Mumia Abu-Jamal’s commentaries are recorded by prisonradio.org/. Workers.org first printed this commentary on Feb. 3, 2022. Since the article appeared, the peoples’ movement won the release of Sundiata Acoli and Dr. Mutulu Shakur.
The great Caribbean revolutionary Franz Fanon wrote in his now-classic work, “The Wretched of the Earth,” the following call to action: “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it, in relative opacity. That mission is now before us.”
What mission? To free prisoners of the empire, not just myself but others, some of whom we all know, some of whom we know not, people like Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, Mundo “Ed Poindexter” Langa, Sundiata Acoli, Leonard Peltier, Dr. Mutulu Shakur, Julian Assange, Reverend Joy Powell and Daniel Hale. They were anti-racist and anti-imperialist prisoners of the empire.
Each and all of us would embrace that now-famous first point of the Black Panther Party’s 10 Point Program written by two young college students, October 1966. Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale wrote: “We want freedom. We want freedom.” When they wrote those words, they echo the hearts of millions. Today, over 50 years after these words were written, they still possess power and resonance. “We want freedom.”
Let these words energize new movements today and enrich our living histories by reconnecting with the freedom struggles of our youth. Many of us are elders; yet we rejoice in the freedom movement emerging anew today as a result of the torture and murder of George Floyd, for true struggles from generation to generation.
This call comes as mass incarceration has metastasized into a system that has bled state budgets dry and has resulted in the caging of the elderly and, up till recently, the juvenile population. It has also resulted in unbridled cruelty like women giving birth in shackles and chains, people being held in solitary confinement for decades.
Surprisingly, prisons have become worse over time, not better — and bigger than we could even have imagined. We therefore need more prison support movements, not less — and prison abolition has to now be on the table. We want freedom. We want freedom. We. Want. Freedom. So say we all.
Thank you, Munsa. Thank you, Black Panther Party Commemoration Committee. Thank you, Labor Action Committee. Thank you all.
In love and not fear, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.
The Black Panther Commemoration Committee New York was formed on the 37th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party in 1966. The committee promulgates the goals of the Black Panther Party, its Ten Point Platform and Program.