Cradle of Liberty?

Taking it to the streets for Mumia in Philadelphia on the

Fourth of July, 2002

This 4th of July, hundreds of people gathered in downtown Philadelphia to both express their support for Black political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, and to challenge the Orwellian presentation of the “Liberty Award” to Secretary of State and long-time war criminal Colin Powell. 350-500 protesters gathered in the sweltering heat and held a rally in front of City Hall for more than an hour. From there, they did a half-circle around City Hall and proceeded East on Market Street to the Liberty Bell on Fifth Street. Once there, the crowd gathered along the wall separating the street from the long line of people waiting to see the Liberty Bell. For at least 2 hours a variety of speakers railed against the state of affairs. Many tied in the oppression of Mumia Abu-Jamal and all poor people of color within the US to those murdered abroad by the U.S. military.

Masked protester holds Pan African flag as the crowd swings past City Hall and heads down Market Street to the Liberty Bell.

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As has always been the case when struggling for the life and freedom of Mumia Abu-Jamal, we are at a very critical moment. Even though Federal Judge Yohn ruled to “overturn” Abu-Jamal’s death sentence more than 6 months ago, he has never left death row. Because DA Lynn Abraham immediately appealed Yohn’s ruling, Mumia still can’t have contact visits with family or any other “privileges” given to non-death row prisoners. Furthermore, if Abraham’s appeal is successful, Mumia’s life will once again be in jeopardy.


Ever since the young Colin Powell lied to Congress about the My Lai massacre to help cover up the horrifying truth of the Vietnam War, he has definitely been a favorite of U.S. leaders. Later Colin Powell was one of the leaders of the cowardly Desert Storm massacre of 1991, killing more than 200,000 Iraqis. Demonstrating the one-sided nature of the war, “only” a couple hundred U.S. soldiers died (mostly from “friendly fire”). Arguably Powell’s most important characteristic in the eyes of U.S. elite is Powell’s dark skin. A Black military leader legitimizing U.S. military operations helps to mask the fundamentally white supremacist and terrorist nature of the U.S. military.

Pam Africa leads crowd down Market Street with City Hall in the background.

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Some may argue that the frame-up of Mumia Abu-Jamal and the present murderous assault of the U.S. military upon the rest of the world are examples of how the U.S. has gone astray and needs to return to its “earlier ideals of liberty and justice.” However, once we sift through the lies fed to us by the media and our schools it becomes painfully obvious that the United States of AmeriKKKa have always been rotten at the core.


We are told that US “revolutionaries” like George Washington, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson were fighting for liberty and general freedom for all people suffering under the boot of an oppressor. The Liberty Bell here in Philadelphia and other national symbols supposedly represent a country built on the ideal of freedom, justice and equality for all.


The reality is quite the opposite. While enlisting popular support for the “Revolutionary War” by using words like “freedom” (as well as the always practical food & shelter for the hungry & poor enlistees to the military), the founding fathers truly were plotting to build their own empire in the Americas. The wealthy classes were sick of sharing the wealth with Britain. They wanted it for themselves.

          When the U.S. drove out Britain and became its own country, it didn’t abolish black chattel slavery. Nor did it return the land belonging to the indigenous people that had already been stolen. Instead, as the U.S. empire began to grow, cheap Black slaves became even more important to profits and the economic growth of U.S. capitalism. By 1900, 98% of the North American indigenous population had been murdered via the employment of biological warfare, starvation, and outright bloody massacres. The concept of liberty in the U.S. has always been a lie.

When looking back at these gangsters and terrorists (otherwise known as the “founding fathers”), the clearest modern equivalent would have the be the likes of Osama bin Laden. There is still no serious public proof of bin Laden’s role in the Sept.11 WTC attacks. However, for the sake of finding a modern equivalent to George Washington et al., lets assume that bin Laden was involved in the attack


Osama bin Laden claims to be a revolutionary for the people battling against the U.S. empire’s rape, murder, and plunder of the Arab world. However (just like President Bush II) he is the son of a rich family of oil tycoons that suck the blood of their own people. While he claims to be fighting for the good of Arabs he is only really interested in building his own empire (and compete for global power with the US). Osama bin Laden will trick Arabs (and gain their support) by claiming to be standing up to U.S. and European oppression, just as the 1776 US population was tricked by the founding fathers.

Arriving at the corner of Fifth and Market, the crowd turns right and goes one half block to the liberty bell.

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Support in the Arab world for the mass-murder of U.S. citizens is not a sign of Arab insanity. Quite the opposite, it shows that they are human beings sick and tired of having their families irradiated with cancer, starved, and cowardly bombed from high in the sky with anti-human technology such as cluster bombs. It is clear that as long as the U.S. spinelessly terrorizes the Arab world (as well as the rest of the third world and any country small or weak enough to be bullied) and murders their families in cold blood, there will be support for people like bin Laden who will draw the blood of U.S. citizens in the name of liberation.


This is significant today as King George II’s “War on Terrorism” will clearly be as much of a failure as the “War on Drugs.” The War on Drugs has been a failure because the CIA has consistently been a major trafficker of hard drugs into the U.S. Similarly, the CIA (as well as its counterparts in the National Security State) imports terrorism by creating a powerful (and quite logical) hatred around the world of U.S. citizens. How else is any human being supposed to react when the U.S. casually bombs, irradiates, and starves MILLIONS of families around the world and then publicly boasts of peaceful and humanitarian foreign policy?

Captain Fisher of the Philly PD Civil Affairs unit.

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Returning back to Philadelphia and the 4th of July march and rally for Mumia Abu-Jamal, we can again learn important truths about the US and what the Liberty Bell symbolizes. The Liberty Bell is stored in a small building next to Independence Hall (where the constitution was written). While the media and schools teach us that the constitution was written to ensure justice, freedom, and liberty for all, this myth can be easily challenged. The constitution sure as hell didn’t speak for women, non-whites, and all poor people. Later when Black chattel slavery was formally abolished, they instead became wage-slaves and were terrorized by state sanctioned KKK-style lynchings, rape, and other violence.

The KYW 3 station is directly across the street from the liberty bell.  Mumia's supporters have long criticized the corporate media's coverage of the case.

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Despite a written “constitutional right” to defend one’s self in court or employ a lawyer of one’s personal choosing, Mumia was not allowed to have John Africa as his counsel during his 1982 trail. As the internationally renowned human rights group “Amnesty International” has documented, Mumia was also denied the right to be his own council. When Mumia protested this he was removed from court and was subsequently absent during much of his trial. This one fact right here is grounds for a new trail. However, when Judge Yohn recently “overturned” Mumia’s death sentence, he affirmed the legitimacy of the 1982 trail. In practice, “constitutional rights” are a fraud.

At the liberty bell.

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Besides being a great day to demonstrate against the immorality and hypocrisy of the AmeriKKKan empire, July 4 is also important to the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. It’s was on July 3, 1982 that Mumia’s jury was told that if they came to a final decision, they would be able to go home for the 4th of July and spend the holiday weekend partying with family and friends. By the end of the day, they agreed upon the death sentence. Therefore, July 4 was Mumia Abu-Jamal’s first day on death row.

Without a doubt, July 4th is a day of murder, incarceration, and the U.S. empire’s eternal fight against true liberty, justice, and equality. To quote Rage Against the Machine: “The land of the free? Whoever told you that is your enemy.”

When looking back at these gangsters and terrorists (otherwise known as the “founding fathers”), the clearest modern equivalent would have the be the likes of Osama bin Laden.

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