If you Goggle MOVE and parole you will come across website after website pasted with MOVE’s exhortations to send letters and make calls to the Parole Board in an effort to convince the board that the "MOVE 9" be released.
Having worked on this site and against MOVE for the past few years, I am convinced that if there were ever a time for people who know the truth about MOVE to speak up, than this is it.
Too often, there is little people can do about MOVE other than to raise awareness about the group and even with that there is only so much that can be said.
Now is the chance to really do something in order to help make sure that the most violent of MOVE members not be allowed to breath the free air, while their victims remain either in the ground or others whose bodies were so shot up that they could not ever return to work and were forced out of their career.
For these victims, there is no "parole", their scars and debilitating injuries will never go away and the family of Police Officer Ramp doesn’t get a reprieve from their loss.
If you add to this equation the fact that MOVE members have not ever taken responsibility for their crime, the audaciousness of MOVE becomes that much apparent.. And it is not as if they are unaware of what they did. They know full well, yet their moral compasses do not function in the way that a normal persons would. From years of indoctrination, these MOVE members would have no doubts as to whether murdering a cop was acceptable or not. Nor would they have lost any sleep about lying about it for the last three decades.
For MOVE, it is known that "what is necessary is right and what is right is necessary". Because the Powelton Village confrontation was instigated by MOVE and planned out by it’s leader, John Africa, the necessity of it would have been unquestionable to those whom were participating in it.
The plan of course, was to engage the Police in a gunfight from fortified positions in a violent attempt to kick off "JOHN AFRICA’s" revolution. No matter what, MOVE would claim to be the victims as they had seen in the past people’s revulsion to what was seen as Mayor Rizzo’s heavy handedness towards to the group. This gun battle where hundreds of mostly white cops were observed by the world firing at a home filled with black women and children was, by design, intended to place the Police in between a rock in a hard place.
MOVE members had holed up in the basement of their HQ and made sure that no cameras would be able to observe them firing at the Police. They also held their fire until the Police and Firemen were exposed and vulnerable. And when they did open up, it is somewhat of a miracle that more people were not killed. In the video of the confrontation you can hear the opening shots and the police and firefighters holding their ground as if they were stunned and in disbelief over what they were hearing until they began to see people around them get hit. They retreat backwards, but it must not have been easy to find cover quickly, especially for the firemen who at the outbreak of the shooting were holding heavy hoses shooting water into the MOVE house and were wearing heavy equipment and coats in the heat of August.
While I was still with MOVE, I heard the story of John Africa watching the shootout on TV and how the MOVE members with him were shaken and fearful for their comrades as the event unfolded. It was said that John Africa was completely calm. I believe that his serenity stemmed from the fact that this bloodshed and chaos was exactly what he wanted. The confrontation that he had been working for so long to achieve was finally happening. And it was very possible that those around him did not know of his plans in an absolute kind of way.
MOVE is an inherently secretive cult, even in terms of what they tell each other. If you do not need to know something than they try to keep you in the dark about it, even simple things are handled this way. These kinds of tactics allowed for a plausible denial and ensured that even if a MOVE member were to leave the group that their knowledge would be limited and potentially self-incriminating. For example, if you were aware that MOVE sold drugs, as has been alleged, you probably wouldn’t have known about it unless you were up to your neck in it.
The same would have been the case in 1978. It is very possible that there were people in the house who were largely unaware of the exact nature of the plan until it was too late. They would have simply been told their "activity" was to do as they were told by whomever was in charge.
John Africa had reportedly hand picked the MOVE members he wanted to be in the fight with Police and by all accounts he had done well. Delbert Africa, whom would be identified as the person most likely in charge that day was a former military man who had also spent time as a Black Panther. He would have been comfortable with firearms, constructing basic fortifications, and as one of John Africa’s most loyal followers, ideologically committed to carrying out his tasks. Chuck Africa was the nephew of John Africa and had spent his formative years under the thumb of MOVE’s leader and was similarly ideologically committed as MOVE was pretty much all he knew. Mike Africa, Phil Africa, and Eddie Africa were basically street thugs when they came to MOVE and would hold fast to those street elements that would have made them ideal for this kind of operation.
The women and children were a necessary component to the plan as was excluding any white MOVE members or supporters from the confrontation. John Africa clearly wanted to stock the house with as many "innocent" women and children who were black as a way to exploit the situation as one fueled by blood-thirsty, bigoted cops, who wanted to kill women and children of color (this was the same tactic he would use in 1985)
One of the MOVE women, Debbie Africa was pregnant at the time of the confrontation. This makes one wonder just how concerned she was for the safety of her child if she would put them into a situation that even seemed like it would be potentially violent. Yet there she was. This fact just underscores just how much control John Africa had over his devotees, even if he was hiding out in Rochester NY, hundreds of mile away. One could imagine the nightmare of controversy the city would have had to contend with should a very pregnant Debbie Africa have been killed by Police during the firefight.
Of course, we know that the only person to lose their life that day would be James Ramp and MOVE would do and say anything in order to deny responsibility for his death.
However, as I have monitored the statements of the MOVE 9 for some time now, I have noticed that they are not only making less statements less frequently, but that they are steering clear of advancing the conspiracy theories about "friendly fire" with regards to August 8th, 1978 and are avoiding the issue all together. In the latest article by one of the MOVE 9, this one by Chuck Africa, there isn’t even any mention of August 8th or his supposed "unjust imprisonment". Instead is a lecture about the plight of elderly and the infirm in prison. This turn from self-absorbed, defiant revolutionary, to a wannabe "voice of the voiceless" is as contrived and as full of plagiarized concern and emotion as is possible.
It is hard to say if this more quieter, less abrasive, version of the MOVE 9 has anything to do with the impending parole hearings or not. If indeed it is, than I certainly hope that the Parole Board looks beyond the little con-job that MOVE is attempting to pull and sees the true face of an Organization dedicated to hatred and destruction.
Finally, I am compelled to urge people to continue in their efforts to keep the MOVE members in jail. Don’t be deluded into believing that it can’t happen. A letter to the parole board takes a few minutes, a phone call just as long, and signing a petition, just a few seconds.