Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

AFRICOM, Assault on Dissent, Black America, Human Rights, Racism, USA

No Visible Movement

In Prison The Whole Of My Life is a documentary covering the arrest, trial, imprisonment and fight for a retrial for Mumia Abu Jamal. Mumia’s is presently undergoing a complex appeal process which focuses on three major trial violations – the racism of the judge who was heard by the stenographer at trial to make a racist comment about Mumia; the racial bias of the jury members; the prosecutor’s direction to the jury which “attempted to reduce jurors’ sense of responsibility by telling them that a guilty verdict would be subsequently vetted and subject to appeal”. Mumia remains on death row and the new trial will is to decide on whether Mumia should continue to face the death penalty or face life imprisonment with no parole. The campaign for a complete new trial on guilt or innocence remains.

Trailer Film in prison my whole life
The film links Mumia Abu Jamal with the many incidents of human rights violations and militarism in the United States such as the Iraqi war, Guantanamo Camp X-Ray, Abu Ghraib , Katrina. It also brings together the racialisation of the US justice system and the “prison industrial complex, the racialised death penalty and overall assault on dissent by the state and the federal government. One begins to see that US foreign policy of aggression actually starts at home.

One particularly obscene example is the bombing of the MOVE community on May 13th 1985. The film includes the actual footage showing the plane flying over the houses and dropping a bomb. Five children and six adults were killed, many injured and their homes destroyed…….more here and here.

move 1_1.jpg
More images here including the actual bombing.

How to choose a jury US style:

I also believe the incarceration of Mumia Abu Jamal, the severe irregularities surrounding his trial, the racism and what I see as the US government’s systematic and continuous attack on the progressive and radical Black community are not disconnected from US foreign policy in Africa. For example the support of the continued occupation of the Niger Delta by the Nigerian military to protect US oil interests, the establishment of AFRICOM whether based in Africa or in Europe (deployment is instant either way). I also believe this is a Pan African issue in the sense that Africans and African descendants in the Americas and Caribbean (including and especailly Haiti) are in the words of Angela Davis

“…..have a special responsibility [to each other] not by virtue of their biological connection or racial link, but by virtue of a political identification that is forged in struggle. We should be attentive to Africa not simply because this continent is populated by black people, not only because we trace our origins to Africa, but primarily because Africa has been a major target of colonialism and imperialism. ….” “Abolition of Democracy”

The phrase “No Visible Movement” is taken from the film in a discussion between Angela Davis and the film’s narrator, William Francome, on the differences between the campaign to free Angela Davis and the Mumia campaign. In the case of Angela Davis there was a far more cohesive and much stronger radical and visible movement in the 1970s than we see today.

Links: In Prison video trailer.



  1. “the racial bias of the jury members”

    Although this is obviously a story about the US system, I have often wondered if there is a way to challenge this in the UK system (partly because of observations during my own experience of jury duty, when I dearly wanted to complain, but the strictures about not saying anything about jury discussions left me feeling, perhaps wrongly, that there was no room to say or do anything and it fundamentally didn’t matter to the system).

  2. Comment by post author


    Jess @ The specifics of the story are about the US system but I was trying to make the point that Mumia’a case and that of MOVE and Black Americans as a whole are issues which affect all of us – America’s foreign policy very much mirrors it’s internal policy towards Black and Latino people.