In this Issue: The Hidden War: Edward Hunt on the moral outrages in Yemen; Department of Injustice: Stanley Cohen on Racism as Policy under Jeff Sessions; Cold War Illusions: Patrick Lawrence on the mentality that will not die; Killing Grizzlies in Yellowstone by Louisa Willcox and David Mattson ; The Real Heroes of Mexico City by Laura Carlsen ; Barcelona is Not Afraid by Julie Wark and Daniel Raventos ; PLUS: Jeffrey St. Clair on climate change and forest fires; Mike Whitney on Syria; Chris Floyd and Lee Ballinger on Bob Dylan; Yvette Carnell on why liberals ruin everything. And much more.
(1) Mumia’s Humanity. Mumia is a human being, with a family and a network of friends and family who value his life. His case and struggle is important, first of all, because of the threat to the life and dignity he bears simply as a human being. He is a husband, father and grandfather who, despite his isolation from his own family has maintained an extraordinary sense of humane care and advocacy for them and many others.
(2) Mumia’s Writings are Remarkably Inclusive. With hundreds of columns, prison radio commentaries, six books, and essays in venues as distinct from one another as the homeless Street News to Forbes Magazine, to the Yale Law Review, Mumia has foregrounded the struggle of many peoples. These have indcluded advocacy, at times, even for prison guards and police officers, but especially for persons who routinely are rendered voiceless – whether they are African-American, Latino/a, Asian-American, Native American, Arab-American, white American, or the often detained from immigrant populations today.
(3) Mumia’s Notoriety. Mumia’s skillful journalistic writings regularly reach both national and worldwide audiences – in Europe and throughout many sites of the global South – and this notoriety has made him a human face and story of US death row and its prisons. In the context of the namelessness and dehumanization suffered by most death row inmates and prisoners and prisoners, the notoriety of his story and struggle is an important way of keeping national and international pressure on US incarceration and execution practices.
(4) Mumia’s Case as “Primer.” Mumia’s case is frequently cited as offering a “primer” on the many problems that attend US criminal justice systems in the US: runaway prison construction and mass incarceration, police use of excessive force, prosecutorial and judicial misconduct, inadequate defense counsel for poor defendants, excessively long sentences race, class and gender imapcts on imprisonment and execution in the US.
(5) Mumia’s Case Links Issues: For many, Mumia’s political analyses “connect the dots,” stimulating valuable reflection on connections between US mass incarceration, the US military industrial complex, and its wars abroad (overt and covert), US economic policies, the so-called “drug war” and “war on terror” – all of whch bring to the fore issues of empire and of the coloniality of power at work in US policies. Recently, he has addressed the tragedy in Haiti, the struggle for health care in the ., and the war in Afghanistan – all with unusual clarity, acumen and artistic skill.
(6) Mumia in Pennsylvania. As confined among the 225 men and women on death row in Pennsylvania (nicknamed “the Texas of the North” for having the largest number on death row among northerly US states), organizing around Mumia’s case is a way to challenge a criminal justice and judicial system in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia that has routinely been found corrupted by racialized and adversarial politics. The struggle for Mumia, thus, takes the struggle for political justice in the US to one of the most hotly contested sites in the nation.