“68 Then and Now” – from Mumia Abu-Jamal

Listen to audio here

Thank you, Re-Create ’68, for inviting me to join your efforts in Denver, to practice real democracy in the shadows of the Empire.

When I think of the DNC, I’m reminded of the words of the great French writer, Voltaire, who, when speaking of the Holy Roman Empire, quipped it “was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire.”

The Democratic National Committee is neither democratic, nor national, nor a committee. If it were democratic why would it reject the voices of the people, who protest against its rule? If it were national, it wouldn’t be driven by imperialist and globalist corporate interests. (Let us not forget William J. Clinton – perhaps the best known globalist (NAFTA?) in the country). And if it were truly a committee then anybody could join it – not just the political puppets of corporate power.

In 1968, a Democratic mayor named Daley unleashed brutal and vicious cops on people who dared protest against the Democratic Party’s support for the atrocities in Vietnam. Those young people were allegedly protected under the free speech ‘guarantees’ of the Constitution. Instead, they got the crap beat out them.

It was imperial war then – and it’s imperial war now, and only the names and faces have changed (some names – there’s still a Mayor Daley in Chicago).

In fact, things are more repressive today than they were in ’68, for then, anti-war activists and students could at least march through the streets. They got their asses whipped, but at least they marched. Today, city governments have built cages for protest. So much for respect for the constitution!

Now, as in LA 2000, you can get your ass whipped — in a cage!

That is what American democracy looks like in 2008.

For another idea, look at what Pakistan did a few days ago. When the head-of-state violated the constitution, the people took to the streets. When he brought out the troops, they continued to protest. And they demanded impeachment!

There, democracy forced a dictator to resign!

There, democracy marches – ona move!

Here, democracy is in cages, hidden in the boondocks, while alleged representatives sell their souls to the highest corporate bidder, to further the interests of imperial war.

Here, politicians take the label of ‘democrat’, hire the cops to beat you, hire the media to slander you, so that they can send your children to war for oil pipelines, or to protect foreign despots and princes.

Here, democracy is on life-support, while paid-for politicians give mouth to mouth to imperialism, rampant globalization and the ravaging of the poor.

Our revered ancestor Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without demand. It never has and never will.” Your protests are in that great spirit of resistance.

We only need more!

Ona Move! Long Live John Africa!

I thank you all!

Mumia Abu-Jamal


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