radman says: C. Clark Kissinger is a former SDS leader; currently with the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). ======================================================================== >From: "C. Clark Kissinger" <email@example.com> >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 > >1-11-01 > >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 >freedoms. > >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 >irrelevant". > >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 >Connor. > >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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