Maroon the Placable: An Ailing Russell Maroon Shoatz Has COVID, While Mumia Abu-Jamal Gets A Celebrity Endorsement from Colin Kaepernick

Can activists who fight against hegemony win against time? Monday’s press conference by the “Free Mumia” folks — where Johanna Fernandez, the Young Lords scholar and the movement’s de-facto leader, announced that another political prisoner -author, Russell “Maroon” Shoatz, has added COVID to his stage-four cancer health challenges — produced a great summary of the injustices suffered by the Panther-journalist-cum-Black Howard Zinn, but it just seemed to be filler as the Colin Kaepernick endorsement was uploaded.

That was okay, because, as you will see below, there were decades of injustices against Mumia Abu-Jamal to fill.

Kaepernick, already a darling of the Left, will get even more fans among the MOVE-ment after his successful recitation of the now-standard Abu-Jamal activist script. (Be patient below, there was a technical glitch and the group had to play much of it over)

Monday’s attempt to get cyberspace’s first political prisoner trending again has more importance than in past decades. Abu-Jamal is now a senior citizen (66 years, almost 40 of them escaping death from the state in one form or another), and there has already been one COVID scare surrounding him — fake, yes, but still scary. The “Free Mumia” movement has peaked and valleyed over the past 25 years — a quarter of a century of radical belief expressed by rallies, books, documentaries, press conferences, press packets, puppets, marches, documentary films, MSM TV and radio stories on him that get harshly criticized, petitions, print Op-Eds and radio. Seemingly, the goal now is to get him (and Shoatz, and others) out before they fall into the dark abyss that bridges old age and death — the space where the MOVE 9’s Delbert Africa and too many others were wedged into by that fatal mixture of white supremacy and Black history.

When the NFL martyr said that “Mumia Abu-Jamal has been in jail longer than I’ve been alive,” it reminded me how long Abu-Jamal has been free and in jail. Whether or not you think Abu-Jamal, Shoatz or any of these others are guilty or innocent may be beyond the point as history beckons: that the freest Black people on this side of the Atlantic and the other side of Angela Davis’ historical veil — possibly the freest people to exist in the past 100 years — are going to be gone very soon.

They have been anthologized and commodified, quoted and imaged. They are the radical’s equivalent of the images on American currency — a real attempt to de-colonize minds now occupied with a million channels.

They are being reached for in the last gasp for radical authenticity before the 21st century completely takes over and Black radicalism will be defined as the space between the Rev. Al Sharpton and those radicals funded by Oprah Winfrey and George Soros. All well-meaning, but soon no one will know the difference between real mayonnaise and Miracle Whip. The only “freedom” Abu-Jamal, Shoatz and others enjoy in the COVID era is the escape from the contradiction that overwhelms America, as AKAs and Howardites prepare their American banners, hegemony absorbing just a little bit more of the inclusive fantasy of the former slave.

Fernandez, Pam Africa, Angela Davis, Linn Washigton Jr. and now Kaepernick are determined to juggle the intellectual Molotov cocktails for as long as they can. Because if they drop them, they won’t explode on the ground; instead, they’ll just melt into the Twitter ether.




Public Historian, scholar, journalist, author, comicbook geek.

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Todd Steven Burroughs

Todd Steven Burroughs

Public Historian, scholar, journalist, author, comicbook geek.

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