NYC TWU 100 Members Join Mumia Support Rally
|NYC TWU 100 Members Join Mumia Support Rally-
Report On Mumia Nov 9, 2010 Court Hearing And Rally
by Howard Keylor, ILWU Local 10 Retired
I WAS in Philadelphia from the morning of the 8th until the afternoon of the 10th. I had booked a hotel room.
Estimates of the total numbers at the rally vary widely. The maximum estimate of 500 people was published in the main commercial newspaper, the Philadelphia Enquirer. Reuters estimated 200. The only photo that the Enquirer published (on an inside page) showed a handful of ratty anarchist body-piercing types not on the courthouse plaza but down of the street corner.
The courtroom was filled with the entire Philadelphia political elite and wives and family of police officers killed while "on duty". Obviously there to intimidate the 3 judge panel of the 3rd Circuit Federal Appeals Court.
Carole Seligman from the LAC got into the court hearing while I remained outside. Between the two of us we blanketed the entire rally with an LAC leaflet. Both of us were carrying LAC placards. Without even trying we sold 22 LAC produced Mumia buttons. This is the first time that the LAC has had any real public (although limited) presence on the East Coast.
I took photos of the four people from the NYC transport workers who carried the only union placards in the rally.
The microphone/loudspeaker system was dominated by MOVE during the rally. Only at end was the mike made available for the reports from the hearing.
After the hearing there was a brief report back from Judith Ritter (the attorney who made the oral arguments), from Susanne Ross (the head of the New York City Mumia Committee), Professor Linn Washington also spoke. The most extensive and useful extended comments were made by Professor Joanna Fernandez, producer of the recent good documentary movie on Mumia. She is unusually impressive, articulate and very clear. She argued that the civil rights issue of our time is the mass incarceration of Blacks and Hispanics. She is someone to watch.
Not once during my visit did anyone bring up the issue of Atty Robert Bryan being forced by Mumia to resign as "lead counsel". The resignation came as no surprise to me!
Michael Schiffman greeted me very warmly and expressed joy at our IBT initiated Hamburg rally on that day. Said he was thrilled to read Ursula Keylor's name as spokesperson for the rally.
When I met Susan Ross at the debate the previous day she told me how she has been wanting to meet me. The LAC has been unusually aggressive in the last 6 months trying to fill the gap left by the MOBE's virtual collapse, Jeff Mackler's subjective shenanigans, and Robert Bryan's nay-saying. I would not be surprised that people like Susan Ross are aware that some of the demonstrations for Mumia that took place on Nov 9 were initiated by the LAC or the IBT.
I think that the LAC line that justice or freedom for Mumia cannot be found in the capitalist courts has become internalized and accepted by the most serious of Mumia's defenders. They won't admit it and still call for or demand a U.S. Justice Department investigation into Mumia's case. Professor Joanna Fernandez spelled out in her remarks after the hearing how what has happened to Mumia clearly falls within the legislative purvue of the U.S. Civil Rights legislation. She is of course right but it will be a cold day in hell when the justice department goes up against the entire establishment's determination to kill Mumia.
I had sprained my knee the previous evening (another story) and had to sit down much of the time during the rally.
[View the list]