Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
God's sake, let us sit upon the ground, And tell sad stories of
the death of kings:..." William Shakespeare "Richard
passage of the 40th US President, Ronald Wilson Reagan into eternity
has sparked a media frenzy, as well as a ruling class attempt at
that repositions him as a virtual reincarnation of Lincoln. Lincoln
was cast as the Great Emancipator; Reagan, the Great Communicator.
There are many,
however, both within and without the US, who have a far different
view of the Reagan years. They saw behind the actor to the scriptwriters,
toiled in the shadows of Wall Street, and who supported the former
California Governor, from his earliest days when he began to betray
his class. Reagan's ascension
to the presidency came after a career of an FBI snitch, when, as
head of the Screen Actors Guild, he named names to the nefarious
J. Edgar Hoover, of those suspected of being 'Reds.' His political
career was built upon this foundation of betrayal, of the class
he was born into, his fellow workers in Hollywood, his former political
party, and of those 'fellow Americans' who had the misfortune of
being born without silver spoons in their mouths.
Governor he supported a vicious war against the Black Panther Party,
and the entire Black Liberation Movement, to curry favor with the
core of his political support, white nationalists. He sparked the
deepening of the poisonous prison industrial complex that continues
to ricochet across America.
to Wall Street, and his antipathy against poor and working class
Americans, can best be seen in the economic policies that favored
the former, and
beggared the latter, by the transfer of public monies from social
programs to fund the military industrial complex, in a program to
spend the former Soviets into the ground. This he did, but it also
sent the US economy into freefall.
Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward noted in their classic *The
New Class War* (South End: 1982/1985), Reagan's policies amounted
to an "Attack on the Welfare State" which sought to undermine
labor, and the poor, to the benefit of the wealthy. Reagan launched
incessant assaults on all sorts of social programs, for, as Piven
& Cloward explained:
programs are coming under assault because they limit profits by
enlarging the bargaining power of workers with employers. [p. 13]
indeed an actor, whose performance attracted the support of people
who voted against their own interests.
the greatest tragedy of the Reagan era may be the deep suffering
of the poor and working people of Latin and Central America. There,
Reagan unleashed a
terrorist army of psychopaths who ravaged the nations of Nicaragua,
of El Salvador, of Honduras, and beyond. Reagan, ever the actor,
tried to paint the so-called *contras* as "freedom fighters",
who he likened to "our Founding Fathers." They were, in
fact, mostly members of the dreaded *La Guardia Nacional*, the former
Nicaraguan dictator, Anastasio Somoza's henchmen, who were described
by the Colombian diplomat, Clara Nieto as "nothing more than
gangs of terrorists and assassins" [Nieto, *Masters of War*
(7 Stories: 2003), p. 329].
administration, stung by critics, rushed to change the image of
the *contras*, and used the CIA to create a nicer-seeming 'contra'
unleashed a group that waged US-supported atrocities against the
country. This group, who some called the "Key Biscayne Mafia"
erected "its own courts, its own prisons, its own torture chambers
and clandestine cemeteries where it buried those it executed,"
according to Nieto.
echo of 'our Founding Fathers' threw corpses into the river, and
operated terror centers, where, Nieto writes: "Women were raped
daily" [p. 330]. To fund the *contras*, his administration
broke the law. Their goal, according to Reagan, was to get the Nicaraguan
government to "say 'Uncle'."
There may be
millions in the 'other America', America Latina, who view the passing
of 'The Great Communicator' far differently than that reflected
in the media; but they are invisible.
2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal
information and to order We Want Freedom, visit:
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"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life
of African and African-American People" at www.africanworld.com
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.