Revolution #246, September 25, 2011

Clemency Denied for Troy Davis—Execution Scheduled for Tonight
The Whole Damn System is Guilty!

Revolution newspaper encourages people all over the US and the world to join in protests against this horrible and unjust outrage. Send reports and photos to

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Revolution received the following report from Atlanta on Wednesday morning:

At 9 AM Tuesday morning, Sept. 20th, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles issued a terse statement denying clemency for Troy Davis, whose execution is scheduled for 7 PM Wednesday, Sept. 21st. This outrageous decision, from a Board made up of ex-prison officials and prosecutors, is the latest in a series of rulings by the judicial system going all the way up to the US Supreme Court, hell bent on executing Troy Davis for the killing of a cop in 1989—despite the lack of physical evidence, the recantation of 7 of the 9 witnesses at the trial, including some who have now stated that their original testimony was coerced by the police, and 3 of the original jurors who have publicly stated that they would not have voted for conviction if they knew then what they know now.

As we write this Wednesday morning, there is a last ditch effort to stop the execution through appeals to the Board to reverse its decision and to the district attorney in Savannah where the case was tried. The number of people worldwide who have signed the petition to stop the execution has now topped 1 million, and there have been outpourings of anger and resistance in different cities.

In the streets of Atlanta Tuesday night—24 hours before the scheduled execution—several hundred people gathered in Woodruff Park, in the heart of downtown for an impassioned speak-out organized by the FTP movement. The crowd then marched loudly thru the streets of Atlanta to join a gathering of over 1,000 people at the State Capitol, organized by Georgians for Alternative to the Death Penalty, Amnesty International, and the NAACP. After the rally at the Capitol, a contingent of mainly youth took to the streets for a spirited march throughout downtown. Today, people are preparing to travel to Jackson, Georgia, the site of the planned execution.

The slogan “I am Troy Davis” seen on t-shirts and signs throughout the protests speaks to the felt impact and widespread sweep of the massive incarceration of Black people. “Not In My Name” was another main slogan—with people wanting to make a clear moral stand that the government’s actions do not have their support and do not rest on a popular mandate.

The speeches at the rally at the Capitol represented a range of different views. There was sharp exposure of the injustice and the need for there to be mass resistance, mixed with calls to rely on “a higher power” and reassurances that whatever happens will be “God’s will.” The most enthusiastic responses from the crowd were when any of the speakers called for stepped up resistance and continuing the struggle. One speaker did a moving challenge to those who will be involved in the execution process to “not follow orders.” Another speaker called out those who have not taken a public stand on this case, emphasizing “your first Black president.”

The pushing forward to execute Troy Davis, despite the lack of real evidence of his guilt, is an extreme move and some ruling class forces have felt it necessary to oppose it. This case has become a focal point of the battle around the death penalty in the US—around which there are divisions among the rulers of this country. This week the liberal pro-imperialist New York Times has editorialized against the death penalty and the execution of Troy Davis. Today’s New York Times’s editorial says: “The Davis case in Georgia is further proof of the barbarity of the death penalty.” Jimmy Carter, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Pope Benedict XVI, and former head of the FBI William Sessions have all spoken out against the execution of Troy Davis. Meanwhile, Texas Governor Rick Perry was cheered at a recent Republican candidate debate for championing an unapologetic commitment to the death penalty even if some innocent people are executed.

The family of the police officer that was killed has been all over the mainstream media, demanding “justice,” “closure,” and saying that “they know Troy Davis is guilty.” “Victim’s rights” are being presented as equal to or trumping the rights of the defendant. The importance of physical evidence has been dismissed, with unreliable and coerced witness testimony deemed more than sufficient to prove guilt. And perhaps most significantly, the “burden of proof” and “innocent until proven guilty” has been totally reversed. The arguments supporting the denial of clemency have reversed the principle of innocent until proven guilty, saying things like “Troy Davis has failed to prove his innocence,” or “overwhelming doubt has not been established.”


Revolution distributors talked with a cross-section of people downtown to find out what they thought about the Troy Davis case. We talked with Black and white people, young and old, a mix of proletarians, professionals and students. Here are some of the responses:

Below are quotes from the demonstration:


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