The following slightly edited commentary was written by political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal and is posted on Prison Radio.
Feb. 6 — I’m often amused when I read, hear or see a politician criticize his opponents as “radical.”
That’s meant to isolate his opponent as somehow weird.
But, guess what?
Radicals are as common as crabgrass in U.S. history. That’s because without radicals, how could the nation be born based as it was on militant opposition to British kings?
At the time, Europe was dominated by hereditary royalty.
And after the U.S. Civil War, the radicals were the Republicans, who opposed slavery and fought for Black votes, while the Democrats were the party of the Ku Klux Klan. So, radicals fought for freedom from kings and from slavery.
In 1877, Republican presidential candidate Rutherford Hayes sold out Black Republicans and Black Southerners to allow Democratic ascendancy and political autonomy. The U.S. Army left the South, and Blacks were exposed to white terrorism … again.
Radicalism, it seems, only went so far.
In the 1960s, Blacks embarked on a radical freedom struggle, North and South. Predictably, they were again betrayed, often by Republican politicians.
Radicals like Rev. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Huey P. Newton and thousands of others fought for Black freedom. Others fought for an end to the Vietnam War.
Radicals and revolutionaries fought for freedom from all forms of oppression.
And the last I looked, that was a good thing.