Revolutions to Come

As fires of rebellion and resistance flash through ancient Arab cities, the nations' pundits (especially those of the rightish variety) warn us of impending doom, in the form of rising gas prices, and the bugaboo of near-hysterical proportions — Islamists.

  But there's a funny thing about rebellions and revolutions.  They may begin one way, but no one – No One – knows where they will end.  That's the nature of revolutions!

   The voices of America's pundit class have apparently forgotten that the Founders that they like to revere and praise as Prophets of Freedom, were — well, revolutionaries, who stood against the most powerful empire of the age — the British (with a little help and money from the French)

   The very notion of having a nation without a king was, well — a revolutionary idea.  That's why, when France had its revolution a few years later, the crowned heads  of Europe got together (conspired, really) to beat them into the ground.  For, back in those days, the conventional wisdom was that kings and queens ruled by the will of God; hence, the divine right of kings.

   The American, French, and Haitian Revolutions put a real dent into such notions.

   Abe Lincoln, speaking as a Congressman in 1848, told his fellow members: "It is a quality of revolutions not to go by old lines and old laws; but to break up both, and make new ones."

   The forces roiling today in several North African and Persian Gulf countries have been held in check for generations by powerful, repressive and ruthless governments, many of whom have been staunch U.S. allies.  The forces which have been unleashed in recent weeks threatens to upend many, if not most of the old relationships and understandings that formed the basis of U.S. Mid-East policy.

   Remarkably, none of the 'experts' on the region, few of the scholars, and virtually none of the talking heads on TV and cable had a clue, until the dam broke and the boiling rage burst forth.

   We have no idea when our where these forces will dissipate.  They may radiate for years. They may, indeed, spill out into other areas of the world.

   That too, is the nature of revolution.

Christina Swarns, Esq., Director of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF)
Criminal Justice Project Judith Ritter, Esq., Professor, Widener Law School in Wilmington, Delaware
SUNDAY, APRIL 3, 4 – 7 pm 
4:00 – 5:00 P.M.
Private reception
$10 advance purchase of tickets required 
Call 212 330-8029 to order tickets
5:30 – 7:00 pm 
Presentations by attorneys


It is with great excitement that we announce the formation of Mumia's new legal team. Both Christina Swarns and Judith Ritter have argued before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals for Mumia. They are now formal co-counsel representing him in the ongoing appeal of his murder conviction and death sentence. The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF), as the premier legal organization in this country fighting for racial justice, has committed itself to "sweep the grave injustices embodied in this case into the dustbin of history."

Limited space is available for reception. We suggest you order your tickets now. 
NEW YORKFeb. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On January 28, 2011Mumia Abu-Jamal retained the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) to represent him in the ongoing appeal of his capital murder conviction and death sentence.  LDF will serve as co-counsel in the case with Judy Ritter, Esq., of Widener Law School in Wilmington, Delaware, who has represented Mr. Abu-Jamal since 2003.
Mr. Abu-Jamal is the world's best known death-row prisoner.  His case has attracted attention from around the world and he is widely viewed as a symbol of the racial injustices of the death penalty.
"Mumia Abu-Jamal's conviction and death sentence are relics of a time and place that was notorious for police abuse and racial discrimination," said John Payton, Director-Counsel of LDF.  "Unless and until courts acknowledge and correct these historic injustices, death sentences like Mr. Abu-Jamal's will invite continued skepticism of the criminal justice system by the African American community."
Mr. Abu-Jamal is on death row in Pennsylvania for the 1981 murder of a police officer in Philadelphia.  His death sentence was vacated in 2001 after the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania found constitutional error in the jury instructions and verdict form used in his 1982 penalty phase.  That decision was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in 2008 but then sent back to the Third Circuit by the United States Supreme Court in 2010 for further review.  
Christina Swarns, Director of LDF's Criminal Justice Project explained that, "LDF seeks to sweep the grave injustices embodied in this case into the dustbin of history and, in so doing, give communities of color reason to believe that they can and will receive equal justice in Pennsylvania courtrooms."
Mr. Abu-Jamal's appeal is currently pending before the Third Circuit.
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. is America's premier legal organization fighting for racial justice. Through litigation, advocacy, and public education, LDF seeks structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice in a society that fulfills the promise of equality for all Americans. LDF also defends the gains and protections won over the past 70 years of civil rights struggle and works to improve the quality and diversity of judicial and executive appointments.
CONTACT: Mel Gagarin, LDF, 212-965-2783
SOURCE NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.


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