Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
Col. Writ. 7/8/04]
Copyright 2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal
The life experience
of Sen. John Kerry, of a man of wealth entering the military, is
a rarity, in this age, and in yesteryear.
During the U.S.
Civil War, rich men could, literally, buy their way out of the services.
They paid several hundred dollars, and poor men, those many without
funds, took their places on the battlefields, and in hundreds of
thousands of graves.
How things have
changed; and how they haven't.
There is no
draft today (yet). Indeed, the military propagandists boast that
America fields an "all-volunteer" military.
While it is
true that there is not a draft, it is another matter to decide whether
or not those who enlist in the military are actually voluntary.
What do they
For tens of
thousands of young men and women, they enlisted in the only place
they could, to learn a marketable trade (like computer technology,
or mechanics), or to earn enough dough to afford college.
This is a class-draft;
a draft by another name of those who are unable to navigate the
When you really
look at it, the War in Iraq is ultimately a class war. Except the
class that fights it didn't decide to fight, and isn't fighting
in their class interest.
some kids are motivated by slick commercials and calls to patriotic
duty, it is virtually assured that for many young folks, if they
were born into a family of means, their patriotism would be displayed
by flags unfurled in their dorm rooms, or fluttering on the breeze
outside their windows.
of Jesus Suarez del Solar is emblematic of many who have found themselves
forced to join the Army to earn a decent living. Jesus, who wanted
to finish high school, was promised $1,000 a month for school by
a military recruiter.
He signed up (although, according to his dad, he received only $620
after various deductions). His father, Fernando, told reporters,
"My heart goes out to the soldiers, many of whom come from
poor communities and joined the military as a way to get an education.
Then they find themselves sent off to a faraway land where they
are exposed to death every day, with their families suffering back
home..." [*People's Tribune/ Tribuno del Pueblo*, July 2004,
know, for, on March 27, 2003, his son Jesus stepped on an undetonated
U.S. cluster bomb, near Diwaniya, in Iraq, and bled to death.
Del Solar went to Iraq for the same reason that his family came
north from Tijuana, Mexico to make a living in hard economic
in Washington and in the offices of the defense industries ordered
this war; but poor people like Jesus are fighting it. They are the
ones who suffer from the carnage in Iraq, and the devastating psychological
scars that will follow them for generations.
have changed; but the interests have not.
It's been almost
150 years since the U.S. Civil War, and still, poor folks fight
for rich men; and kill for them; and die for them.
From el barrios
in San Diego; from ghettoes in Harlem; from depleted mining towns
in West Virginia; from the shadows of silent, closed steel mills,
young men and women search for the promise of a better life in the
hellholes of Iraq, and in the service of the Empire.
fighting for 'democracy'; nor against tyranny; but for sheer survival
in the new globalist economy.
How little things
have really changed.
2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal
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© copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.