Prison Radio
Mumia Abu-Jamal

Thanks to the corporate media, Ferguson, Missouri, has been all but forgotten.

Other sensationalist fare now fills the air, with empty fluff about missing white women, snuff videos and other mindlessness to further inflame public fear.

But to thousands and thousands of young Black people, Ferguson is as close as teeth are to the tongue.

They witnessed, with their own eyes, how young people, just like them, were treated by the armed forces of the State. Their antipathy, their racist hatreds, their weapons of war pointed at the People will not soon be forgotten.

They also saw the stark emptiness of so-called ‘black’ politicians, who, unable to resolve the crisis of the hour, uttered inanities about ‘body cams’, proof positive that they don’t really live in the same world as those they claim to represent.

Some called for ‘community policing;, a phrase and concept as empty as the one before it; which simply means cops surveilling Black lives closer than ever before, with the same violent repression.

The term is a perversion of a struggle once waged by the Black Panther Party: “community control of police.”

In fact, the late Dr. Huey P. Newton, a co-founder of the Party, wrote in February, 1980, calling for the establishment of a “Citizen’s Peace Force”, a force far different from the units we see today.

Huey wrote:

The working model for the new peace force resembles, in many ways, a citizen’s militia. Conscription would mean drafting people from councilmanic districts to serve two-year terms in their own community. Young people from age 15 could serve part time, and no upward age or sex limit need be arbitrarily imposed. Basic training for draftees would reach out to ongoing schooling in various skills for those who were not returning to either jobs or school. 9p.3) *

Dr. Huey P. Newton wrote that the Peace Force’s linchpin would be “Civilian Control.”

No present politician, from president to dog catcher, has come close to Huey’s insights, or the progress of the Black Panther Party from the late ‘70s to 1980.


History lives to give us options for the future.

It lives to inspire us with visions of the possible.

We must fight for more – or we’ll get more Fergusons – only worse.