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Prison Radio Commentaries

Fake News & A Dirty Game
Dontie Mitchell

Now What?
Mumia Abu-Jamal

The Cost-Benefit of Support of PA Bill 942
Kerry Shakaboona Marshall

The Commutation Process
Omar Askia Ali

David Wade Continues to House Prisoners in Solitary
Keith Rogers

December in Chicago
Mumia Abu-Jamal

Homage to Howard (for Howard Zinn Book Fair)
Mumia Abu-Jamal

Change is Coming
Omar Askia Ali

So the Public Will Never Know
Dontie Mitchell

Message for Cleveland
Mumia Abu-Jamal

The Truth is More Insidious and Treacherous
Dontie Mitchell

Leonard Peltier’s Statement read
by Mumia Abu-Jamal


When Impeachment Isn’t Enough
Mumia Abu-Jamal

Prison Radio Commentaries

Turkish Winter Over Kurdistan
Mumia Abu-Jamal

When Trans Women Die
Mumia Abu-Jamal

What Kind Of Society Are We?
Dontie Mitchell

You Paid For It 
Dontie Mitchell

PSA: Bay View SF
Jason Goudlock

Eddie Africa, Free
Mumia Abu-Jamal
Jason Goudlock

Publishing As Political Action: The Enduring Influence Of The Black Panther Party Newspaper

Via the National Archives UK

Publishing has long played a major part in empowering and organizing the Black community. The newspaper for the Black Panthers was no expectation. The Black Panther newspaper debuted in Oakland 1967, which was actually the first year of the Party. It started out as a four-page, hand-typed newsletter. It was put together with an IBM typewriter, Elmer’s glue, and a copy machine.

“Its first edition announced a community meeting and featured an article about Denzil Dowell, who was killed by an officer of the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Department,” Cross Cut reported.

As the party grew so did the paper.

“Within a year, its distribution was over 250,000, and it continued to publish through the ’70s. The paper served as the Party’s ideological mouthpiece, chronicling police brutality, championing liberation struggles around the world, and connecting 48 Party chapters in 30 major cities,” the Columbia Journalism Review reported. The paper had dispatched from all over the world — Oakland, New York, Algeria, New Zealand, among other places. At its peak, from 1968 to 1971, The Black Panther was the country’s most-read Black newspaper.

The newspaper was sold by the party’s members and was also a source of financial empowerment for them. Each issue sold for 25 cents; sellers kept 10 cents.

“Selling papers was an everyday responsibility for almost all Panthers,” Elmer Dixon, who with his brother Aaron co-founded the Seattle chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, told Cross Cut. “It was very important to keep the information flowing out into the community.”

The paper was also a way for the party to recruit new members as well as spread the Party’s message. All members were required to read the newspaper.

“Black Panthers selling papers on the corner made you think that there’s a bunch of people who believe in this other way,” Stanley Nelson, director of a documentary film on the group, “Vanguard of the Revolution,” told The Columbia Journalism Review.

Oakland member Billy X Jennings used to sell the newspaper and has now become the de-facto historian and archivist of the Black Panther Party. Jennings, who started developing his Black Panther newspaper archive for a 30-year reunion of former Party members, currently hosts an online collectionof Black Panther newspapers and maintains a physical archive of newspapers at his home in Sacramento.

The newspaper was much more than a tool for the party and its message. It told the story of Black people and people of color, not just from the U.S. but from around the world.

“The Black Panther’s voice stood out: the paper regularly featured fiery rhetoric, called out racist organizations, and was unabashed in its disdain for the existing political system…it became well known for its bold cover art: woodcut-style images of protestors, armed Panthers, and police depicted as bloodied pigs,” The Columbia Journalism Review reported.

The paper would run stories about police brutality and social justice for a radical Black audience from around the county. It ran speeches by Eldridge Cleaver, editorial cartoons and art by Emory Douglas, and contributions from Panthers and supporters from across the country. Each issue also included the Party’s manifesto, the 10 Point Program.

“The paper reported on key events affecting the Party and the Black community, such as the eight-month trial of the Panther 21, a group of 21 members accused of conspiracy to attack a New York City police station and an education office; the raid and murder of Fred Hampton, a popular Panther leader in Chicago; and the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. It also covered other resistance movements and activism in the Bay Area, most notably the case of Los Siete, a Chicano group framed for the murder of a San Francisco police officer,” The Columbia Journalism Review reported.

The Black Panther ran an impressive international section that reported on liberation struggles around the world; under editor in chief David DuBois (stepson of W.E.B. DuBois).

It also wasn’t afraid to tackle problems within the party, such as sexism.

As the party’s membership fade, the paper eventually folded in 1980.

AFRICAN HISTORY@africanarchives

At 16, Yvette Stevens joined the Black Panther Party. She was responsible selling the Black Panther newspaper as well as helping start the free breakfast program for children. You might know her by another name: CHAKA KHAN! ‘

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Collateral White Skin

Painting by Biko Eisen-Martin. Young black boy shackled to a pick, figure in background looking on from a porch.


San Francisco had its prison walls all picked out; prepared to unveil its latest awkward interpretation of imperialism. Two police officers exit a squad car.

The United States power structure does not dialogue with us, it dialogues with our potential for resistance. And we receive the red and blue lights of its spokespeople as best as our political, spiritual, and psychic commitments permit.

The first time I was frisked by police, it was alongside my younger brother. I was an especially thin wrist’d nine. He was seven. I have been enjoying my poetry being proven right ever since.

Photograph of young black boy shackled to pick with man in background looking on, seated on a porch.


What this present moment, and what the past few centuries all teach us is that the primary reality of an oppressive system is its military reality. Before the determination of economics, institutions of socialization, and culture, there is a foundation of violence (organized, monopolized, and sponsored). An empire has to slaughter people in order to set up shop and enforce cultural hegemony. A slave owner is not someone who does not pay people for their work, as much as they are someone who will maim or kill people if they do not work (let alone, yet especially, revolt). And this equation continues into this modern era with hyper militarization of police, mass internment of Brown and Black people, permanent imperialist invasions around the world, and masses who practice whiteness (as it was designed by past U.S. ruling classes), not as a privilege, but rather a deputization.

In the United States, or really as a hallmark for all imperialist projects past and present, the foot soldier of the empire, both those literally sworn in and trained or those who just live regular corporation-determined lives on the various postindustrial, service economy roads to nowhere, stewing in confusion—for all foot soldiers, practicing violence is the only way that they can prove to themselves that they actually exist. This identity both extends and is extended by the deep feeling that war is the only way that they can be sure that their country exists.

This is where we enter daily as poets. And it is with respect to this reality that we must intervene.

Poetry (or art of any discipline) exists in the same part of the mind that produces revolutionary intention. Somewhere among flickers of stray phenomenal constructs are the stray building blocks of praxis asking to be gathered, expanded, and clarified by study and practice. Poetry is every step of the way from idea to practice. Our revolutionary (or counterrevolutionary) praxis and our art subtitle each other. Both evolve or atrophy together.

We garden praxis with critical conversation and vigilant (though ideally gentle) upkeep of detail and nuance.

In that biosphere of phenomenal engagement, we nurture, restore or postpone our humanity.

Poetry is a play on perception. It is the opportunity to see what your mind can do moment to moment; specifically, what your mind’s capacity for and use of language can manufacture when you don’t have to follow the bounds of physical and/or social reproduction. This perception, as catalyzed by the opportunity for de-crystallizing hegemonic identity, is where liberation begins.

What is the reality of power in the United States?

At nine years old, under duress and with an interrupted sugar high, the mapping of my repression was violent and ceremonial; especially ceremonial, was my mandate not to fold to these occupying troops. I remember their military-aided body language. I was engaged by the system as a have-not, but this was not a dream of the wallet. This was not a matter of privilege. This was a protein of the true nature of contradiction in the United States: that of violence.

I wonder if it is a rite of passage for a police officer to detain a non-white child.

Poetry occupies the strangest place in reality. A convergence of paradoxes where reality can simultaneously only be perceived and only be produced; where one line is both a universe unto itself and at the same time completely devoid of any individual register or self-contained existence; where there is only evidence and simultaneously no evidence of a creator. All proof of the fact that the system is not immortal nor invincible, but rather the aggregate of coercion and consent.

Poetry is the half step between the realms of cosmic unity and one million dualities. The poet creates an image by pulling these realms towards each other. A process of healthy insanity or within an insanity free of self-absorption. The poet creates an image by relaxing into the emotive math of language. In poetry, there is no ideal state. In poetry, there is no ideal style. There is no ideal reader. There is no ideal audience. There is only a torrential continuum of language through which we chase liberation. All proof that any poet (regardless of their respective talents and obsessions) can become a revolutionary.

How do we define a poet’s power in the United States?

Armies water themselves with children; therefore, a poet must have a revolutionary praxis. Armies water themselves in your mother’s living room; therefore, a poet is only either a tool of the oppressor or tool of the oppressed.

What is a busy Saturday sidewalk of bystanders in the United States?

Police searched skinny children for weapons and the crowd did not intervene. They stopped. They gawked. They reasoned with their hegemony-ridden internal compasses. They mostly kept walking. They mostly ganged up against God.

Which poet are you in the preceding scene?

I wonder if I am too severe or if the individual beliefs of a person not immersed in a revolutionary praxis are no more than phrases etched onto a horse bit.

The police left us on the street to digest the theatre of whiteness we just survived. Their military strut had no instrumental beyond my nine-year-old heart rate. Their metronome versus mine. Bystanders moved along without any consequences for their U.S. induction. We were all participating now in history.

Two boys meet imperialism.


Originally Published: June 4th, 2019

Mumia: Wars against Assange

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

The intrepid journalist and author Glenn Greenwald, in his 2014 work, “No Place to Hide” (Metropolitan Books: NY), offers a damning portrait of the U.S. media, long trained to worship at the altars of power, as agents of first attack against those journalists who dare to question or expose imperial edicts or escapades.

Indeed, Greenwald himself details how establishment reporters began their attacks by questioning both his status as a journalist and his psychological wellness.

Now, today, we see those same tactics deployed against Julian Assange of WikiLeaks fame.

Assange and his collective, WikiLeaks, have been whistleblowers and transparency activists, determined to shine light on government activities everywhere.

Ecuador’s decision to withdraw its welcome to Assange has exposed him to the venom of the American government, largely for showing U.S. atrocities committed during the Iraq War.

In 2008, Greenwald writes, U.S. Army secret records called Wikileaks “an enemy of the state,” showing plans to “destroy” the group [p.13].

And although Assange didn’t work as a reporter, he compiled great amounts of data and shared it with great newspapers, which, while publishing his data, still tried to demonize, denounce and question his sanity.

Assange’s work has shown us how governments – including the U.S. – really work.

For that, he has earned high praise.

© Copyright 2019 Mumia Abu-Jamal. Keep updated at Mumia’s latest book is “Murder Incorporated: Empire, Genocide and Manifest Destiny, Book One: Dreaming of Empire” by Mumia Abu-Jamal, Stephen Vittoria and Chris Hedges, published by Prison Radio in 2018. For Mumia’s commentaries, visit Encourage the media to publish and broadcast Mumia’s commentaries. Send our brother some love and light: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335, SCI-Mahanoy, 301 Morea Road, Frackville, PA 17932.

Assange from prison: ‘I am counting on you to save my life”

Julian Assange is transported April 11 from the Equadorian Embassy, where he stayed for nearly seven years, to Westminster Magistrates Court and later to Belmarsh Prison, where he remains. – Photo: Victoria Jones, PA Wire, AP

Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, stated in a letter that he is unable to defend himself in prison in the face of U.S. attempts to obtain his extradition and possibly his death.

In the handwritten text dated May 13 and sent to British freelance journalist Gordon Dimmack, the Australian activist called on all those who share his ideals to fight “until the day he is free.”

“I’m helpless and I count on you and others of good character to save my life,” Assange said, lamenting that the days when he could organize his defense are behind him. “Everyone else should take my place,” he added.

The founder of WikiLeaks, incarcerated in Belmarsh Prison in the U.K., said that he had no access to a computer, Internet or any other type of reading source and, if he does, “it would only be for half an hour once a week.”

“The other side? A superpower that has been preparing for nine years, with hundreds of people and millions of undisclosed dollars having been spent on the case,” Assange said just days before the federal prosecutors in Virginia announced 17 new criminal charges that raise the potential sentences against him to 175 years.

“The U.S. government, or rather the unfortunate elements who hate truth, freedom and justice in it, want to pave the way for my extradition and death,” said the activist before recalling that his journalistic work has been nominated seven times for the Nobel Peace Prize. “In the long run, truth is all we have,” he said.

Source: Cubadebate, translation Resumen Latinaomericano, North America bureau