Let's Turn The Heat Up

Ronnie Kitchen is an Illinois death row prisoner and member of the Death Row 10, a group of men sentenced to death because of "confessions" tortured out of them by Chicago police. In June, Ronnie spoke via telephone to a panel discussion titled "Bush’s War at Home" at a conference called Socialism 2002 in Chicago. Here are some excerpts from his speech.

It all started to unravel the night of November 7, 2000, when Jed Bush gave his big brother George Jr. an early Christmas present--the state of Florida. Bush, the Executioner of Texas, found himself with a new murdering machine, the federal death penalty system. Welcome to our 21st-century nightmare.

A man no one elected sits in the White House. The media can turn and look the other way if they want and the pundits can keep trying to sell their lies by repeating them so often that they start seeming true, but we millions of Americans are not going to fall for the deception.

Weren’t things looking up a year or so ago? Weren’t we supposed to be living through the largest economic boom in history?

Then something happened...investors lost millions in the stock market, crime went up, jobs losses skyrocketed, American icons like Montgomery Wards and TWA vanished. All of a sudden, everything sucked, whether it’s the shaky economy, depleted energy supplies, elusive world peace, no job security, no health care or the simple unusable ballot we were given to pick a president.

Now Bush calls this war--"The war on terrorism." The Israelis are murdering Palestininans in massive numbers over their land, sending tanks and aircrafts to attack Palestinian neighborhoods or refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza. If that’s not terrorism, what is?

Bush is trying to cover up the 9/11 memo and those shady dealings, like the Enron scandal, by continuously crying terrorism. Bush knows the one thing the American people are petrified about--terrorism, and that’s what he’s trying to keep our mind on.

The fight must continue. We cannot, we must not slack off in our effort to abolish the death penalty and get justice for the Death Row 10. We may have won a battle or two--however, the war goes on.

Without this struggle, progress would not be at hand. The people are speaking out against this system. Like the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, the Illinois Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, the New Abolitionist and the Campaign for the Death Row 10, we give special thanks to the International Socialist Organization for putting our stories in their papers and magazines. All of these organizations are making a valuable stand against this system, and without them, we could not have made it this far. Let’s continue to make this system listen to us--the people.

To everyone that took up this cause for justice and put their all into it, remember that you made this happen for us. We give you our thanks and appreciation. We ask that you continue to be our voices, eyes, and ears. Let’s find more ways to turn the heat up on this system.

Ronnie Kitchen
P.O. Box 99, Pontiac, IL 61764