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Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Broadcasts

When Liberals Attack

Long version: mp3, 3.2 MBs, 3:42
Short version: mp3, 1.8 MBs, 2:11

[Col. Recorded 12/15/02]

"Conquest may be effected under the pretense of friendship, and ourselves after a long and brave resistance, be at last cheated into slavery."
— Tom Paine, "Common Sense" (1776)

What, 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 its doom.

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Submitted by: Sis. Marpessa

Copyright 2002 Mumia Abu-Jamal