We Need a Movement of Millions

Mumia Abu-Jamal
Date Published: 
October 15, 2005

Following is Mumia Abu-Jamal's speech to the Millions More Movement Rally in Washington, D.C., October 15, 2005. Unfortunately, the speech was never played by rally organizers.

Long live John Africa. On a move!

p>I want to thank Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Millions More Movement for the kind invitation to join y'all here. As we gather, in person or electronically,we do so in a time of peril.

We do so in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, when the state showed us all that they don't give a damn about Black life. But every day of our lives we see smaller but no less lethal Hurricane Katrinas. Every year in public schools, millions of Black, Latin@, and poor kids are miseducated, thereby destroying, as surely as any hurricane, their life hopes and chances.

In our communities, our taxes pay for our own oppression, as racist and brutal cops make our lives hell daily. We are consumers of a media that is as dangerous as any hurricane, for it poisons our minds and the minds of millions of others by wholesale lies designed to demean and denigrate us.

Look at the tale of horrors that came out of Katrina: the horror stories of mass rapes and mass murders, told by Black politicians and Black cops to deflect attention from the armed, roving gangs of New Orleans cops, who stole everything that they could get their hands on.

By putting out these lies, they turned hearts and minds from their betrayal of their own constituency, Black and poor New Orleanians, who needed transport, food, clean water, toilet facilities, and medical care and safety.

What's the point? That they represent, not the interests of those who voted for them, but of the wealthy and well-to-do. If you doubt me, ask yourself what percentage of the tens of thousands of people in the Superdome or the convention center—those people the government left to starve, in the dark, thirsty, deathly afraid—were registered Democrat?

If we're honest, we'll agree over 90 percent. What did it matter? It didn't. Their loyalty was rewarded with betrayal. Did it matter that there was a Democratic governor? Kathleen Blanco's first order was to send National Guard into the streets, where she authorized them to shoot to kill to protect property.

Did any of you, in a week, see such governmental passion displayed to protect human life? Did you see any interest in protecting Black life?

I didn't think so.

What we saw then was what we've always seen—the government as adversary, not ally. In prisons all across America, in police stations, and in courthouses, we experience daily hurricanes of hatred and indifference. These institutions, just like other government branches, are threats to our welfare, not tools of our will. They are tools of white supremacy, even and sometimes especially when their leaders have Black faces.

We have Black politicians with virtually no political power which means, once again, we pay for our own oppression. Our taxes pay for them, but they don't serve our people's interests. They serve the state of white supremacy. They serve the will of capital.

We need a movement of millions to build true social power. To free our minds and our bodies from the mud that we languish in.

We need a movement of millions to transform our current social reality of repression and destitution. We need a movement of millions to bring back light to the eyes of our people. To engage in a struggle for freedom, for justice, and for liberation.

We need a movement of millions of the poor, of workers, of women, of youth, of students, of prisoners, of all those dedicated to change to build independent organizations that can't be bought or sold and will do the work necessary to be free.

We need a movement of millions to bring freedom to the brothers and sisters of the Move 9, to bring freedom to Sundiata Acoli, to bring freedom to Mutulu Shakur, to Russell Maroon Shoats, and hundreds of other Black prisoners of war and political prisoners.

We need a movement of millions to resist the state oppression that has brought us Patriot Acts, but not patriotic actions, wars for empire and countless attacks on the poor. We need a movement of millions to make common cause with oppressed people the world over. In Cuba, yes in Iraq, in Venezuela, in the Congo, in Haiti, in the Philippines.

We need a movement of millions that is anti-imperialist, that is anti-racist, and that unites us, not divides us. We need a movement of millions, and let us begin right here.

Thank you, on a move! Long live John Africa. Free the Move 9.

From death row, this is Mumia Abu-Jamal.