Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts
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may be effected under the pretense of friendship, and ourselves
a long and brave resistance, be at last cheated into slavery."
Tom Paine, "Common Sense" (1776)
one wonders, is a liberal? The poet, Robert Frost, once opined that,
"A Liberal is a man too broadminded to take his own side in
a quarrel." It is a peculiar ability of true poets to capture
complexities in a few words. In an American political context, the
word 'liberal' has become an epithet, and a kind of slur. It is
a political truism that few politicians, at least, are wont to describe
themselves as 'liberal.' This is a sign of the power of American
conservatism, that it compels its opponents to run from such an
appellation. It is also a reflection of the power of American concentrated
corporate wealth, which owns through mega-mergers and acquisitions,
the vast majority of the nation's media, and through which it crafts
an increasingly conservative, business-oriented, "free-market"
social and political environment. The history of American political
liberalism also leaves much to be desired. One can barely mention
the term without evoking the names of U.S. presidents and senators
like Kennedy, Johnson or Humphrey. Millions of African-Americans
know of, or easily remember, the images of the Kennedy brothers,
flanking a photo of Martin Luther King, Jr., (or even a painting
of a white Christ) beaming down from the walls of a living room,
or treasured trove in a kitchen. How many knew that the Kennedy
brothers, as the president and attorney general, knew of, approved,
and used information from FBI illegal surveillance and wiretaps
of the Rev. Dr. Martin L. King? Or that president Johnson did likewise?
That as he passed an unprecedented civil rights bill through Congress,
his FBI was violating the civil and constitutional rights of hundreds
of thousands of Americans under the infamous COINTELPRO program?
Or that, 2 months before President Kennedy's assassination, the
FBI's deputy director, William Sullivan, would call the American
civil rights movement "a clear threat to the established order"?
Even as far back as 1950, it was "liberal" senators like
Hubert Humphrey and Herbert Lehman who proposed the erection of
"detention centers" (actually concentration camps) for
"suspected subversives," who would be held without trial!
This bill became law, and stood for almost 20 years, until repealed
in 1968. The roots of liberal betrayal go deep indeed. This trait
survives, and indeed has deepened in the current Clintonism, or
what some have called "neo-liberalism." "Neo-liberalism"
is essentially conservatism with a sweet
smile. For, as the conservatives serve the business interests of
capital, and are thus tied to them for resources, in truth, so too
are the liberals. They both serve a system that protects capital
above all else. Said differently, liberal politicians have no separate
base from which they can draw the resources to grow and thrive.
So, they promise their various constituencies one thing, while serving
others once they get in office. If pushed, they betray that constituency,
ala Clinton. It's time for the rise of radicalism at the
very least -- or the betrayal at the heart of liberalism will spell
Check out Mumia's
"Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life
of African and African-American People" at www.africanworld.com
The Power of Truth
is Final -- Free Mumia!
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Copyright 2002 Mumia Abu-Jamal