A new phase in Mumia’s case

By JOHN LESLIE At a meeting in Philadelphia on Sept. 28, organizers discussed the opening of a new phase in the fight to free Mumia Abu-Jamal, the noted journalist and political prisoner who was convicted on false charges of killing a Philadelphia police officer in 1981. Last year, in a series of court appearances, Mumia’s…

Black teacher’s job is in limbo

By CAROLINE WINSLOW America has long lauded its school system as a Great Equalizer—a tool that provides all students, regardless of social standing, with the tools necessary to succeed. Thus, goes the narrative, all differences in outcome can be attributed to individual choices, absolving capitalism and the structures tied to it of their responsibility. Education…

Mumia Abu-Jamal: An Evening for Justice and Freedom

By JEFF MACKLER Two months in the planning, the April 6 public forum at St. John’s Presbyterian Church in Berkeley represented a profound contribution to renewing the justice and freedom struggle of the innocent and framed for murder political prisoner, Mumia Abu-Jamal. A capacity-filling multi-racial and multi-generational crowd of 400 people, including a broad range…

Mumia Abu-Jamal wins major court victory

BY JEFF MACKLER On Dec. 27, Philadelphia Superior Court Judge Leon Tucker ruled in favor of Mumia Abu-Jamal, holding that the actions of former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Judge Ronald Castille had demonstrated a “lack of impartiality” and “the appearance of bias.” Tucker’s decision represents a major victory for Abu-Jamal, which opens the door to a…

Pack the courtroom for Mumia on Aug. 30!

By MICHAEL SCHREIBER — PHILADELPHIA — Oral arguments on behalf of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal will take place here on Aug. 30 before Judge Leon Tucker of the city and county Court of Common Pleas. Defense activists plan to fill the courtroom and to demonstrate outside to demand a new trial for Mumia and his…

Cecil Taylor: Jazz revolutionary, 1929-2018

By MARTY GOODMAN “Technique is a weapon to do whatever must be done.”— Cecil Taylor “Conquistador” was the first Cecil Taylor jazz album that I ever heard. It astonished me, and the title piece nailed me to the wall with its dangerous, urban sound. Taylor’s sideman, Jimmy Lyons, blew amazing sax riffs; the coolest, hippest,…

A reprieve for death-row prisoner Kevin Cooper?

By JEFF MACKLER Executions are scheduled at one minute after midnight at San Quentin Prison, just over the San Rafael Bridge in Marin County and overlooking the San Francisco skyline. On the cold winter night of Feb. 10, 2004, death-row inmate Kevin Cooper was being fully prepped for the hereafter, dressed in a new set…

Philadelphia DA’s office stonewalls at hearing for Mumia Abu-Jamal

By JOHN LESLIE The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office continues to stonewall in the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. At a court hearing on April 30, prosecutors failed, once again, to produce a memorandum allegedly signed by former Philadelphia District Attorney and retired Pennsylvania Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille. Under the 2016 Williams v. Pennsylvania…

Fast food workers strike in the South

By ANN MONTAGUE Activists with Fight For $15 renewed their struggle on Feb. 12 with rallies and strikes throughout the South in remembrance of the 50th anniversary of the Memphis, Tenn., sanitation worker’s strike. Fight For 15 teamed up with civil rights leader William Barber for a day of action in support of racial justice.…

Erica Garner — Fighter for Black rights

By BARRY SHEPPARD Erica Garner, Black Lives Matter activist and daughter of African American Eric Garner, who was brutally murdered by New York City police in 2014, died on Dec. 30. She was 27 years old. The proximate cause of death was a heart attack, extremely rare in one so young. The underlying cause was…

Philadelphia City Council pushes ‘diversity’ in the building trades

By a WORKING CARPENTER The Philadelphia city council passed a law allowing the city to secure loans for a program to renovate city parks, recreation centers and libraries called Rebuild Philadelphia. Some council members expressed skepticism about the program, asking whether any of the jobs created would go to people living the neighborhoods where the…