Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal 5-23-01
Note from Carolyn Birden:
Sacrifice and courage do not always take forms we recognize immediately.
Mark Taylor, Princeton Theology professor who is coordinator of Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal, has written a book that I, for one, would have ordered immediately if I had heard it offered as a premium for WBAI last year. Mark is a long-time activist against the death penalty and in support of Mumia Abu-Jamal, and is too modest to explain the significance of his book whose subtitle, The Way of the Cross in Lockdown America, gives some indication of his subject, the implication of Christianity in the history of capital punishment and our penal system.
Mark's statement below explains why the book, which at this wriitng (May 24, 2001) is not being offered by WBAI , may yet turn up as a premium for Pacifica despite his efforts to prevent that. I would urge readers of this post to order the book from the publisher or, better still, from an independent book store, but not from WBAI or any other station if it is offered. Book sales on WBAI can be crucial to authors of books that are specialized, are ignored by mainstream reviewers, or are on unpopular subjects, and I respectfully applaud the financial sacrifice by Mark and others who refuse to let their work be used in Pacifica's fundraising.
For a book review/abstract go to
Ordering information: Taylor, Mark Lewis. The Executed God: The
Way of the Cross in Lockdown America. Fortress Press (paperback)
(Mark gave me permission to post the following statement: the advice in support of his action is my own addition and is written and posted without Mark's knowledge.)
May 23, 2001
It is my understanding that interviews I did with Pacifica stations WBAI and KPFX may be presently being used in conjunction with my recently published book, THE EXECUTED GOD, as part of fund drives for those two stations. My understanding is that my publisher has also sent my book to the stations for use as 'premiums' in their fund drive. My publisher has an excellent and independently operating publicist who pursues these matters independently of me, and it is difficult to keep up with all publicity initiatives.
When I had confirmation of this, and when I learned that the campaign against censorship, banning and for a free media, was urging massive non-cooperation with Pacifica, I called my publisher and asked for a cancellation of the deal with the Pacifica stations. I was told it was 'too late' that it wasn't possible. Simultaneously, I was frenetically preparing to leave the U.S. for a research program and lecture at the University of Helsinki, and I just wasn't at my best in keeping up with the best ways to be vigilant in resistance on these issues. I have not been listening to WBAI since the December coup, and have not kept up well with the whole anti-censorship campaign, even though I support it, and receive regular emails about it from Eileen Sutton.
In addition to requesting my publisher not to send books to Pacifica stations for their promotion events (which came too late), I now am also (1) asking my publisher to send no more, should more books be requested by Pacific stations for their fund drives. (2) I am also signing the United University Professors statement in critique of the Pacifica stations and their bannings and censorships. (3) I have also forwarded to my publisher a copy of the Open Letter from another publisher, Seven Stories Press, which argued that Seven Stories will support their authors being interviewed on Pacifica stations, but will no longer provide books for promotional fund drives. I support that position, and have urged my publisher to do the same.
In the meantime, I am doing all that I can to find ways to register my support for the campaigns against the loss of a free media at Pacifica stations, which should have been the last places that corporations' threat to free speech is tolerated. I regret that I was not on top of the situation enough to find ways to take stronger measures against my book's being used for these stations' self-promotion at this time. If colleagues in our struggle for a free media have ideas about how I might redress this situation, I am open to suggestions. I can be contacted at my same email, even though I am abroad.
Thanks, and in struggle, Mark Taylor
Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal
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