An Interview with Mumia Abu-Jamal

…As I noted in We Want Freedom, the BPP developed an internationalist perspective, because Huey P. Newton (the Party’s Minister of Defense & co-founder) was curious about revolutionary struggles and liberation struggles that came before, whether in China, in Cuba, in Congo-Brazzavile, wherever.

What Party members learned was that people should study struggles in other parts of the world–and take what is useful, applicable, in their own struggles here.

What we see now, for the most part, is precisely the opposite: where folks from the so-called First travel to Third locations, and presume to teach lowly third-world populations how to struggle. I call this tendency “left imperialism”, because those people, usually white leftists, base their claim to supremacy not upon their specific, or organizational work, but upon their privileged place in the Empire; their U.S. nationality, and often their Western background- their whiteness.

From what experience base can U.S. leftists claim supremacy? What project can they point to that is successful, and should be replicated anywhere else in the world? The mass incarceration? The poisonous public school system? The crumbling environment? The deepening racial rifts? The Clinton Administration?

Nothing succeeds like success; and U.S. “leftists” have precious little success to boast about–at home or abroad.

An example of “left imperialism” can be found in how easily so-called liberals applauded U.S. bombing, takeover and occupation of Afghanistan, and later Iraq. Liberals typically argue that Afghanistan was a “good” war and occupation; yet Iraq was “bad”. In point of fact, both, if I’m not mistaken, violated international law. But beyond that, the Afghanistan war was allegedly justified on the basis that the Taliban regime “‘harbored” terrorists.

At the same time that U.S. politicians were barking such charges, the country was flush with terrorists, who waged wars against their own peoples in defense of their American masters.

People who have waged bloody massacres against Haitian workers and students live in peaceful solitude in the U.S. Anti-Castro terrorists who have bombed planes, and poisoned crops, and bombed hotels live in splendid peace in Miami-today. Meanwhile, the Cuban Five are unjustly incarcerated in this country for fighting against U.S. sponsored terrorism.

I can’t count how many dictators, generals, cut-throats, have been kicked out of their home countries, and found refuge in the U.S. One final note about ‘harboring terrorists’…. more people have been taught torture techniques in the U.S. School of the Americas (since renamed), than in any dusty camp in Afghanistan. Latin Americans call the school, la escuela de golpes de Estado: coup d’?tat school.

How many graduates of this ‘School of the Americas’ have raped, tortured, garroted, blown up, killed–terrorized the people of Latin American countries?

The point is not to simply be anti-war, but to be above all anti-imperialist. That’s something that left imperialists find impossible to, do.

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