Monday, March 21, 2005

Ebony and ivory

Last month convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal published a statement in support of the professinator, "In Defense of Ward Churchill, Historian!" (now available in audio!). In it, the vicious but handsomely dreadlocked murderer runs through the usual checklist of America's shortcomings--its "McCarthyism," its "export of violence," its "documented hatred of dark peoples" and killing of "almost countless" numbers of same, etc.-- and says that Churchill is being persecuted for pointing these crimes out. Just like Mumia!

Mumia, unlike Churchill, is that recurring figure in socialist mythology, the criminal as revolutionary. Various Black Panthers, Weathermen, Baader-Meinhoffers, and even American Indian Movement members have attained this status in the past. Solzhenitsyn wrote about the type in The Gulag Archipelago: the "socially friendly element"--violent criminals--who, because their crimes were committed against a corrupt and inequitable bourgeois society, were romanticized as a proletarian vanguard.

Churchill in that tradition might be expected to admire Mumia and thugs like him, and he does. In fact, despite his claims to have engaged in "armed struggle" and to have taught the Weathermen how to make bombs, Churchill has apparently confined himself to threatening a couple of women. Only natural he'd look up to a real revolutionary like Mumia.

(via Pirate Ballerina)

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