Letter to Workers Vanguard
On Spartacist Sectarianism and Mumias Defense
Appendix 1: LETTER TO PDC, 4 APRIL
I am writing to ask that your organization support a demonstration for Mumia Abu-Jamal in Toronto at 1pm, Saturday April 19th. On May 17th, 2007, an effective united-front emergency action of 75 people was held in Toronto to coincide with Mumias hearing before the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals. It was organized on the basis of three slogans: Mumia is Innocent!, Free Mumia! and Abolish the Racist Death Penalty! On March 27th this year the court made its rulingdismissing Mumias appeals and granting him a hearing strictly limited to the question of whether he should be put to death or spend the rest of his life in jail.
There will be a mass demonstration to protest this outrage in Philadelphia on Saturday April 19th, and Mumias supporters are planning demonstrations on that day in many other cities around the world. We are calling for all organizations in Toronto that support Mumia and agree with the above slogans to join in a united-front protest at the U.S. Consulate on that day.
By a united front we mean a joint initiative of different organizations that agree on a common, concrete action. People who hold different views on many questions but agree on defending Mumia are welcome to participate in this event and to build it. Within our united front, different groups should be able to put forward their own ideas, in their own names, about Mumias case and the wider social issues surrounding it.
We propose to put out only a single piece of literature in the name of the committeea draft of which is attached for your approval. It contains information regarding the time and place of the event, the names of the sponsors (obviously as yet very incomplete) and a brief outline of the current situation that Mumia faces. Anyone who speaks on behalf of the united front (rather than as a representative of one of its constituent groups) must agree to limit their remarks to the demands that constitute the basis of unity and a simple explanation of the facts of the case.
We are asking all who agree to this approach to join this initiative and work to build the largest possible mobilization for Mumia in Toronto on the 19th. All participating organizations will have the right to speak at the rally. We welcome any assistance in postering and other practical tasks.
We need to receive your endorsement by Sunday, April 6th in order to be sure your organization is listed on the poster.
All Out on April 19thInternational Day of Protest
On 27 March, the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of upholding the frame-up conviction of Mumia Abu-Jamal. In doing so the court has rejected his appeal to be allowed to present evidence of his innocence in a new trial. Instead there is to be a narrowly limited hearing on his sentence, with the only options being execution or life in prison.
With this horrendously unjust ruling the courts signaled that for Mumia, a former Black Panther, MOVE supporter and eloquent voice of the voiceless, proof of innocence is not legally admissible. The evidence is clear: Mumia is the innocent victim of a racist, politically-motivated frame-up. On April 19th there will be a mass demonstration in Philadelphia to demand Mumias freedom, with supporting demonstrations in cities around the world. All out for Mumia on April 19th!
Saturday April 19, 1 pm
<PRELIMINARY LIST ONLY> endorsed by: Anti-Racist Action, CAW Local 199 Human Rights Committee, Communist Party, International Bolshevik Tendency, Socialist Action, Socialist Alternative, United Black Students at Ryerson, Young Communist League
Appendix 2: PDC to UNITED FRONT COMMITTEE 5 APRIL
Subject: Can PDC endorse Mumia demo April 19th
5 April 2008
Dear April 19th United Front for Mumia:
We have received your letter asking that the Partisan Defense Committee endorse the demonstration you have called for April 19 in Toronto around the slogans "Mumia is Innocent!" "Free Mumia!" and "Abolish the Racist Death Penalty!" These are the central slogans around which the Partisan Defense Committee has been organizing for many years and were the slogans on which the March 28 emergency protest, initiated by the PDC, was organized.
We are for the mobilization of the largest forcestrade unions, left organizations, immigrant and minority groups, studentsto fight for Mumia's freedom. We are thus prepared to shift the April 26 united-front mobilization, which we announced at our March 28 emergency protest, to April 19. We will continue mobilizing others and getting endorsements for April 19.
In order to ensure the broadest possible participation, the basis for endorsement of this united front demonstration should be limited to the three slogans noted above, as well as time, date and place. The rally leaflet should state explicitly that the endorsers have not necessarily agreed to any other statement. Nothing else would be put out under the names of all of the endorsers except the above slogans, time, date and place. Endorsers should be encouraged to put out their own statement with the rally call.
A problem with asking endorsers to agree to a broader statement can be seen in the fact that in the short proposed text for the April 19 united front, there is an important factual error. The text states, "the court has rejected his appeal to be allowed to present evidence of his innocence in a new trial." Unfortunately, the appeal for a new trial was not based on the introduction of evidence of Mumia's innocence, but on various questions of legal process.
We agree that all endorsing organizations have the right to speak at the united-front protestin order that competing political programs and their corresponding strategies to fight for Mumia's freedom be set forth in the sharpest and clearest form. This is vital to advancing the fight for Mumia.
Let us know your response as soon as possible.
Appendix 3: UNITED FRONT COMMITTEE TO PDC 5 APRIL
5 April 2008
We agree with you that nothing else would be put out under the names of all of the endorsers except the poster which will contains the slogans, time, date and place.
We also agree that, of course, endorsers should be encouraged to put out their own statement with the rally call. We do think it is important that on a poster aimed at the broadest popular audience, many of whom will not be familiar with the current situation, that it can be useful to sketch an outline of the significance of the ruling.
We note that your call for demos in various cities contains an outline that is not substantially different from what we have proposed, except that it does not contain the factual error that you have pointed out (although we do suspect that had the conviction been overturned and a new trial ordered Mumia's legal team would have attempted to introduce evidence pointing to his innocence). However we are happy to substitute our original text with the sentence that appears in the PDC's text, i.e., to cut:
"In doing so the court has rejected his appeal to be allowed to present evidence of his innocence in a new trial. Instead there is to be a narrowly limited hearing on his sentence, with the only options being execution or life in prison."
and insert in its place your wording:
"In turning down Mumia's appeal for a new trial, the Court ordered a new sentencing hearing to decide whether he is again to be sentenced to die or condemned to the living death of life in prison." We propose that everything else will remain exactly the same. We also are in agreement regarding endorsing organizations having the right to speak at the united-front event.
We are pleased to think that we can go ahead with a unified protest and completely agree with you that the the larger the mobilization the better.
I have attached the corrected poster and also wish to draw your attention to the expanded endorsement list which now consists of: Anti-Racist Action, CAW Local 199 Human Rights Committee, Communist Party, International Bolshevik Tendency, Socialist Action, Socialist Alternative, United Black Students at Ryerson, Young Communist League. Are you agreeable to being added as an endorser?
Yours for Mumia's freedom,
Appendix 4: PDC to UNITED FRONT COMMITTEE 6 APRIL
Subject: Re: Can PDC endorse Mumia demo April 19th
Dear April 19th United Front for Mumia,
The Partisan Defense Committee endorses the April 19 demonstration (1:00 p.m., U.S. Consulate) on the basis of the slogans, "Mumia is Innocent!" "Free Mumia!" and "Abolish the Racist Death Penalty!" You may add our name to the leaflet. Please also list the Trotskyist League and Spartacus Youth Club as endorsers. We note that your attached flyer does not include two of the slogans.
We will be building for the demonstration and continuing to seek endorsements on the basis of the slogans "Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent! Free Mumia now! Abolish the racist death penalty!"
Fraternally, Chris Simpson
Appendix 5:UNITED FRONT COMMITTEE TO PDC 7 APRIL
Date: Mon, Apr 7, 2008 at 5:44 PM
Dear PDC, We have been contacted by several people who have *already* endorsed the April 19, 2008 demonstration saying that they have been contacted by you asking them to endorse the action. This is causing confusion.
While we welcome any attempt to solicit endorsements from groups that have *not* yet endorsed the demonstration we are concerned that your requests to those who have already given an endorsement not only does not serve any purpose but may create a negative impression about the event and reflect badly on all of us.
We have sent you versions of the poster with the names of groups that have already endorsed the event to avoid duplication (ie so that you don't contact people who have already committed to the event).
In solidarity, Andy L.
ps. Did you get my earlier note regarding how many of the posters you want and where you will be postering?
Appendix 6: PDC REPLY to UNITED FRONT COMMITTEE 6 APRIL
Subject: All Out April 19--Free Mumia Now!
*PARTISAN DEFENSE COMMITTEE*
Dear April 19th United Front for Mumia,
This is in response to your three emails of yesterday.
As you know, we have been distributing our own leaflet for the demonstration. Thus we will not need copies of the one you are producing.
Concerning endorsements, we informed you on April 6 that we would be continuing to seek endorsements on the basis of the slogans "Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent! Free Mumia now! Abolish the racist death penalty!" These are endorsements for a series of united-front demonstrations initiated or supported by the Partisan Defense Committee and its co-thinkers internationally from April 19-26, not solely for the Toronto protest. The endorsers list is updated regularly on our website, and a partial listing will appear locally on future runs of our leaflet. Endorsement of these protests only requires agreement with the above slogans, not with any additional propaganda issued by the PDC. A disclaimer to this effect appears on all our leaflets.
Unfortunately, you declined to accept our proposal of such a disclaimer on the leaflet you have produced, and also insisted that endorsers agree to a short text. Asking for endorsement of anything beyond agreed slogans and date/time/place actually undercuts the broadest possible mobilization of groups who have very different perspectives on the fight for Mumia's freedom, which they should be free to express in the framework of a common mobilization.
Our endorsement form is attached. We encourage all groups who agree with the above slogans to sign and return it in order to further the fight to free Mumia, in Toronto and beyond.
I trust this clarifies any confusion.
PARTISAN DEFENSE COMMITTEE
P.O. Box 314, Station B, Toronto, Ontario M5T 2W1
You should have received by now the PDC's leaflet and call for the Toronto April 19th united front protest "Free Mumia Now! Mumia Abu-Jamal is Innocent! Abolish the Racist Death Penalty!" We urge you and/or your organization to join the growing list of endorsers of this and similar protests in Oakland, Los Angeles, Chicago, London, Sydney and Mexico City.
Please carefully fill out the attached endorsement form and fax it to us at (416) 593-1529 as soon as possible. Alternatively, call (416) 593-4138 to arrange for us to pick it up or for more information. Mobilize your unions, organizations, clubs and friends to be there April 19! Free Mumia Now!
Posted: 16 June 2008