Philadelphia April 24 march                                           
 Photo: Deirdre Griswold

'Free Mumia & all political prisoners'

By Betsey Piette
Philadelphia

Close to 1,000 people participated in a march and car caravan through the streets of West Philadelphia on April 24 to demand freedom for political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal and to celebrate his contributions to the struggle for liberation on the occasion of his 50th birthday. This demonstration stretched for blocks in this neighborhood where Abu-Jamal spent much of his youth.

Marchers gathered at Malcolm X Park at 52nd and Pine Streets where Fred Hampton, Jr., son of Chicago Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton who was murdered by police in 1969, addressed the crowd, stating that "there can be no peace until Abu-Jamal is released."

"Mumia Abu-Jamal is a victim of terrorism," said Hampton. "Every day in the Black community is a September 11th. We have an obligation to bring the demand to free Mumia into every conversation. We have to make our birthday present to Mumia a concrete commitment to demand not just freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal, but the release of all political prisoners."

Pam Africa, leader of Inter national Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal reported that the march was being held in the community where Abu-Jamal grew up to let the people know that there are people who are not afraid to stand up and say that he is innocent. MOVE supporter Orie Lumumba told the crowd about the importance of protests like today's in opposing the death penalty. "It's not in the courts' hands whether Mumia lives or dies," he stated, "It's in our hands, and we can't sit back and wait until another death penalty warrant is signed, we have to be out every day."

Larry Holmes representing the Inter national ANSWER coalition said the fact that Abu-Jamal has to spend his 50th birthday on death row is a crime. "He is on death row because he spreads messages of resistance. Mumia is one of the leaders of the struggles to get out of Iraq and Haiti, and in solidarity with the people of Iraq, Palestine and Venezuela." Holmes noted, "Free ing Mumia is not enough. He's been on death row 22 years. We should demand $10 billion in reparations for each year they have held our brother--$220 billion as a reparations freedom fund for our communities."

Widespread support for Abu-Jamal from this oppressed African American community was evident from the constant blare of horns in response to "Honk for Mumia" signs to the participation of local residents in a celebration of Abu-Jamal's birthday at the Kingsessing Community Center following the march.

The celebration featured a book release party for "We Want Freedom" the newest work by Abu-Jamal on the history of the Black Panther Party. Members of Abu-Jamal's family and Black Panther Party members were on hand to sign the books.

A legal update on Abu-Jamal's case was presented by attorneys Robert Bryan and Michael Tarif Warren. Speakers included MOVE leader Ramona Africa, a solidarity message from the Cuban Five, and cultural presentation by the Universal African Dance & Drum Ensemble, and Hip Hop and spoken word performers.

www.MUMIA.org

International Action Center
39 West 14th Street, Room 206
New York, NY 10011
email: iacenter@iacenter.org
fax: 212 633-2889

web: www.iacenter.org

phone: 212 633-6646

 



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March 3, 2002 Update
On April 20 A.N.S.W.E.R coalition scenario

We are heartened by the large volume of positive responses
to the announcement issued by the A.N.S.W.E.R. steering
committee (February 27) that the coalition was shifting
the date of its demonstration to Saturday, April 20. The
change to April 20 was in turn a response to a large
number of requests asking for a united date for anti-war
forces to converge this spring in Washington DC. The
A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition has been and continues to be in
communication with other groups organizing on the weekend
of April 19-22 for a variety of activities.

The demonstration couldn't come at a more important
moment. We are focusing the political protest against the
Bush administration's expanding war against oppressed
peoples all over the world. The Bush program represents
the extreme right wing of corporate America. It represents
a violent assault on people's rights at home and abroad
and a dangerous assault on the environment.

On April 20, anti-war activists, workers, trade unionists,
communities of color, women, lesbian, gay, bi and trans
communities, communities of faith, and others will take to
the streets of Washington DC to say that Bush cannot speak
in our name as his administration carries out the
anti-people, pro-corporate, militarist agenda.

WE WILL ASSEMBLE AT THE WHITE HOUSE AT 11 AM ON SATURDAY,
APRIL 20 in order to protest against the real "axis of
evil": war, racism and poverty.

In the early afternoon of April 20, we will MARCH from the
White House, east on Pennsylvania Ave. directly in front
of the White House, and proceeding on Pennsylvania Ave. to
the Justice Department. At the Justice
Department--directly across the street from the J. Edgar
Hoover FBI building--we will rally in defense of civil
rights and civil liberties and to demand the repeal of
Ashcroft's USA Patriot Act.

Following the rally at the Justice Department, it will be
our goal to link up with the other anti-war coalition that
is planning activities on April 20. We recognize that the
anti-war movement includes people and organizations from a
range of traditions, beliefs, and political currents. But,
we also recognize that thousands and thousands of people
must march shoulder to shoulder in the streets in
Washington DC if we are to build an anti-war, anti-racist
movement strong enough to dismantle the Bush perpetual war
machine.

MASS ASSEMBLY AT THE WHITE HOUSE - 11 AM

At the White House, we will condemn the massive bombing of
Afghanistan that has killed thousands of civilians. At
this moment, U.S. forces have launched a new offensive in
Afghanistan using experimental "thermobaric" bombs that
suffocate all living things. During the war, the U.S. has
used fuel-air explosives, cluster bombs and other weapons,
the use of which, by definition, constitutes a war crime.
The Bush administration has used the war in Afghanistan as
a springboard to establish new U.S. military bases in
South/Central Asia. We will demand that these bases be
dismantled and that the troops be brought home
immediately.

At the White House, we will show our solidarity with the
besieged people of Palestine, who are at this very moment
resisting fierce aggression in the Balata and Jenin
refugee camps in the occupied West Bank. Ariel Sharon is
giving the orders to carry out these massacres - but he
could not do it without the support of the Bush
administration. U.S.-backed-and-financed Israeli forces
are today bulldozing the homes of civilians in Occupied
Territories, they have intentionally destroyed the sole
source of water into the Balata camp, and they have
deliberately destroyed the electrical system. These
Israeli war crimes are being sponsored by the Bush
administration.

At the White House, we will show our solidarity with the
people of the Philippines and Yemen, where Bush has
already dispatched a growing number of U.S. Special
Operations forces to occupy and wage war in their
countries. In the same manner, we will show solidarity
with the people of Somalia, who fear a repetition of the
murderous U.S. military actions taken against them in
1993. The Bush administration seeks to portray these
interventions as "limited police actions in the war
against terrorism." Let us never forget that that is
precisely how the Kennedy administration initially
explained the introduction of U.S. troops into Vietnam in
the early 1960s.

At the White House, we will condemn the new aggression
waged by the Colombian government and its paramilitary
proxies against the people. The Pastrana government is
giving the orders to cancel negotiations and wage war -
but we well know that the Colombian government would never
dare to have taken this step if it had not been given the
money, the weapons and the political support for this
aggression given by the Bush administration.

At the White House, we will raise our voices to demand "No
New War Against the People of Iraq" and we will demand the
immediate elimination of all sanctions on Iraq that in the
last decade have taken the lives of more than 1.5 million
Iraqi civilians.

At the White House, we will stand with the people of
Korea, who reject the new threats delivered by Bush in his
State of the Union message. The Korean people want the
removal of the 37,000 U.S. troops that occupy South Korea.
The Korean people must be allowed to pursue their own
destiny, including the right to the reunification of their
divided nation.

At the White House, we will extend a hand of solidarity to
the people of Iran who too are threatened by Bush's "axis
of evil" stratagem that seeks to demonize in advance the
potential targets of U.S. military aggression.

At the White House, we will demand an immediate end to the
U.S. blockade of Cuba. We will protest the wrongful
designation by the U.S. government of Cuba as a "terrorist
state" and demand freedom for the five U.S.-held Cuban
political prisoners, who have been given harsh prison
sentences for defending their country from U.S.-sponsored
terrorism.

At the White House, we will demand that the Bush
administration immediately move to extend unemployment
benefits for the millions of workers who are suffering
unemployment. We will tell Bush "HANDS OFF SOCIAL
SECURITY." We will demand money for jobs, education,
health care and housing - not for wars of aggression in
the Third World. We will stand against union busting.

At the White House, condemn the Bush administration's
reintroduction of a form of apartheid in law enforcement
through the USA Patriot Act that strips non-citizens of
essential democratic rights and legalizes racial and
religious profiling. We will make it clear that we will
not allow the Bush administration to use the "war on
terrorism" to implement the long-standing agenda of the
ultra-right and corporate America to stifle progressive
dissent.

At the White House, we demand an end to the use of methods
of racist terror in the United States, most notably the
death penalty. George Bush, while governor of Texas,
executed more people than any governor in U.S. history
(152 human beings). He is the face of the death penalty.
The people of the world have let it be known that they
consider the use of the death penalty in the United States
to be an unconscionable abrogation of fundamental human
rights.

FOR MORE INFORMATION see
http://www.internationalanswer.org, or email
ANSWER@afgj.org, or call New York 212?633?6646, Washington
202?543?2777, Chicago 773?583?7728, San Francisco
415?821?6545

TO ENDORSE, GO TO
http://www.internationalanswer.org/campaigns/a27/a27-endorse.html#endo

----------------------------

PARTIAL LIST OF ENDORSERS:

ENDORSERS
(partial list)

A.N.S.W.E.R. APRIL 20 CALL TO ACTION:
http://www.internationalanswer.org/campaigns/april/call.html

FULL LIST OF ENDORSERS:
http://www.internationalanswer.org/campaigns/april/a20-endorsers.html

A.N.S.W.E.R. COALITION ENDORSERS:
http://www.internationalanswer.org/endorsers.html

TO ENDORSE, GO TO:
http://www.internationalanswer.org/campaigns/a27/a27-endorse.html#endo

----------------------------

APRIL MARCH ON WASHINGTON UNITY STATEMENT FROM THE
A.N.S.W.E.R. COALITION:
http://www.internationalanswer.org

BUSES, VANS & CAR CARAVANS COMING TO DC FROM AROUND THE
COUNTRY:
http://www.internationalanswer.org/campaigns/april/contacts.html

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Email: ANSWER@afgj.org ,
or call New York 212-633-6646,
Washington 202-543-2777,
Chicago 773-583-7728,
San Francisco 415-821-6545.
http://www.InternationalANSWER.org

----------------------------

CALENDAR OF EVENTS

APRIL 19-22
National Colombia Mobilization

http://www.colombiamobilization.org

APRIL 20
NATIONAL MARCH ON WASHINGTON DC

Assemble 11 am at the White House
The people of the world are not our enemy - solidarity
against U.S. world domination!
http://www.internationalanswer.org

APRIL 20
Stop the War at Home and Abroad

http://www.a20stopthewar.org

APRIL 20-21
Protest the IMF and World Bank

http://www.globalizethis.org

APRIL 22
Protest Ariel Sharon and George Bush
- 7 pm at the annual
conference of American Israeli Public Affairs Committee

APRIL MARCH ON WASHINGTON
UNITY
STATEMENT
FROM THE A.N.S.W.E.R. COALITION
For more information see
http://www.internationalanswer.org

- Issued February 27 -

In response to calls for unity in the anti-war movement
the International A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
(Act Now to Stop War & End Racism)
is announcing that it is moving its National
March on Washington Against War and Racism
from April 27 to April 20, 2002.


FOR MORE INFORMATION see http://www.internationalanswer.org

*For a Calendar of Activities for April 19-22, scroll to bottom*

Clearly everyone understands the need for many activists
from many movements to be in Washington D.C. to protest
the dangerous racist war drive that threatens the people
of the planet and to fight Bush and Ashcroft's attempts to
dismantle the Bill of Rights, criminalize dissent, and
investigate and imprison people based on racial and
religious profiling.

A.N.S.W.E.R. calls on people to rally at the White House
at 11 a.m. on April 20, 2002, before marching to the
Justice Department and on to a unified rally with the
other coalition. This march will be the first that breaks
the ban on demonstrations in front of the White House that
was unconstitutionally imposed prior to anti-war
demonstrations in September during the head-long
rush to war.

A.N.S.W.E.R. has been organizing for an anti-war March on
Washington since November 2001 and widely disseminated a
call for April 27 in December. The Coalition settled on
the April 27 date out of deference to the National
Colombia Mobilization taking place April 19-22. In recent
weeks other groups and individuals have come together to
call an anti-war march on April 20. It became evident that
having two anti-war demonstrations on succeeding weekends
on seemingly similar themes, without very compelling
reasons, would be a disservice to the movement. Upon
learning about the April 20 mobilization, A.N.S.W.E.R.
took the initiative to try to open lines of communication
in an effort to rectify this unfortunate situation.

People around the country are saying that what the
movement needs on April 20 is a united front. This means
those with political differences marching with
independence while showing that we can come together to
fight the war makers. All movements have different
currents. The only way we are going to stop George Bush's
declared "endless war" is to have a movement that comes
together against this common foe.

A.N.S.W.E.R. believes that the anti-war movement must be
broad, that it must embrace the workers movement, unions,
communities of faith, immigrants, students and youth, and
particularly communities of color. We also believe that
the movement must strongly express its solidarity with the
struggling people of the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Latin
America and the Caribbean, who are fighting to determine
their own destinies free from U.S. imperialist and
colonial domination and that of the transnational
corporations.

Our experience since forming the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition on
September 14 has proven that you do not have to choose
between being broad and embracing the oppressed peoples of
the world and making the connections between their fight
and the fight of the people in the U.S. The A.N.S.W.E.R.
coalition includes more than 500 organizations and
prominent individuals who have campaigned against U.S.
intervention in Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle
East and Asia, and organizations that have campaigned for
social and economic justice for poor people and civil
rights inside the United States. The steering committee
includes Nicaragua Network, Mexico Solidarity Network,
IFCO/Pastors for Peace, International Action Center,
Partnership for Civil Justice LDEF, Kensington Welfare
Rights Union, Middle East Children's Alliance, Committee
for Justice to Defend Palestinian Rights, Bayan USA
(Filipino community) and the Korea Truth Commission.

The A.N.S.W.E.R. coalition rejects the opportunistic use
by the Bush administration of the tragedy of September 11,
to pursue, through military means, pre-existing
imperialist objectives while simultaneously ramming
through domestic policies that strengthen corporate rule,
attack civil rights and attempt to crush dissent, all at
the expense of working people. As the war and occupation
in Afghanistan is continuing, the Bush administration has
sent almost 700 troops to the Philippines, has increased
their support for the Colombian government's intensified
war against the Colombian people and the Israeli
repression of the Palestinian people.

A.N.S.W.E.R. will take a stand against any new war carried
out by the Bush administration, whether it's in Iraq,
Sudan, Somalia, Iran, North Korea, Yemen, Indonesia or
elsewhere. We must not only oppose war and racism at home.
We must stand firmly with the people's struggles of the
world.

A.N.S.W.E.R. demands that the Bush Administration's war
budget of more than a billion dollars a day be converted
into funds for human needs, jobs, education, health care,
and assistance for the poor.

We call on all those who believe the people of the world
are not our enemies and are our brothers and sisters to
join together in the National March on Washington D.C. If
you support self-determination, not U.S. military and
corporate domination, meet at the White House at 11 a.m.
on April 20.

A.N.S.W.E.R. calls on activists and organizations
everywhere to work doubly hard to fill the streets of
Washington with protestors April 19 -22. We encourage
people to support the National Colombia Mobilization and
the protests against the IMF and World Bank.

We have also learned that Ariel Sharon will be the
featured speaker along with President Bush at a right-wing
pro-war conference organized by the American Israel Public
Affairs Committee (AIPAC) over the same weekend as these
protests. Sharon and Bush are scheduled to speak at 7:30
p.m. on Monday, April 22nd. A.N.S.W.E.R. and other
organizations are calling a demonstration at that time and
appeal to those who are coming to Washington for the
weekend to stay over if at all possible to participate in
that very important demonstration.

As we build our grassroots movement against the war
towards our spring National March on Washington, we
encourage activists to focus on important upcoming dates
such as April 4, the anniversary of Martin Luther King's
assassination and his Beyond Vietnam speech, as well as
tax day April 15, to organize local events.

STOP THE RACIST WAR MACHINE - ALL OUT FOR APRIL 20!

FOR MORE INFORMATION see http://www.internationalanswer.org
or email ANSWER@afgj.org, or call New York 212-633-6646,
Washington 202-543-2777, Chicago 773-583-7728,
San Francisco 415-821-6545 TO ENDORSE, GO TO
http://www.internationalanswer.org/campaigns/april/a20-endorse.html

CALENDAR OF EVENTS
APRIL 19-22
National Colombia Mobilization
http://www.colombiamobilization.org
APRIL 20
NATIONAL MARCH ON WASHINGTON DC

Assemble 11 am at the White House
The people of the world are not our enemy - solidarity against U.S. world domination!
http://www.internationalanswer.org
APRIL 20
Stop the War at Home and Abroad

http://www.a20stopthewar.org
APRIL 20-21
Protest the IMF and World Bank

http://www.globalizethis.org
APRIL 22
Protest Ariel Sharon and George Bush
7 pm at the annual conference of American Israeli Public Affairs Committee

FOR MORE INFORMATION see
http://www.internationalanswer.org,

or email ANSWER@afgj.org, or call

New York 212-633-6646,

Washington 202-543-2777,

Chicago 773-583-7728,

San Francisco 415-821-6545

 

posted: 2/28/2002