Political Prisoners Speak Out

Mumia Abu Jamal (from death row) 
Assata Shakur (from exile in Cuba)
Jalil Abdul Muntaqim 
Bashir Hameed

Posted by Jamal News Service on Aug-27-01 at 00:00 AM

Greetings from Mumia Abu-Jamal to All Participants
at the 3rd UN World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

31 August - 7 September 2001 - Durban, South Africa

Revolutionary and radical greetings to our many friends in Durban. Ona move. Long live John Africa.

It is fitting that many of us gather in South Africa, fitting too, that many in attendance here hail from the United States. Those who have studied the issue of racism, and the phenomenon of white supremacy, find too many points of convergence between South Africa and the United States. Both nations claim heritages of democracy, but in fact they have long and tortured histories of what some have called "herrenvolk' democracies,' where whites have been granted a kind of egalitarianism, but non-whites were forced into social, economic and political subordination. We know that it didn't matter what is said on paper, or what government spokesmen said. A lived experience communicated the worth of white life and white property, while also communicating the worthlessness of black and indigenous life and liberty.

For millions of people of color in both these originally herrenvolk states, that message is reflected in our daily realities. And because a state has been forced to change its tune from its herrenvolk or white supremacist roots, doesn't mean that all is now well. We remember the words of Kwame Nkrumah who stated that political independence is illusory without economic independence. Who can question the wisdom of that observation when we look at the choking, numbing poverty among blacks here in South Africa that continues under the new political dispensation?

Let us consider the historical role of the United States government during the years of apartheid from the 1970's, when there were the now infamous Vorster/Kissinger conferences, Reagan's program of so-called constructive engagement with the Botha regime. And how many of us know that in the United Nations General Assembly, between 1978 and 1983, the United States voted at least 11 times against any action by the world body against apartheid. For example, in November 1983, the international community voted 110-1 for Resolution 38-19, an international convention on the suppression and punishment of the crime of apartheid. In all the world, guess which nation voted against the U.N. resolution, only one - the United States?

The U.S. was the best friend the apartheid regime ever had. It has never met a dictator it didn't like. Is there any wonder now that it wants to demand that be no discussion of slave reparations in Durban? The nation that held African people captive in chains and in human bondage, reduced to cattle in American law, for almost 300 years and then forced them into subordination, segregation and subjection for another century under a Supreme Court approved lie of "separate but equal," that today supports a prison industrial complex that cages more black men, women and juveniles per capita than South Africa during the Botha regime. In effect, a new slavery, accomplished by the systematic and illegal removal of blacks from jury service, this new herrenvolk state, forbids the world from the very discussion of slave reparations. Imagine that.

Well, I trust you - all of you - will do the right thing. Remember the sweet ancestors, those precious millions whose whitened bones formed under water walkways across continents - those shackled sons and daughters of Africa, who prayed that death would bring them back home, away from a land of greed, spirit hunger and madness. You'll know whom to listen to. I thank you.

Ona move! Long live John Africa
From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.

In Durban, South Africa: Contact Sam Jordan 082 858 2177

or Pam Africa USA (202) 215 476 8812, e-mail ICFFMAJ@aoI.com, web<www.ICFFMAJ.Org>

posted to forum 08-26-01 Fatirah




Havana Cuba, 7/01Sista Assata Shakur on Reparations
July 2001

Greetings Sisters and Brothers,

As soon as I knew what reparations meant, I supported the idea. I didn't have to think twice. Whether it was reparations for the Jews
murdered in Germany or reparations for the Japanese people forced into U.S~ concentration camps during World War LI, I supported it. As far as I was concerned, the reparations not just well deserved, they
were long overdue. There were grave injustices done. Innocent people were forced into concentration camps, there was institutionalized
racism, institutional cruelty, states sanctioned murder, arid Genocide. The evidence was overwhelming. I didn't have to search my soul or wreck my brain. The issues were obvious, as clear the issue of
But when it comes to reparations for African people around the world, there is much resistance. Millions of African human beings were torn from their homes and their loved-ones so that a relatively small group of oppressors could profit from their unpaid labor. Chattel slavery not only formed the basis for modern predatory capitalism, it meant economic, social and political devastation of Africans on both sides of the ocean. It is not enough to merely acknowledge history, the point is to change the course that history takes. There was no crime more heinous than slavery, and no offense with more enduring consequences. Racism has been passed down from one generation to' the next. Today, in the twenty-~first century, there is a large and vocal assortment of racists who not only oppose reparations, they are opposed to all policies and programs designed to aid people of color. They are totally indifferent to the suffering of African people and other people of color. To them African people have no rights, past or present they are bound to respect The persistence and the prevalence of racism, makes the struggle for reparations more urgent. The demand for reparations encompasses much more than collecting unpaid wages; it is an essential part of our struggle for economic and social justice. Those of us whose ancestors were victimized by slavery and colonialism have the legal and moral right to
compensation. Those who saw their kinsfolk kidnapped, their lands and natural resources plundered are morally and legally entitled to reimbursement. The fight for reparations puts the struggle of African people in a historical context and confronts racist resistance heads-on. We are not asking for favors or for charity, we are demanding what is rightfully ours. Across the Diaspora, Africans need to put our heads together and come up with viable strategies. Hopefully the struggle for reparations will develop into an international struggle, uniting the victims of the slave trade and opponents of the racist world order.
More than 30 years have gone by since I first embraced the idea of reparations. Many people that I talked to back then liked the idea, but thought it was a farfetched notion. Since then the number of people who su pport reparations for Africans and African~Americans has increased greatly. Many people, including heads of state, world leaders, religious leaders, members of Congress, have come out in support of reparations, but there is still an enormous amount of work to be done. The progressive forces around the world are constantly born ba rded by pessi mistic and negative messages. There is always somebody telling us what we CAN'T do instead of telling us. what we CAN do. During different periods of history the abolition of slavery, the end of Jim Crow segregation and the demise of overt colonialism all must have seemed farfetched. What is truly farfetched is that governments that participated in the slave trade, and institutions that enforced and upheld slavery, should remain unrepentant and continue down their racist paths with impunity. What is truly farFetched, is that there be no apologies, no remorse, no atonement, no compensation for hundreds of years of slave labor. There is not enough money in the world to pay African people for the indignities and injustices we hove suffered. There is no amount of money that can compensate for the millions of Africans who lost their lives. There is not enough money in the world to pay us for the rapes, the beatings, the lynchings, or the severed limbs. Reparations will only provide some basic funds so we con undo some of the damage that has been done to us, and to assure us basic resources we need for our basic development. We must compel the United States government to stop waving the confederate flag over the unmarked graves of our ancestors and to take responsibility for its blood stained history.
Minimizing the importance of reparations minimizes the
legitimacy of our struggle. The voices of our ancestors insist on being heard. If those slaves were present today, we know what they would
want us to do. Every generation has a duty to those who come before them, and those who will come after. As the descendants of slaves we have not forgotten. As the descendants of slaves we must never forget. I believe it is the historical duty of all the Africans who live on this planet today to fight for reparations. It is also important for all those in the anfiracist movement to express their support. Social justice is not far-fetched idea. I believe it is inevitable. The more we believe in our ability to free ourselves, the quicker we will move toward freedom.

Assota Shakur,

Havana Cuba, 7/01


A. Jalil Bottom,
/aka/ Jalil Abdul Muntaqim
P.O. Box 618 (77A4283)
135 State Street
Auburn, N.Y. 13024

June 22, 2001


The specific goals of reparations is to make amends, to repair. However, in order to ensure that something is repaired or amended, it is first important to have those from whom one is demanding reparations, to recognize their culpability in the wrong done. Secondly, the offending party should be able to address an entity that represents the interest of the offended party, such representation that can point to what existed prior to the offense being made.

In this regards, America has never apologized for crimes against humanity for engaging in the Afrikan slave trade. The U.S. government do not recognize or acknowledge that it has and continue to commit a crime against humanity. The prerequisite to reparations, then, is the acknowledgement of culpability of America's involvement in the crime of the Afrikan slave trade, of which has not been determine to have been a crime. Secondly, to whom or what entity is reparations to be granted? It is more than apparent that Afrikans in the diaspora has yet to evolve into a holistic and united front or representative body of Afrikans outside the continent. In fact, in the U.S., the majority of Black's consider themselves American's, and therefore, regard themselves subject to the historical and cultural determinants of Americanism. This include subordinating the Afrikan slave trade to an accumulative American experience, divorce of the devastation to Afrika in all of its negative consequences. Therefore, the U.S. does not feel compelled to offer an apology or reparations to people who believe themselves to be a representative member of the country, and its American history. In other words, America has no need to give reparations to other Americans - for what?!

It is here postulated that Afrikan people in the U.S. must, as part of the reparations movement, come to terms as to their ultimate relationship with America and its government of the plutocracy. I dare say that, Afrikan people in America must move toward divorcing themselves of all trappings and identification with being American as part of the overall dynamics to fight and win reparations. Indeed, reparations is not only an issue of monetary compensation, but requires psychological-cultural repair of an Afrikan nation of people. It requires the amending of history and socioeconomic conditions that has sought to deny the existence of an Afrikan people. It ultimately means the ending of the genocidal relationship of Afrikans with America, and the forging of
independence and sovereignty of Afrikan people in the diaspora.

Some 80 years ago, the Honorable Marcus Garvey, proclaimed "Afrika for the Afrikans" - the demanding of reparations must proclaim this fundamental determination, and in so doing, Afrikan people in America must come to terms with their vested interest in being Afrikan, rather than identifying themselves with America. Reparations without Independence and Sovereignty is tantamount to a large welfare payment!!!

Free the Land, Free all Political Prisoners of War!!! Respectfully Submitted,

A. ii Bottom NY-3, BPP/BLA


Bismillah ir Rahman ir Raheem Oct. 3, 2001

TO: The Reparations Mobilization Coalition
FROM: Bashir Hameed, Political Prisoner
RE : Statement on Reparations

As the struggle for Reparations begins to gather momentum, we begin to see more of the avoidance of the issue and the clouding of the issue by the U.S. government and its Western European partners in the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. They also refuse to face the facts that the negative residue of Slavery and Colonialism is still having devastating effects on people of African descent today.

In his recent address on terrorism before the United Nations General Assembly the mayor of New York stated, " Freedom from fear is a basic Human Right . " If that is in fact the , then we have not received our Human Rights , since our arrival here . We came here in chains and the holes of slave ships. What could engender more fear than that? Today we are subjected to the laws and rules of a system that was historical designed to instill fear and terror into the minds of folks of African descent. As a political prison I have first hand knowledge of how corrupt and unjust the judicial system is. Today, it imprisons Blacks at a higher rate per capital than the apartheid system of South Africa did. Daily African lAmericans are subjected to murder and brutality at the hands of fascist and racist police practices. We are denied decent health care, housing and employment.

The Reparations Movement has the potential to be the most unifying issue of the day. It is the one issue that touches people of African descent throughout the world. In our just and righteous demand for
reparations. We must remain vigilant and not allow self-appointed spokesman, apologist for the system, opportunist and Johnnies-come-lately to this issue usurp our Movement on this issue.

In struggle,