“Murder Inc. The Latest Work.”
When does a book come to life? When a writer writes it or when a reader reads it? Thought such as these emerge as my latest work is released into a waiting world: Murder Incorportaed, Dreaming of Empire, Part One by yours truly and Stephen Vittoria, published by Prison Radio. I said “my.”
I should have said “our,” for this work is truly the work of two minds, two pair of eyes, two psyches with one central thesis: anti-imperialism against the empire. Vittoria is a filmmaker and a documentarian who worked for years to produce a film capturing the voices of some of America’s finest thinkers like the late brilliant Gore Vidal and the equally compelling Dick Gregory. But the film project never gelled, and Stephen, never one to waste gems, reasoned that the words of such gifted thinkers might have a second life in print.
When he suggested we joined forces and write a book, I was initially hesitant, for this was something I’d never done before. My earlier book, A Classroom and a Cell, coauthored with scholar activist Dr. Marc Lamont-Hill was really a conversation made by months of recordings between us of literally thinking out loud. This would be work, hard work of research, reading, thinking, interpreting, and then writing our findings into the world as history. Such a project is hard enough doing alone, but two guys separated by brick, steel, coast, experiences?
As risky as it was, it was a delicious challenge. Why not? Why not cast caution to the winds and, as a sneakers company put it in their ads, just do it? We split the work 50/50 and went to work. We read many of the same texts and either called or wrote one another. We resolved not to cut corners but also not to cut harsh unyielding truths.
In the center of our work stood the presence of Zinn whose people’s history of the United States informed and influenced our work. We envisioned not the U.S. but the world itself, more, the empire. Why not? Murder Inc., the definitive history of the U.S. empire, was born. We have just begun, for there was more to come, hot on the trail of this one. I, I mean, we think Howard Zinn would be proud.
From imprisoned nation, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.