[Ppnews] New articles about MOVE by Dr. Lenore Jean Daniels
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu May 21 17:59:41 EDT 2009
There are two new articles about MOVE, written by
Philadelphia journalist Dr. Lenore Jean Daniels,
which are now featured at
At top here are the links to the original
articles, and the full text for each is pasted
below (permission is granted to reprint as long
as the original sources are cited)
From News One:
Malcolm, the MOVE Family, and the Movement You Can Believe In
Represent Our Resistance
By Dr. Lenore J. Daniels, PhD
BlackC<http://ommentator.com>ommentator.com Editorial Board
The history which bears and determines us has the
form of war rather than that of a language:
relations of power, not relations of meaning.
Were not up against people because theyre
white. But were against those who practice
racism. Were against those who drop bombs on
people because their color happens to be of a
different shade than yours. And because were
against it, the press says were violent. Were
not for violence. Were for peace. But the people
that were up against are for violence. You cant
be peaceful when youre dealing with them.
May 19, 2009. It is the anniversary of Malcolm
Xs birthday. Malcolms life should empower us everyday.
When he was a street hustler, Little Red could
never have envisioned what he would become or
what he means for many of us today. Malcolm
described himself as hip then. In
Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley, he said:
Shorty would take me to groovy, frantic scenes
in different chicks and cats pads, where with
the lights and juke down mellow, everybody blew
gage and juiced back and jumped. I met chicks who
were fine as May wine, and cats, who were hip to all the happenings.
Little Red informed Malcolm X. The latter never
forgot the lessons he learned from the former.
Years later, when Malcolm stood looking out at
predominantly Black working-class audiences, he
knew the social, political, economical pit
established for most of them to reside beneath
the shadow of tyranny. He could face the shadow,
too, without cowering or trembling in fear and
speak: Look up, he told the audience. You
sustain this shadow of tyranny. All of you, all at once, blow it away!
It wasnt easy. Nothing is. At every opportunity
he had to remind a defeated spirit that it had
power to blow the shadow away. Anything I do
today, he said, I regard as urgent.
Malcolm saw a crisis then, and it required his
urgent attention. If he had had more time, if he
had been allowed to organize and educate the
masses to recognize their condition as an
international crisis affecting all Black people,
if he had had more time to then galvanize Black
leadership around the masses to present the case
of Black people to the United Nations, would we
have not experienced the catastrophe of a
multi-prong, international assault on Black
people - one that even many Black leaders now pretend to ignore?
That the shadow would grow stronger on our fear,
Malcolm knew. He saw the potential for us to
accept an ever growing pit in which we would
become accustom to living, in fear because over
time, we would not be able to distinguish between
our humanity and their definition of existence as criminals, terrorists.
The shadow now is a very real entity. Anywhere we
go now, the shadow precedes us; it follows our
steps; it surrounds us on all sides.
As Black people, Africans and Africans in the
Diaspora, are linked to the other masses of
pit-dwellers, the Brown, Red, and Yellow masses,
and collectively, our desperation is usable in
the service of a corporate empire.
We are disposable outright. We are the
disposable, ordered to dig deeper holes and
reside as the captured, far in the shadow,
providing cheap labor and profits for the
corporate empire, if we resist. The greatest
conspiracy theory of them all: freedom and
justice is for all - under the shadow!
We get confused; the shadow can be so
overwhelming. We begin to identify ourselves with
it, become absorbed in it, and think were it! We
are not the shadow! It is a way of existence that
is unacceptable for many or many of us would
still be on the cotton or tobacco plantations.
It was certainly unacceptable for John Africa and
the group of freedom fighters. In
Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners v. the
USA, Mumia Abu Jamal recalls John Africas
closing statement in his 1981 court trial:
The MOVE organization lives by the principle of
life, the origin, the source. My Mama, or the
person you heard referred to as mother nature -
thats my mama (sic). That is your mama, too.
Because Im fighting for air that youve got to
breathe (sic). Yeah, you do. And if it gets too
polluted, youre not going to breathe that air.
And Im fighting for water that youve got [to]
clean, and if it gets any worse, youre not going
to be drinking that water. Im fighting for food
that youve got to eat. And you know, youve got
to eat it and if it gets any worse, youre not going to be eating that food.
We are not fighting people. We are not out there
fighting cops for the sake of fighting cops.
Those cops are fighting us and they are fighting
us because they want to uphold this industry.
For being naturalists, for their refusal to live
under the shadow, the Philadelphia MOVE
organization became outright disposable people.
They want to exterminate us, Ramona Africa told
me in a phone interview. Exterminate resistance.
Ramona Africa is a member of MOVE and the
survivor who saved Birdie Africa (then 12 years
old) by escaping the burning building at 1662
Osage Avenue in Philadelphia after the police
illegally dropped a C-4 bomb on their home.
On the 24th anniversary of that police assault in
May 13, 1985, Ms. Africa is still on the
battlefield. John Africa, along with 4 other
adults and 5 children were killed in that
firestorm. Along with the FBI and Police
Commissioner, Gregor Sambor, the first Black
mayor of Philadelphia, Wilson Goode, condoned the
illegal bombing of the MOVE home. Goode held a
press conference while the Africa family was
under siege. Goode told his audience he was ready
to seize control of the house
by any means necessary.
MOVE members and supporters had been working to
free 9 of their family members falsely charges
and jointly sentenced in the 1978 killing of
Officer James Ramp after a year-long police
stakeout of MOVEs Powelton Village home, writes
Hans Bennett in Attention, MOVE: This is
America! - At the 24th Anniversary of the May 13
Massacre, MOVE organizes for 2009 Parole Hearings. He quotes Ms. Africa:
The government came out to Powelton Village in
1978 not to arrest, but to kill. Having failed to
do that, my family was unjustly convicted of a
murder that the government knows they didnt
commit, and imprisoned them with 30-100 year
sentences. Later, when we as a family dared to
speak up against this, they came out to our home
again and dropped a bomb on us, burned babies alive.
Ramona Africa, severely burned, was charged with
conspiracy to riot and served 7 years of a 7
year sentence. She could have received a shorter
sentence, she told me. They had a question for
me: Would I agree to no contact with MOVE?
Today, Ms. Africa is working to free the MOVE 9.
They could be out too if they agreed to denounce MOVE!
But you cant kill a revolution!
We have traveled world-wide and people want to
know when will we open a chapter?
MOVE plans to open chapters throughout the U.S.,
and chapters in Spain, France, and Cuba.
We have spoken to students at Vassar, Harvard,
and the University of Pennsylvania and other campuses.
People denounce the tactics of oppression used
against MOVE and other resistance organizations
and they want to learn and become involved -
because they are involved, Ramona Africa told me.
Silence, fear, and inaction are responses greatly
appreciated by the corporate world.
But Ms. Africa notes how some people have been
duped, as John Africa used to say, into
believing they must abide by legality. Your
rights are embedded in legality. How can you
think that abiding by rules of your oppressors
would set you free? John Africa taught the
members of MOVE to recognize who benefits from this legality and who suffers.
When poor people and Black people are sent to
jail, the first thing they are asked is what did you do?
What did you do? Thats acceptance talking.
Thats regulating injustice from within the pit.
Thats ignorance and fear talking!
First time I went to court, when I came in, the judge was polite.
Good morning, Ms. Africa. You have not been
found guilty of anything. This is a preliminary hearing.
He read the charges.
Do you understand?
I said, No I dont understand. Im in
handcuffs. I understand I am innocent until
proven guilty. Did you come in handcuffs?
The system cant survive with serious resistance,
Ms. Africa said. They tried to bride us off with
money and positions. Then they came with violence
and an artillery of war - the bombing of the MOVE home in 1985.
Revolution is total. No one can coordinate your life for you.
The imprisoned members of MOVE are still called
MOVE 9 - Janine, Debbie, Janet, Delbert, Mike,
Phil, Eddie, and Chuck Africa. Ms. Africa
explained: Our sister Merle has passed. But we still remember her.
Merle complained of a stomach ache, and she was
ordered to remain in her cell. Later that night,
she was served a plate at her cell door.
Then Merle was found dead.
We are focused on the release of our family
first. We keep contacting the parole board and
keeping the pressure on them. Theyve gotten away
with keeping innocent people in prison.
The authorities would love for the MOVE members
to accept responsibility and agree to
wrongdoing. Why would you say you are guilty, if you are innocent?
What about the Constitution and the Fifth
Amendment that says nobody can be made to incriminate themselves?
If you have a home plan or a job plan then you
are to be released. But the courts keep people beyond their sentences.
People do respond. Just because people arent
active as they should be, doesnt mean their
sentiments arent with you. We have to turn that feeling into action.
Whats the best way you can honor Malcolm and the
memory of those 5 children and 6 adults?
Rallies are held in Philadelphia to educate the
people and to organize support for the release of
the MOVE 9. If this isnt happening in your city,
then what are you waiting on? Regard the release
of the MOVE 9 as urgent business. Join Ramona
Africa and the MOVE family and all who struggle
for the rights of the people. The pit, created by
your fear, is not your home! The power is with
you. Look up, and tell the audience: You sustain
this shadow of tyranny. All of you, all at once, blow it away!
Give Sister Ramona a call: (215) 387-4107 and go
to <http://onamove.com>onamove.com or
Then wish Malcolm a happy birthday!
BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member,
Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD, has been a writer, for
over thirty years of commentary, resistance
criticism and cultural theory, and short stories
with a Marxist sensibility to the impact of
cultural narrative violence and its antithesis,
resistance narratives. With entrenched dedication
to justice and equality, she has served as a
coordinator of student and community resistance
projects that encourage the Black Feminist idea
of an equalitarian community and facilitator of
student-teacher communities behind the walls of
academia for the last twenty years. Dr. Daniels
holds a PhD in Modern American Literatures, with
a specialty in Cultural Theory (race, gender,
class narratives) from Loyola University,
to contact Dr. Daniels.
OPINION: White Supremacy & Law and Order
By Lenore Daniels May 13, 2009
And you call me a hate teacher. Why, you taught
us to hate ourselves. You taught the world to
hate a whole race of people... --Malcolm X
Kwame Ture said to white youths who came down to
Mississippi and Alabama to organize with SNCC: Go
back home. Educate and organize whites, and let
Blacks educate and organize the people to fight
for their own freedom. Let those who have been
denied their human and civil rights fight for
it. But educate the white community about white
supremacy. Organize them to fight against white
supremacy. Collectively, there would be an
united front of freedom fighters and anti-war,
anti-imperialist white progressives.
And you know what happened? Progress! The
rhetoric of Black power frightened many young
whites who went home only to adapt to the very
real white power structure: A new era of "law
and order," in which the government legislated a
strategy of prohibition specifically targeting
Black Americans. We uphold our laws and the order
of white over Black! Black politicians
rhetorically calling for unity in the presence of
Black (predominantly Democratic!) voters, behind
closed doors, agreed to the new eras agenda of law and order.
In Philadelphia, Frank Rizzo became Police
Commissioner from 1968-1972 on the "iron fist"
platform. According the independent journalist
Hans Bennett, Rizzo boasted his police force
would be "so repressive that hed make Attila the
Hun look like a faggot" ("Attention MOVE! This is
America"). Rizzo was fair: He targeted the entire
Black community, but he had a particular hatred for MOVE and its members.
Rizzos "iron fist" philosophy remained in effect.
In Jailhouse Lawyers, Mumia Abu Jamal recalls
MOVEs "distinctly multiracial" membership.
It would not be odd, from a MOVE perspective, to
see Chinese MOVE mothers, Puerto Rican MOVE
fathers, or white MOVE daughters. According to
John Africas worldview, MOVE wasnt nationalist
but naturalist, open in principle to all human beings.
Such an arraignment, an ordering of people,
defies the new era of law and order.
With Rizzo in power, repression focused on Black
Philadelphians and MOVE especially suffering
under a barrage of home raids, police automatic
weapons and arrest, "the white faces, the Chinese
faces, the brown faces quietly, often
tearfully-yet fearfully-disappeared from the front lines," writes Mumia.
In 1981, with the arrest of John Africa,
co-founder, Donald Glassey waved the white flag
and testified against Africa and MOVE. Mumia
writes, "Glassey later admitted to wearing a body
wire for the government in an attempt to set up other MOVE members."
John Africa represented himself and the jury
found him not guilty. But that would not be the
end of attacks on an independent-thinking group
of Black Americans known as MOVE.
At the height of Ronald Reagans reign, and,
despite the election of the citys first Black
Mayor, Wilson Goode, the Philadelphia Police
Department was determined to put an end to the organization.
On May 13, 1985, police and bomb squads arrived
at 6221 Osage. The voice on the loudspeaker said,
"This is America!" As Bennett writes in "An
Unconscionable Act: Remembering May 13, 1985$B!m(B:
The two bomb squads repeatedly detonated
explosives in the side walls, and then destroyed
the front of the house. But the confrontation
came to a standstill by the afternoon, with MOVE still inside.
Wheres Mayor Wilson Goode?
Linn Washington, Philadelphia Tribune columnist
and Temple University Professor discovered that a
MOVE member not present in the house, Jerry
Africa, "attempted to negotiate with Mayor Goode
during the standoff." Jerry Africa, civil rights
activist Randolph Means, and former Common Please
Court Judge Robert Williams, writes Bennett,
tried to reach Goode repeatedly by phone.
He [Jerry Africa] wanted to tell Goode that MOVE
would disengage from the confrontation if Goode
would agree to an investigation of the Aug. 8, 1978-related MOVE convictions.
Mayor Goode "would not take their call." But the
first Black mayor of Philadelphia held a press
conference to declare "he was now ready "to seize
control of the house...by any means necessary."
No, this is not Malcolm! This is law and order at work.
The afternoon standstill ended when Philadelphia
police dropped a C-4 bomb on the home, which
started a fire that authorities allowed to burn.
According to Bennett, the bomb was "illegally
supplied by the FBI" ("Attention MOVE! This is
America"). By the end of May 13, 1985, the police
assault had killed 5 children and 6 adults, including John Africa.
I see 2337 West Monroe, in the city where I was
born and raised, Chicago. 1969. Dozens of
Chicago Police working with the FBI forcefully
entered the home there, firing and executing a
sleeping Fred Hampton. Mark Clark was able to
respond with one shot after police entered the
home. In Philadelphia, years later, Police
Commissioner Gregor Sambor used the same line of
defense: MOVE fired first with automatic
weaponry! However, "the only weapons found in
MOVEs house were two pistols, a shotgun, and a
.22 caliber rifle: no automatic weapons."
The MOVE Commission concluded that the women,
children and at least two of the men may have
been in the basement and, most likely, they were
burned alive or shot by police as they tried to
exit the house. Yes, police fired at the
residents as they tried to escape! It is also
possible that 1 or 2 of the men died in the
morning before the bomb was dropped on the house.
Bennett writes, the "police used over 10,000
rounds of ammunition, including 4,500 rounds from
M-16s; 1,500 from Uzis; and 2,240 from M-60 machine guns."
Some 60 homes in the Black middle class
neighborhood were destroyed. Ramona Africa, the
remaining survivor, who barely escaped and who
suffered severe burns, was charged, writes
Bennett, with conspiracy to riot and "multiple
counts of single and aggravated assault."
Survivors of the police assault at 2337 West
Monroe in Chicago received similar charges:
aggravated assault and attempted murder of those
who forcefully entered their home to kill.
Ramona Africa served 7 years of a 7 year
sentence, refusing to renounce-she must
renounce-herself, her family, her people-MOVE in
exchange for parole. In the 1986 trial, Ramona
told Bennett, jurors were told that they would
hear of "wrongdoing" by the police and other
government officials at another trial.
Dont worry about that now. Focus on this Black American!
And, of course, another trial focusing on white
"wrongdoing" never materialized. As Ramona says,
"not a single official, police officer, or
anybody...has ever been held accountable for the murder of my family."
The corporate media, the propaganda arm of the
government, teaches one and all to consider those
Black Americans who want to feed Black children,
who want to educate them to defend their spirit
and guard themselves against police assaults a
vicious lot of criminals. They refuse to adapt to
the policies of the "iron fist" on the Black,
Brown, Red, Yellow, Muslim, poor, and working
class. How do you deal with the memory of this
crime against a people by its government? Do you
ignore it, pretend it never happened, lockstep into law and order stupor?
The events of May 13, 1985 resulted in the deaths
of 11 people, but exposed that for many whites
and, Blacks who capitulate, Black Americans are
never entitled to think and exist outside a
system of thought and behavior that defames them.
The Martin Luther King who spoke of dreams was
fine, but the King who spoke of American
aggression and violence, Americas pursuit of oil
and other material resources at the expense of
Black equality had to be silenced.
I will close with "An Open Letter to Steven
Marche of Esquire," May 8, 2009, written by
rapper, Prodigy, from prison. I will quote from a
photo copy of his handwritten letter in which
Prodigy responds to Marches charge that white
supremacy is nothing more than a "conspiracy theory."
The fact is Mr. Marche, the conspiracy to
physically and mentally enslave the Black race so
that these European vampires and their offspring
can live like Kings and Queens in the New
World, is very much so fact, not theory...
So this conspiracy affects the entire population
of the planet. Its far from toxic paranoia and
narcissism that you claim it to be in your article, Mr. Marche...
This isnt some delusion of personal persecution.
No, this is very real and factual global
persecution of peoples minds, bodys, and souls (sic)...
Their game of covert, physical and mental slavery
is so deeply inbedded (sp) in our society and
subconscious minds, that (sic) it now runs on
auto-pilot. We all actually do their job for
them by submitting to a poisonous way of life...
If each person would commit to a personal change
of their own bad habits, to a more healthy,
inteligent (sp) way of life, we would see our
world transform into a much better place...
Its time to wake up a[nd] start living an American reality...
I forgive you for your ignorance and
contradictions, after all, were working on
fixing ourselves arent we? Peace-Prodigy
Asante Sana, Prodigy!
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
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