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[casi] What does it mean to be an American?

Anti-American or Anti-Imperialist?

Hi all,
       this is an article by mumia abu jamal, which i
found whilst browsing the web and thought it was very
good for the present day situation.

For those on my list who are in iraq, palestine,
jordan or elsewhere in the middle east and may not
know who mumia is please contact me and i will give
you further details.

The Coalition Against Sanctions and War on Iraq

 Mumia Abu-Jamal

What does it mean to be an American? That is the
question that is pulsing through the country,
especially as the nation embarks on the dark road to

A plethora of pro-imperialist writers
(pro-imperialists can be of both the right or the
so-called 'left') have been busy promoting the
suggestion that many of those who are firmly in the
anti-war camp (such as this writer) are somehow
'Anti-American.' Of course, they feel no need to
define their terms, for they rely on the implicit
understanding of the reader to follow their drift.

But such a charge has a long history in the United
States, and seriously deserves an answer.

Decades ago, the U.S. Congress appropriated to itself
the task of defining what 'Anti-Americanism' meant,
and established the infamous HUAC (for the House on
Un-American Activities Committee). This group waged
ideological war on Communists, socialists, and anyone
who tried to organize social change in the repressive
status quo of the United States. People barely
remember the rednecks who sat on the side of the
government, and who imperiously condemned those who
came before them, but Paul Robeson, Dr. W.E. B.
DuBois, and the Hollywood 10 (actors and writers who
were black listed during the period) are remembered
with something akin to reverence.

Who were the 'real Americans'? The rednecks and
racists who stormed and raged and lorded it over those
activists and artists? I stand with Robeson. I stand
with DuBois. I would rather pitch my tent with the
artists of the Hollywood Ten, who stood for the right
to create work that reflected the truths about this
society, rather than with the racists and
segregationist politicians who stood for silence in
the face of repression.

Thousands of people lost their livelihoods, and some
committed suicide in the face of this cruel government
repression. Families were destroyed in this witch hunt
of the 1950's which launched the careers of the
Nixons, and the Roy Coens, and the like.

The definition of American has been contested all
throughout the history of this country, and when the
State has been able to assert their meaning, it has
always meant blind obedience to those in power, in

There are millions of people in this country who
believe in another definition. They believe in the
people. They believe that it is not the duty of people
to obey the government, but the duty of the government
to obey the people. They believe that everyone should
have a say in that definition, not just the moneyed
interests. They also do not believe in Empire.

To be an American also means that one is related to
other peoples in the Americas. Like the Cubans. Like
the Venezuelans. Like the Nicaraguans. Like the

They do not believe that it is the inherent right, or
the 'manifest destiny' of the Norte Americanos to rule
over them like New Rome.

They don't believe that it is right for American
military or CIA or any other agency to destroy the
leaders or popular organizations of neighboring states
(or distant ones).

That definition of American is not anti-American, but
the very best of what it means to be a part of the
people of the Americas.

That kind of American is not represented in the halls
of government or in the corridors of power in the Bush
regime; but it is in the hearts, minds, and souls of
the people. It has not yet found true political
_expression, but it will.

They may be called anti-imperialists. But they may
also be called, ?Americans.?

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