We are all taught, seemingly in the cradle, about the glorious Constitution, a document that lies at the very heart of America's civil religion.
Schoolchildren used to be taught to memorize broad swaths of its provisions (although it's extremely doubtful that this is done today, in the wake of the disastrous 'No Child Left Behind' policy), along with the national mythology of the Founding Fathers as latter-day Olympians handing down freedom from the heavens.
Of all our myths, those inculcated in early childhood are those the hardest to shatter, because they are often the foundations of our understanding.
But all nations have founding myths. The Greeks, for centuries, believed in a pantheon of capricious and often malevolent gods, like Zeus, Athena, Hera, and Ares, to explain the uncertainties and travails of life, death, wisdom and war.
The 'founding fathers', as taught to U.S. kids, is a modern American myth, for how can slave owners be bringers of freedom, unless they free their slaves? And almost all of them -- George Washington, Thomas Jefferson -- even Patrick Henry (he of 'Give me liberty,or give me death' fame) -- owned slaves, even as he uttered these words, and then wrote them.
MOVE supporter, I. Abdul Jon used to say, 'You only need to talk and write about freedom of speech, and freedom of religion and all other kinds of freedom if you ain't got it; 'cause if you got it, and ain't got no problem with nobody else havin' it -- and it's real, you ain't gotta write about, and talk about protectin' it, and whatnot....'
In 1865, as the smoke was clearing from the U.S. Civil War, Congress passed the so-called Reconstruction Amendments, allegedly granting citizenship to millions of Black freemen, many of whom fought to preserve the Union. These constitutional amendments prohibited discriminations, and protected voting rights. On paper.
In fact, through white terrorism, racist courts and legislatures, those constitutional "rights" were ignored for 100 years, by both state and federal governments, until the rise of the modern civil rights movement at the middle of the 20th century.
And now, we have the rise of another myth, that of the freedoms brought by these movements, or granted by enlightened courts.
Truth is, new freedoms did emerge, for those who could afford them. By that I mean, a select class freedom was granted to the Black middle class, who could access it.
For the Black poor, the constitution has all of the relevance as that expressed by the writer, Anatole France, who quipped: "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread."
Where is the constitutional right to an education, to a home, to a job -- or to life?
As long as a piece of paper is worshipped, people will continue to suffer -- as others celebrate.
--(c) '09 maj
The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!
Audio of most of Mumia's essays are at: http://www.prisonradio.org
Mumia Abu-Jamal's new book -- JAILHOUSE LAWYERS: PRISONERS DEFENDING PRISONERS V. THE USA, featuring an introduction by Angela Y. Davis -- will be released soon!
It will be available from City Lights Books at a 30% discount weeks before you can get it at any other bookstore, or from Amazon.
Sign up for an email alert and when the book becomes available for sale you'll receive an email letting you know: http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100448090
In support of Mumia and the publication of JAILHOUSE LAWYERS, organizations around the country will be holding "More Than a Book Party" events on or around Mumia's birthday, April 24, 2009.
If you are planning to organize an event or would like to order in bulk, you can also receive a 45% discount on any bulk orders of 20 copies or more. The book retails for $16.95, for orders of 20 copies or more the discounted price would be $9.32 per book, plus shipping and handling. Prepayment would be required and books are nonreturnable. If you or your organization would like to place a bulk order, please contact Stacey Lewis at 415.362.1901 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Let's use the opportunity of the publication of this brilliant, moving, vintage Mumia book to build the momentum for his case, to raise the money we desperately need in these challenging economic times, to get the word out – to produce literature, flyers, posters, videos, DVD's; to send organizers out to help build new chapters and strengthen old ones, TO GET THE PEOPLE OUT IN THE STREETS … all the work that we must do in order to FREE MUMIA as he faces LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE OR EXECUTION!
Please make a contribution to help free Mumia. Donations to the grassroots work will go to both INTERNATIONAL CONCERNED FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL and the FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL COALITION (NYC).
Please mail donations/ checks to:
FREE MUMIA ABU JAMAL COALITION
PO BOX 16, NEW YORK,
(CHECKS FOR BOTH ORGANIZATIONS PAYABLE TO: FMAJC/IFCO)
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Send our brotha some LOVE and LIGHT at:
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370
WE WHO BELIEVE IN FREEDOM CAN *NOT* REST!!
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