For Mumia Abu-Jamal, I am Goldie, his daughter.
For Mumia Abu-Jamal, I am Frances Goldin.
We gather today over 140 years after the birthday of Rosa Luxemburg –
The brilliant thinker, writer, activist and revolutionary who’s memory still burns bright around the world.
As I’ve thought of her this season I wondered – what would she think of the Occupy Wall Street movement here in the U.S.?
Having read some of her political writings and her journal entries from prison, I think I have a taste of her thinking. I think she would reply, in her typical boldness:
“This is a movement? If anything it is the beginnings of a movement; for movements lead to revolutions, or, betrayed, they lead to apparent reforms that often end up in setbacks, especially for the working class and the oppressed.
That’s because capitalism co-opts movements; they buy off leaders, and when that doesn’t work, they bring the iron hand out from under the velvet glove – and crush them. “
Wow – I’d reply, and add: But it’s actually a leaderless movement of mostly unemployed students.
To which Rosa would say something like:
”Aha! I see perhaps two possible outcomes; a) the bourgeois media depicts the entire movement as miscreant, sex friends or drug addicts (and then they crush them); or b) the police spies among them, identify key personalities and offer them lucrative jobs in high finance or some other sector, and once bought off, use them as a wedge against their former comrades. “
Wow, Rosa – that’s a pretty grim picture, I’d say. And she’d answer:
“It’s called class war, brother – not a dinner party! And as many of these activists are unemployed, capital can spare a few shekels to buy off the most advanced layer. “
And, finally, I’d say: Rosa – why are you so done on students? These kids are doing some remarkable things! “
And Rosa would reply:
“Students can spark a movement, as they’ve done all around the world. But can they carry it through? Can they engage the workers? The teachers, the tradesmen, the postal unions, the transit workers – if they can’t, then they can’t really top into a social force that has the potential to stage mass strikes that shuts down production – and that’s all Wall Street – – or any capitalist – – really cares about!“
Me again: “That sounds good, Rosa, but these students“- –
To which she’d interrupt:
“Jamal – c’mon – don’t be a dombkopf! Students – schmudents! First of all, if they’re graduated, they’re not students anymore – they’re unemployed workers! Secondly, years ago, when you were a young guy, there were vast student’s movements – anti-war, pro-black-rights, pro-prisoners’ rights, anti-imperialists, etc., etc. Where are they now? Didn’t they get caught off? “ – – “Oh, and aren’t many of them these kids’ parents? “
To which I’d shut up.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this mental exercise, done with the highest regard and respect for a socialist intellectual and revolutionary: Rosa Luxemburg.
I chose this topic which may not be immediately familiar to you in Germany, which is, in the United States, a subject of endless fascination by much of the population, because it has taken the country by storm.
In the beginning of September, 2011, no such movement existed. But the events of Tahir Square in Egypt, the rising unemployment which left many college students unemployed, and the growing social inequality in American society, as shown by the obese well-being of Wall Street and the bankers, converged in a movement to show deep social dissent with this state of affairs.
When young people, most using cell phones and other instant media, began calling for a protest gathering at the iconic bull sculpture known worldwide as the symbol of the rampaging markets of New York’s Wall Street, hundreds, then thousands swarmed into the streets.
And, like that, a Movement was born.
Within days the call was met by crushes of students, most angry at the bottomless greed of the economic elites – the 1%.
They started the „We Are the 99%!“Chant, and again, within days, similar occupations sprang in Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles – – and beyond.
Within weeks, over 100 city centers, home of the moneyed elites, were occupied.
But what really kicked them into high gear, was when cops in New York, blithely sprayed chemicals into the faces of young women doing nothing more than marching with an anti-capitalist banner. Carried via YouTube, it reached millions, and inspired more to join the protests.
Rosa, I’m convinced, would’ve loved it!
As I write this year’s message from prison, it’s the first time I’ve done so without death sentence.
That’s entirely due to you – and people like you – who have stood with me through thick and thin.
Danke – viel viel Danke – to ALL of you brothers and sisters in Germany, in France, in Spain, in England, in Canada, in India, and yes – – in the United States for making this happen.
As you know, the struggle continues.
This battle ain’t over until we all are free!
Mao used to say “The journey of a thousand leagues begins with one step.“
We have taken this step.
We are one step closer to freedom!
Lang lebe Red Rosa!
FREIHEIT ! Free the Move Prisoners! Free Leonard Peltier!
Dismantle the prison-industrial complex!
Meine Freunden – Bewegung!
Aus der Todeszelle, hier sprecht
Goldie for Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Frances Goldin for Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Prison and government officials are trying to censor and silence Mumia Abu-Jamal. I stand as one of many Americans who believe that there is tremendous value in his voice being heard. I and others will fight to make sure that both his voice and his body are free.