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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  April 17, 2010 7:00pm-8:30pm EDT

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>> guest: no. i mean, there were true stories like it. i mean, there -- you know, there were -- women were forced to wear a's or sometimes in the case, interestingly enough, in some cases, ad for adultery, and father of hester's child is arthur dimmesdale, ad, so anybody in the community could have gotten it, but of course, you know, hawthorne is satirizing the community there too. c-span: impact at the time this was written. >> guest: powerful. very, very powerful. for two reasons. not just because of the kind of scandalous nature of the story, which it was, and passionate, powerful story. i mean, amazing woman at the center of this book, who really stays true to herself, no matter how she is excoriated or punished, but also because she appended to the front of it a little essay about his being booted out of the custom house. we talked about that. in which he sent up -- you
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know, he satirized all the custom house cohorts and told that he had been fired in no uncertain terms, so the first part of the book created kind of scandal that's not scandalous to us anymore today, and then, of course, the second part of the book seems shocking, it's a novel about adultery. how dare you. c-span: we are out of time. this cover is what? >> guest: that is a wonderful portrait of nathaniel hawthorne that actually hangs in a club in new york city. and it was taken -- it was done of him when he was about 46 years old. (unintelligible). c-span: brenda wineapple, our guest, "hawthorne: the life." thank you very much. >> guest: thank you. ..
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>> host: tonight we're speaking be at telephone with journalist and right 39 u.s. spent the last 28 years on pennsylvania's death row we're also joined by two distinguished scholars from
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princeton university dr. cornel west father of many books authored dr. patricia fernandez kelley from princeton university department of sociology. [applause] we would like to give special thanks to city lights books the independent press who published mumia abu-jamal new book "jailhouse lawyers" and in particular the editor we have to get through prison walls and rules in order to speak with mumia abu-jamal and they do to everyone for your vision not only what is but what might be possible. we welcome all of you. just a little word of logistics we will open with cornel west and patricia fernandez kelley and we will
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start talking with each other. we hope within a few minutes we will have mumia abu-jamal on the line to engage in conversation they only have 50 minutes for conversation and should we be lucky enough to win a little more time we will invite members of the audience to ask questions as well. when you make a connection with somebody in prison especially maximum security facility, you also become subject to rules and we will be treated to things like recordings periodically while mumia is on a wide it could be prevented or interrupted so we have to improvise and we will do okay. we have a fact sheet on his legal case recently put together by mark taylor and a founding member of it
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educators it is a very useful and informative sheet after the call comes we can take questions we are glad to have so many people in the room who have bought in and written extensively about this case. if i may turn to our panelists, we have time to begin our discussion before mumia rings in. dr. west, mumia abu-jamal case has exemplified the era of american politics just as sharply as the struggles of others such as the rosenbergs what is about the life work and struggle of mumia abu-jamal debt is such a concerned? >> i thought we would start with my sister but i will salute my dead brother and sister your the visionary founders who are the leaders
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of labyrinth. [applause] also my dear sister or facilitating. i go all the back -- all the way back with mumia abu-jamal he will say freedom fighter through his membership with the black panther party. when he was incarcerated i was thoroughly convinced he was innocent so i was concerned about getting a fair trial and when i saw the witnesses put forth more formulations i was more determined he have a fair trial because as of the attics edison and kristian i am concerned about the crisis this of every person and therefore i one day fair criminal justice system that includes a fair trial in addition he is one of the great to jailhouse intellectuals and has written this book "jailhouse
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lawyers" he is a prophetic voice and tries to tell the truth about america from the vantage point* of the least of these also from the 25th chapter of matthew and as an intellectual concerned about working people and gay brothers and lesbian sisters and hatred against jews and arabs and most the peak of the corporate greed that has been pushing the democratic project nearly off the cliff in the last 25 or 30 years. it to say why brother mumia abu-jamal? he deserves a fair trial i am convinced he did not do it and he is a prophetic voice and also number three, but he warns us to come to terms with the deaths of the crisis of the american empire and civilization and how do we somehow get some accountability of the greed on wall street the
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connection end of greedy oligarchs with our politicians and how do you creates a weakening so we can shatter the sleepwalking among those of the everyday people. >> i certainly would to a knowledge my debts by the number of people in this room and you can see it is not as boring as some people think to live in princeton. [laughter] it is true. also i want to add that i accepted this invitation and am very grateful to virginia but what they don't know is i am mostly accepted the invitation because it gives me an opportunity too actually interact with cornel west who is so big and busy that he is not
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sufficiently available so here we are thrown together into this conversation but in all seriousness i think one of the things that is wonderful about the gathering is it allows us to consider people who are behind bars and to acknowledge them not only as a part of our humanity but also their membership of our social body. the book that is celebrated today "jailhouse lawyers" is a vote of addition to a growing literature that makes clear there is firebrand life behind bars. not solely in violence exploitive programs you may have seen on television but the act that we have
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deliberately as a society made of intellectually able individuals who toil and trouble under difficult circumstances to prove they are human. and before we go on to the larger subject i realize mumia abu-jamal was the subject of the conversation but as a social anthropologist at princeton let me put this into some perspective some of my favorite people are in this were -- room right now. you already know that but imagine perhaps this question about imprisonment is a faulty subject of charity. i would like to place incarceration some type of perspective we have more than 200,000 individuals living behind bars and that does not include
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undocumented aliens most of those who are behind bars are men we have the largest incarcerated population of the world and what really irks me the reason i think this is so important is the risk of imprisonment is not even distributed throughout the population part of your african-american and mail and young you have nine times more likely that you will end up behind bars the same is true about large numbers of latinos. these are the folks who do not receive adequate education on the part of society when they are very young so the way i put it to my students that you get punished at the beginning of your life and as you become an adult because we do know the likelihood of incarceration is much higher
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among men who live in poor neighborhoods with low levels of education and upon whom society has not invested adequately and i believe that fully and consistent with the ideals of democracy with the institution that regulates. mumia abu-jamal possibly a agreed the most famous prisoner in the world and we must be grateful to him because many prisoners cannot sustain that kind of conditions that exist in american prison by at no but there are present owe the robot are probably worse but for that type of country that we are the conditions are horrible. for several years i worked hand-in-hand with prisoners of the new jersey state prison and i took many students to work with them on the publication of a prison magazine because my
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students really do deserve to go to jail. [laughter] they often went. often unfortunately a was banned from prison which gives rights to all kinds of jokes in my circle because you probably have never met someone who was not wanted and not in prison and i regret that because i was uncharacteristically well-behaved and despite that the authorities with total impunity decided they did not want to continue educational progress on behalf of prisoners and i was collateral damage. a lot of the people i know behind the bars do not have these kind of the events. when we have mr. abu-jamal who is famous and has the
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intelligence and education to write the books that he writes really becomes a very important representation of the defamation represents the most people in the united states are not acquainted with. i believe that is a very important thing. final comment it surprises me because no matter how we cut it, mumia abu-jamal which we hope we will call us is calling us from death row. that requires a lot of consideration because as far as i am concerned it still surprises me that arguments continue to be ventilated in this country of the legitimacy of the death penalty in a civilized country only if you for the authoritarian regime and the system of destroying prisoners as a punitive measure for crime.
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all of this 10 the face of the facts that make clear the penalty is not own the inhumane but i would like to mention as you probably know this is an educated audience more than 200 prisoners, so when you actually have more than 200 prisoners freed after many years of imprisonment who have been on death row as a result of the application of new dna technologies you have to wonder how many other people are in prison that should not be there? there is no -- overwhelming evidence they show evidence it curtails crime and the point* that is most important is the fun even distribution of the imprisonment for the week as members of our society are
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likely to end up in prison and i am delighted to see there are so many people in this room because my impression is that the abuses continue why it is so easy to beat up on prisoners no matter their offense is because of the largest public indifference that prisoners languish behind bars not in order to combat crime but in different public to imagine it is superior by comparison to those who are behind bars. those are some general comments the one the table of one to recognize the value of the contribution of mr. abu-jamal i want all he represents to be placed in the proper perspective. >> those numbers were 2.
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3 million each one of those precious and priceless even though they make bad judgments they deserve for us to keep track of their humanity that has been rendered invisible to projected to make it easy for to many citizens to be indifferent to their situation to be bound at our destiny i know we have magnificence students here alumni and others in leverage just talking to mark taylor who is the charm and -- chairman and give him a hand. [applause] they have a magnificent program of initiative when you have life without parole along with others in the
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prison when they are really say go back into the community to fight crime although they may have engaged in criminal activity they may be anti-criminal citizens to get the public to see that the present industrial complex is an integral part of our society more and more persons large numbers of poor white brothers and sisters now incarcerated women are the largest and quickest growing group which is also true for new immigrants although generally speaking it is black and brown absolutely we're waiting. >> we could take a few questions from the audience does anybody have a question?
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step write-up to the microphone. >> she is a living legend and it is great to see you. >> we have a call coming. >> perfect. >> you will not be charged for this call this call will be recorded and monitored. two except the call press number nine.
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>> hello this is virginia at labyrinth books. >> hello virginia at labyrinth books. [cheers and applause] mumia abu-jamal. >> i am here at the bookstore with our distinguished panel cornel west is here. >> my dear brother my dear brother how were you? [laughter] >> i am so pleased to hear your distinctive zero clint introduction. [laughter] >> we love you and respect you brother and one to you to be free and so many of us believe you did not do it your voice is so important we know you believe everybody from president two policemen but we believe the were in dissent and we think god that your voice is still
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alive and sounding so rich and deep. >> if i may i would like to read for just a moment. >> i am patricia fernandez kelley mr. abu-jamal i have not had the pleasure of meeting new personally but i did read your book and i think it is fantastic thank you for that contribution. >> thank you so much i think dr. west will affirm very rare the do we hear from our readers it is a pleasure. >> i have many students who will be delighted to correspond with you and to read your books. i will assign them. [laughter] >> just to let you know, also in the room right here from city lights mark taylor and about 150 people?
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we have a big excited room to bring all of you to gather tonight. >> before i begin let me say i love all of you and thank you for coming. i know it is a cold and somewhat snowy night so i think you all for coming. this is from the preface of "jailhouse lawyers." >> , is seriously what in the hell is a "jailhouse lawyers" depending on your station in life it is out to invoke the right the of responses laughter or confusion jailhouse lawyer? the term implies a kind of contradiction in terms but
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yet if some shun the title there are tens of thousands men and women who are such a thing and like most people they are a year to good and bad competent and and competent and large herded years ago before i entered the house of debt i interviewed a man and philadelphia prison who was quite opinionated on the subject in his name was still perched africa a well-known member who sued -- a phase-in dead-end gen for being among nine people who have the temerity to survive the dead the police assault on their home and headquarters august august 81978 he was an eloquent interviewee who spoke with a distinctive country accent and conversation with passion and resend and commitment and spoke disparagingly of
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jailhouse lawyers and when i asked him why he felt this way he said they read the law books and before you know, what they be crazy as well. what do you mean crazy? >> they may not be crazy when they get here but after a while after a few months of reading that should they go down to city hall lacy them in this system it drives them crazy. >> why does it drive them crazy? >> because they cannot believe the system does not follow their own laws. >> why? i continue. >> it drives their ass crazy because they cannot handle the fact that the system makes them breaks laws as it sees fit. how many treaties will they signed with the indians? some of those broke them before the ink was dry and the same books that run the system today if they could not keep a treaty with
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indians when they first got here what makes you think they will keep the law today especially when it comes to me and you? i get that and i understand that but what is up with that crazy jailhouse lawyers? they go crazy because they really believe in the system and they always portrayed in it they cannot handle that it drives them out of their minds walking around here crazy as a bedbug it took me awhile but i got it when he told me those words i was a free man as free as a black man can be in america and working as a reporter producer for a public radio station when he broke it down for me i had no idea years later would take on such significance. i thank you for listening from death row.
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this is mumia abu-jamal. [applause] >> my dear brother that is powerful. >> your conversation is subject to monitoring and recording. >> are you still there? >> yes, i am. >> it is not just a powerful important words but i hear a little curtis mayfield than your voice it blows through you and connects each and every one of us who are concerned about justice which holds across the board but the catching hell in the land of malcolm x because
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you are a free black man on death row. >> don't tell nobody. [laughter] >> it is a different kind of three down believe may a lot of folks out here who are still in prison. >> that is absolutely true was that sojourners truth? i am sorry it was very tough men when she was 10 down further those hundreds of blackballed she could have read more if she knew they were slaves while she was only 4-foot 7 inches but 655 binges for those who got scared mama will shoot you dead if you make noise because you will reveal all the rest of us. that is a tradition of which we come my brother. >> exactly. >> with full american terrorism but those are those that take us too every
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corner of the globe that is why you represent the black freedom as with everybody but it looks at the world from below. >> this call is subject to monitoring and reporting. >> i certainly try because even though we all come from different environments and backgrounds this is one world. we drink the same water. >> they may have segregated water fountains but they do not have that anymore. >> let's be ask you a question that means some significance to me because one of the things about prisoners they are the only population and that we complete the only recognized in terms of the crimes allegedly real they have
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committed we have allowed in our imagination people to grow and change and become different to be redeemed and grow but with respect to those in prison rate always imagine them only in terms of what could be the worst possible act and i am interested because not everybody can do what you have done. what is extraordinary is you have been able to give them what is not only humane but potent to a large population but i am curious if you would agree with that statement and how do prisoners in your circle deal with that kind of centralization i am sorry about the word but you know, what i am saying? >> i do. i would just say, i just yesterday i would spoke with a brother who was the anti-death-penalty activist
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but a global one backed conference is from around the world and he taught me something that was quite remarkable that i had never heard of four read of he was at a conference in california and a scholar from turkey and the guy was talking about when we hear turkey remember the movie midnight express? right? it was a movie starring brad davis and showing a very repressive system in turkey but the scholar explained to him when a turkish politician runs for office when he promises to get elected it is forgiveness and leniency and forgiveness with people arrested and when he said that my mouth dropped.
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when i thought about it made a lot of sense only because we know that turkey is not a muslim countrymen need to follow bits of the q'uaran were there are provisions in the q'uaran for forgiveness of all kinds of offenses against committees the only question of course, is will the family forgive? of the family forgives then the state offers forgiveness as well but to just imagine a politician running like that it blew my mind because you cannot think of something similar in the american context it is the exact polar opposite but it also shows us that what we think we know of another country is based on sometimes false rejections we would never have thought
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of turkey as that kind of country but of course, it is. >> what to thank you for your wonderful science fiction and the short story and you know, the wonderful piece? >> i am amazed that you read it. >> i keep track of you my brother. you wanted us to read neil ferguson's piece on foreign affairs deep decline culture in decay greed running amok for people working people oftentimes feeling so impotent and powerless and helpless so they don't organize our mobilize the one to give us your characterization of where we are in light of ferguson? >> i read that two days ago. >> that was on my mind. >> i was blown away because of course, this is a scholar who can be deemed conservative coming from
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oxford, but when he looked at empires around the world he found something very similar, day rise and coasting and a decline. of course, there are different reasons and i think most people understood that the empire was in decline especially during the last administration when things were so rot and crude. we don't torture. that kind of stuff but in the former administration we had abu ghraib and -- and those kinds of things but we still have a abu ghraib that every state in the united states and guantanamo and in the federal system and we talk about in terms of the administration but not in terms that until we began
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looking at the empire. >> 60 seconds remaining. >> a bipartisan reality it will never be able to change with this reality that we live in that we are in a kind other person. >> of course, we are in prison no-space and time and what kind of person will we be? it is amazing the quality of your spirit and is humbled and human and fortified. >> 30 seconds remaining. >> even despite this condition in this place i feel surrounded by the of by people like you by julianna and mark. thank you all. either of you all. and love is the most powerful force in the universe. [applause] >> we love your brother. >> i love you too. >> they give.
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[applause] >> i have to say that although it is very regrettable mumia abu-jamal has spent such a long time on death row but let's remember why. not just a question of crime because the evidence was inconclusive according to the best evaluators but because of his political ideas that he represents a particular group of people who don't have proper representation and the history of race that exist in this country but having said that i also wanted to celebrate this moment because while it is true there are many locations for interaction and justice throughout the world it is not often you can have somebody calling from a maximum-security prison and
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interact with close to 200 people so while we despair about injustice and the limitations of the country let us also celebrate the things that are right about this country and this is very, very bright. [applause] >> i just want to welcome to buy additional special guest lit in washington in the award ruling columnist is here. [applause] and pam africa tirelessly year in the struggle for mumia is also year. [applause] >> add to this point* it is time to open a conversation up even more and i invite your questions and comments
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for the panelist and other people that can be a part of that. >> maybe i will start us off it is wonderful to have you here i am thrilled and incredibly moved by the conversation that we just witnessed. the question i want to ask as a follow-up that virginia and i had this morning i want to refer you all to this amazing website very important resources and the issues that concern tv tv -- mumia the issues we gravitated to the at this of contextualizing the struggles for mumia writes in a post 9/11 climate in the politics of fear and in what way this struggle has met new challenges and how we think of meeting those
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particular one's. if you want to reflect on some of those aspects? >> i think in many ways also in the age of obama i think that 9/11 took place during the age of reagan it was a very, very different moment the bush was a representitive. [laughter] actually there are elements of carter and clinton in terms of punitive policy in terms of eliminating welfare and pushing into situations are often times they make choices that led toward their entrees into the prison industrial complex and not even talking about commercial banks and
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investment banks that was a clinton administration decision that helped to facilitate the greed we see running amok on wall street and that comprehensive category that includes many democratic party brothers and sisters but the question was 9/11 one moment and the age of obama's has a different context because obama is a political genius responding to the politics of fear and the politics of hope. shattered indifference and compassion so we're in a different kind of moment the question becomes how do we deal with the 9/11 legacy in the age of obamacare now and the lighthouse needs serious critique and pressure and support when he is attacked
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unfairly by the right wing from the citizens of we have to create progressive space within the age of obama's to keep track of those who are not just locked into the prison industrial complex but those from the four committees? black-and-white to read yellow brown but disproportionately black and brown and i think this will challenge because it is not as if in the age of obama you have any serious talk about the prison industrial complex pry wish he had members of his administration. you have two hit at different issues you cannot have me one issue president. by you have two hit the situation where port and working people's lives are being shaped not just the need for jobs at home as opposed to be out of investment banks but also the prison industrial
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complex situations. 2% of the folks in prison are there from conviction rapist is something else but 62% are locked in the prison industrial complex? it is something deeper. >> what you say about the question after 9/11 that is actually predictable because politicians and not just politicians but sociological analysis shows the best way and it is not a pretty story but the best way for the community is the creation of the externality men and one of those things post 9/11 atmosphere it has allowed the american public with the help of a few intellectuals i am thinking of our right now, never mind to begin to
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cv issue as a clash of civilization in a course i am teaching right now the point* i have been making is with the soviet union a lot of political rhetoric that existed this space was occupied by the demonization of his loss of back considering is tom has some kind of monolithic entity of the muslim of ward -- world by all those people that hate our individualism and our democracy they hate us because we're good and i suppose because we have curly hair by turney brown but that approach is helpful so far to what i think would be important to constantly remind the american public the differences are not so
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great and the reason why is long is the fastest growing religion is not only because of the value but the key as it could be used the administrative practices that i spoke so clearly i was allowed to visit present as a christian i wish our churches was spend as much time in prison ministry as they do building. >> we are supposed to keep track in the first chapter the orphan and the widow they are the focus of one's witness and by the time they get to the first palestinian named jesus comes out of the prophetic judea's them and says what you have done unto
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me you have done for the week we can have black folk it is not anti-rich but a sense of wanting to live by fed has the spirit to all content and bearing witness to the way of living that kind of life so when we talk about religious institutions prophetic mosques are temples to make a very important difference to render visible the humanity of our precious brothers and sisters of all colors. >> i believe it has been historically evade the question is not believe but how the religious narrative how it becomes a narrative with these other forces. so whether you believe or not it deserves some respect
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because they do capture a form of knowledge that could be used in order to use the market is say their death although not exclusively to we think we are so perhaps we should be a little shy about resorting to those near dallas and from the question of personal believe to establish that knowledge in order to achieve some of the yen's. >> he was a prisoner. >> he did not proper representation. >> they were intent on sending him to have eight political prisoner named jesus who is a king who rules from across because christians look at the world through the lens of the
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cross. >> i think there is a microphone i am sorry. a line is beginning to form that we will consider you third. >> i adding there is an incredible energy in this room from dr. west telling us that humanitarian justice is very alive and a strong it is beautiful and amazing experience to listen to mumia and the energy to speak at the humanitarian issue but with more specifics and bringing it up in reading the process as to this machine where bringing up treaties that we did not
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abide by this that is the specific of his battle that the interpretation of the law that he has fought against the my new shut of the bill leaves that he is fighting to get on the high horse and preach the humanitarian aspects and i think we're all on the same page how brutal that this and we need to destroy what is there to rebuild our justice system but how does someone the jailhouse lawyer bring about utilize is president and current law and legal structure to free himself? dna is a long process but being withheld those and police investigator tactics that is what he needs to address in his case how we
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bring but battle together them marshall still holds or the west of the world into what is factual or brought before the court? >> i also want to invite my dear brother in terms of the details i know the number of lawyers when we were in philadelphia together the two full challenge oftentimes a suspension of the law in the name of the law. and other times the law itself is arbitrarily deployed but if they got redo have been optioned that we saw that to we can actually fight based on a rights based in argument and three her. he had very good lawyers.
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isn't that right brother mark? and still right now working? [inaudible] educators four mumia have been working for 15 years with the larger movement that africa heads up as well. one of the campaign's she has spearheaded and educators' mumia is supporting this over rights campaign investigation to urge attorney general eric holder to begin an investigation into the prosecutorial misconduct of the police and the continual abrogation of mumia rights throughout the appeals process and this is gaining real momentum to those of us
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who support it i would urge you to check the web site on the back of the fact sheet of mumia and joining in the specifics because and aware public that keeps the pressure on politicians makes a difference and history shows that is the case. we often thinks -- think the courts run their own separate sphere there influenced and hence trying to generate a lot of pressure. we have posted on our website an article called mumia exception, a new one that details greatly of the board's are creating ever new reasons to keep mumia on death row by abrogating their own lot and sometimes creating a new approach to the loss seemingly to keep mumia on death row in behind closed bars mean that called
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the mumia exception can i take this opportunity to introduce my colleague? she is announcing a very upcoming planning event about getting involved at columbia university april 3rd. is this appropriate very quickly? >> this is joanne f. fernandez. >> i am a historian and i want to briefly address a question the you asked initially which is how do we understand mumia in the context of american history? if we look at the labor struggle of the 19th century we have the haymarket affair which led to the execution of more and our guest then we have and our guest and radicals who were executed by the state then the rosenbergs in the 1930's and today we have
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mumia abu-jamal. part of what we see in american history unfortunately is every generation has a martyr whom the state makes a an example of an essentially part of what we see is of the state is telling us by executing these men and women, but the cost will be four challenge -- challenging the state fundamentally. we cannot forget that. mumia is an innocent man on death row who has been there 20 years because of what he stands for and he is the voice of the voiceless and a voice that will not be silenced and it challenges the american society structure but definitely of
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capitalism. i just want to say that to mumia life was saved twice in the 1990's. a movement led in part by pam africa kept mumia from being executed twice in the 1990's. that gives you a sense of the power of ordinary people in transforming society from the bottom up. in the absence of a movement in part because of 9/11 the supreme court to the lower courts and the state courts and the federal courts have been successfully able to overturn precedents are around his casein he remains incarcerated despite the fraudulent character of his
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trial for educators four mumia abu-jamal our intent on raising the profile of his case on college campuses and american public life. a we support the civil-rights investigation of which pam africa will speak in a minute i am sure. we will be produced this event live from death row at columbia. we had 192 long ago in january at princeton borough we want to reproduce this even to every college campus id every community in the united states broke we ask you to join us on april 3rd at columbia university where a very young and dynamic academic voice will speak on the case. in the 1990's he was responsible for building --
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for mumia and tenet of the we have other speakers for the event and it is intended to be a large event that oriented around transforming civic discourse in the united states raising the profile of mumia in american public life but also and finally part of what we're trying to do is say that all of the issues and all of the violations of his case like judicial misconduct, discrimination of jury selection, police corruption and tampering with evidence to obtain a conviction these are all of the issues that are single-handedly responsible for the disproportional incarceration of african-americans and latinos increasingly mexicans from mexico and
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with women. all of the issues are responsible for the mass incarceration of african-americans and latinos making mass incarceration the most important civil-rights issue of our time. this is the face of racism in the united states today. racism has changed since the 1940's and 50's. we don't necessarily see lynchings although we have not too long ago but the lynchings their racial lynchings that happen in the united states today have been in the court system and part of what we want to do as educators four mumia is raise the issue of several -- civil rights and we ask that you join us at this event which we're calling live on death row mumia at the crossroads in the age of obama. ponder on that.
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them meaning of this moment in which you can have somebody like obama as a president and mumia abu-jamal in a place that represents the most unfree in a condition in a society obsessed about freedom and democracy. that is a contradiction of the system in which we live today. thank you. [applause] >> right place out i think a conversation was a positive contribution to society today via is in jail because of something that happened in 1982. how much do you think that it matters such truth of what happened given the fact he is not all the not a menace to society but how much the truth matters? >> that was my point* earlier.
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there is inconclusive evidence of many people the best evaluation it arrives at the conclusion that he was not guilty which was not blameless but not guilty and as the young woman just mentioned it is part of the problem that he was severely penalized not for the crime that he committed conclusively but because of who he represents the population he represents. this is imminent the political but not just about crime and punishment but ideas that are not popular in america is society and that is the reason why it is an important case. yes. if you ask my personal position it is absolutely preposterous to continue
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threatening to kill a man for something that have been did 1982 that was the point* about change because i sure there are our prisoners but that has not been my experience. >> i appreciate the question but for me truth surgeon the matters i believe every life is precious including white brothers in the police department and i believe in fact, i believe he did not do it and the trial has been so skewed and distorted and witness is coming in and out and the fact that his voice his prophetic voice tied to a movement that was in place week although it was constitutes a threat to sell both the truth matters than a political context that is in place does well but i
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don't want to downplay the loss of life for the family and a sore foot -- so forth my family goes out to any family i don't care if they are police or whatever do want justice for the police and for him. >> we want to defer to the next speaker than may will take a comment from him appear from that. >> you have explained and we have discussed why mumia is in prison and death row that is serious for his political views he is being sentenced or put to death. i don't understand i know that placido understand why are all of these political prisoners were they are can't obama free them?
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so what would it be if he were not only taking off of debt zero but set three? what are people so scared of? >> i will interrupt for just a second because the phone is ringing again. >> hello? you think he won't? he was going to try. >> greg? carla? [laughter] >> i am sorry. the call has been rerouted. >> who am i talking to? [laughter] >> we're at labyrinth books spin a piece of their freedom fighters. >> we have been talking to mumia abu-jamal i will say goodbye. and it will be explained in
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greater detail. >> thank you. >> we had to ho. i am sorry. >> the question is that it would be a triumph for the truth seeking freedom fighting forces in our society that would show the degree to which the nation state is mighty but not almighty. . .
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that is not the way the structure is. to require structure. larger forms of struggle, like combating the inequalities and injustices, and in this case, he is living evidence that fighting for reform in a society can take you to this. >> the question about our dear president is a significant one in this sense, that all of us know that he could not engage in that kind of political gesture and remain in office. there is no doubt the political consideration, but for those of us who don't have political
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considerations, the basic criteria of how we understand struggle. we say it is interesting that those who engage in vicious torturing of people walk around free. it is interesting that those who are engaged in illegal wiretapping are walking around free. they are protected by the obama administration. i don't say that out of animosity might dear brother barack. and we do it again but when you are committed to truth, the condition of truth allows to speak. that is different than the political consideration for the next election and those of us who have to worry about political consideration for the next election we can try to speak the truth in our own fallible fault anyway, so we want to keep track. even folk who actually think he did it, i think they are wrong. there are a whole lot of folk out here who have done a whole host of criminal things and they walk around free. it is not just, it is not right,
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not their. >> the last thing i will say, like the police officers that the young latino man in the last week and they were not convicted of a crime like every police officer who shoot an unarmed black or brown person ever go to jail. >> for me in the spirit of love, fair policing is fine. >> i am a tenth grader at central high school. my question is, and mrs. fernandez, in ms. fernandez opening statement she said that the black young men were-- to go to jail than anyone else. i'm wondering what we can do. >> thank you for asking because that is central, central to our concern. takes a long time because we have a historical legacy of inequality with respect to
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african-americans in general but particularly african-american men. we have a high level of residential segregation, a very long story. it is not just slavery. after slavery we got a golden period called reconstruction during which it appears that african-americans were going to really be conferred, actual citizenship not just nominal citizenship in response to the jim crow laws. race has been the great drama of this country, and it has skewed and made it impossible for many of those central democratic ideals and ideals of justice to operate, but to bring it to a more recent past, i am very irked that only about 25 years ago politicians again discovered it was possible to scare the american public by showing them
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that not particularly beautiful face of a convict named willie horton, and that they didn't even have to say anything, just entertaining that image of someone that looked disheveled, someone that was in prison and someone in fact to have committed horrible crimes that stood for the prejudice of the larger society, and as a result, when you saw really really bad laws. a moment ago, the public wanted three strikes and you are art outlaws that so many young men are in prison for minimal crime, serving even sentences as long as 25 and 30 years. we had mandatory minimums that proportionately penalize young black men and so on and so forth but there has been a groundswell
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of interest in some circles in order to reveal those laws in many of those laws have been repealed but i go back to my original.. one of the reasons i wanted to be here is to again remind us that it is the american public that tolerates this situation. it is because there is no real care for that particular population that so many are languishing in prison for extensive periods of time so if we do not change the public climate and believe me i am not optimistic, this will never change because it is convenient to have the black population behind bars. >> there have been two major efforts to change the climate of opinion. one is the conflict that took place in virginia and there is a book called against the law, young black males and the poor. magnificent essays laying out by my brother peter adelman what can be done. i just got back three days ago
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from a major conference the first time in the history of, the first time in the history of the american black church, all-black method is coming together focusing on young black men in the form of what? recognizing that the major reason why we have got so many young black or other scripting is they have not been loved, care for it, attended to, focused on. first with families, then community and the larger level of public policy. at the dilapidated housing, disgraceful school systems, levels of unemployment and underemployment, unavailable health care, unavailable childcare. what does any group do when you are dangling in that? >> do you art absolutely right in white appalachia is an example. if you have poverty and neglect, there is no investment, no employment so what is it that people must do?
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better education. all these things would go a long way in order to change the situation. >> thank you. >> when i was listening to you speak,-- i work for at the new jersey department of corrections, so i am fully familiar with the difficulties. i think there are so many avenues here that you need to attack because a lot of people earn their living by continuing the correctional system, and they are white and they are black and they are hispanic. i think when you began, and they think the lady that was talking about getting a ground movement, because politicians really respond and have to respond to many letters that come into their offices. prison administrators have to
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respond to letters coming into the prisons. so, you do have to attack things from this ground level and ground them and having two hands are those letters. but i am thinking of the other people you have to influence. all these people earning money in the prisons are invested in it. they are black brothers, they are white brothers, white sisters. you have to get into their heads because they have bought into the system, saying these people are worthless. they belong here. but the other piece is, you can go to new jersey state prisons, but i am wondering if you would also consider going into the new jersey training school for boys and the other places where they keep girls. because when i was in training, some of these young, they call them delinquents, would come over to me because i look like a
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parent to them. they don't have parents. they are in the system and what do they have? it is like you went to college in your sons on here. they have a member in new jersey state risen, a sister and clinton. >> this is their claim to fame. >> i think he brings up the spirit of saving a lot of people and so not only would we want to save him but we need to work at that lower-level in the churches or wherever, where all the people get dressed up nice and i think it into their heads about some of these things that need to be changed. >> thank you. >> eloquent. >> i think we have time for maybe two more. pam, would you please come on up here? i know that you won't am a scientist but i just wanted to you to say a word. >> this is hard dear sister. [applause]
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>> i am really overwhelmed with what i here tonight. i had no idea this would the. thank you. but you know, mumia, i listen to what people were saying about mumia being in a sense and the truth. they actually execute people like that. i remember when a brother by the name of herrera, front page of "the washington post," the washington newspaper, headlines, is it right to kill an innocent man? i was outraged. how could somebody asked a question like that? and then the answer came-- we all should have been in an uproar because the government thought it was a question of what they were going to do with his brother by the name of herrera. herrera was innocent. the answer came out that yes it
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is right to kill an innocent man as long as the innocent man had a fair trial and they killed herrera. you know, and that falls on us. as a people, to allow these people to dare put something out like that without a massive response. because we did not rise to the occasion on that, then we had zion israel and many many more. and i heard people say, if shockers inc. died there would be fire in the skies. i looked around and i didn't see a match strike or a puff of smoke anywhere. and i am saying people who challenge this government and say we are sick and tired of it, and you know it is just words to these people. until we set an example that we
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are not going to accept it anymore, and sister joe hana said in every lifetime, there is someone who comes forth that is sense to us with an example. jesus christ was on, and you know, jesus christ was not walked up by an angry mob. he was drugged up by the government who framed him. he was the best well-known person that sat on death row and was framed. that he didn't die-- he died because of apathy, because people should have rushed and done what was right but that was an example. what wehappening with mumia-- ms case, life without the possibility of parole or a death sentence. you can bring in all the evidence you want because the
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judge said clearly, you can bring in evidence but these are the only two things happening. a lot of people don't understand that. if he has a hearing it doesn't mean, he can have all the evidence he wants, it doesn't mean he is coming out of there. am i right there? yes. and a lot of people are waiting around to find out what is going to happen. is it's going to be death or is it going to be fire in the sky some people say. i am not pushing fire in the sky other than people throwing their fists up and going up against this government. we have the civil rights investigation working in the civil rights investigation is something that can work in people say that it hasn't. yes it has worked four i will give you an example. in philadelphia, there were three young new black panther members who they said violated
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something when the president was being elected. they put them up on charges. they indicted them. those charges were dropped from the justice department. these are three black men who didn't have any political background. there was nobody in the street during their fists in the air. there was no big clinical movement. how did this happen? i don't know but if it is an example of how was it when you have a country like france who named a street after mumia to bring attention to what was happening with subor. paris made him an honorary citizen to bring attention to the case of mumia to make people rise up and our brother fidel castro in cuba had hundreds of thousands of people in the street and sister fernandez, when you were saying-- no, it
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was three. a lot of people don't know about that first time because they don't want you to know about the power of the movement that is the power of not only a movement, not a legal movement. we demand it, when we found out governor casey was going to sign mumia's death warrant. we went to the late great state representative david p. richardson and asked him how were we going to see the governor? he said pam you can't see the governor. the death warrant has been signed. i said we have inside information that the death warrant is-- and he said the only way you are going to be able to see the governor is you have to send a massive movement. to make a long story short we did that. we started in a small grassroots movement that it was mostly grassroots people. it was the cure organization, and whispers and organizations.
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it was a mother, father and his sister and brother who were sick and tired of injustices with what was happening and we all came together and we went on into harrisburg and it looked like a massive, mighty tidal wave coming up against this government. they looked and they were like, what the heck is this, right? that movement, it forced the movement with the pennsylvania attorney general who claimed he didn't have any allegiance with black folks. they had never had allegiance with him but you have got to meet with these people because they have never seen anything like what we brought in there. when we met with him, we have the lawyers, we had state representatives, we had congresspeople. we had people from france and italy coming in and resented the case of mumia. all the facts. visas well, and in fact it ended
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in 10 or 15 minutes. they kept giving information and finally they said we are finished and he says well, i'm going to let you know this. mumia's death warrant was on casey's desk and it was taken off. he said i'm going to tell you this, in six months mumia's death warrant will be signed and on casey's desk. how did i know? i was the one that put it there. when people came out they said oh my god. this man, we told the pam if you would do this is what would happen. it gave birth to a massive movement that went international with people in the street. no one really believed that they would do this to mumia. action had to come about. as a result of that, governor casey never signed the death warrant. that was the first one and the power of the people.
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they don't want you to know that the only time most people here is that most people around even the lawyers and things that where they are and witnessed it and was a part of it and when they saw the death warrant go back, it is not in your books anywhere. it should be. the power of the people. you know what people can do. with older as the first black u.s. attorney general, you know and we are looking for something from him. we have to massively get in the street the same way we were in the street when we wanted obama. those of us who wanted obama in office. we were on the street corner signing up. i am saying here you go. this is caused to the attorney general, calling for him to have the civil rights investigation on mumia and then to release the
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mumia based on the evidence you find out, because if you look at this case, the only thing you can do is release mumia based on judicial and prosecutorial misconduct and the terrorism that has been heaped upon people. david p. richardson on august the 12th, if we had a massive demonstration and he stood there and he challenged and he told people about the innocence of mumia and he said don't be afraid. he talks about all the things that mumia had. they were supposed to execute mumia on august the 17th at something. >> that is powerful. >> thank you. [applause] i have the card and i also have the stamps stamp so if you give me the money for the stamp i will give you the mail and we were put it in the mail tonight. let's do a movement, a
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revolution. thank you. [applause] >> sister pam, sister pam, sister pam. [applause] love you, love you, love you. >> my friend. i am going to be very brief. >> i am so glad that i am speaking after pam because i want to tell you two things going on in new jersey that people can get involved with. the first thing is over the last 12 months, there were about eight hearings on the criminal justice system in new jersey. they were legislative hearings convene by the then majority bonnie, and end at those hearings 1500 people came out. former prisoners, family members of prisoners, people who are working with reentering prisoners around the country came out and they spoke about the conditions in a prison, they
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spoke about the sentencing laws. these were community hearings, not just hearings in the statehouse in trenton. out of those hearings came three little bills that were just past in the landmark session of the new jersey legislature but as you said professor west it was the beginning. it was historic. it was something to give us hope. the people who worked on putting together those hearings, the people who helped abolish the death penalty in new jersey and the alternative to the death penalty, those people are going to continue to be working. watch out for us. we will be making known the things that we will be doing to continue the work in the legislature because the little bills although they have a couple of good things in them just scratch the surface. ronnie watson said to us a week ago at a hearing, she said-- it was a celebration. it wasn't a hearing. she said we have just scratch the surface. she said don't go on to another
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issue. stick with us. we have got to work. the second thing is it should be of particular interest to this audience and that is there are about 2000 people in new jersey state prison. it aspired to be a supermax. have the people in new jersey state prison are in solitary confinement. they are being disciplined about 95% of the people in that prison are in little cells for 22 and a half hours a day, not being disciplined but there are no programs. they have been decimating the educational programs. we have in this audience people from project on sponsors here. they cut out one of the pure educational programs in the prison. we have a new commissioner due on monday is going to be a senate judiciary hearing about presumably they will confirm the new commissioner of the department of corrections. we need educators for mumia to stand with us and go to that commissioner and say we need
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education in a prison not just for the folks who are getting out in 18 months but for everybody and we needed as it is possible. we need to get that program back up and running and we need your help both here. >> i think that is a wonderful place for me to leave and we apologize. thank you very much for your invitation. [applause] >> can i just say one thing? let me say one last thing. this has been such a magnificent evening but i do want to invoke the spirit of brother howard zinn in talking about movements. he loved such a grand example. princeton zone theodore cross who we just lost, bearing witness all for it. they were long-distance runners and that is what we are talking about when we are talking about the prison industrial complex.
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this is beautiful. thank you so much. virginia thank you so much. [applause] >> thank you for your participation. thank you mumia abu-jamal for everything you have done and let's keep fighting. we need to do this again. [applause] >> mumia abu-jamal is a former black panther party member convicted of the murder of a philadelphia police officer in 1982. he has been on death row for more than 20 years and awaits the pennsylvania appellate court decision on whether his original sentence will be carried out or commuted to life in prison. is the author of several books including live from death row and we want freedom. for more information visit city
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the heritage foundation in washington d.c. hosts the hour and a half event. >> good morning. welcome to the heritage foundation. i am the director of lectures and seminars and it is my privilege to welcome you to our auditorium. welcome those who join us on the web site and remind them they can submit questions throughout the presentation by e-mailing us at for those of you in house please make sure cell phones have been turned off as a courtesy to our speakers and of course we will post a program within 24 hours on the heritage web site for everyone's future web site.
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dr. postell is assistant director of hard american studies. prior to joining heritage in 2007 he taught political science courses at the university of dallas. he was a previous fellow at the claremont institute in 2005 and is also a member of the american political science association. dr. postell earned his ph.d. in american political thought and political philosophy and his master's degree politics, but from the university of dallas. he received his bachelor's degree in political science from ashland university in ohio. please join me in welcoming my colleague. joe. [applause] >> thank you very much. thank you for coming. these days conservatives seem to be more interested in progressivism than progressive so there is good reason for this. if conservatives wish to engage in a serioeb


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