Did The “MOVE 9" Purposely Sabotage Their Own Parole?
(MOVE 9 Martyr Janet Africa)
If you think about it, jail for a member of a cult, could be worse.
After all, they are coming from one system of “programming” to yet another. The regimen of oppressiveness is virtually the same. You change around the rhetoric, a few rules, and you have a change for the same. For MOVE, the “system” is the same “system” outside of jail as it is on the inside.
In fact, one could argue that the MOVE members who have remained incarcerated have remained more wedded to the ideology of John Africa than have those who have gone to prison and have been released. Moreover, they have managed to cultivate a kind of cult within a cult of those people who support them because they are in prison. Their imaginary status of “political prisoners” have given them a platform a step above the average prisoner. While many a prisoner, tucked away hundreds of miles away from their families, who seldom have the money and time to come and visit, not to speak of being able to pay the criminal prices charged by phone companies, do their time alone, MOVE prisoners live differently.
Not only do they have a steady cadre of supporters coming to visit, taking their calls, allowing them to take a kind of “guru” role, but they also get to serve as the examples of “John Africa’s revolution”.
I don’t mean to paint a false reality. The above description is of course based upon a larger disconnect from reality, that reality being that MOVE is a marginal sect, with no real influence, no coherent ethos, and barely able to muster more than a couple dozen committed devotees. They are, even in the world of aberrant cults, known for the violence that erupts around them and not for the raw food that fewer and fewer of them eat.
The “MOVE 9" are the living martyrs of a cult of martyrs. The MOVE members who died on May 13th 1985 are abstractions to those of us who came around the sect so many years after the fact, while the MOVE members in prison are living, breathing, examples of alleged oppression, state violence, enter your own MOVE-inspired platitude here etc...
While the MOVE members out on the “street” have little time to spend the time needed to cultivate newer adherents, those in jail have nothing but time. And this time is well spent as far as MOVE is concerned. People fresh to MOVE are full of questions about it, as there is little public information about the group available. It is not as if you can go to Amazon.com and pick up a copy of “John Africa’s Guidelines”. For the esoteric faith, there needs to be living examples to pass down what is essentially an orally transmitted, ever changing, pragmatic, faith, that is manipulated to meet the needs of the individual in question. The MOVE members in jail fill this role for the group. As I have argued before, they are worth more to the group inside of jail than outside.
It would seem to any rational person that after thirty years, MOVE members would be ready to quit the whole prison scene, but that might not be the case. They must have known that to be paroled, that they must acknowledge the crime that they committed. Yet they failed to do so, at least according to the parole board. And in doing so, they must have known that their chance for parole was virtually nothing. And than there is the legal effort on behalf of the “MOVE 9", an effort that was always half-assed compared to that of Mumia, it has now been completely abandoned.
Finally, and perhaps most suspect, is the lack of participation of MOVE members in the efforts to “Free The MOVE 9". That cause was left largely in the pudgy hands of MOVE sympathizer, and Mumia groupie, Hans Bennett. MOVE members like Ramona Africa, gave the obligatory sound bite and two paragraph statement every now and then. This from a group that supposedly fought and died on May 13th 1985 in an effort to free their imprisoned “comrades”. And now all the fight they can muster is to send a couple of children to Harrisburg and a pathetic online petition?
Either MOVE has really fallen off, or they made the choice to let their people rot. As for the MOVE prisoners, it seems they may have chosen the life given to them by the PA Correctional Institutions rather than live in the world of what MOVE has become. I guess I would probably pick jail also.