National peoples campaign

The National People’s Campaign was initially formed in 1995 in order to combat the’ racism and death penalty. We recognized that these initiatives were a must in today America. Furthermore, we regarded one manifestation of a much larger, ongoing threat to the rights of workers, people of color, women, immigrants, the youngs communitiy, and other disenfranchised groups.

The strategic conception of the NPC is that independent, mass struggle is the most effective way to resist the attack upon people’s rights. We are not just fighting for our rights; we believe that society needs a new Bill of Rights — a genuine people’s contract — that would guarantee social justice, a decent paying job, free health care, education, childcare and housing for all members of society.

African Author to visit Mumia

WOLE SOYINKA, NOBEL-PRIZE WINNING
AFRICAN AUTHOR AND HUMAN RIGHTS
ACTIVIST, WILL HOLD A PRESS CONFERENCE
IN PITTSBURGH ON JUNE 10, 2000, AFTER MEETING
WITH MUMIA ABU-JAMAL ON DEATH ROW

Pittsburgh, PA. June 2, 2000. Wole Soyinka, one of the world’s
great writers, will hold a press conference in Pittsburgh on Saturday,
June 10, 2000,shortly after his meeting with Mumia Abu-Jamal on
death row at State Correctional Institution Greene in Waynesburg,
Pennsylvania.  The time and place of the press conference will be
announced later.

Soyinka, author of distinguished plays, poetry, novels, essays, and
memoirs, won the  Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986, the first
African writer to do so.  He has received numerous other prestigious
awards, including honorary doctorates from universities around the world.

His most famous book is MYTH, LITERATURE, AND THE
AFRICAN WORLD (1975). His most recent book is THE OPEN
SORE OF A CONTINENT: PERSONAL NARRATIVE
OF THE NIGERIAN CRISIS (1996).
Always outspoken on issues of justice, which he considers to be
“the first condition of humanity,” Soyinka is considered by
many to be the conscience of Nigeria and one of the most outspoken
defenders of human rights in Africa and worldwide.  Soyinka is no
stranger to prisons and the death penalty.

He was arrested and held as a political prisoner by the Nigerian
government between 1967 and 1969, an experience that resulted
in the book entitled THE MAN DIED: PRISON NOTES (1972).

In 1997 the regime of military dictator Sani Abacha falsely accused
him of bombing attacks against the army and sentenced him to death,
a decision reversed by a subsequent government.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, an award-winning African-American journalist,
has been on death row since his arrest and conviction for allegedly
killing a Philadelphia police officer in 1981, despite questionable
evidence, police coercion of witnesses, false cofessions concocted
by the police, constitutional violations during the original trial, and
new evidence unearthed during the appeal process.

At the time of his arrest, he was president of the Philadelphia branch
of the Association of Black Journalists. He holds an M.A. degree
from California State University, Dominguez Hills. Two of his books –
LIVE FROM DEATH ROW (1995) and DEATH BLOSSOMS:
REFLECTIONS OF A PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE (1997)
– have been translated into several languages.  His most recent book is
ALL THINGS CENSORED (2000).
A federal court is currently reviewing his final, habeas corpus appeal.

Article on Russell Shoats

US court upholds nine-year solitary
confinement of Philadelphia man

By Tom Bishop
3 June 2000

A three-judge panel of the US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia
has unanimously ruled that Pennsylvania authorities may continue the
nine-year solitary confinement of Russell Shoats, a former member of a
militant black activists’ organization.

In the decision, Circuit Judge Richard L. Nygaard of Erie, said Shoats has
been in the “hole” since June 1991 “because he is, in the considered
judgment of all the prison professionals who have evaluated him, a current
threat to … security, and … to the safety of other people.” ( To read
the court’s decision go to:
http://vls.law.vill.edu/locator/3d/May2000/993603.txt).

Shoats is in “administrative custody” at the State Correctional
Institution at Greene in Western Pennsylvania. He is kept in his cell 23
hours a day, five days a week, and 24 hours a day for the other two days.
He eats meals alone. He has been denied visits with family for eight
years. He has no organized activities, no radio, no TV, no telephone calls
“except emergency or legal calls,” no books other than legal materials
“and a personal religious volume.” At the appeal hearing, prison officials
acknowledged that they generally are concerned about the psychological
damage to an inmate after 90 days of such confinement and would generally
recommend transfer to the general population after 90 days as a
consequence.

Shoats was sentenced to life in prison for allegedly participating with
five other activists in the August 29, 1970 shooting of Fairmount Park
Police Sgt. Frank Von Colin in Philadelphia. Shoats was part of the Black
Unity Movement, one of several paramilitary groups that formed during the
period in response to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s initiating COINTELPRO
in 1968, a program which included infiltration and disruption of the Black
Panther Party. The program led to the murder of dozens of members of the
Black Panther Party and the frame-ups of many more. In the decision to
continue Shoats’ solitary confinement, Judge Nygaard said, “Shoats
participated in the attack as a member of a black revolutionary group that
sought to eradicate all authority.”

Tensions were high in Philadelphia in the summer of 1970 because
Philadelphia Police Chief Frank Rizzo had ordered a crackdown on militant
groups in the run-up to the national convention of the Black Panther Party
in Philadelphia on September 5, 1970. The shooting of Von Colin prompted a
2 a.m. raid on the Black Panther headquarters in North Philadelphia. After
the raid police officials allowed news photographers to take humiliating
photos of the Black Panthers being strip searched on the street.

Shoats escaped from Huntingdon State Prison for 27 days in 1977, and for 3
days in 1980 from the Fairview State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.
After the 1977 escape, he was kept in the “hole” from 1977 to 1982 except
for the one year he spent at Fairview. Shoats had been sent to Fairview by
the court after he was diagnosed as being a paranoid schizophrenic. He had
previously attempted jail breaks in 1972 and 1976.

In a 1982 interview with the radio station WQRO at the Huntingdon County
Courthouse where Shoats was being retried for a kidnapping and robbery
during his 1977 escape, Shoats said, “I don’t feel as though I’m guilty
for what I’m charged with…. Consequently, I’ve always got the hope that
somewhere along the line I’ll get out of prison.”

Five members of the Black Unity Movement were convicted of first-degree
murder in Von Colin’s death. The sixth, Richard Thomas, fled and was at
large for 26 years. He was arrested in suburban Chicago in March 1996. The
only incriminating evidence found in Thomas’s apartment in 1970 was a
telephone book with numerous names, including those of several
codefendants in the case.

Prosecutors tried to persuade two men convicted in the killing, Hugh
Sinclair Williams and Alvin Joiner, to testify against Thomas in exchange
for a recommendation by prosecutors that their life sentences would be
commuted, but the defendants refused. Thomas, who did not testify,
contended that he fled because he feared he would be railroaded – or shot
- by police after he was identified as a suspect. Thomas was acquitted in
a jury trial on November 3, 1999. Juror Bill Forman said, “Some black
jurors remembered the times – 1970 – that it had been difficult being a
black.” The jury included six blacks and six whites.

The use of solitary confinement has a long tradition in Pennsylvania. In
1829, Eastern State Penitentiary opened in Philadelphia. It was the
creation of the Philadelphia Society for Alleviating the Miseries of
Public Prisons, a group of “free thinkers” and Quakers. Instead of the
previous methods of punishment by torture, dismemberment and death, they
advocated solitary confinement where the prisoners could meditate on their
sins and resolve to live a better life.

Known as the “Pennsylvania System,” it was considered progressive because
it combined punishment and hoped for reform. All of the cell blocks
radiated from a central rotunda that allowed maximum security and
surveillance. Inmates were alone in individual cells that had a bed, a
toilet, a worktable, a small exercise yard, a skylight and a Bible. Human
contact was kept to the minimum possible. The penitentiary’s radical
design became the model for 300 similar prisons in Europe, Asia and South
America. The practice of solitary confinement as a prison-wide policy was
abandoned at the prison by the end of the nineteenth century because it
was found to drive inmates insane. The prison closed in 1971 and is now a
national historic landmark.

After touring Eastern State in 1842, the British novelist Charles Dickens
condemned solitary confinement, stating: “I hold this slow and daily
tampering with the mysteries of the brain is immeasurably worse than any
torture of the body.” ( See “Philadelphia and its Solitary prison” from
“American Notes” by Charles Dickens:
http://www.bibliomania.com/Fiction/dickens/American/chap07.html)

August 13 March for Mumia in Los Angeles For Immediate Release

August 13 March for Mumia in Los Angeles
For Immediate Release                                                   July 14, 2000

Los Angeles Activists Denounce Threats By Mayor Richard “Bull” Riordan
To Use Violence Against Protesters at Democratic National Convention
San Francisco Bay Area Organizers Sending Buses to L.A. Protest

 

A coalition of organizations and activists working to build the August 13 march and rally that calls for a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal and an end to the death penalty today condemned the threats made by Mayor Richard Riordan to use violence and repression against demonstrators outside the Democratic National Convention.

“Mayor Riordan’s shameful threat in today’s Los Angeles Times to use the LAPD against people expressing their First Amendment right to free speech and assembly is an attack on the rights of the people who will protest the Democrat convention. This is especially appalling considering the latest revelations of the LAPD’s record of brutality, racism and corruption,” said John Parker, a leading activist in the International Action Center/Millions for Mumia, which is playing a key role in the Aug. 13 demonstration.

“Even more astonishing are the mayor’s comments that ‘we cannot tolerate non-violent civil disobedience.’ Comparing the demonstrators to Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mayor Riordan states: ‘Then, like Gandhi and King, they must be prepared to pay stiff fines and face arrest and jail.’ Apparently the mayor approves of the punishments handed out to those who have historically resisted colonialism, racism and other injustices!

“Mayor Riordan, who now threatens protesters with rubber bullets and pepper spray, aspires to play the role of the infamous Alabama Sheriff Eugene ‘Bull’ Connor who unleashed gas, dogs, water cannon and other violence on Dr. King and all those who marched against racism in the 1960s.

“We will not be intimidated by the threats of Mayor Richard ‘Bull’ Riordan,” said Parker. “We will march and rally by the thousands on Sunday, August 13, demanding a new trial and stay of execution for Mumia Abu-Jamal and an end to the racist, anti-poor death penalty.”

In the San Francisco Bay Area, a wide range of community activists are organizing buses to take people to the August 13 protest. At least 5 buses will be filled. Support for the August 13 National March and Rally for Mumia is growing quickly. “With the passing of Proposition 21 in California and the targeting of youth of color by the state, youth feel a greater need to protest at the Democratic National Convention,” said Rachel Aoanan, a youth organizer for Millions for Mumia/International Action Center. We have dubbed this ‘the Summer of Resistance,’ and we will fill the streets of Los Angeles to tell the Democrats that we consider them equally responsible for increased repression from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

“Mumia Abu-Jamal is a hero to youth activists, and we are committed to working with hundreds of thousands in the U.S. to win him a new trial, which we know will free him,” said Aoanan.

“Buses are coming from as far away as Seattle, and committees are mobilizing in more than 50 cities throughout California and the western U.S. to be in LA on Aug. 13 and the following days. We call upon the city officials to stop threatening violence against the demonstrations taking place that day and week,” Wood continued. “It is the mayor, the police chief and other officials who are responsible for deliberately attempting to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation. But they will not deter us or the thousands of others who are coming to LA. The city should immediately issue the requested permits for the Mumia march, the D2K activities, the protest against the Iraq sanctions, and the other protests scheduled for Aug. 13-17.”

Prominent endorsers of the August 13 National March include former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Roman Catholic Bishop Thomas Gumbleton of Detroit, Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr. of Pastors for Peace, Abu-Jamal’s attorney Leonard Weinglass, former political prisoner Geronimo ji Jaga (Pratt), poet Martin Espada, and many others. For more information, or to schedule an interview, call 415-821-6545 or 213-487-2368.

_____________________________________________________________

March For Mumia At the Democratic Convention
Sunday, August 13
Assemble 12 Noon Pershing Square (5th & Olive)
March & 4 PM Rally Staples Center

End The Racist Death Penalty!
Stop Police Terror!
Shutdown The Prison-Industrial Complex!
New Trial For Mumia NOW! Stop The Execution !

Volunteers Urgently Needed!

Get Involved Today As An Organizer, Volunteer, Or Intern
Contact The International Action Center, Ph: (213) 487-2368
e-mail: iacenterla@earthlink.net l www.mumia2000.org
Around the country a Summer of Resistance is being organized to fight for justice and win a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal. This is a fight against police terror, abuse and racism. It’s time to abolish the death penalty and provide people with jobs, education and housing – not prisons! With the eyes of the world on L.A. for the convention, we can show we won’t take it anymore. Join this fight for freedom and justice.
Shaka Sankofa, also known as Gary Graham, an innocent man, was executed on June 22 in Texas, but his contributions to the movement for social justice, and spirit lives on in the struggle to end the death penalty and win a new and fair trial for Mumia. In the spirit of Shaka Sankofa, build a Summer of Resistance !
Volunteer Meetings/Work Sessions
Every Saturday at 11am, Thursday, July 6th, at 7 pm – and every Tuesday thereafter to August 13, starting at 6:30 pm. at the IAC offices, 422 S. Western Ave. #114, L.A
(Near Wilshire/Western Metro stop.) Childcare available, call in advance. Plan for Summer of Resistance activities, resource materials available, get flyers and posters. Any time you’re available to volunteer will help. Contact us !
What You Can Do
        Come to a volunteer work session and meeting. Volunteer any time you may have available. Visit our offices.
Visit www.mumia2000.org to get in touch with an organizing center in your area and get bus and carpool info. to the DNC Aug. 13. If you’re outside of Los Angeles, start an organizing center in your area. Contact us for guides to organize a bus or carpool to the DNC Aug. 13. Request an organizers packet to help mobilize in your area. Hold a house meeting or meeting in your community contact us for videos and speakers.
Build a contingent of your school, faith community, union, or organization for Aug. 13.

 

March For Mumia At the Democratic Convention
Sunday, August 13
Assemble 12 Noon Pershing Square (5th & Olive)
March & 4 PM Rally Staples Center

End The Racist Death Penalty!
Stop Police Terror!
Shutdown The Prison-Industrial Complex!
New Trial For Mumia NOW! Stop The Execution !

Volunteers Urgently Needed!

Get Involved Today As An Organizer, Volunteer, Or Intern
Contact The International Action Center, Ph: (213) 487-2368
e-mail: iacenterla@earthlink.net l www.mumia2000.org
Around the country a Summer of Resistance is being organized to fight for justice and win a new trial for Mumia Abu-Jamal. This is a fight against police terror, abuse and racism. It’s time to abolish the death penalty and provide people with jobs, education and housing – not prisons! With the eyes of the world on L.A. for the convention, we can show we won’t take it anymore. Join this fight for freedom and justice.
Shaka Sankofa, also known as Gary Graham, an innocent man, was executed on June 22 in Texas, but his contributions to the movement for social justice, and spirit lives on in the struggle to end the death penalty and win a new and fair trial for Mumia. In the spirit of Shaka Sankofa, build a Summer of Resistance !
Volunteer Meetings/Work Sessions
Every Saturday at 11am, Thursday, July 6th, at 7 pm – and every Tuesday thereafter to August 13, starting at 6:30 pm. at the IAC offices, 422 S. Western Ave. #114, L.A
(Near Wilshire/Western Metro stop.) Childcare available, call in advance. Plan for Summer of Resistance activities, resource materials available, get flyers and posters. Any time you’re available to volunteer will help. Contact us !
What You Can Do
        Come to a volunteer work session and meeting. Volunteer any time you may have available. Visit our offices.
Visit www.mumia2000.org to get in touch with an organizing center in your area and get bus and carpool info. to the DNC Aug. 13. If you’re outside of Los Angeles, start an organizing center in your area. Contact us for guides to organize a bus or carpool to the DNC Aug. 13. Request an organizers packet to help mobilize in your area. Hold a house meeting or meeting in your community contact us for videos and speakers.
Build a contingent of your school, faith community, union, or organization for Aug. 13.

Make a financial contribution. Mail checks to: 422 S. Western Ave. #114 Los Angeles, CA. 90020. Tax deductible donations over $50.00 can be written to: Peoples Rights Fund.