Government for Whom?

by Mumia Abu-Jamal, written May 2, 2009

click here to listen to audio column

As the economy tumbles like weeds in an old western, companies are getting bailouts in the double digit billions, while workers are being asked to "sacrifice."

Those at the top of the corporate wheel have not only lost little, they've not been asked to give anything back. Indeed, they've not even been asked what they're done with over $300 billion bucks!

The only thing certain is they've not done what they promised to do when they first began to beg for public monies!

But when automotive industries tried to get the kind of help that their brothers in banking got, they were kicked in the pills, and the political elites demanded that they use this economic crisis to whip up on the auto unions -- to fire more workers, cut pay, and rifle the pension envelopes of retirees!

And what of Pres. Barack Obama, who received the votes of millions of labor families?

If you listened instead of looked you might've thought Bush was back, judging by the rhetoric: "It will require unions and workers who have already made extraordinarily painful concessions to make even more.*

The UAW (United Automotive, Aerospace & Agricultural Implement Workers Union, Intl.) has given up so much in the last few years that it ain't funny. Several years ago, management pushed for, and got, a two - tiered pay system, where new workers received about 1/2 the pay of other workers -- and temporary worker status.

How is it remotely fair that those who have less are being asked to give up more?

For decades, people have believed that Democrats were more beholden to labor, given their years of voting for that party. But can one still believe this after the debacle of NAFTA?

Is this what labor voted for?

Way back in 1990, a key Republican analyst, Kevin Phillips, described the Democrats as "history's second-most enthusiastic capitalist party." *

If you look at the top pay at the boards of American companies, you'll find dudes like GM's Lyle Wagoner, who pulled down a cool $23 million dollars when he split -- not to mention a $69 thousand annual pension.

If this is what people are voting for -- more betrayal -- why bother?

--(c) '09 Mumia Au-Jamal

[Source: *Zinn, Howard, A People's History of the United States: 1492 - Present
(N.Y.: Harpers Perennial [2003 ed. {orig. 1980} ], p. 579.)


The Power of Truth is Final -- Free Mumia!

Audio of most of Mumia's essays are at:
Mumia's got a podcast! Mumia Abu-Jamal's Radio Essays - Subscribe at the website or on iTunes and get Mumia's radio commentaries online.

Mumia Abu-Jamal's new book -- JAILHOUSE LAWYERS: PRISONERS DEFENDING PRISONERS V. THE USA, featuring an introduction by Angela Y. Davis -- has been released! It is available from City Lights Books:

If you are planning to organize an event or would like to order in bulk, you can also receive a 45% discount on any bulk orders of 20 copies or more. The book retails for $16.95, for orders of 20 copies or more the discounted price would be $9.32 per book, plus shipping and handling. Prepayment would be required and books are nonreturnable. If you or your organization would like to place a bulk order, please contact Stacey Lewis at 415.362.1901 or

Let's use the opportunity of the publication of this brilliant, moving, vintage Mumia book to build the momentum for his case, to raise the money we desperately need in these challenging economic times, to get the word out – to produce literature, flyers, posters, videos, DVD's; to send organizers out to help build new chapters and strengthen old ones, TO GET THE PEOPLE OUT IN THE STREETS … all the work that we must do in order to FREE MUMIA as he faces LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE OR EXECUTION!

Please make a contribution to help free Mumia. Donations to the grassroots work will go to both INTERNATIONAL CONCERNED FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF MUMIA ABU-JAMAL and the FREE MUMIA ABU-JAMAL COALITION (NYC).


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