Donate Email Alert Links Photo Gallery Mumia' Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays Prison Radio

Prison Radio
Mumia' Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays
Photo Gallery
Mumia Email Update
Mumia Gear
Radio Programmers
Contact Us





Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts

Higher Quality Audio files available info@prisonradio.org

Copyright 2008 Mumia Abu-Jamal/Prison Radio

Of Power and Empire

recorded 3/22//08

1) 2:32 Radio Essay - short - MP3

2) 3:11 Radio Essay - long - MP3

Of Power & Empire

[col. writ. 3/22/08] (c) '08 Mumia Abu-Jamal

    There is still over half a year until election day, and it is unclear who will prevail.

    For argument's sake, let us suppose Sen. Barack Obama (D. - IL) becomes the history-maker of the hour.

    What does that mean?

    Well, it depends on whom you ask. For some Americans, it means a true social transformation in the nature of the nation. For others (especially those who consider themselves white supremacists) it means a nightmare come to life.

    For international observers, it will be seen as both change and chance; change in how America is perceived; and a chance for a new road in U.S. foreign policy.

    Some will view it with amazement; others will greet it with relief.

    But when I was asked about it recently, my reply was brief; "It means a brown, new, pretty face for the empire.  The present President is seen as an idiot, and the face of American bellicosity.  This guy has brought so much chaos to bear, that they need a new face -- and Obama brings a new face.

    The interviewer, a foreign journalist, sounded somewhat shocked, but there it is.

    In manner and attitude, the U.S. empire brings to mind the Empire of Rome.

    In ancient Rome, elections were made by proclamation, and acclamation.  That means the would - be emperor would proclaim his right to rule, and if the Senate (which theoretically represented the People), and more importantly, the Army, acclaimed that right, the candidate was hailed as true emperor.

     That's the theory, at least, but in reality the army often named emperors, and everybody else went along with their choice.  They chose men of varying abilities and characters.  Some, like Maximin, were brutes much like the military men who nominated them.

    Others, like Nero and Caligula, were madmen, pure and simple.

    As the great English historian, Edward Gibbon, in his classic The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (London: Penguin Classics, 200 [orig. 1776] wrote of the army as maker of emperors:

                    The daring hopes of ambition were set loose from the salutary restraints of law

                    and prejudice; and the meanest of mankind might, without folly, entertain a hope

                    of being raised by valour and fortune to a rank in the army, in which a single

                    crime would enable him to wrest the sceptre of the world from his feeble and

                    unpopular master.  After the murder of Alexander Severus, and the elevation of

                    Maximin, no emperor could think himself safe upon the throne, and every

                    barbarian peasant of the frontier might aspire to that august, but dangerous

                    station. [p.91]

    An empire is a lot like a machine, an it matters little who pushes the button.  Empires need figureheads, and figureheads are notoriously interchangeable -- for the question is, can the machine do, what the machine does?

    In essence, can it work?

     A president, no matter how powerful, does not the nation make.

    They are, in many ways, the bully-in-chief, who can command not only military power, but the power to decide which issues will be deemed important.

    But, as we've seen, there are limits to their power.  They actually don't control the economy, for one thing; for another, there are limits to military power, as Iraq has shown, above all.

    With the economy in free-fall, oil prices  tripled since the war started, steroids, medicines, and human waste in drinking water, schools barely functional, the presidential race seems almost like the latest distraction.

    As for the machine of imperial politics--does it work-for you?

--(c) '08 maj


[Mr. Jamal's recent book features a chapter on the
remarkable women who helped build and defend
the Black Panther Party: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.


The campaign to kill Mumia is in full swing and we need you to
**please** contact as many publications and information outlets as
you possibly can to run Mumia's commentaries (on-line and
**especially off-line**)!! The only requirements are that you run
them *unedited*, with every word including copyright information
intact, and send a copy of the publication to Mumia and/or ICFFMAJ.

Keep updated by reading ACTION ALERTS!!
at http://www.mumia.org, http://www.onamove.com/ and their links.

To download Mp3's of Mumia's commentaries visit
http://www.prisonradio.org or http://www.fsrn.org

The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!

International Concerned Family & Friends of MAJ
P.O. Box 19709
Philadelphia, PA 19143
Phone - 215-476-8812/ Fax - 215-476-6180
E-mail - icffmaj@aol.com

Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at:
Mumia Abu-Jamal
AM 8335
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370


Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa

Subscribe: mumiacolumns-subscribe@topica.com
Read: http://topica.com/lists/mumiacolumns/read
Subscribe ICFFMAJ email updates list by e-mailing

[Check out Mumia's latest: *WE WANT FREEDOM:
A Life in the Black Panther Party*, from South
End Press (http://www.southendpress.org); Ph.

"When a cause comes along and you know in your bones that it is
just, yet refuse to defend it--at that moment you begin to die.
And I have never seen so many corpses walking around talking about
justice." - Mumia Abu-Jamal

For additional information and to order Mumia's new book We Want Freedom,

visit: southendpress.org

Check out Mumia's NEW book:
"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life of African and African-American People" at www.africanworld.com