposing our program to that of the Laborite bureaucrats. We said in a leaflet for the 1999 Irish nurse’s strike:
“It is this anti-woman Church which runs the hospitals. We call for: complete separation of church and state! We need free, quality healthcare for all. For free abortion and free contraception on demand! For free 24-hour childcare! To achieve these basic needs of women and the working class requires a revolutionary struggle against the entire capitalist system- and its labor lieutenants within the working class.”

-reprinted in Workers Hammer no. 171, Winter 1999/2000

After the recent elections (Spring 2002) in the South, Sinn Fein is poised to gain support at the expense of Fianna Fail and also trying to re-brand itself as the “left” alternative to Labor. Labor is rightly hated by workers for having dished out capitalist attacks as partners in coalition governments, most notoriously in 1994 by refusing to support striking TEAM Aer Lingus workers at Dublin airport. The Irish Labor Party, like its British namesake, is a bourgeois workers party- having a working-class base but a bourgeois program. They are loyal servants of the Irish capitalist class.

Sinn Fein can be scathing in their press about Labor’s rotten record. One of their articles on Labor concludes: “Sinn Fein is well on its way to overtaking the Labor Party, to cementing its position as the voice of the Irish Left, but in doing so the party must be careful that it does not lose sight of one of Connolly’s most fundamental truths. ‘The cause of labor is the cause of Ireland, the cause of Ireland is the cause of Labor” (An Phoblacht, 30 August 2001). But the idea that Sinn Fein could become the “voice of the Irish left” is absurd- they are a petty bourgeois capitalist party.

It is disingenuous in the extreme for Sinn Fein to claim the tradition of James Connolly. Connolly initiated and led the 1916 Easter Uprising in Dublin, hoping it would ignite workers struggles against capitalist rule in Europe amid the carnage of World War I. This did come about, with the Russian October Revolution of 1917, but by that time Connolly had been executed. Nonetheless the Rising was the catalyst for the end of British colonial rule in Ireland. Connolly was a revolutionary socialist and an internationalist who, together with Jim Larkin, led significant class battles of the Irish working class in Dublin, and in Belfast they made huge strides to unite Catholic and Protestant workers. Connolly’s success in overcoming sectarian bigotry was achieved because as a socialist he fought against the state, the Orange Order and, to the best of his ability, against Catholic nationalism. Like most socialists of his time outside Russia, he was not acquainted with Leninism, which alone hammered out a Marxist perspective on the national question. Connolly fought trenchantly against the Laborite trade union bureaucracy in Britain and in Ireland; as a true labor lieutenant of British imperialism Labor’s Arthur Henderson led the applause in the House of Commons when the announcement was made that Connolly had been executed by a British firing squad.

The kind of consciousness Connolly had instilled among workers was once again in evidence among the Belfast workers in the 1919 engineering strike. The most significant class battle to take place during the independence struggle. Charles McKay, a socialist of Catholic background, led a strike of mainly Protestant workers that shut down all heavy industry and most of the city. It was part of a wave of tumultuous strikes in engineering centers, including Glasgow. The army was deployed in Belfast (and later in Glasgow) but the strike lost because it was betrayed by the Labor bureaucrats in Britain and Ireland. The defeat of the Belfast strike led to massive purges of Catholics and trade union militants from the shipyards (including Protestant shop stewards), which paved the way for partition. Lord French, the British overlord in Ireland, released Sinn Fein leaders such as Arthur Griffith from prison in Dublin in recognition of Sinn Fein opposition to working-class struggle.

He told the Cabinet:

“I did not however, consider that the time was ripe for an actual move in the direction of an immediate release of prisoners until the strikes in the North occurred and a very dangerous crisis was at hand which might plunge the whole country in disaster.’

-quoted in Revolution in Ireland, C. Kostick (1996)

Today with the growing economic recession throughout Britain and Ireland (2002)
The capitalists will seek to increasingly pit one section of the working class against another. This could lead to increase communalism in Northern Ireland or, as happened during the struggles of unemployed workers in Belfast in the 1930’s, it could lead to united struggles of Protestant and Catholic workers. When instances of integrated working class struggle do arise, intervention by a communist vanguard will make a decisive difference to the outcome.

We seek to awaken the working class of England, Scotland and Wales to socialist consciousness and mobilize them around opposition to the monarch, House of Lords and other archaic institutions of British bourgeois rule including the “Mother of Parliaments”. We fight for an Irish workers republic, part of a voluntary federation of workers republics in the British Isles. We also want to create ICL sections and reforge the FI

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

*Free Mumia Now!!!- From The Partisan Defense Committee

Click on the title to link to the Partisan Defense Committee Web site.


Commentary

This information is passed on from the Partisan Defense Committee. Mumia is up against it now, we must redouble our efforts to win his freedom in any way we can.

******

Supreme Court Bars Evidence of Innocence

Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Now!

There Is No Justice in the Capitalist Courts!


On October 6, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Mumia Abu-Jamal’s appeal for a new trial based on evidence that critical witnesses lied under police coercion in his original frame-up trial. To the racists in black robes, a court of law is no place for evidence of the innocence of this fighter for the oppressed. Mumia Abu-Jamal, a former Black Panther, MOVE supporter and eloquent journalist known as the “voice of the voiceless,” is an innocent man who has been on death row for 26 years, framed up for the killing of Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner in 1981. This latest rejection comes after decades of Pennsylvania state and lower federal courts dismissing the mountains of evidence of his innocence and of his racist frame-up by the Philadelphia police and prosecution.

The appeal that was turned down was submitted on July 18 by Mumia’s attorney, Robert R. Bryan. That petition for a Writ of Certiorari on behalf of Mumia was a request for the Supreme Court to grant Mumia’s appeal of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision last February 19, which refused to let him present crucial evidence that key witnesses in his original frame-up trial had lied. The only witness claiming to have seen Mumia with a gun in hand was Cynthia White, a prostitute who was given favors and coerced by the cops to lie. Two months after Faulkner’s death, cops and prosecutors concocted a story that Mumia confessed to the killing as he bled nearly to death on the Jefferson Hospital Emergency Room floor after being shot and beaten by the cops.

The Partisan Defense Committee—a class-struggle, non-sectarian legal and social defense organization associated with the Spartacist League—issued a February 21 press release following the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision, emphasizing that the evidence barred by that court cuts to the heart of the prosecution frame-up. Such evidence included a 28 January 2002 declaration by Yvette Williams, who was in jail with Cynthia White in December 1981, stating that “Cynthia White told me the police were making her lie and say she saw Mr. Jamal shoot Officer Faulkner when she really did not see who did it.” Also barred was the declaration of Kenneth Pate, stepbrother of Priscilla Durham, a Jefferson Hospital security guard who testified at Mumia’s trial to hearing the bogus confession. In his 18 April 2003 declaration, Kenneth Pate recalled that Durham told him of pressure by the cops to say Mumia confessed; she confided to him, “All I heard him say was: ‘Get off me, get off me, they’re trying to kill me’.” (The declarations by Williams and Pate are available in full on the Partisan Defense Committee’s Web site (www.partisandefense.org/pubs/innocent/yw.html and www.partisandefense.org/pubs/innocent/kp.html).

Mumia’s attorney Robert Bryan will be filing a second petition for review to the U.S. Supreme Court later this year. That petition will deal with the racist jury-rigging that marked Mumia’s 1982 trial. The prosecution used eleven of its 15 peremptory challenges to get rid of black jurors. In 2001, federal district court judge William Yohn overturned Mumia’s death sentence while upholding the frame-up conviction. Mumia’s attorney as well as the prosecution appealed—the former seeking to overturn the conviction and the latter seeking to reinstate the death penalty. On March 27, a three-judge panel of the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Yohn’s ruling. In July, the Third Circuit Court also turned down an appeal for a full court hearing, letting stand its earlier decision. Mumia now faces the prospect of a new sentencing hearing, in which the only two choices are whether Mumia remains condemned to prison for the rest of his life or is again sentenced to death (see “Third Circuit Court Turns Down Appeal,” WV No. 918, 1 August).

The Supreme Court’s rejection of Mumia’s current petition is an outrage, but it comes as no surprise. The Supreme Court has denied previous petitions by Mumia’s attorneys in 1990, 1999 and 2004. The Supreme Court is the highest court of America’s racist capitalist rulers, the class enemy of workers, black people and all the oppressed. The courts, prisons and police exist to maintain, through organized violence and terror, the rule of the capitalists over working people. We have always advocated pursuing all possible legal proceedings. PDC attorneys Rachel Wolkenstein and Jonathan Piper served on Mumia’s legal team from 1995 to 1999, unearthing much evidence of Mumia’s innocence, including the confession of another man, Arnold Beverly, that he and not Mumia shot and killed Faulkner. But as the PDC has underlined, “We place all our faith in the power of the masses and no faith whatever in the ‘justice’ of the courts.”

The power that can make the courts yield is the power of the multiracial working class. It took a campaign of international mass protest, crucially including trade unionists, to help stay the executioner’s hand when Mumia was under a death warrant in 1995. We fight for a strategy of class-struggle defense, which must be based on the understanding that capitalist society is fundamentally divided between two hostile social classes—the capitalist exploiters and the working class—and that the capitalist state and its courts are organs of repression against working people and the oppressed. Our class-struggle strategy is counterposed to that of the liberals and reformists, who promote dangerous illusions that the courts can provide justice for Mumia, illusions codified in their longtime subordination of the demand for Mumia’s freedom to the call for a “new trial.” This reliance on the agencies of the class enemy, including pathetic appeals to capitalist politicians, has been promoted by groups including the Workers World Party, International Socialist Organization, the Revolutionary Communist Party’s Refuse & Resist, Socialist Action, the International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal led by Pam Africa and the San Francisco Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal led by Socialist Action honcho Jeff Mackler.

In the weeks following the Third Circuit Court’s March decision, the PDC and its fraternal defense organizations internationally held emergency protests and united-front demonstrations. Though these protests brought out only hundreds, they point to what is necessary to win Mumia’s freedom: the mobilization of the working class independently of and in opposition to its capitalist class enemy, whether Democrat, Republican or Green. Over 500 organizations and individuals—including trade unionists, students, gay rights activists, leftists, black activists, death penalty abolitionists and others—endorsed these protests, called under the slogans: “Mumia Abu-Jamal Is Innocent! Free Mumia Now! Abolish the Racist Death Penalty!”
Mumia’s conviction was a racist, political frame-up of an innocent man, a fighter against racial and class bias, a man who stands for social justice and against U.S. imperialism’s wars of depredation. Since his youth in the Black Panthers, Mumia has endured the hatred and concerted effort of the bourgeoisie to silence him because they see in him the spectre of black revolt. Mumia’s case throws a spotlight on the barbaric death penalty, which is institutionalized state terror directly descended from black chattel slavery and lynch mob terror.

Our fight to free Mumia Abu-Jamal is rooted in the struggle to make the multiracial working class conscious of its class interests in the fight against the entire capitalist system, particularly the understanding that in America the fight for black freedom is central to the struggle for the emancipation of labor itself. The PDC’s Class-Struggle Contingents in protests for Mumia organized by other groups this spring expressed the necessity for independent working-class struggle on behalf of Mumia by demanding, in addition to the united-front calls to free Mumia and abolish the racist death penalty: “There Is No Justice in the Capitalist Courts! Mobilize Labor’s Power—For Mass Protest!”