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The Unsilenced Voice of a ‘Long-Distance Revolutionary’ by Chris Hedges

by Chris Hedges
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
December 10, 2012

Mumia Abu-Jamal

Image by Prison Radio via Flickr

I am sitting in the visiting area of the SCI Mahanoy prison in Frackville, Pa., on a rainy, cold Friday morning with Mumia Abu-Jamal, America’s most famous political prisoner and one of its few authentic revolutionaries. He is hunched forward on the gray plastic table, his dreadlocks cascading down the sides of his face, in a room that looks like a high school cafeteria. He is talking intently about the nature of empire, which he is currently reading voraciously about, and effective forms of resistance to tyranny throughout history. Small children, visiting their fathers or brothers, race around the floor, wail or clamber on the plastic chairs. Abu-Jamal, like the other prisoners in the room, is wearing a brown jumpsuit bearing the letters DOC—for Department of Corrections.


via Truthdig

Chris Hedges spent two decades as a foreign reporter covering wars in Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. His latest books are Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, Death of the Liberal Class, and The World as It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.

Copyright © 2012 Truthdig


[DS added the videos.]

“Long Distance Revolutionary”: New Doc Tells Untold Story of Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Life Journey

democracynow·Oct 22, 2012

http://www.democracynow.org The new documentary, “Long Distance Revolutionary: A Journey With Mumia Abu-Jamal,” chronicles Abu-Jamal’s life and work as a journalist, writer and public intellectual even as he spent some 30 years on death row in Pennsylvania. In 1982, Abu-Jamal was sentenced to die for allegedly killing Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. He always maintained his innocence. Then, last year, the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals set aside Abu-Jamal’s death sentence after finding jurors were given confusing instructions that encouraged them to choose death rather than a life sentence. In January, prosecutors announced they would no longer pursue the death penalty against Abu-Jamal, and the imprisoned journalist was transferred to the general prison population. We air a clip from the film, out in February, and speak with director Stephen Vittoria.

Oct 29, 2012 by

Long Distance Revolutionary: Official Theatrical Trailer


Michael Parenti on The State of Human Rights in the U.S.A. (clip from Long Distance Revolutionary)

Prison labor booms in US as low-cost inmates bring billions

Why Mass Incarceration Defines Us As a Society by Chris Hedges

from the archives:

Michael Parenti: Justice For Sale

An Empire of Poverty: Race, Punishment, and Social Control by Andrew Gavin Marshall

The crime of privatized prisons by Lamont Lilly

Mumia Abu-Jamal: Inheriting an Empire

Mumia Abu-Jamal on Pres. Barack Obama

The Black Panthers and the Assassination of Fred Hampton

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13 Responses

  1. […] The Unsilenced Voice of a ‘Long-Distance Revolutionary’ by Chris Hedges […]

  2. […] steadfast defiance. It means resisting just as have Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, just as has Mumia Abu-Jamal, the radical journalist whom Cornel West, James Cone and I visited in prison last week in […]

  3. […] underground movements in the 1960s that advocated violence. A few, such as Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu Jamal, are well known, but most have little public visibility—among them Sundiata Acoli, Mutulu Shakur, […]

  4. […] The Unsilenced Voice of a ‘Long-Distance Revolutionary’ by Chris Hedges […]

  5. Wow. Talk about real. Russell Means said it: welcome to the reservation.
    Almost 30 years solitary for the death of a police officer? How many women and children did this administration manage to have liquidated in Yemen with its robotic equaliser? Only the President enjoys plenty of “good company” and the support of millions.
    Leonard Peltier was imprisoned in 1977. According to Wikipedia his next scheduled parole hearing will be in July 2024. All this for allegedly being implicated in the death of two FBI agents at Pine Ridge. Does that constitute a war crime?
    What legal code does America live by? Genocide by any other name would reek as rotten.
    American justice is a psychopathic insult to human existence and all natural life
    Is there any vestigial public acknowledgement of what heroism means any more?

    • David, so true. the thing about the states is it all depends on the state you are living in. in the state of Iowa the recidivism rate at one time was down to 8%. why? because its citizens are active toward prison reform. but you take states like Florida and Texas and it is bad bad bad.

      on a federal level when Greg Verses Georgia passed in 1976 the death penalty came back, but only certain states adopted it . but the ones that did are going backwards in time .

      Prison reform is real high on my list of activism because i have been visiting prisons/prisoners, writing them letters , and doing free shows for the prisoners for over 3 decades. i have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly.

      the most ugly thing i saw was when i volunteered to do a free show in a town , and the warden said ”these prisoners do not deserve music”. DO NOT DESERVE MUSIC!?? what???? and it was only a level 3 complex. he was treating it like a level 5. he started to get away with it because it was just after 9/11.

      i was so mad i wrote a diplomatic letter to the state capital head of corrections, and i stated that i who has never has broken a law should have a right to do a free show for those who have. I had to go over that jackass wardens head to the big boy who controls the state. the big boy in the dept of corrections was appreciative and everything was fine .

      so, no there is not much justice in America. but if everyone gets involved in prison reform in their own little way, things can change.

      • Thanks Rocket. Right now I’m thinking about that RT report on prison labour.
        I’m sure for a lot of incarcerated people who enjoy your music, you’re a hero.

        • David , i have played every kind of conceivable concert to so many diverse crowds over the years , but there is nothing like a prison crowd , be they female or male .

          what is interesting about it is when i bring my blues band in and crank it . then i tell them that we had nothing to do tonight so we decided to do a free show for you . since everyone in the joint has an agenda including the guards , and they sense that we musicians come with no agenda it really raises their dignity and gives them a distraction from their life in hell.

          the one thing i have not done that is a dream of mine is to spend all of Christmas day on death row . but it is impossible to get clearance for that. Have you seen ”Fairytale in New York” by the Pogues? check it out on you tube .

          the first line starts off with ”it was Christmas Eve in the drunk tank ”…… gotta love it .

  6. I think that Dr. Cornel West said it best,”This president never mentions those 3 words –”prison industrial complex”. That says it all. Dostoyevsky said that a country is known by how it treats its prisoners. So true!

  7. Not one mention of Leonard Peltier. It’s no wonder people forget about him when Hedges can’t even slip on a reference when talking about political prisoners.
    I guess Leonard isn’t the politically correct flavor and the American Indian Movement represents the wrong people to deserve any attention.

  8. There are “things” that make me cry. This travesty of justice is one of them … As someone who was a true victim of the Clintonista’s War on Drugs (addicts, demonization!), I can only concur with EVERY THING Abu-Jamal has said. I wish more people would listen to himl.

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