IBT Initiates Successful United Front in Toronto:

‘Mumia’s Lawyer Speaks’

On Saturday 8 June over 210 people (including Rubin “Hurricane” Carter) attended a public talk at the University of Toronto (UofT) by Eliot Grossman, one of Mumia Abu-Jamal's lawyers. A day earlier Grossman spoke to 85 people at two meetings in Ottawa. Many people in both cities commented that they now had a much better grasp of both the mechanism of the original frame-up of Mumia and the perfidious role subsequently played by Leonard Weinglass and Dan Williams (his previous attorneys) in sabotaging an effective defense.

Grossman explained how the prosecution’s case was a pastiche of perjured "eyewitnesses," tampered ballistics "evidence" and a manufactured "confession." He played a videotape of Arnold Beverly confessing that he was hired to kill Officer Daniel Faulkner by the mob on behalf of a gang of crooked cops who feared Faulkner was cooperating with FBI investigations into police corruption in Philadelphia. The defense team is currently fighting to have the Beverly confession admitted into evidence. One of the themes pushed by organizers of the meeting was that there should be “no statute of limitations on innocence.

Grossman explained that the defense currently faces a huge challenge and needs to raise $30,000 to retain the private investigators who are believed close to making more spectacular breakthroughs. The Canadian meetings together raised more than C$2500 after paying all costs.

The Toronto meeting, initiated by the International Bolshevik Tendency (IBT), was organized on a united-front basis. The Ottawa events occurred as a spin-off from the Toronto meeting and were coordinated through the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and Industrial Workers of the World. Participating groups in Toronto held three preliminary planning meetings to sort out logistics, postering, publicity, finances and security. The event was introduced by Darashani of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations and chaired by John Clarke of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. In addition to the IBT, the “Friends of MOVE” were among the most active participants along with Socialist Alternative (section of the Committee for a Workers International) and members of the New Socialists. Unions that supported the event included the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the National Union of Public and General Employees, the Toronto District Council of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), CUPE Locals 1230 and 3903, CUPE’s Toronto District Council, the Canadian Autoworkers Local 199 Human Rights Committee and the St. Catharines & District Labor Council.

Both the undergraduate Students' Administrative Council and the Graduate Students' Union at UofT backed the event, as did the Ontario Public Interest Research Group. Additional support came from the Angola 3 Support Committee, Anti-Racist Action, the Brock Socialists, the Freyheyt Collective (Platformist anarchists), Socialist Action (affiliated to the United Secretariat), the Trotskyist League (of the International Communist League) and the Committee to Stop Targeted Policing.

In his opening remarks, Eliot praised the fact that:

“Even though there are a number of organizations that disagree with each other on many issues, we were able to work together toward a common goal and I think it is a wonderful model that we have here tonight….

“Thank you very much for overcoming your political differences and working together to put this event together. I think this is a lesson we can take back to the United States.”

Published: 14 June 2002