Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Fools on Parade

There aren’t too many things to be said about the “Free Mumia” protest last week.

I could make a dozen or so jokes. One for each of the protesters who showed up.

I could write about how the “Free Mumia” movement has been scrapping the gutter of identity politics in a vain effort to gain more support.

I could muse about just how unwise it is to import a cabal of French Marxists to lecture Americans on the folly of our justice system.

I could reflect on how city officials snubbed this same rabble of factually challenged French citizens.

I could laugh about how Pam Africa has resorted to holding up pictures of pro- Jamal celebrities
instead of actually luring them out to her now, impotent protests.

It wasn’t too long ago that there literally were “Millions For Mumia”. Of course, those days have long since passed and even if they hadn’t, the fact that Jamal shot down Officer Faulkner is very much indisputable.

Now, by this point, I am not really in any kind of need to see the points that I have been making about the pro-Jamal cause. Those cows have already come home. But I do hope that my former comrades within the movement will finally begin to realize that any sense of righteousness or even common sense has long since withered and died within the confines of the “movement”. For just as Mumia rots away in a prison cell, so to does the cause to free him. And this is just as well.

But from my vantage point there is more tragedy than just the fact that there are still those who suffer under the misapprehension of Jamal’s “factual innocence”. There is also all of the money thrown down Pam Africa’s black hole. There is all of the moral currency and outrage dispensed on behalf of a faux cause. There are real issues and truly innocent people who are in jail who are looked over because they do not meet the requirements of activists....

One fact that does deserve a few moments of celebratory attention is the fact that, the latest batch of appeals on behalf of the MOVE 9 have been again turned down. According to “journalist” Hans Bennet:

“Ramona Africa, Minister of Information for the MOVE organization, updated the crowd on the case of the MOVE 9

She explained that their most recent appeal had just been turned down in March, and therefore the MOVE 9 prisoners have decided to abandon their extensive legal arguments for freedom because they feel that it is only a waste of time and energy to work within the system like that. Instead, they will now be referring to MOVE founder John Africa’s famous “Judge’s Letter” speech that he made during his own trial in the early 1980s.

Ramona also explained that in 2008, the MOVE 9 would be eligible for parole, since would have all completed 30 years of their 30-100 year sentence resulting from the 1978 police assault on their West Philadelphia home…”

The last paragraph is worthy of mention if only because it raises the specter of the possibility that eight murderers will be eligible for parole in only a couple of years. Based upon what I have heard, and from my own research, I think it safe to say that these MOVE members are not going anywhere soon, but I also know that just about anything is possible.

MOVE members have been released on parole before. Therefore, it is safe to say that if MOVE is mobilizing and pinning their hopes on possible parole, than I think it only fair that those who know the truth about Philadelphia’s least favorite cult also raise up to make their voices heard.

Monday, April 17, 2006

MOVE, George Orwell, and the PhillyIMC

(The following was posted on the PhillyIMC Website in response to my blog posting concerning Mario Africa possibly teaching in Philadelphia Public Schools)

More monomania

First off, if a high school teacher were actually "poisoning the minds" of students (in Spanish class?) by directly advocating any particular doctrine, the odds are very good that it would come to light. High school students are a diverse bunch; the chances that the many dozens of students who pass through a given teacher's classes every day would all conspire to keep in-class political indoctrination a secret are so minimal as to be laughable.

The idea that a teacher is "poisoning minds" simply by being there and by being a member of a particular group would also be laughable- if it weren't so much like the claims made by bigots about teachers who are gay.

Mr. Allen clearly hasn't done any real thinking about this. Instead, he reflexively demands that anyone connected with his hate-object be punished for that connection, irrespective of any real evidence of any wrongdoing.

Orwell nailed Allen's type back in 1936, in The Road to Wigan Pier:
"The romantic idealist whose opinions all change to their opposites at the first touch of reality"

I lived just up the street from the original MOVE house way back in the '70s. It wasn't hard to recognize them as a bunch of irrational buttheads.
If Mr. Allen is any example, one might generalize: "once a fanatical butthead, always a fanatical butthead."

The above commentary was posted as a response to my recent blog posting concerning the possibility of Mario Africa teaching within the Philadelphia Public School System at the Philly IMC website. There are a couple of things that jump out at me right off the bat. The least of which is the fact that the author of the piece makes the mistake of thinking that Mario would be teaching Spanish. This is not the case and if the author had taken the time to actually read my article than they would have known that it is alleged that Mario is teaching history and creative writing. What else is pronounced about this particular response is that it is glaringly sophistic and elitist at it’s core.

Another disturbing and dare I say ignorant aspect of the response is the comparison of my position to that of “anti-gay bigots”. To be sure, homosexuals are biologically hardwired as such. People who join MOVE do so out of a matter of choice. Secondly, it is wrong to assume a gay monolith. Within the gay community is a vast array of political, social, and religious views and nobody should be taken with the notion that gays would attempt to indoctrinate anyone about anything. MOVE members are explicitly anti-government, anti-American, anti-choice, anti-reality, and are taught to espouse these views whenever and wherever possible. The analogy falls flat.

The author of the response (who not surprisingly chooses to remain anonymous) seems to assume that because he/she knows that MOVE is a “bunch of irrational buttheads” that everyone else does, or should. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and the fact that MOVE still has a steady supply of gullible and duped supporters is proof positive that the knowledge of MOVE’s odious nature is not universally accepted....especially outside of Philadelphia’s city limits.

Now having been on the receiving end of a steady stream of criticism for my views about MOVE over the last two years I think it fool-hardy for me not to, at least consider the merits of some of these critiques. For only a brainwashed cultist would be foolish enough to believe that their excrement is without odor and their position infallible. As for me, been there done that. I am keenly aware that my own personal development hinges on my ability to build upon my past mistakes and to know that I can never take myself too seriously. That said, sometimes criticisms are way off the mark and are spewed forth with malevolent intent.

The author of the response quotes a wonderful phrase from George Orwell’s “The Road To Wigan Pier” that seems to denounce those in the political arena who, when faced with the reality that their ideas have consequences balk and instead embrace ideals that are diametrically opposed to those that they had previously held.

A very contemporary example of such a reversal would be arch-conservative David Horowitz. Horowitz, once a pillar of the radical community has sworn off with great fanfare and bombast his previous “revolutionary” fervor for what often amounts to a very reactionary brand of conservatism. Horowitz’s epiphany has led him from one very extreme position to another. That said, while I deplore much of Horowitz’s current political allegiances, I cannot deny his invaluable contributions insofar as exposing the violence of the Black Panther Party as well as his much needed appeals for academic freedom within the American educational system.

As for myself, I don’t think that anyone can effectively argue that I have abandoned my previous ideals in order to pursue an unwarranted campaign against my former comrades in MOVE. From my view, my apostasy has brought me to a state of reclamation of my true self and true humanistic convictions that were stunted while under the authoritarian influence of the MOVE cult. For if I truly wanted to ingratiate myself to “the power structure” as some have alleged, than I would be very quiet about some of my views. But I am not. I am unapologetic about my anti-death penalty views. I have made it very clear that I believe that Philadelphia authorities were criminally wrong in their handling of the MOVE crisis in 1985 and I further believe that these same Philadelphia authorities act as enabelers of MOVE criminality.

None of these positions are going to win me any friends any time soon.

The author of the “response” to my article unwittingly makes clear the inadequacies of current “progressive” thinking. While the author himself/herself is unambiguous in their view of MOVE as bunch of “irrational buttheads” there is an objection to me stating this same view in a more articulate and forceful manner. Why is this? Since the author is an apparent fan of George Orwell than I would direct their attention to the following quote from the famously misunderstood writer:

“Whenever A and B are in opposition to one another, anyone who attacks or criticizes A is accused of aiding and abetting B. And it is often true, objectively and on a short-term analysis, that he is making things easier for B. Therefore say the supporters of A, shut up and don’t criticize: or at least criticize “constructively,” which means in practice always means favorably. And from this it is only a short step to arguing that the suppression and distortion of known facts is the highest duty of a journalist.”

There is an unwritten rule within allegedly progressive communities and it has to do with criticism of “fellow travelers”. In the case of MOVE, it is perfectly acceptable to make the point that MOVE is a pack of lunatics, just as long as this is not said to loudly or to frequently. To do so, as I have done, is to incur the wrath of the community. To do so, is to be branded an arbiter of hate who is wedded to the oh-so-evil “power structure”.

The author of the aforementioned comment considers MOVE to be my own personal “hate object”. I could not disagree more. For a long time I considered the people of MOVE to be my family. I felt genuine affinity for many in the group than and I feel genuine affinity for many in the group now. The majority of the people within the orbit of the sect are victims of the leaders of the sect and this is something that I have stated repeatedly and unapologetically. Now do I hate the child-rape that occurs within the group? Do I hate the threats of violence that MOVE uses to intimidate critics? Do I hate the fact that MOVE uses it’s children as “human shields”? Do I hate the fact that John Gilbride was murdered for the crime of wanting to be with his son? Hell yes I do, but nobody should ever confuse hatred of actions for hatred of people.

As I understand it, hatred of people has the effect of ruining one’s soul. It also can cause one to be blinded to the reality that surrounds them. MOVE is a group whose existence is based upon the cultivation and exploitation of hatred and if I am truly to reject MOVE than I must also cast aside the hatred that is cultivated in the hearts of those who are within the group.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Is A MOVE Member Teaching Your Children?

“For the movement, organized violence is the most efficient of the many protective walls which surround its fictitious world, whose “reality” is proved when a member fears leaving the movement more than he fears the consequences of his complicity in illegal actions, and feels more secure as a member than as an opponent.”

-“The Origins of Totalitarianism”
by Hannah Arendt

(Picture of MOVE member Mario Africa)

According to a website that advertised a 2005 “anti-war concert”, MOVE member Mario Africa is employed as a high school teacher with the Philadelphia School System. According to Mario’s biography that was posted on the site, he is “Presently a teacher of History and Creative Writing in the Philadelphia Public School system, Mario has also taught Spanish I & II at Camden County College, Latin America Through Film and Fiction at Temple University, and English at Escuela San José el Viejo in Antigua Guatemala, C.A.”

I tried to confirm Africa’s employment with the school system, but was unable to either confirm or deny his employment. Part of this difficulty is likely due to the fact that “Mario” is just one of many aliases that this dedicated and long time MOVE member puts to use. As to what his real name is, who the hell knows? But what is scary is that he might just be out there teaching your children.

It would be grotesque enough to find out that “Mario” could be poisoning the minds of young people with MOVE inspired hatred. What is even worse is that he is a key member of a group that denies it’s own children any semblance of an education. Mario himself, has two children in the group, one of whom had the misfortune to be born a girl into a sect that will force her to become pregnant the miniute she hits puberty.

But it is not just the fact that “Mario” is a committed MOVE hack that is un-nerving to me. It is also that I know he was up to his neck in the campaign to destroy the life of John Gilbride. According to court documents, Mario threatened Gilbride’s life just seventeen days before Gilbride’s still unsolved murder.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that when I came around MOVE, that it was Mario who served as a kind of “mentor” for me. At the time I found him to be an intelligent and articulate example of what MOVE could offer. I spent a good deal of time with Mario in my early years as a MOVE supporter and he appeared to me to be very dedicated to the sect. He also had a fondness for making candid, if not, prophetic remarks.

I can recall vividly an occasion when Mario quipped that all one needed in life is “a gun and a short conscience”. I also remember a conversation when he made the point that “if flying a helicopter and dropping a bomb on city hall would get he MOVE 9 free” that he would be happy to do it.

At the time I dismissed Mario’s comments as just being the bluff and bravado of a man who wanted to prove to everyone just how tough he was. Now, in light of the murder of John Gilbride I believe that his remarks had far more sinister undertones.

If Mario Africa is currently teaching children in the Philadelphia school system I don’t think it hyperbolic to make the point that these kids are in danger. Remember that it was MOVE members and supporters who used their own children as human shields in their pointless and violent confrontations with authorities. Do not doubt that if push comes to shove that MOVE members would not put your children in danger as well.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Another Former MOVE "Affiliate" Speaks Out

by Anonymous

It is the position of Move to confront any speaker, so called informed personalities… and demand that they substantiate, qualify what they are saying or stop misleading people. Information is in the ability to inform, and when you have no information to give, you can only misinform. THIS IS THE STATED POLICY OF MOVE, TO STAMP OUT MISINFORMATION…” (from "25 years On the Move")

For those folks familiar with the writings of Tony Allen, it is important to realize that Tony is NOT the first or last person to have changed their minds about the Move Organization. Countless others who have been in close proximity to the organization, either as members or supporters, have come and gone. Considering Move has been around in some form or another for over thirty years, it seems only logical that there must be some substantial reasons that there are only some 20-30 adults who would consider themselves “disciples” of John Africa today. Surely, over the past three decades there has been many times that number who once considered themselves close to Move. So the question begs to be asked… what is it about Move that prompts so many to turn there back on the organization?

Surely, Move’s response would first be to deny the large numbers of people who have had an inside look at the organization and came to the conclusion that they were frauds. The second response would be that those who have left just “couldn’t handle the work”. But what exactly is that supposed to mean? What exactly is Move’s “work” that is so incredibly difficult that less than 30 people out of 6 billion on the face of the earth can handle it?

In there own publication concerning the history of Move, entitled "25 years on the Move", (ironically written by a supporter who has since left the organization), Move clearly defines their purpose as an organization. The stated policy of Move, by Move, is to stamp out “misinformation”. For the past two years, Tony Allen has been persistently and forcefully declaring his opposition to Move. The exact type of “personality” that Move has vowed to confront and expose. Where is Move in all this? The fact is that Move has taken a hands-off approach to Mr. Allen. Why would Move contradict their own stated policy as an organization?

Ramona Africa gave Move’s cliche answer to this question regarding Tony in a newspaper article.

"MOVE people have work to do. We have our direction. We have been coordinated by
John Africa. We are not going to be diverted by it."

There’s that word “work” again. Is there anyone but me that doesn’t understand? Mr. Allen is perhaps Move’s most vocal, and certainly most credible, opponent. Isn’t this exactly the type of thing Move members are supposed to be “working” on?

On his websites, Tony Allen has pointed out inconsistency after inconsistency in the policies of the Move Organization to those seeking more information about the group. And to those of us that were once involved with Move, he only reminds us of why we left. And I’d be willing to bet that for supporters still under the influence of Move, no matter how much they express on the outside their disdain for the likes of Mr. Allen, there is a voice inside them that can’t help but feel uneasy. I’d be willing to bet that all the while they verbally make accusations of “traitor”, “infiltrator”, and “weak”, there is a part of them, hidden away by fear, that can’t help but agree, at least in part, with the sentiments of Tony Allen.

John Africa allegedly once stated that “speaking the truth is as urgent as your next breath and just as necessary.” Like most of Move’s rhetoric, it sounds profound, if it were only true itself. The fact is that the leaders and core members of Move have no real concept of honesty. And I believe that even among Move’s most loyal supporters there is some hint of doubt concerning Move’s authority to teach their supporters about strength, truth, righteousness, or work.

Strength comes from consistently standing strong in the face of adversity, not conforming blindly to every standard set by those you perceive in power out of fear of rejection. Truth is revealed in countless sources, from the workings of nature to books to serious introspection, not solely from one power hungry person who believed he was God. Righteousness comes from being honest with oneself and constantly working to live more harmoniously with your surroundings, not living in fear of the outside world and demonizing all whom disagree with you. Being brave means being able to admit when you are wrong.

And so I ask again, what exactly is Move’s work?

It is not much more than an excuse they use over and over to explain why they aren’t living up to their own rhetoric. Move’s work is lying about not having weapons on August 8th, when somehow returning gunfire injured eleven police officers and firefighters. Move’s work is to use their well-intentioned supporters for money, time, and energy so that its core members can avoid most of the struggle they call for. Move’s work is to grant countless special privileges to the only white child in Move while denying their black children basic rights. Move’s work is to spew rhetoric about natural law and protecting life while living in comfort and doing the bare minimum to abide by any such principal.

Within the “system” that Move claims to live outside of, there is enough lies. There is enough psychological manipulation. There is enough deceit. There is enough abuse. There is enough hierarchy. There is enough exploitation. There is enough indoctrination. There is enough hypocrisy. There is enough unprovoked violence. It is a wonder that any critical thinking person could continue to see the Move Organization as a viable alternative to the “system” when they employ much the same fear tactics to keep it’s members blind and loyal.

Quite contrary to Move’s portrayal of ex-Move supporters having burnt out from exhaustion, succumbing from weakness to the “system”, there are other reasons. Any person honestly and truly engaged in the type of personal revolution and refinement Move only speaks of, will eventually come to the conclusion that being under Move’s influence in the end will only hamper one’s progress. But that is one truth you’ll never hear a disciple of John Africa speak.

With all the self-proclaimed connection to nature that Move speaks of, it should be obvious to them that there is a natural law at work here. Nature has a way of eradicating that which is out of balance. Perhaps that is why the Move Organization is as weak as it’s ever been, and Move tries so desperately to hide behind the few supporters it has left. It is evident to anyone who opens his or her eyes to the reality that Move is crumbling with time.

The question that remains is who will claim their lives back before it’s too late?

-One of many ex-affiliates of the Move Organization

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The International Cultic Studies Association Adds MOVE To It's List Of Groups

The International Cultic Studies Association has added MOVE to it's list of groups and has provided links to this blog as well as my other website about MOVE.

It is an honor for me to be associated with the ICSA in any way as it is an organization that provides a wellspring of information and covers all aspects of cult research. I would encourage everyone to check out the group's website.


ICSA’s Cult Info Books


Information on cults, cultic groups, authoritarianism, zealotry, psychological manipulation, psychological abuse, spiritual abuse, brainwashing, mind control, thought reform, social-psychological influence and control, abusive churches, extremism, totalistic groups, new religious movements, alternative and mainstream religions, group dynamics, exit counseling, recovery, and practical suggestions for those affected by or interested in these subjects.

The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) is an interdisciplinary network of academicians, professionals, former group members, and families who study and educate the public about social-psychological influence and control, authoritarianism, and zealotry in cultic groups, alternative movements, and other environments. Founded in 1979 as AFF (American Family Foundation), ICSA took on its current name in late 2004 to better reflect the organization's focus and increasingly international and scholarly dimensions.

ICSA, the leading professional organization concerned about cultic groups and psychological manipulation, is known for its professionalism and capacity to respond effectively to families, former and current group members, helping professionals, and scholars.

ICSA’s Cultic Studies Review


Cultic Studies Review: An Internet Journal of Research, News & Opinion (CSR) is a triannual periodical published by ICSA (The International Cultic Studies Association).

English is the dominant language of the journal.

Cultic Studies Review seeks to advance the understanding of cultic processes and their relation to society, including broad social and cultural implications as well as effects on individuals and families. The term “cultic processes” refers to manipulative forms of social influence observed most conspicuously, though not exclusively, in certain extremist groups, and is directly related to the research traditions of thought reform and the psychology of social influence.

Although designed as an Internet journal, Cultic Studies Review is also available in an unabridged print version – Subscribe. (online ISSN: 1539-0160; print ISSN: 1539-0152)

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