Statement of Vermont AFL-CIO President David Van Deusen
“The Vermont AFL-CIO declares that it is time that Mumia Abu Jamal, and all Black political prisoners in the U.S. who were engaged with organizing through the Black Panther Party, be set free! We also declare that the time has come for Organized Labor, without hesitation, to stand with working-class Black communities when they demand true freedom, economic equity, and self-determination!
“The long march towards true freedom and working class liberation has taken many turns since our anti-imperialist revolution of 1777. A generation ago, that turn, that righteous and justified struggle, brought us the Black Panther Party. This Party, one dedicated to engaging in the fight for Black liberation, socialism, and Power to The People served as an example of militant struggle across the U.S. and produced countless organizers and resistance leaders including brother Mumia Abu Jamal.
“Brother Jamal spent his free life struggling for the liberation of his people, and as he gained the ear of the many, as his fight for a better world become a threat to the entrenched ruling classes of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the American Empire, those same ruling classes, through their agents, actively sought to silence him. And here, on trumped-up charges, after a charade of a trial, he was imprisoned and sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit. Like Sacco and Vanzetti, or Joe Hill before, the capitalist state sought to execute him, not for the crime he is innocent of, but because of the threat that his words and actions represented to the racist and classist status quo.
“The ruling class has, in fact, forced brother Jamal to ‘walk through the valley of the shadow of death,’ straight to death row, but brother Jamal, like so many of our political martyrs who have come before, has ‘feared no evil.’ And because of the outcry of tens of thousands of workers like you, because even the rich and powerful have been made to understand that if Mumia dies, Philly burns, he is still alive, and there is still a chance, through struggle, for true justice to prevail.
“Therefore I join with you today in the call for Mumia to be set free! I lend my voice to yours as we demand justice! I too say that brother Jamal must be led out from behind those prison bars of oppression, and back into the struggle for long overdue change! And together, through a working class unity which articulates the aspirations of all workers (be they Black, White, Latino, Native American, or Asian) may we endeavor to once and for all break the chains of exploitation and capitalism and deliver henceforth a new world grounded in economic equity, cooperation, a more direct and participatory democracy, and pro-Union to the core! Free Mumia Abu Jamal!”
David Van Deusen
President of the Vermont AFL-CIO
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