Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
VS Protestors at the Port
3:78 MBs, 4:41
Short version: mp3,
2.61 MBs, 3:13
in the ominous black uniforms, helmets and jackboots reminiscent
of stormtroopers, level their shotguns and fire into crowds of innocents.
People standing around and people trying to run away are hit by
wooden plug-like bullets, bean-bag projectiles and concussion grenades.
The wooden plugs look like the spools around
which thread is wound, and their wide, flat ends raise welts on
the bodies of a score of people. One young woman's right jaw is
swollen to the size of a baseball, her neck reddened and discolored.
This is not
Belfast at the time of 'the troubles'; nor is it a roiling perpetual
protest in the heart of the neo-dragon, South Korea. This is Oakland,
April 2003, under the mayorship of Jerry Brown, the state's former
Governor, who ran as a 'progressive' in
recent presidential elections. The shot, wounded, arrested, and
seized are legal protesters and bystanders at the Oakland docks,
who have come to protest the then-raging Iraqi War. The police lash
out at them with a vengeance that is stunning. Jack Heyman, the
Business Manager of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union
(ILWU) tries to approach police to speak on behalf of workers who
were attacked, and then he finds himself arrested, and would be
among 29 people held for 19 hours in jail before being released,
for nothing more than exercising the alleged First Amendment right
of protest, free assembly, and free speech.
the anti-war protesters were trying to block the work of the APL
(formerly American President Lines) which stands to gain millions
of taxpayer dollars from the Defense Department each year, shipping
military cargo. It was to protect these private business interests
that those sworn to 'serve and protect' the people, lashed out at
the people, with weapons that caused broken bones, hearing loss,
puncture wounds and abrasions. They may be sworn to protect the
people, but they are paid to protect the established. As ever, when
it's a conflict between labor and industry, labor is left holding
The march, which
began at Oakland's City Hall, originally featured the presence of
national and local luminaries, including acclaimed singer and actor
Harry Belafonte, film star Danny Glover, U.S. Congresswoman Barbara
Lee, various Bay Area artists like D'Wayne Wiggins, Goapele, Boots
of the Coup, and even the Vice-Mayor of Oakland, Nancy Nadel. But
police follow the orders of business, not politicians.
attack was an attempt by the state's armed forces to quiet the spreading
anti-war movement, and to protect the wealth being made on this
war by U.S. corporations.
The police attack
was designed to quiet the growing swell of anti-imperialism being
heard across the land. That's why everybody was targeted, trade
unionists, students, dockworkers, you name it.
The formal stage
of the Iraq War may have ended, but the war against Empire must
still be waged. For millions of Americans, they never voted for,
and do not approve the establishment of a Middle East Empire in
their name. They know that such a state will do nothing to secure
their security, but only makes their lives, and the lives of their
children, woefully unsafe.
That's why protests
are so important.
why the state so opposes them.
It is time for
those who have always taken their alleged constitutional rights
of free speech, freedom of assembly, and the right of protest to
seriously question these actions by the police. They should call
for the immediate dropping of all charges against the Oakland Port
protesters (and, of course, those who were simply there, as workers
and passersby). They should also demand that the police be held
responsible for this violent attack on the people.
agent Kevin Willis declared the attacks were "unnecessary,"
and an "overreact[ion]". "This is the second protest
in two months where the Oakland police reacted violently to anti-war
protests," Willis charged. "The other time," he argued,
"it was against the children." (San Francisco Bay View,
4/9/03, p. 12).
at this behavior should let the Mayor know about it. Oakland's Jerry
Brown's number is (510) 238-3141.
Drop all the
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.