Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

“20th anniversary of CUAPB.”

Thank you Michelle Gross of Communities United Against Police Brutality in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I congratulate you all for reaching the twentieth anniversary, even as I recognize it is a shame that you should have to fight something as basic as government repression and violence for so long.

It is a statement of the serious failure of our existent political system that such a problem can continue to exist for so long. I’m reminded of the words of Thomas Paine, who in his booklet Common Sense published in 1776, cried the evils of the British colonial government over the Americans. Paine wrote: “Society in every state is a blessing, but government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil, in its worst state, an intolerable one, for when we suffer or are exposed to the same miseries by a government which we might expect in a country without government, our calamity is heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer.” Thomas Paine, Common Sense, page three.

Please let me repeat that line from Paine: “We furnish the means by which we suffer.” Let me put it another way, in modern day language: we pay the taxes for the very systems that repress us. Now, let me put that another way. We pay for our own repression.

A political season has just passed in which so-called conservatives tried to make political hay by calling forth signs that they saw anti-police brutality protests across the country saying “defund the police.” This, they said, was radical, socialist or Marxist.

How many radicals turn to the words of Thomas Paine or Common Sense? His words resonate through time, first published in February 1776, and bears repeating today. We furnish the means by which we suffer. Thomas Paine was the founding father that the elites hated, for he was an American revolutionary, and indeed later, a French revolutionary and member of the National Assembly of France.

He owned no slaves nor plantations. In fact, he opposed slavery and supported social security. He also opposed the death penalty. If he were alive today, he would be supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, I think, as well as the movement against police brutality and government repression. He, being a bright, uplifting spirit, would also, I think, be supportive of Communities United Against Police Brutality in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

I thank you all for your time. On the move. From imprisoned nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Thank you again.

These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.