We received the following solidarity message from Michael Schiffman in Germany for the February 13, 2010 Mumia Teach-In in Philadelphia:
Dear sisters and brothers in the struggle to free Mumia and bring the political prisoners home, I send you the warmest greetings from Germany.
The last year and particularly the last months have seen an enormous new groundswell in the support for Mumia. The realization that the American imperial state is not only planning to incarcerate Mumia forever but is actually planning to take his life has not only shocked many previous activists for Mumia back into action but also drawn many new sources and forces into the struggle.
We have moved from a situation where activism for Mumia was constrained to a handful of individuals basically in Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, and Heidelberg to a state where there are Mumia activities in about 20 German cities. New committees were formed in important cities such as Munich, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Hanover, Kiel, and Oldenburg.
In December, there were small demonstrations in several cities, and since October several city councils have passed resolutions in various forms either against the death penalty and with the demand that Mumia not be executed or demanding both that and a new and fair trial for Mumia. The German parliament, the Bundestag, is deliberating about yet another resolution affirming its opposition to the death penalty, in particular mentioning the egregious case of Mumia Abu-Jamal.
I should also mention that Germany has had its share in supporting the all important petition to Eric Holder to start a civil rights investigation into the case of Mumia, the new petition to president Obama to take a stance against the death penalty, and a petition to the U.S. Supreme Court last year demanding a new trial for Mumia.
Returning to direct action in the streets, just two weeks ago, we had a demonstration here in Heidelberg, organized not by our local Mumia group but a group of young antifascists under the motto "Free Mumia Abu-Jamal and all political prisoners." It was a strong showing with 250 people attending, very large and colorful banners and the literally hundreds of cops being unable to prevent the demonstration from gaining the attention and interest of the onlookers.
At a meeting of activists from Southern Germany, the plan was taken to engage in a variety of decentralized actions on the occasion of Mumia's birthday on April 24 and to try to make a year long spurt to organize a really big event in Berlin in December 2010 modeled a bit on the hugely successful event for Mumia at the Madison Square Garden in New York ten years ago, accompanied by a huge concert later on featuring bands both popular and supportive of Mumia.
There was another meeting of activists in Northern Germany a week ago, and from that, we also expect a fresh input of ideas able to boost the struggle for Mumia's liberation in a year that might well prove decisive for his fate.
Let me finish by quoting from the words of scientist and activist Manning Marable about Mumia, spoken in the year 2000 when the movement for Mumia was at its climax and which were already part of the final speech at the Mumia demonstration here in Heidelberg two weeks ago:
Sisters and brothers and comrades – without struggle there can be no progress. […] Power concedes nothing without a demand, it never did and it never will. With these words the great abolitionist Frederick Douglass tells us that the oppressed must liberate themselves, in the pursuit of justice. […]
We stand for Mumia, because our brother never received a fair trial, was tried by a racist judge, in a racist court, in a racist city, in a racist state, in a racist capitalist country.
[…] We stand for Mumia, because we know ethically and morally, that the death penalty is wrong, that it cannot be justified, and that it must be abolished. […]
We stand for Mumia, because […] more than 40 percent of all people on death row now are people of African descent, and because one third of all young black males in their twenties are in jail, on probation, parole and awaiting trial.
The Black Radical Congress stands for and embraces Mumia, because we share his vision of a just society. Our vision of justice is a court system where the death penalty does not exist. Our vision of democracy is where black people have the right to self-determination, and where the wealth is shared by all those who produce it. Our vision of community is where there is no police brutality, no hunger and homelessness, no poverty and unemployment.
The Black Radical Congress says stop state terrorism and police brutality now. Stop all the executions now. Free all political prisoners now. We demand a new trial now. The Black Radical Congress says: Free Mumia Now!
Whatever happened to the Black Radical Congress, Manning Marable was right in 2000, and he continues to be right in 2010. The struggle to free Mumia and all the political prisoners and the fight to end the death penalty once and for all will go on till victory
Ona move and in solidarity -
Michael from Heidelberg, Germany
for the German Network to Free Mumia and to End the Death Penalty
Silence is the deadliest weapon of mass destruction