[sixties-l] Fwd: Clark Kissinger "Bull Connor Rides Again"

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: 01/12/01

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    radman says:
    C. Clark Kissinger is a former SDS leader; currently with the Revolutionary 
    Communist Party (RCP).
    >From: "C. Clark Kissinger" <cck1@earthlink.net>
    >Subject: Clark Kissinger "Bull Connor Rides Again"
    >Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2001
    >When possible while incarcerated, Clark is writing about Mumia Abu-Jamal's
    >case, and his own. The government has answered the motion to stay his
    >sentence, and we expect the 3rd Circuit Court to Appeals to rule soon.  He
    >sends thanks to all those who have written him, but he cannot always reply.
    >Please keep the mail coming, especially articles and news that he can share
    >with others.  Charles Clark Kissinger #53094-066, Brooklyn Metropolitan
    >Detention Center, 100 29th Street, Brooklyn NY 11232.
    >Bull Connor Rides Again
    >By C. Clark Kissinger
    >In 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, was the eye of the storm of the civil rights
    >movement.  Birmingham's police chief Eugene "Bull" Connor had become the
    >symbol of white supremacist police power.  At Easter time, the leaders of
    >the movement asked the city for permits to march and picket, which Bull
    >Connor denied, telling them "I will picket you over to the city jail."  The
    >city then got a court injunction against any demonstrations.
    >Led by Wyatt Tee Walker, Martin Luther King, Ralph Abernathy, Fred
    >Shuttlesworth and others, the people marched anyhow.  Eight leaders were
    >convicted of criminal contempt of court and sentenced to five days in jail
    >and a $50 fine.  These defendants carried the case to the U.S  Supreme Court
    >in a case called Walker v. City of Birmingham. In a controversial 5-4
    >decision, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Bull Connor, and upheld
    >the convictions of the civil rights leaders.
    >Chief Justice Earl Warren, together with Justices Brennan, Douglas, and
    >Fortes, strongly dissented.  In a stinging condemnation of the majority
    >decision, Justice Brennan pointed out that the Birmingham authorities were
    >trying to shield an obviously unconstitutional local law restricting
    >demonstrations by hiding it behind a court order.  He wrote that it was
    >unconstitutional to convict the petitioners for contempt of a court order
    >which had invalidly placed prior restraint on their First Amendment
    >Several years (and a large mass movement) later, the Supreme Court
    >unanimously struck down the Birmingham demonstration laws and Walker v. City
    >of Birmingham receded into the closet along with the Plessy v. Ferguson
    >decisions and others upholding white supremacy, which embarrassed a federal
    >government now claiming to enforce civil rights.
    >Now fast forward 35 years to the case of U.S. v. Charles Kissinger.  While I
    >am doing 90 days in federal custody as a leader of the movement to save
    >Mumia Abu-Jamal, an appeal of that sentence was filed. In arguing to the 3rd
    >Circuit Court of Appeals that I was properly punished for violating a court
    >order that placed prior restraint on my freedom of speech, the U.S. attorney
    >'s reply brief focuses on one main Supreme Court decision to justify my
    >jailing--you guessed it--Walker v. City of Birmingham. "Walker holds that
    >Kissinger's constitutional challenges to the sentence he violated are
    >We can only congratulate the U.S. Attorney for grasping the close parallels
    >between the government's position and that of Bull Connor.  At the same
    >time, we see in the movement for justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal, the spirit of
    >Rev. Walker and all those who stood up to the dogs and fire hoses of Bull
    >As Justice Douglas succinctly put it in his dissent to Walker v. City of
    >Birmingham, "the right to defy and unconstitutional. Statute is basic in our
    >scheme.  Even when an ordinance requires a permit to make a speech, to
    >deliver a sermon, to picket, to parade, or to assemble, it need not be
    >honored when it is invalid on its face^
    >^by like reason, where a permit has been arbitrarily denied, one need not
    >pursue the long and expensive route to the Court to obtain a remedy.  The
    >reason is the same in both cases.  For if a person must pursue his judicial
    >remedy before he may speak, parade, or assemble, the occasion when protest
    >is desired or needed will have become history and any later speech, parade,
    >or assembly will be futile or pointless."
    >As always, to make justice happen, people must act with determination.

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