Monday, April 28, 2008

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 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.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Think Twice Before You Wear Your "Free Mumia" T-shirt

By "Freakonomics" Author STEVEN D. LEVITT

I was sitting in the student union at the University of Chicago last week when a student came by putting "Free Mumia" leaflets on the tables.

I have never paid much attention to the Mumia Abu-Jamal case. On the one hand, I know enough about police, the criminal justice system, and racism to believe that an innocent black man could be framed. On the other hand, it makes me nervous when people like Mike Farrell, Oliver Stone, Sting, and Jacques Derrida suddenly become legal experts and publicly proclaim the innocence of someone on death row.

Whatever else you might think of Abu-Jamal, one has to congratulate him on an incredibly effective media campaign over the last 15 years.

It started in 1991 when Yale Law Journal published an article by Abu-Jamal entitled "Teetering on the Brink Between Life and Death" and was fueled by his book Live From Death Row. (I'm pretty sure I own that book; I'm more sure that I never read very far into it.) Somehow, Abu-Jamal and his supporters have managed to keep Hollywood celebrities and cohort after cohort of college students convinced of his innocence and willing to work on his behalf.

He has been somewhat less successful in the court room.

His death sentence has been turned over on a technicality, but I believe he still faces life in prison without parole. Even while on death row he was pretty safe: there are more than 200 people currently sentenced to death in Pennsylvania, and there have been three executions in that state in the last forty years. As in most states, death row in Pennsylvania is a lot safer than the streets if you are a criminal.

To anyone interested in the Mumia Abu-Jamal case, I highly recommend a book entitled, Murdered by Mumia written by Maureen Faulkner and Michael Smerconish. Maureen Faulkner is the widow of Danny Faulkner, the police officer who Abu-Jamal was convicted of killing. Michael Smerconish is an outspoken (but extremely intelligent) writer and radio host in Philadelphia.

Having just finished the book in a single sitting, I can't say I feel too sympathetic to Abu-Jamal. It's easy to be swayed when you only hear one side of the story, but I have to say that the facts (at least as presented here) don't look so good for him.

If you are a college student, or a Hollywood celebrity, thinking about publicly proclaiming Abu-Jamal's innocence, I strongly recommend that you read this book first. One of my favorite passages from the book will give you a little extra incentive. In this (slightly condensed) excerpt, Maureen Faulkner describes a chance encounter with a college student 15 years and 3,000 miles away from where her husband died:

As I pumped gas, a young man, a white kid who looked college age, pulled up behind me. He was wearing a T-shirt that read "Free Mumia Abu-Jamal," and it immediately caught my eye.

I walked up and asked him where he got the T-shirt. He said he was a student at U.C.L.A. and they had recently held a rally for Abu-Jamal. I asked him if he knew anything about the case in which Abu-Jamal was involved.

He said, "Well, I know that this guy was a Black Panther who was railroaded. Someone else shot a police officer and he was framed for it." I cringed when he went on with the usual recitation of misinformation being spun by the Abu-Jamal defenders: a peaceful black activist, a social dissident, hostile white police force, F.B.I. surveillance, conned eyewitness accounts, phony ballistics, etc.

I heard him out and offered to provide him with the actual facts of the case. He politely declined my offer. Before I left, I suggested that when he wore a political statement on his chest he would be well served if he knew his facts, because you never know when you might run into the widow of the officer. I left him in stunned silence.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pa. board denies parole for 3 MOVE members

(Me on the far left with the three MOVE members denied parole in 2001)

(Editors Note: I do not delight in the news that these three MOVE members are denied parole. However, they have had thirty years to consider their crimes, show remorse, and accept responsibility. In three decades they have done none of these things and so their fate is of their own making. I am sure that I speak for many when I thank all of those who took the time to write letters and sign the petition to keep MOVE members in jail. There will be more comments on this latter.)

The Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. - Three members of the back-to-nature group MOVE were denied parole Tuesday in connection with the 1978 shooting of a Philadelphia police officer.

Nine MOVE members were found guilty of third-degree murder in the death of Officer James Ramp, and of the attempted murders of others as police tried to evict them.

The parole requests for Debbie Sims Africa, Janet Hollaway Africa and Jeanene Phillips Africa were denied Tuesday morning, according to Leon Dunn, a spokesman for the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole. All three are being held in a state prison near Erie.

The requests were denied because each refused to accept responsibility, showed a lack of remorse and received a negative recommendation by the prosecuting attorney, according to the board's ruling. They will be eligible for review again next year.

Four other male MOVE members are awaiting parole decisions in the case, and decisions for them are expected later this month or early next month, Dunn said.

An eighth defendant will be eligible for parole next year, and a ninth died in prison.

Prosecutors want all eight to serve the maximum of their 30- to 100-year prison terms. Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham praised Tuesday's ruling.

"They have never expressed regret or remorse for their actions," Abraham said in a statement. "They have not even acknowledged that they murdered Officer James Ramp and wounded several other police officers and firefighters. They should serve as much time as possible."

The shootings happened after police had tried to evict 12 adults and 11 children from the MOVE home in West Philadelphia.

Seven years later, on May 13, 1985, police dropped a bomb on another MOVE house in West Philadelphia, starting a fire that killed five children and six adults. The blaze also destroyed 61 row houses.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pro-Mumia Fascism

(Khalid Muhhamad incites violence and bigotry on behalf of Mumia)

Prior to last weeks pro-Mumia protest in Philadelphia, there were articles all over Mumia-world raising the specter of members of two groups of white racists possibly mounting a counter-protest to the Mumia rally. With the hyperbolic non-logic that goes along with most pro-Jamal propaganda, the situation was described this way on a post at the Philly IMC

“The fight to free death row political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal is a defining cause for all opponents of the racist American ‘justice’ system. The fascists are deadly enemies of labor, blacks and all the oppressed. It is no accident that they threaten to come forward as the stormtroopers for those who seek Mumia’s legal lynching. This makes clear that the fight to free Mumia is labor's fight.”

Notice the rhetorical gymnastics in play to make it as if fighting for Mumia is to fight for labor, is the fight against bigotry, and the fight against fascism in general. Most insulting and plain wrong is the insinuation that the “storm troopers” represent anyone other than themselves.

While I don’t call for Jamal’s execution, I do know plenty of people who do, and none of them have anything but contempt for the bigots who raise their banner over and attach themselves to, the call for justice for a slain Police Officer. A frequent poster on a message board, and Philadelphia Police Officer summed up the situation this way:

“Having the skinhead world staging a counter-protest is just as insulting. They are not coming here to support Danny. They are coming here to spew hate against blacks. If Danny's killer was white, they'd be nowhere to be found. The KSS (Keystone State Skinheads) is a hate organization as much as MOVE is. Both sides will be shouting about injustice. Sadly the only injustice is that Danny Faulkner, who by all accounts didn't see people in black or white, was murdered in cold blood by a scumbag cab driver named Wesly Cook whose own brother won't step up to proclaim him innocent.

What's worse is that the Mumidiots on their websites are insinuating that the FOP is supporting the Skinheads counter-protest. Do I even need to point out to any card carrying member of Lodge 5 that nothing could be further from the truth? The skinheads counter-protest is all part of their "celebration" of Adolf Hitler's birthday. All they will be doing is supporting Mumia-Wesley's cause in the long run.

Remember, the KSS would shoot you dead as a cop just as quick as that cab driving lowlife did in 1981. I never thought I'd say this but I'd rather just have to deal with the usual Mumidiots than both them and the scumbag domestic terrorists KSS.

But knowing my brothers and sisters in blue, those assigned to this thankless detail will do their best to protect both sides even though their hearts will say F-em all.

Stay safe. No one puts their hands on you. Don't let them get to you. BOTH sides are HOPING for heavy handed police. We know better. We are above the savagery these two groups live by. Kill them with kindness”

By not adopting the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” attitude the Faulkner supporters are taking the high road, while those who support Mumia consistently look for, and continue to find the lowest common denominator of human depravity.

Indeed, it is the Mumia supporters who have had hatred on their side and have since the very inception of this ordeal. If one takes the time to go beyond the wall of invective and reads the trial transcripts, it becomes clear that it was Jamal and his supporters that so loudly injected race into the trial. And from the inception of the proceedings, and even before than, it was being alleged that the whole thing was a “racist conspiracy”, that the Judge, the jurors (two of whom were black), certainly the DA, and even Jamal’s own attorney was disparaged as an Uncle Tom and was called a “nigger” more times by Jamal’s black supporters than by whites. And to this day, Jamal supporters have attempted to make a person’s stance on Jamal’s case a determining factor on whether one is a bigot or not. In their world, to oppose Jamal is the equivalent of wearing the robes of the KKK, and if you are black you are considered a race traitor, an “Uncle Tom”, a party to your own oppression.

During my time as a supporter of Mumia, the theme of racist conspiracy was one thing that was constant. Even between supporters of the convicted cop-killer there were accusations and behind the back insinuations as to whether people were sufficiently beholden to the alleged “anti-racist” agenda which was often anything but.

Certainly, if there is a crime in being a bigot, than so too should it be a crime to falsely malign someone as being a racist. As I mentioned before, it is a given in Mumia world that if you oppose the pro-Mumia agenda, than you are racist, but certain people were and are singled out as being specifically and psychotically racist.

In a typical example of “blaming the victim”, it has been alleged without a shred of proof that Officer Faulkner, whom Mumia murdered, was a bigoted cop who got his savage kicks out harassing and beating blacks. To be sure, the description of the incident as espoused by Jamal supporters has Faulkner “brutally beating” Mumia’s brother. The Jamal supporter’s false narrative is the only “proof” ever given with regards to Faulkner being a bigot. In fact, what we know of Officer Faulkner is that he was anything but a racist. Indeed, one of Jamal’s own witnesses called Faulkner a “good” cop and it was Faulkner, who, on the night of his own murder stayed with a young African-American rape victim, coincidentally at the same hospital where he would only hours later be pronounced dead.

Faulkner’s widow, Maureen, has also been labeled as a racist and it has been said flat out that she knows Jamal is innocent, but champions his death as a part of her racist agenda of revenge where any black man will do. There is no evidence of bigotry on Maureen Faulkner’s part and again evidence to the contrary. When a group founded by David Duke and ironically headed by a black woman for a time, “The National Association For The Advancement Of White People” gave a donation to the non-profit charity in Faulkner’s name, Maureen insisted that it be returned.

And what of the Jamal movement and hate groups? The “New Black Panther Party”, “The Nation Of Islam”, and “Black Lawyers For Justice” are all identified as hate groups by the "Southern Poverty Law Center" which monitors such groups and they are all groups which on one level or another, affiliated with the Mumia movement. “The Southern Poverty Law Center” includes these groups because in their words;

Black separatists typically oppose integration and racial intermarriage, and they want separate institutions -- or even a separate nation -- for blacks. Most forms of black separatism are strongly anti-white and anti-Semitic, and a number of religious versions assert that blacks -- not Jews -- are the Biblical "chosen people" of God.

Although the Southern Poverty Law Center recognizes that much black racism in America is, at least in part, a response to centuries of white racism, it believes racism must be exposed in all its forms. White groups espousing beliefs similar to Black Separatists would be considered clearly racist. The same criterion should be applied to all groups regardless of their color.”

There are also individual anti-Semites and racists on team Mumia who are not members of any particular group, but whose ideology is one of hatred. Professor Griff for example, member of the seminal rap group “Public Enemy” had as his topic at a Temple University program called “Hip-Hop 101", Mumia’s case. Griff, aside from his musical adventures is probably best known for his statement that “Jews are responsible for the majority of the wickedness in the world”.

A fixture at Jamal programs for years has been world-famous poet Amiri Baraka. After 9/11 he wrote a poem that included this nugget of naked stupidity “Who Knew The World Trade Center was gonna bet bombed...Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers”. It was the artistic compliment to another Jamal supporter, this one from the Wannabe Indian Tribe, Ward Churchill’s assertion that the victims of 9/11 were “little Eichmanns”.

More than just showing up at “Free Mumia” rallies, these hate groups and individuals are courted, offered a platform from which to speak from, and are free to sell their propaganda and make money . This is the exact opposite of the hate groups who are showing up ostensibly in the name of Officer Faulkner. These opprotunistic reactionaries appear, unilaterally, without an invite or endoresement, mug for the cameras, and crawl back into the holes from which they came. Traditonally, these groups are extremely antagonistic towards law-enforcement when it serves their purpose, and hide behind the Police when they must, but at the end of the day, hate the Police as much as any other extremist group. They have shot down Officers in the line of duty and murdered those whose criticisms hit to close to home as they did radio host Alan Berg. The only hope is the same hope that one has for the Mumia supporters and that is most will grow out of their odious views.

I can also hope that eventually people will realize that fascism comes not only in the form of angry, white men, with bad hair cuts, and a hatred for everything outside of their mythical “Aryan” race, but also in the form of dread-locked MOVE members like Pam Africa who court racists, give them a platform, and ruthlessly exploit racial problems for monetary gain.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mumia Supporters On The Attack!

The following video was sent by someone who was video taping Saturday's Mumia rally. I saw no reports in the media concerning the march, which I did hear was larger than usual. The situation was described this way by the man shooting the video,

"I was at that protest alone and of my own free will. My intent was merely objective documentation of the event. I did know people there on either side of the left/right divide, as I ran into local anarchist Dave Onion and I know a couple of those key stone state guys. I was walking quietly by myself filming, alone. I started walking down market towards the corner of 6th and market to were the lady on the PA was speaking. People there made the assumption that I was working for the cops and surrounded me. Never at any point did anyone ask me who I was or what I was up to. They made no efforts to communicate their concerns to me, only to ridicule and attack me. I held my ground until forced to leave by the cops. Then as I was leaving I was stopped and questioned by the feds who let me go after they saw I had nothing on me. They told me if I came back that "I'd end up getting arraigned from a hospital bed" . In the end in was a best case scenario as I wasn't hurt seriously (I had a bloody lip from getting jabbed in the mouth with a sign), I didn't get arrested and that video footage I speak volumes on the reality of the matter. So feel free to do what ever you want with the video."

Also, at the Philly IMC is an article states that "One bonehead wearing a T-shirt promoting Death in June, a band fronted by American Front associate Boyd Rice, reportedly walked through the pro-Mumia crowd prior to the march and was promptly beaten up"

So now I suppose it is dangerous to walk thru a Jamal rally wearing the wrong kind of t-shirt. And they are the ones calling people "fascists"

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Jamal Supporters Dispute Goes Public

“Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim”-George Santayana

The following letter from the Partisan Defense Committee would not likely have been made public several years ago. It’s appearance now serves as yet another reminder of the continuing decline of the Mumia movement.

The (PDC) is the latest incarnation of a Trotskyist group that is a haven for armchair revolutionaries who delight in pointing out the shortcomings of other communist groups as much as they do in advocating a worker based, Marxist overthrow, of the “capitalists” and “imperialists”. Some years ago at an article extolling the entertainment value of the group that amounts to a tiny, political sect, described it as “fundamentalist Trotskyists (who) have a flair for logic-chopping, and for mercilessly ridiculing their opponents, who are many. It has long been a point of pride for the League never to agree with anyone else — least of all the several other, virtually indistinguishable, Trot organizations spread thinly across the globe. Their means of differentiation have been curious indeed: For a long time, the League showed a strange enthusiasm for the Soviet military (exemplified by the unforgettable Spart headline/banner/slogan "Hail Red Army in Afghanistan!").

The PDC “Open Letter” to all twenty Mumia supporters that remain, is typical of the group’s polemical flavor, however their previous writings with regard to Mumia have a tendency to play up their ideas and talk up (PDC) attorney and former member of Jamal’s legal “scheme team”, Rachel Wolkenstein, rather than denigrate and attempt to marginalize current Mumia supporters.

Based upon what I know about the group and my experience with the Jamal cause, I believe that this provocative letter is part of an attempt by the PDC to reclaim their position as the key support group for Mumia. That is, because in the beginning, there was the (PDC). They were the first political group to really take up the Jamal cause and via the internet, take it around the world. And while Pam Africa is credited as being the architect of the “Free Mumia” movement, in reality it was groups like the PDC and Equal Justice who put Mumia’s name on the map of the political left, not the MOVE Organization. However, as Jamal’s stock continued to climb, MOVE’s investment in him grew. Because of Jamal’s devotion to MOVE, he backed up Pam Africa whenever conflicts would arise and in not much time at all, Pam had either marginalized competing Mumia groups or had her flunkies like Suzanne Ross in positions of power throughout the movement.

So, while the PDC does not mention Pam by name, they do take shots at Pam’s cronies like Suzzane Ross of the New York Mumia Coalition and the war against John Gilbride, Jeff Mackler who is Pam’s man on the West Coast, and Dave Lindorff whose book “Killing Time”, a decidedly pro-Mumia screed was initially demonized by the movement in general because it strayed slightly askance from the party line, but as hard times have set in, even Lindorff has a place in the Mumia movement and is a target for the PDC. By attacking Pam’s flunkies, the PDC is not so quietly, firing a broadside at her leadership, or lack thereof.

It certainly has not escaped the attention of the PDC that Pam Africa’s “International Family and Friends of Mumia” essentially no longer exists and has diminished to the point that it no longer even has it’s own website. The PDC is apparently looking to regain control of the movement they played a vital role in creating by demonizing those who do not subscribe to their absolutist view of Mumia as a “political prisoner” who was “framed” by authorities. Another silly position the PDC clings to is that all of the witnesses who tell the tale of an innocent Mumia should not be rejected. This partially has to do with Rachel Wolkenstein, the PDC attorney who left Mumia’s team over the Arnold Beverly debacle and her nearly hysterical insistence that Jamal’s defense and supporters cling to disgraced and obviously whacked out “witnesses”.

The other reason is that the PDC views the world in terms of absolutes, black and white, with no shades of grey, much in the same way that religious fundamentalist do. They are the self-appointed vanguard of revolution and those who do not subscribe to their newspapers or ideology can go to hell, which if it does exist, may just be stocked with PDC literature, complete with an endless stream of speakers lecturing on the distinctions between Maoism, Marxist theory, how evil the Stalinists are, nauseam.

The PDC “Open Letter” is a glimpse into a generally pointless world of esoteric theories born out of a dead economic system, that is driven by old men who profit off of fear and ignorance. They are part of the freak show of the political carnival and are so morally blind that they are willing to trample over people in order to be the ones to carry the Mumia banner. But what is really important to them is the chance to reap in the blood money made off of the murder of Officer Faulkner. They are a cabal of true believers seeking to rule over a tiny kingdom of lies and the following letter shows this to be a sad truth.

The Partisan Defense Committee issued the following open letter on April 8.

The March 27 Third Circuit Court of Appeals decision condemns Mumia to either execution or the living death of life in prison. This ruling should make clear to all who are committed to the fight to free this innocent man that he can get no justice at the hands of the very forces that framed him up and sentenced him to die. At every step, the courts have made clear that Mumia has no rights that they are bound to respect and that innocence does not matter. Even those who have mobilized for many years on the basis that Mumia could get a “new, fair trial” now proclaim that there should be no illusions in the American injustice system. Now more than ever, mobilizing mass militant protest in the fight for Mumia’s freedom must be based on rejecting any reliance on the courts.

The Partisan Defense Committee and its fraternal defense organizations internationally have put out a call for united-front action, centered on the social power of the multiracial labor movement, from Oakland and L.A. to Chicago, London, Sydney and elsewhere under the slogans: “Mumia Abu-Jamal Is Innocent! Free Mumia Now! Abolish the Racist Death Penalty!” These protests have been endorsed by trade unions, such as United Auto Workers Local 3212 in Chicago, the New York City chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists and the Finsbury Park Branch of the RMT rail and transit workers union in England; by former Black Panther Party militants, including Emory Douglas and David Hilliard as well as Ray Boudreaux and Richard Brown, two of the “San Francisco 8” who are being dragged through the courts on frame-up charges of killing a cop that had been dismissed 30 years ago.

But when we went to an April 5 meeting of the San Francisco Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal to propose that they endorse the Oakland mobilization initiated by the PDC and Labor Black League for Social Defense, they outright refused. Jeff Mackler, a leader of Socialist Action and director of the Mobe, pointed to the PDC/LBL mobilization call and denounced the criticisms there of Socialist Action and others who have subordinated the fight for Mumia’s freedom to the call for a “new trial.” He said that he would not want the “good name” of the Mobe tarnished by endorsing the Oakland demonstration. He accused us of being sectarian. In fact, the Spartacist League, with which the PDC is associated, gave critical support to Mackler’s 2006 Senatorial campaign.

Over two years ago, when the Third Circuit Court allowed Mumia to raise a paltry three—out of over two dozen—issues on appeal, Mackler declared that the ruling was “a major blow to the Pennsylvania legal establishment.” When the recent court ruling burst his bubble, Mackler conceded that his Mobe was in a “demoralized state.” Indeed, this meeting, which was to plan for a protest announced by the Mobe for April 20 in defense of Mumia, made clear that they have no concrete plans for a protest.

On April 6, PDC representatives attended a New York planning meeting called by the Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Coalition (NYC) for the April 19 demonstration in Philadelphia. Unlike their past appeals for a “new trial,” the Coalition’s flyer for the Philly protest declared, “We Say Free Mumia Now!” Recognizing that this opened the possibility of building a united-front action to mobilize the broadest number of forces on the basis of fighting for Mumia’s freedom, we distributed a letter signed by PDC counsel Rachel Wolkenstein and sought to present a motion motivating the need for united-front action. In response, Suzanne Ross, a leader of the New York Free Mumia Coalition, declared there would be no united front and physically excluded us from the meeting. What are they afraid of?

Ever since the PDC took up Mumia’s case over 20 years ago, we have sought to mobilize the broadest forces in his defense. Rallies and protests initiated by the PDC for Mumia’s freedom have always welcomed organizations and individuals representing diverse political viewpoints and encouraged them to air their points of view, including political differences. Indeed, we had offered the New York Coalition a speaker at the PDC/LBL-initiated emergency protest in lower Manhattan on March 28 (an offer they rejected). We also recognized that these forces were very far removed from our class-struggle perspective. Our fight to free Mumia and abolish the racist death penalty is part of our struggle to bring working people and the oppressed to the conscious understanding that the capitalist state, its cops and courts, is not some “neutral” agency that serves society as a whole, but rather exists to defend the class rule and profits of the capitalists against those whom they exploit and oppress. The frame-up of Mumia Abu-Jamal is a stark expression of the class and race bias of the capitalist courts and underlines the need for the multiracial working class to champion the fight for black liberation.

We fight for mass protest for Mumia’s freedom based on labor’s social power, which lies in its ability to choke off the profits that are the lifeblood of capitalism. To that end, the PDC has fought for genuine united-front action in Mumia’s defense—i.e., unity in action based on agreed-upon slogans and complete freedom of criticism. That means an open debate about what strategy is needed to rebuild the movement for Mumia and fight for his freedom. The call for a “new trial” is based on a political program of reliance on the capitalist class, its politicians and courts to afford justice to fighters for the oppressed. Nobody ever called for a “new trial” for Angela Davis, Huey Newton or Nelson Mandela. Had the political counterposition between our call to “Free Mumia” and those advocating a “new trial” been openly debated over the past decade, the movement for Mumia today would have been stronger and firmly based on the need to mobilize to free this innocent man.

Our exposure of how the liberals and reformists have undermined the fight for Mumia’s freedom with their calls for a “new, fair trial” has earned us the wrath of those who are hostile to the perspective of a class-struggle movement for Mumia’s freedom. The rejection of our urgent call for united-front action by the Mobe and the New York Coalition is political cowardice. At this urgent hour, they are subordinating the fight for Mumia’s freedom to their fear of political debate.

The call for a “new trial” was consciously tailored to appeal to liberals whose concern lies with preserving the fraud of American “democracy,” not with Mumia’s freedom. A prime example is journalist David Lindorff, who openly stated in his book, Killing Time, that “I’m not convinced that Mumia Abu-Jamal was simply an innocent bystander” and that Mumia may have shot officer Faulkner. Lindorff is welcomed with open arms by the reformists while the PDC, which has fought for 20 years to prove Mumia’s innocence and win his freedom, is excluded.

When Mumia was faced with imminent death at the hands of the state’s executioner in 1995, mass protests, including by unions and other organizations representing millions, were mobilized around the world and stayed the executioner’s hand. Before this, Socialist Action and others had little to say about Mumia’s case. Court hearings that summer to overturn his frame-up conviction revealed more and more evidence of Mumia’s innocence, much of it uncovered by PDC counsel Rachel Wolkenstein and Jonathan Piper, who served on Mumia’s legal defense from 1995 to 1999. But rather than using this evidence to arm Mumia’s supporters and win new activists to the fight for his freedom, the reformist left adopted the call for a “new trial.” As each new witness gave further proof of Mumia’s innocence—William Singletary, Veronica Jones, Pamela Jenkins—the reformists deepened their commitment to promoting illusions in American “justice.” This demobilized a movement of millions—the clear message was: Why mobilize on the streets and in the unions if Mumia can get justice in the courts?

By 2001, the reformists were actively burying evidence of Mumia’s innocence. In March of that year, Dan Williams, then co-counsel to Leonard Weinglass on Mumia’s legal team, published Executing Justice, which denigrated evidence of Mumia’s innocence, denouncing the confession of Arnold Beverly that he, not Mumia, killed officer Faulkner, before that evidence was filed in court. For this betrayal, Mumia fired Weinglass and Williams. In May 2001, Mumia’s new legal team filed the Beverly evidence in state and federal courts along with sworn declarations by Mumia and his brother, Billy Cook, that Mumia had nothing to do with Faulkner’s shooting. These statements only amplified the mountains of evidence of Mumia’s innocence. But they were too hot for the reformists and liberals to handle. Speaking to them, Mumia wrote in May 2001: “Many of you have said that you don’t believe in the system, yet, in your hearts you refuse to let it go.”

Four months later, in the face of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the liberals and reformists recoiled under the pressure of increased repression and “national unity” patriotism. In December 2001, federal district court judge William Yohn overturned the death sentence while affirming Mumia’s frame-up conviction. This was a demoralizing blow to the advocates of a “new trial,” who had long preached that Mumia would find justice in the federal courts. But rather than mobilizing on the call to free Mumia, they told activists to look to the next federal appeals court. Protests that once drew tens of thousands were reduced to a few hundred at best.

Time is short. Mumia has nearly reached the end of the legal road, and there is no reason to believe he can receive a better outcome before the full Third Circuit Court or from the neo-segregationist U.S. Supreme Court. Mumia’s struggle embodies the struggle against this system of capitalist exploitation and racist oppression. This underlines the urgent need to mobilize the social power of labor in his defense. There can be no flinching on Mumia’s innocence, on the need to fight for his freedom and to abolish the racist death penalty. We call on all fighters for Mumia’s freedom to mobilize now and join in genuine mass united-front protests. Mumia Abu-Jamal is innocent! Free Mumia now! Abolish the racist death penalty!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Will Tigre Hill Get Mumia Right?

(Picture Of Tigre Hill)

Arguably, the most effective medium for supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal after the internet, must be that of the documentary.

Whether it be the clear-cut propaganda produced by the Marxist “People’s Video Network”, or the slickly produced film that aired on HBO, “A Case For Reasonable Doubt”, Mumia’s supporters have effectively used airwaves and now the world of You Tube to spread the message of Mumia’s innocence throughout the world.

Just this year, another “Free Mumia” film “In Prison My Whole Life” was featured at Sundance Film Festival and had openings throughout Europe and might be distributed in the United States. Produced by British Actor, Colin Firth, the documentary captured the emotion, if not the truth, about the Jamal cause.

As I reported some time ago, there is another Jamal film in the works. This one is being directed by Tigre Hill, a African-American film-maker, who is known for his previous documentary chronicling the Philadelphia mayoral race between Democrat incumbent mayor John Street and Republican Sam Katz. The film titled “Shame Of A City” received strong reviews and took viewers on a tour through the ugly world of Philadelphia politics complete with race-baiting, dirty tricks, thuggery, and to top it off a bug placed in the Mayors Office by the FBI. “Shame of A City” showed Hill to be a capable director not afraid to follow a story to places where others might dare not go. But how will he handle Mumia?

It is without a doubt that Jamal himself is a compelling character for any film and his smooth voice, good looks, and “revolutionary” rhetoric that is delivered in such a way as not to be scary to those who do not totally accept his world view. His story, the one manufactured by Jamal himself and his supporters, not the real story, is one of a racialized David and Goliath. Mumia is cast as the under-dog who takes his fame not his own gain, but as the “voice of the voiceless. He is to be viewed as death-row mystic, whose essays and books from prison serve as window from his world to ours. In many ways, the myth of Mumia takes on a messianic flavor . He was born Wesley Cook, one of thousands of young black men in Philadelphia, but through the turbulence and bigotry he experienced as a youth, he was baptized by violence and “kicked” into the Black Panther Party by racist thugs he claims he was attacked by at a political rally. He was re-born as Mumia and later as Mumia Abu-Jamal after the birth of his son. As the myth goes on, Jamal’s steady voice for the poor and disposed have him at odds with the “system” and the former Panther became a supporter of MOVE, who idolized it’s leader and saw as heros the men and women who killed Officer James Ramp in 1978. The rest you could say is “history”, or rather revisionist history. Those who care to know the truth about Mumia, also know the audacity of the lies that have propelled him to be one of the most well-known prisoners in the world, but that hasn’t stopped many a film-maker to take the myth of Mumia and run with it.

Whether Tigre Hill will be lulled into this alluring, ready made, and oh-so-marketable, story remains to be seen. Media reports have him traveling to the land of “Free Mumia” paradise, France, San Francisco, where there is an official Mumia day, Los Angeles where I marched with thousands at the Democratic National Convention several years ago, Washington, D.C., and New York City, which is now the official home of the Mumia movement as it finally worn out it’s welcome in Philadelphia.

The tentative title of Hill’s Mumia documentary is “The Barrel Of A Gun”, which is obviously a reference to Jamal’s sentencing hearing where he expounded on his political philosophy, with the help of Chairman Mao, who Jamal quoted when he said that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun”, and that American history bore this aphorism out. The title of the film ought to raise some eyebrows as the whole “barrel of a gun” exchange between Jamal and prosecutor Joe McGill has been an issue of contention. Jamal’s supporters have argued that the prosecutors unfairly politicized the trial by bringing Jamal’s use of that quote when he was a 16 year old Black Panther. Could Hill’s film be taking the position that Mumia was a victim of a politicized prosecution, orchestrated by an ambitious District Attorney and the FBI who was continuing a policy of “neutralizing” black radicals? Anything is possible.

Recently, it was reported that Tigre Hill had his “wrap party” for the film. His guests included former Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson, District Attorney Lynne Abraham, and a slew of media types from around the Philadelphia area. While the guest list may seem to give credence to the idea that Hill’s film may actually break with cinematic tradition and offer a balanced view of the case. However, if you look at the history of how these films and pro-Mumia books have been produced, there is a distinct pattern of those involved playing both sides as a way to obtain un-fettered access. For example, just prior to the airing of the HBO “documentary”, an executive vice president for the cable station flew out to California and told Maureen Faulkner to her face that she “would be very pleased with the finished product”, when he clearly must have known otherwise. One has to wonder if Tigre Hill has said the same thing to those who stand against the Mumia scam..

Given the fact that Tigre Hill has remained mum as to the direction his film is headed and that it is not set for release until December, it looks like we all are going to have to wait and see what the end result is going to be. But, if the past is any indicator of the future, we are in for yet another sequel in the long, pro-Mumia assault on the truth. In the past, these “Free Mumia” films are more so homages to Leni Riefenstahl’s Nazi propaganda films then they are honest attempts to provoke thought and heaven or hell forbid, present the truth minus the political agenda.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Court Cuts MOVE Damages/MOVE Parole Update

(Osage Avenue Burns)

(Editors Note: Recently, in the media, I have been described as a "former MOVE member" as was done in the following article from the Philadelphia Inquirer. I have never claimed to be a member of MOVE, although I do acknowledge that I was a part of MOVE in the capacity of a supporter. While I do agree that this is largely an issue of semantics, I do not want it said that I have misrepresented myself as being a MOVE member. Being a former supporter of MOVE is bad enough. -Tony Allen)

By Emilie Lounsberry

Inquirer Staff Writer

Nearly 23 years since the MOVE disaster, a federal appeals court yesterday further cut damages awarded to two dozen people whose homes were among the 61 rowhouses destroyed after police dropped a bomb on the radical group's West Philadelphia headquarters.

The ruling came in an appeal focusing on a 2005 verdict by a federal jury that awarded about $534,000 to each of 24 homeowners who sued after years of problems over construction defects in the homes built by the city for displaced residents. After the trial concluded, however, U.S. District Judge John P. Fullam reduced damages to $250,000 each.

Yesterday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit further reduced that amount to $150,000 for each of the homeowners. The decision also set the stage for future court proceedings, demonstrating that the May 13, 1985fire is likely to remain for the city an enduring and costly legal burden.

Six MOVE members and five of their children were killed in the fire that began that day after a police helicopter dropped a bomb on the MOVE house. A block of row homes in the 6200 block of Osage Avenue and some on Pine Street then went up in flames and were destroyed.

As Chief Judge Anthony J. Scirica noted in the Third Circuit's opinion, the events of that day "were viewed as a national tragedy."

One of the homeowners, Gerald Renfrow, said yesterday that while some of those who lost their homes that day have died, he and others in the lawsuit were resolved to continue their fight.

"We're not going to be disheartened by this ruling because we feel that sometimes you have to persist and pursue, and not be frustrated," Renfrow said.

The appeals court may not have "wholly appreciated the psychological damage that occurred," he said. "We have yet to exhale from the bombing."

The 24 homeowners took their case to federal court after refusing to settle with the city after years of problems that resulted from construction defects on the houses built for them.

About three dozen of the homeowners did settle, and Deputy City Solicitor Richard G. Feder noted that the settlement amount - $150,000 per plaintiff - was what the others are now in line to receive under yesterday's Third Circuit decision.

The city has spent millions as a result of the disaster - including more than $15 million to rebuild the neighborhood, $2.5 million to the parents of the slain MOVE children, and $1.7 million more to the child once known as Birdie Africa, who escaped the fire.

The May 1985 disaster was not the city's first brush with MOVE, a radical group that advocated a "back to nature" lifestyle and become a thorn to neighbors because of noise and unsanitary living conditions.

In 1978, a confrontation at another MOVE house nearby ended with a gun battle with police and the shooting death of Police Officer James Ramp.

Eight MOVE members sent to prison for Ramp's killing are now up for parole, and a petition with 2,500 signatures of people opposed to their release was sent yesterday to the state parole board.

Anthony Allen, a former MOVE member who disassociated himself from the group in 2004said the petition, complete with notes from some signers, was being sent - all 158 pages of it - by mail to the parole board.

Allen said he "absolutely" hoped that parole was denied for all eight.

Leo Dunn, a spokesman for the parole board, said that although three of the eight MOVE members had already been interviewed by officials, no decisions were expected until the beginning of May.

In yesterday's 52-page opinion, the Third Circuit panel - Scirica, Julio M. Fuentes and Michael A. Chagares - upheld the jury's decision to award $150,000 in compensatory damages to each plaintiff for breach of the city's contract for a 1988 warranty on the homes.

But the court said that an additional $100,000 to each of them for emotional-distress damages could not stand because that award was based on a separate letter rather than the 1988 contract.

The court sent the case back to Fullam for a determination on the issue of due-process violations, and said the homeowners would have to go to state court to press an eminent-domain case.

Attorney Robert T. Vance Jr., who has represented homeowners for years in the court fight, said he was not yet certain of the next legal move.

But he said the dispute over the housing remains a case that can't be resolved. During its duration, he said, he has had one child born who is now ready to graduate from college.

"It's just really unfortunate from the standpoint of our clients, because they would really like to, as much as possible, put this whole matter behind them," said Vance.

Contact staff writer Emilie Lounsberry at 215-854-4828 or

Monday, April 14, 2008

MOVE and Polygamists: Child Abuse In The Name Of God

(Pic Of MOVE Child Bride 12 years old and pregnant)

Say No To Parole For "The MOVE 9"

On the surface, the West Texas branch of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) seemingly could not be much more different than MOVE.

However, the FLDS, who had some 400 children removed last week from one of their compounds treat their children very much like MOVE members and close supporters treat the children under their care.

As someone who has studied cults and “new religions” over the past several years, I have come to the realization that the most assiduous groups share characteristic that place them in a category outside of mainstream religions and even other cults. The distinction is so pronounced that it is misleading to simply lump all such groups together and regard them as being either equally interesting or perhaps, equally malevolent. All faiths are not created equal and it is without a doubt that some believers are worse than others. For example, it is beyond disingenuous to compare the practitioner of Jainism, a sect of Hinduism so dedicated to the concept of “Ahimsa”, or “peaceful path”, that they wear masks so as not to breath in and kill small bugs and the murderous devotees of Charlie Manson.

There is more than a subtle distinction between eccentricity and violent fanaticism.

But while one must be prepared to accept nuance when looking at an esoteric faith, so too must you be able to recognize the marks of extremism, anti-intellectualism, absolute control, and authoritarian methodologies employed in the use of maintaining power. Unfortunately, these symptoms of the most dangerous brands of cults have the most impact on, and are most detrimental to, those who are most vulnerable. It is the children who are forced to pay the terrible toll for their parent’s “spiritual journey” or who are locked into world of cradle to grave paternalism. It is a world where their lives are controlled by tradition, fear, and a familial bond that cannot bear the weight of non-conformity.

This is the world of terror in which the children of the FLDS and MOVE both inhabit. The most obvious difference between the two groups is that the authorities are doing something about the FLDS and their abuse of children, while the City of Philadelphia sits idle, perhaps fearful of MOVE, and allows the group to sacrifice the minds and bodies of the children in their midst upon the alter of the cult’s dead deity, John Africa and to his heir apparent, Alberta Africa.

Having watched closely the news about the FLDS for the past several years, I have been intrigued to discover that the more I read and heard about the sect, the more I realized that there are striking similarities between it and MOVE. That the differences are mostly cosmetic. One group is urban, the other is rural, one exclusively white and bigoted, the other partially black and similarly hindered by it’s backwards racial views. The differences are certainly there and are obvious, but what is more compelling and disturbing are those similarities.

The first of which was the catalyst for the raid on the FLDS compound and has to do with a generally abusive climate towards young girls. The government swept into the FLDS compound based upon a complaint called in from a 16 year old girl who claimed that "she was being held against her will" and wanted to "escape." She reported, the court records say, that the adult man she married a year ago would "beat and hurt her whenever he got angry" and that if she tried to leave she would be "found and locked up."

This young teen is a part of a culture in which adult men have as their prey, girls who once they reach puberty are fair game to become “married” and impregnated. The situation is much the same in MOVE. Although the age difference for these “marriages” in MOVE is not so grotesque as it is with the FLDS, the fact that girls just barely into puberty are compelled to enter into such relationships and bear children is not. MOVE members are not polygamists, nor did I ever witness anyone in MOVE being beaten. However, the fact that MOVE is a violent group is un-arguable and I think it also fair to say that violence takes many forms. If forcing a young, illiterate, girl to bear children at the behest of cult leaders does not constitute a category of violence than I don’t know what does.

This assault on innocence is by no means the only similarity shared by MOVE and the FLDS. When it comes to education, both groups are clearly enemies of the life of a mind. In MOVE, it has become quite fashionable to claim that the children of the sect are “home schooled”, which to be frank, is rubbish. The children of MOVE are deprived of any semblance of a education, they learn only enough to be functional consumers. If they learn much more than the basics, it is because of their own initiative and inherent curiosity. Simply put, it is easier for MOVE to control their children if they are deprived of critical faculties. It is much the same for the children of the FLDS. The austere lifestyle that is much more “back to nature” than MOVE will ever be does not lend itself well to intellectual pursuits. It is intended for the FLDS members to stay on their compound and live a life of quiet subservience. They learn scripture and they learn to obey. Children of MOVE members similarly learn select teachings of John Africa and know that to live peaceably in the cult is to follow the dictates of the group’s leaders.

It is also worth mentioning that both groups work feverishly to cultivate a fear of the outside world within the children. In MOVE, kids are taught that anyone not a member of the cult is a “pervert”, with all of the connotations that label brings with it, while the FLDS teaches those in the “outsider’s world” are agents of Satan. This fear serves two essential purposes, the first of which is that it helps to ensure that the children, in a state of perpetual fear, will stay close to the sect. It also is a way to foster a sense of uniqueness, while in reality the cult’s leaders are stripping the children of any sense of individuality so necessary to healthy development. They are taught that they are on island surrounded by a sea of depravity. The curiosity inherent and beautiful within the hearts of all children is crushed under the weight of a thousand lies and a crippling fear that is intended to accompany them their whole lives, to be passed onto the next generation.

Another cruel similarity between MOVE, The FLDS, and a thousand other groups just like them has to do with how the children are perceived by the group’s leaders and even their parents. The children are not ultimately in charge of their children, the group is. This is something that really is at the core of most sects defined as authoritarian. Like in MOVE, the marriages of young children are arranged by the cult leaders and the wishes of the parents can be usurped and the children’s destiny is not really theirs, but something pre-ordained for them. It is a useful construct for keeping order, but is also a recipe for psychological disaster as the best interest of the child seldom intersects with the cult’s perceived interest.

Another troubling similarity is in the lack of preventative health care. For the children of MOVE this neglect begins even before they are born as many MOVE members eschew pre-natal care, have their children at home, often without even a midwife, as the mothers lick off the after-birth and bite the umbilical cord. In the 1970's a number of babies of MOVE members were still-born and another died at around six weeks of age. According to MOVE these deaths were the result of Police brutality, yet MOVE refused to cooperate with investigations into the deaths of the children, purportedly as an extension of their disdain for “technology”. It is perhaps ironic then, that MOVE would allow politicians and journalists from “the system” to view the dead children and have their dead babies pictured all over the media. As if this were not suspicious enough, a former MOVE member would come forward and make the claim that the children had died of “natural” causes and MOVE members were tasked with using their own deceased babies as propaganda devices.

Another issue of health care as it relates to children in cults has to do with the fact that these children are in a kind of “bubble”most of their lives and therefore are not exposed to the illnesses that are more prevalent within larger societies. While there are obvious benefits to this, the problems arise when the children leave or are taken out of the sect and they are placed in an environment where illnesses that they have never had a chance to build an immunity to are everywhere. This is something that the children taken from the FLDS compound are dealing with now and it can only make an already difficult situation that much more so.

Both groups seem to have the stain of hypocrisy in that on the one hand they offer devastating criticisms of society and seek to alienate themselves and their children from it, while on the other, they have no problem with taking whatever they can from it. While they vociferously complain about “religious persecution”, they fail to recognize that this country, with all of it’s flaws, is one of the only in the world where groups like theirs could exist. MOVE and the FLDS also subscribe to the notion of “bleeding the beast”, which is a theological way to explain welfare fraud and other ways to defraud taxpayers. The most common tactic of both groups is for “single” mothers to crank out child after child while running a burn on the welfare system. Of course, these women are not single at all, they are often too young to be legitimately married, but they are bound “spiritually” to a husband. It goes without saying that while these young mothers scrape out a meager existence, the leaders of the cults live quite comfortably.

With all of these similarities, one has to wonder when the authorities will take notice and act to halt the abuse of children in MOVE. To be sure, it is not like they are unaware of it. I personally have spoken with a number of people who are in a position to do something about the treatment of these children and without going into extraneous detail, not much came of it.

Another problem is the media’s complete lack of interest in this matter. Again, I have spoken to numerous reporters about the matter and have implored them to take a look at this issue and again nothing has happened and I don’t think it is that they disbelieve me, as I have ample proof. I believe that at the core of this is fear. The City understandably wants to avoid any kind of confrontation with MOVE and has adopted a head in the sand approach to MOVE’s illegalities, and it is the children who suffer as a result of this understandable, but regretful policy. What the City of Philadelphia should understand is that the MOVE of yesteryear is not the MOVE of today. It is a much more fragmented and less committed group of people that it was two decades ago. It is a group that would he hard pressed to mount a defense against a thought out plan of overwhelming force with the limited goal of freeing the children of MOVE from their world of fear, abuse, and sexual degradation. Indeed, the City’s agencies have an obligation to the children of MOVE to get them away from parents who are anything but, and the media has a similar obligation to not just snap pictures of these kids at Mumia demonstration and actually chronicle the miserable lives these children whose innocence has been stolen are forced to endure.

Before these things can occur, I believe it will take a groundswell of people who know the truth about MOVE and what they do to children, to come from out of the shadows of fear and say what needs to be said.

This raid in Texas did not just come out of nowhere. First came the arrest of the sect’s leader, Warren Jeffs and the media attention that laid bare the ugly world of modern polygamy. One could not watch the news for weeks on end without seeing a story about abuse of children in polygamist sects, or stories from survivors who had committed themselves to fighting for the children, often their own relatives who were still shackled to the cult. For years, these brave people, mostly women, toiled in obscurity, virtually ignored by the media and by authorities whose self-interest caused them to turn a blind-eye to the fact that whole cities of polygamists had cropped up.

Operating with impunity and seemingly modeling themselves like pious versions of La Cosa Nostra a host of polygamist groups, didn’t bother themselves with things like state laws or federal laws, and instead lived under a theocracy led by megalomaniacs like Warren Jeffs.

It took years of work, much of it done while under threat of physical harm, to finally convince authorities to act in defense of innocent children. And it will likely take this same kind of dedication and persistence in the face of apathy to force MOVE either to change it’s practices or compel the authorities to protect the children. Either way, it is bound to be a long fight.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Press Release: Petition Demanding “No To Parole For The MOVE 9" Sent To Parole Board

(Pic Of "The MOVE 9" Mugshots)

For Immediate Release 4/14/3008

Contact: Tony Allen

On April 14th, 2008, a petition bearing the names of over 2,500 people will be sent to the Pennsylvania Board of Parole that demands that the eight surviving members of the “MOVE 9" not be granted parole.

The eight members of the MOVE cult who are in jail and up for parole are about to reach their minimum sentence of 30 years of a jail sentence of 30-100 years. They were convicted in 1981, of conspiracy, numerous charges of attempted murder, and for the murder of Police Officer James Ramp. The trial, which at that time was the longest and most expensive on record for the City, was held in the courtroom of Judge Malmed who opined at the proceedings that he found the idea of rehabilitating MOVE members “absurd”.

The charges and subsequent conviction of these MOVE members stemmed from the 1978 shoot-out that occurred when Police Officers attempted to arrest a number of MOVE members at the cult’s Powelton Village Headquarters. After the Police and other mediators attempted to solve the situation peacefully, firefighters began to use fire hoses in order to compel the MOVE members who had barricaded themselves in the basement. A short time after the hoses were turned on, MOVE members opened fire and a number of Police Officers and Firefighters were struck. Officer James Ramp, a veteran Officer and who had survived the wars in Korea and World War Two, was shot and killed as he attempted to aid a fellow Officer who himself had been wounded. A gun retrieved from the MOVE house that had been purchased by a MOVE member was linked to bullet fragments in Officer Ramp and the trajectory of the bullet proved without a shadow of a doubt that Ramp was felled by a MOVE member in the basement of the MOVE house.

This MOVE instigated confrontation had been the culmination of years of ever increasing tension between MOVE members and their neighbors who objected to the cult’s lack of hygiene, brandishing of weapons, assaults on people in the neighborhood by MOVE members, and the concern that what had started as small band of eccentrics was turning into a full-fledged terrorist group.

The imprisoned MOVE members became the focus of the cult’s outside actions. Mumia Abu-Jamal, who would later be put on death-row for murdering another Philadelphia Police Officer considered the “MOVE 9" to be heros and he spent a tremendous amount of time visiting and advocating the release of these convicted cop-killers right up until the time he was arrested for the murder of Officer Daniel Faulkner. During his trial, Jamal attempted to employ the tactics of his MOVE heroes and repeatedly insisted that the cult’s leader, John Africa, serve as his attorney. Today, Jamal’s most fervent allies are his comrades in MOVE, and a key player in the “Free Mumia” movement is MOVE member, Pam Africa.

The incident that MOVE is primarily known for, the May 13th 1985 MOVE “confrontation” that ended in the death of eleven members and the destruction of a city block came about as MOVE employed terroristic tactics in an effort to “bring home” their imprisoned members. It is a little known, but important fact, that all of the children who died on May 13th 1985 were children of these same imprisoned MOVE members.

In 1998, one of the “MOVE 9", Merle Austin Africa died in jail, leaving eight MOVE members remaining in jail, scattered throughout the state’s penitentiaries, where they continue MOVE’s mission of exposing people to the teachings of the cult’s late founder, John Africa. These MOVE members have violated prison rules on numerous occasions, leading many of them to be placed in administrative segregation for months at a time. There were other occasions where MOVE members assaulted prison staff and some of them were involved in the infamous “Camp Hill Riots” in the 1980's.

It is worth noting that not only have these cult members not renounced their dedication to MOVE, but they also have never taken responsibility for the crimes they committed. Moreover, they have taken an active role in perpetuating the myth of their innocence as they have dubiously claimed that Police Officer James Ramp was killed by fellow Officers. The imprisoned MOVE members have also worked to recruit new adherents into the cult as they develop personal relationships with individuals and groups interested in finding out more about the group. As a martyrdom cult, these imprisoned members are critical components of the sect’s allure and mythology.

Ironically, it was a former MOVE supporter named Tony Allen who started the petition to keep his former comrades in prison. Tony met the imprisoned MOVE members in 1996 as he began corresponding with them via letters and phone calls from jail. As his involvement with MOVE grew, so to did his relationship with the “MOVE 9". He would eventually visit all of the jailed MOVE members and he spoke out on their behalf and wrote dozens of works of propaganda extolling their virtues.

After a good deal of research and finally looking at both sides of the issue of MOVE’s guilt or innocence, Tony could no longer look away from the obvious and had to accept the fact that the imprisoned MOVE members were imprisoned for the crime of which they were convicted of and were not “political prisoners”, as it has been alleged.

Having come to the realization that he was wasting his time and life in MOVE and saddened by the realization that those whom he considered to be family to him were in fact murderers, Tony was finally compelled to extricate himself from MOVE after the killing of former MOVE supporter, John Gilbride

Leaving MOVE in 2004, Tony now seeks to educate the public about MOVE, including the child abuse that occurs within the group, as well as the circumstances of the death of former MOVE supporter, John Gilbride. Tony has exhaustively chronicled MOVE’s transgressions, past and present on his website and his blog at

The online petition he started was supported by the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police. Radio hosts Michael Smerconish and Dom Giordano had Tony on their shows to discuss the case of the “MOVE 9" and his petition.

The 2,500 plus signatures came from around the country, although most came from the Philadelphia area. Many were from Police Officers who had endured MOVE’s confrontations and were emphatic that not only was murdered Officer James Ramp not forgotten, but neither were any of the other victims of MOVE. What is also reflected in the petition is an awareness of the violent and deceitful nature of Philadelphia’s most hated cult. And while this batch of signatures is being sent out, the petition will stay up and people can still sign it as a way for people to have their voices and sentiments heard and as a symbol to remind people that while MOVE presents itself as a band of perpetually persecuted, freedom fighters, they are little more than common killers with a warped ideology that is supported by people who are either ruthlessly cynical or utterly naive.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

MOVE Parole Hearings Underway

Pic of Ramona Africa

(The following statement is from MOVE's "Minister of Communication", Ramona Africa. I have not been able to verify the information contained therein. However, I do want it to be known that the hearings were under way.)

"ONA MOVE, Everybody! This is an update on the MOVE 9 parole situation.

Janine, Janet and Debbie were interviewed by Matthew Mangino in person and Judy Viglione watched on closed circuit TV. Janine told us that Mangino questioned her about the issue of innocence and then he didn't want to hear any information about MOVE's innocence. Janet and Debbie got to put out a lot of information about how many people sit in prison for 20, 30 years and have to be released because their innocence is proven so a conviction does not make a person guilty. Viglione asked Janet and Debbie a few questions about what they would be doing if they were released. The decision could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

Our brothers see the parole board sometime this month but they don't have a specific date yet. My brother, Michael, was in the U.S. Marines before joining MOVE (he was around 17 years old) and after being around MOVE he decided not to go back to the Marines. He was AWOL (away without official leave). The Military Police came to MOVE Hq. and JOHN AFRICA gave them some serious information-they never came back. Now over 35 years later, when prison officials interviewed Michael to decide if they would recommend him for parole or not, they bring up this issue of Michael going AWOL from the military when he was 17.

It's obvious that this government does not want MOVE people on the street again so we have to keep the pressure on them so they have no choice but to release innocent MOVE people. Stay strong and keep sending letters to the parole board, keep the pressure on. Ona Move----Ramona

Thursday, April 10, 2008

MOVE Petition Soon To Be In The Mail

Sign the petition to keep MOVE in prison at:

In order to reach the Parole Board in time for the first batch of hearings for the “MOVE 9", I am going to send the petition out by this weekend at the latest.

Because there are still hearings for other MOVE members coming up, I have decided to keep collecting signatures and when I discover the time-frame of their parole hearings I will send them off again.

I would kindly like to ask if there is anyone out there who appreciated this petition and the need for it who could assist in this matter. As everyone should know by now, I do this on my own time and dime. This is not something I mind, but if anyone can help to defray some of these costs, than please take the time and offer any kind of donation that you can help with.

I did want to take this brief opportunity to thank everyone who signed and left some very insightful, if not heart wrenching comments

One can only hope that those Police Officers who had to face MOVE see the efforts of those young and old, some not even born back in 1978, to keep these violent drains on society locked up where they belong.

Any questions please let me know.

-Tony Allen

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Book Review: "American Indian Mafia"

Review by Tony Allen

“American Indian Mafia”by Joseph Trimbach
Outskirts Press Inc.

If you were or are even nominally involved with the politics of the far-left, than you are already familiar with the name Leonard Peltier and the American Indian Movement (AIM). The two are held up as unquestionable examples of the United State’s government’s very real “war” against Native Americans who the government perceives as being trouble makers.

However, much like the Black Panthers and other lesser known groups whose politics revolved around race and whose rhetoric is perceived as being progressive or even “revolutionary”, AIM has been shamelessly romanticized. This, while the group’s most well known personality, Leonard Peltier, who is said to be a “political prisoner” and has garnered support from people throughout the world.

When I first started getting involved with supporting Mumia, I also sought to help Leonard Peltier. Intrigued about Peltier’s case after viewing a music video by the band “Rage Against The Machine” that featured some of the “facts” about the case and encouraged by my comrades on the left I set out to learn more. I read up on Peltier and soon was out to enthusiastically spread the gospel of Leonard Peltier and the American Indian Movement. My belief at the time was that both AIM and Peltier were victims of a government program known as COINTELPRO, that sought to “neutralize” radical or subversive groups like AIM and their members. In that context, I viewed it as an extension of America’s policy of genocide towards Native Americans.

In his new book, former FBI agent Joseph Trimbach, seeks to set the record straight about AIM and in his exhaustively researched and meticulous book of over 600 pages does just that and does so much more. But this is not just a history of AIM, it’s violent and deadly confrontations with authorities and other Native Americans. “American Indian Mafia” is also a memoir of an FBI Special Agent in Charge, who, for a time led the FBI efforts at Pine Ridge to free the reservation from the radicals from AIM whom had taken it over.

Instead of writing from the vantage point of an ideologue who merely spouts off rhetorical barrages at political enemies, Trimbach takes readers back to the front lines and forces upon readers the very real fact that extreme ideas have consequences that can be deadly and destructive. Like any good investigator, Trimbach follows AIM’s path of violence and has no scruples about explaining the mistakes and failures of the government to properly handle the situation. He blasts Federal Judges for making rulings based on politics instead of justice, describes how in early days of AIM that it was receiving government money, and chronicles the frustration of wading through a bureaucratic nightmare just to make sure the men he was responsible for got the weapons and equipment needed to defend themselves against radicals bent on killing them. His frustration over having he and his men forced to into a situation they were not trained to handle and saddled with the kind of rules of engagement that pretty much left his men defenseless in the face of nightly sniper attacks give his book a type of credibility and realism that someone else would not have been able to capture.

As a former “radical” myself, what I find most interesting about “American Indian Mafia” is not the revelation that the group was responsible for numerous deaths or that apologists for AIM have re-written history and cast AIM as the victims, but that the government was, if anything, far too timid in their dealings with what amount to terrorists. From Trimbach’s perspective, it was this degree of inaction and capitulation that exacerbated the conflict and led to more violence.

The first part of the book deals with the ten-week stand off at Wounded Knee in 1973 where AIM militants had taken over a town, terrorizing it’s occupants, and making it a war zone. In the daytime the radical attorneys and other activists who had flocked to the aid of the AIM “warriors” made their self-serving speeches and aided in AIM’s efforts to manipulate the media, while negotiators were attempting to bring forth a “peaceful” ending to the occupation. However, at night, when the media had packed up and the radical attorneys were back sleeping peacefully in their beds, the AIM members, some armed with scoped rifles and other large caliber weapons regularly opened fire on law enforcement, who out of fear of hitting the women and children that AIM had stocked the village with, often did not return fire. In the morning, when the cameras and celebrities would arrive, AIM members would tell anyone who would listen of how the government was attempting to exterminate them.

AIM, having garnered the support of the liberal establishment, winning the media war, and the Watergate scandal left the group in the best possible position to make their next stand. This time in court. The AIM militants had left Wounded Knee shattered. People’s homes had been destroyed, many had no place to go. Over a dozen people were injured and the siege left two people dead. The White House, for it’s part, sent a delegation not to assist the residents of Wounded Knee whose lives were wrecked, but instead to discuss treaty rights with the militants.

Despite the massive amount of evidence against them, the AIM members evaded justice when the Judge who hosted an AIM leader in his home concluded that “government misconduct” had taken place and tossed out all of the charges. It was a textbook example of radicals turning a courtroom upside down and made the criminals seem like the victims.

Trimbach goes over all of this in his book what becomes clear to see is that the foundation was being laid for what would come to be the signature moment for AIM and would be the genesis of a thousand lies. That moment would be the day that two FBI agents would be gunned down while searching for a fugitive in June of 1975.

It is this pivotal event that is the reason that AIM is still even discussed. Three AIM members would be charged with the murders. The first two were acquitted by a jury. Leonard Peltier is caught and extradited from Canada and is tried and convicted for his role in the murder of the two Agents. He receives a sentence of two life terms and so begins his transformation from a thug who mercilessly assassinated two men to a “political prisoner” who has been celebrated by Hollywood elites and has a world-wide campaign waged in an effort to win his freedom.

Joseph Trimbach shows his investigation skills in his compelling examination of the case against Leonard Peltier as he tackles the conspiracy theories that have provided sustenance to the “Free Peltier” cause since his incarceration as well as books such as “In The Spirit of Crazy Horse” and “Agents of Repression” by disgraced intellectual and author Ward Churchill from the Wannabee tribe.

About Churchill, Trimbach writes that “The problem with political loons like the professor from Boulder is that they never seem to get around to actually addressing the problems of their claimed constituents, in this case, Native Americans. If this Indian wannabe was genuinely interested in the plight of Pine Ridge residents, one would think he would be out in front on the issues of the day, putting his taxpayer-subsidized wampum where his mouth is. Instead, we get substandard academics laced with self-indulgent fantasy under the guise of constitutionally protected speech and ‘academic freedom’... When it comes to addressing the most malignant problems plaguing the reservation, AIM remnants are characteristically AWOL, and in protected sanctuaries of mock scholarship, ‘historians’ like Churchill are clueless.”

In a chapter aptly titled “End of A Myth”, Trimbach chronicles the decline of the movement and the myths upon which it sustains itself. Leonard Peltier, wracked by illness is not nearly as marketable as other “political prisoners” who more readily spout off the required leftist rhetoric. His request for clemency was denied by President Clinton and Peltier has been denied parole once, but is set for another hearing in the next few months. Nobody expects that Peltier will be granted parole. And now, more than ever, with three decades in prison, diminishing returns have set in and the once large and vibrant movement for Peltier exists more or less only online.

As for AIM itself, it is a fractured entity complete with two factions vying for credibility and support. What the two AIM factions do have in common is their support for Leonard Peltier and a shared contempt for the government and Native Americans who do not subscribe to AIM’s extremist ideology. With their martyr decaying in prison and many of AIM’s leaders squabbling amongst themselves, the “movement” they began in the sixties is coming apart. A point not missed by Trimbach, who provides numerous examples of the declining influence of AIM.

One of the most poignant examples of AIM’s demise in “American Indian Mafia” is the tragedy of Anna Mae Aquash. Anna was one of the most well-known women of AIM and was by all accounts a “true believer” in the cause. She would be found murdered on the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1976. It was no random murder or act of passion, but was clearly an assassination and for former FBI agent Joseph Trimbach, another example of AIM’s detrimental effects on their own “people”. For years, AIM and their supporters had used Anna Mae’s murder in their propaganda efforts as they would claim that she had been killed by FBI agents. Anna Mae became a martyr for the cause, her “story” turned into a book and was fodder for everyone who wanted to point to governmental malfeasance on the Pine Ridge Reservation.

Blaming authorities for all of the violence and destruction that they themselves had caused became a key tactic of AIM and one that the media was by and large far to eager to believe.

Nevertheless, the truth about Anna Mae could not stay buried forever and it was not the government who ended the young h’s life, it was her comrades whom had become convinced that she had become a traitor who had sold out her fellow AIM members to the FBI. As it turns out, her comrades were wrong about her, she was loyal to the day she was murdered.

The bits and pieces of Anna Mae’s tragic story come together in “American Indian Mafia” and what happened to her is somewhat emblematic of the movement she had surrendered herself to. This young idealistic woman finds a new identity and was successful in what many critics of AIM point to it’s sub-culture rooted in misogyny. For her efforts, she would end of being interrogated by Leonard Peltier himself. This large, brutish, thug, a hero to thousands, is reported to have put his gun up against Anna’s head. She lived to make it through another day, but her fate was sealed.

After three decades the truth is finally coming out. Anna Mae was shot in the head and pushed off a cliff by a fellow AIM member because it was thought that she had sold them out. One man is already in prison for the killing and the alleged shooter was recently extradited from Canada to stand trial in the United States for his role in the murder.

Joseph Trimbach wonders what else will come out of the case. Will all of the AIM leadership be implicated? And what of Peltier? Did he know what was going to happen ? These are the questions that need to be asked and more importantly investigated. In raising these issues, Trimbach does more than write a book, he tears down myths and offers, challenges revisionist history, and do so without engaging in overwrought hyperbole. He methodically makes his case with attention to detail and a certain precision that comes from having lived through much of what he writes about.

What I fear is that the people who most need to read this book, will be the ones to ignore it. To convince someone who is even nominally a leftist, to read a book authored by a former FBI agent, that has the endorsement of Oliver North on the cover, is going to be very difficult.

My view, is that this fine book that tells the truth about AIM and Peltier will serve as a spring board that allows for those who are more left of center politically to take on the AIM and Peltier mythology in their own circles, or at the very least be cause for them to accept a more nuanced view of the whole situation. It is past time for people to come to grips with the fact that AIM did not represent Native Americans or even a sizable minority of Native Americans. That the AIM “activists” played the role of invaders in many of their actions and that they viciously abused those Native Americans who did not accept their agenda, and even some of those who did. The murder of Anna Mae Aquash being a particularly grotesque example of the latter.

The history of AIM and indeed the entirety of European/Native American has been an unchecked chain of tragedies, one that is un-mitigated by the good intentions of those “progressives” who have poured untold amounts of money and energy into the cause of freeing a convicted, double murderer.

One can only hope that Trimbach’s book serves as a catalyst for a new understanding of the era of AIM on the American Indian reservations. It was, without question, a history of brutality, of needless death, where the only changes that were made were for the worse. That was the legacy of AIM and John Trimbach should be regarded as a man of great courage for writing this book and for doing what a great journalist does best and that is to tell people what they don’t want to hear.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Dr. Robert Zaller: The Shame Of Drexel University

(Dr. Zaller in the center of the photo)

Sign The Petition To Keep MOVE Cop-Killers In Jail

A few posts back I wrote about how Drexel Professor of History, Robert Zaller signed a petition calling for the release of the MOVE members incarcerated for amongst other things, the murder of Police Officer James Ramp.

As it turns out, Professor Zaller is also a supporter of Mumia Abu-Jamal, making Zaller not only a man of poor judgement, but an ideologue who has hitched his carriage to the worst of the worst of criminals and is proud of it.

In an essay at the website of the pro-Mumia group, “Educators For Mumia”, a group which Dr. Zaller is a member of, he opines that:

“It is time to put by the fiction that a new trial can give Mumia justice, for he has already suffered a far worse punishment than a guilty man would deserve. It is time to free Mumia, and to dedicate ourselves to that cause. As long as he remains in prison, a part of us all is locked up with him.”

The above statement, which could have been ripped from the pages of any Marxist rag, leaves me at a loss for words, especially considering that they were written by an educator who teaches young people in Philadelphia in a world renowned University.

In my previous post regarding Professor Zaller I encouraged readers to email the molder of young minds and inform him of the facts of the “MOVE 9". I emailed him myself and did not receive a response, however a reader of my blog was blessed with a sample of Dr. Zaller’s intellectual prowess. Incidentally, this reader also is a veteran of the 1978 confrontation with MOVE, who as a Police Officer at the time saw MOVE’s handiwork up close as he saw his friends and co-workers shot up and Officer Ramp murdered.

What follows is Zaller’s email to the veteran Officer and my response to the Professor. I am of the view that Zaller still is in dire need of a dose of truth that will hopefully make it’s way up to the top of the ivory tower where he clearly has been hiding from reality.

He can be reached at

April 3, 2008

Dear Mr. Di Zio,

I believe the question of which weapon killed Officer Ramp remains an open one, though I would gladly know of any conclusive scientific information you may have or the record may show. In any case, no 1930s-style shootout was necessary to enforce any municipal codes or criminal action against MOVE members. The entire incident was and remains a deep stain on the history of Philadelphia.

I think Officer Ramp’s death was a tragedy, and all the sadder for being needless. One bullet killed him, however, and nine men and women (three of them never charged with weapons possession as I believe) were given 30-year to life sentences for his death. No police officer or other public official was ever indicted in the death of eleven children and adults in the MOVE bombing of 1985. The disproportion in the handling of these two events makes a mockery of justice.

Even if one of the nine MOVE members still in prison pulled the trigger that killed Officer Ramp, that person has now served a very lengthy term. (In English law, a “life sentence” typically meant fourteen years, even when capital punishment was still in force.) Eight persons who did not pull the trigger have now served a total amount of 240 years. They have nothing to “repent” except the vindictive prosecution that put them behind bars. Collective punishment is itself a crime under international law. Who’s to punish the punishers?

I’ve never been where you were, sir, on the day of that confrontation thirty years ago, and I’ve never lost a colleague to gunfire. I must and do respect your feelings, as I do those of Maureen Faulkner. From where I stand, though, Officer Ramp has been avenged many times over. It is time, in my view, for vengeance to cease.


Robert Zaller
Professor Zaller,

I am writing to you after seeing your response to my friend and Police veteran of the 1978 confrontation with MOVE, Mr. John Di Zio, regarding the issue of the

As someone who spent several years amongst MOVE and their supporters, I must confess a lack of patience with those who buy into MOVE's propaganda. With due respect, you have apparently placed yourself into that category.

So, allow me to get right to the point.

There is absolutely no question of which weapon killed Officer James Ramp. I am not sure how familiar you are with firearms, but each firearm is unique in the sense that it has a kind of fingerprint. Any bullet fired from that weapon, if the bullet is in good enough shape, can be conclusively linked to the gun that fired it. This was the case with regards to the MOVE 9.

A gun removed from the basement of the MOVE house was linked, without a doubt to bullet fragments removed from Officer Ramp. This gun was purchased by a MOVE member named Philip Africa, whose palm print was placed upon a Federal form needed to purchase the weapon. Out of all of the evidence used to gain a conviction for the death of James Ramp, the ballistics evidence has been cited as the strongest link and this has been born out in the fact that MOVE's numerous appeals have been denied. At the end of the confrontation, police seized 11 rifles and handguns from the compound and 2,000 rounds of

It appears to me that you want to diminish the crimes of MOVE from that day by focusing exclusively on the conviction for third degree murder that the "MOVE 9" justly received. This is only half the story and it is to diminish the sacrifice of the victims of MOVE to take a reductionist stance and condescendingly reproach a man who was there to see MOVE do much more than murder Officer James Ramp.

MOVE members were convicted of the attempted murder of several Police Officers and firefighters and that is figured into the "30-100 year sentence". Perhaps a minor detail to you, but maybe more so of one if you or one of your family members were one of those who nearly died that day and had their career ended. Moreover, I am not averse to reconciliation or parole for incarcerated inmates, but it should be noted that no MOVE member has ever acknowledged their role in the crime. Again, perhaps a minor footnote to you, but not so much to those of us who know or who have seen the results of MOVE's evil first hand.

You are entitled to your opinion as to the handling of the situation, but the facts show that the police were facing people whom they knew to be armed, who had made threats to kill these Officers, and who promised they would die before being extricated from the house. It is simply disingenuous to minimize the dangerous situation that Officers faced.

Authorities did try to negotiate with MOVE, negotiations which included people MOVE ostensibly trusted, such as the later Walter Palmer, and even a Catholic Priest. MOVE responded to these overtures and pleas for a peaceful end to the situation with "fuck you priest" and a vow to make the police come in and kill them, children and all. Moreover, the vast majority of witnesses attest to the fact that MOVE members opened fire first and indeed opened fire on un-armed firefighters as well as the Police.

It was a tragedy, but one that MOVE bears responsibility for. The Police were doing their job in serving warrants and one of them lost their life in doing son. Several other Officers and Firefighters were also wounded and on that day. It is clear, and the judiciary has noted, that the loss of life could have been worse, as MOVE's intention that day was to cause as much harm as possible to their opponents as possible.

In attempting to support your squalid argument on behalf of MOVE with what is clearly cut and paste propaganda from the cult about May 13th, 1985, you show your ignorance about both of the events.

Again, the loss of life was tragic, but the architect of the disaster in 1985 was the same architect of the 1978 disaster. John Africa instigated, prepared for, and in 1985 helped to carry out his plans that not only placed the children of the cult in danger, but also the adult members, MOVE's neighbors. It should also be understood that the members of law enforcement tasked with handling the MOVE instigated nightmare were the targets of MOVES bullets, a number of whom were shot, but who were luckily spared serious injury.

Anyone familiar with the situation understands how terribly complicated and far more nuanced the problems MOVE produced on Osage Avenue than your boilerplate propaganda acknowledges and I am disappointed that anyone tasked with educating young people would employ it. That is not to say that I don't agree that the authorities did not mishandle the problem, as clearly they did. And that is something that is easy to say now, but it says nothing about the crimes committed on August 8th 1978.

There is nothing that occurred on Osage Avenue to mitigate the crimes of the MOVE members in Powelton Village. If anything, the two events demonstrate that MOVE members not only have a cruel disregard for their own community, but for the children in their midst, children who in all groups like MOVE are the ultimate victims of the adult care givers willingness to subordinate their own self-interest and the interest of their children to the perceived well being of the cult.
It is a shame that MOVE can find and run their martyrdom scam on impressionable young people who are not so inclined to look beyond the rhetoric that fits their political persuasion. But is an outright disgrace when supposed intellectuals such as yourself buy into an authoritarian cult's absurdities.

I would hope that before you ally yourself with causes such as MOVE in the future that you take the time to look deeper into the issue and not have to begin your response to someones questioning of you on the matter with "I think". You signed your name on a petition that called for the release of murderers without knowing the facts of the case and even added an comment that was as arrogant as it was factually incorrect.

What is owed to Mr. Di Zio and the other victims of MOVE by you is not "respect" for their feelings, but an apology from you and the others who have signed this petition.

Tony Allen

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