Saturday, January 27, 2007

A Review of "MOVE Film"

(MOVE member Mike Africa protesting outside MOVE compound John Gilbride's right to see his son)

Recently, through back-channels, I was able to finally obtain a copy of the "MOVE Film" documentary that was produced by Cohort Media back in 2004. I had been wanting to view this propaganda film for some time as I thought it important to see what latest work of fiction that MOVE is peddling as fact.

To say that the film is riddled with errors would be a gross understatement. To say that it is essentially an infomercial for the MOVE brand of victimization would be, perhaps the best way to describe this work of pure propaganda.

The documentary essentially works off of the premise that MOVE as an Organization has been a consistent victim of police terror for the past three decades.

That the group’s only crime has been that it violates convention of society and is a thorn in the sides of Philadelphia authorities.

It would be an ordeal of tremendous undertaking to highlight every mistake, distortion, and outright deceptions offered by this film.

Such to the point that I hardly think it necessary to do so.

Between this blog and my website I think I have adequately covered the MOVE revisionist history ad-nauseam. To go at it again would be a test of endurance and tedious. That said, if there is anyone out there who has seen the film and has questions as to the content raised therein, I would be happy to offer my view on the subject.

What is of more interest to me than the factually deficiency in the film is the context that it was made in. And also, just how it serves as the perfect instrument for MOVE’s campaign of perpetual victimization that is, after all is said and done, the group’s bread and butter.

One can see clearly behind a number of the MOVE members interviewed, slatted up windows. There are also pictures of MOVE supporters and members demonstrating and carrying signs that say nothing of demands for freedom of the "MOVE 9". The obvious question is the one that is never asked by those doing the documentary, and that of course is "what is all of that about?".
The reason of course being that all of "that" had to do with John Gilbride and the fact that MOVE was, at the time, waging a vicious campaign against the man and was preparing to violate court orders in pursuance of this conflict.

That the film-makers did not address this issue in the film clearly shows not only their bias, but a serious lack of intellectual curiosity and or laziness.

Or more likely they were told emphatically by MOVE not to raise the issue. No sense in having a record of what they were doing at that time giving the cruel audaciousness of it and the likelihood that the plan to do away with John should he not relent in his efforts was already in the works.

I was still technically with MOVE at the time the film was being put together and it was no secret in the Organization that while in Philadelphia, the film makers were to be shadowed as much as possible by MOVE supporters and or members as they went around to do their interviews with and research. What effect this had on the final product I am not sure of, but to the extent the film akers had any sense of independence, the fact that MOVE’s cronies were constantly looking over their shoulders could not exactly do much to foster the spirit of free inquiry.

In the sense of propaganda, the film is near perfect. It strikes an emotional core and since it abandons any pretense of fairness, the questions that should be asked of MOVE members are not, and in it’s place are pictures of charred corpses. This is especially true of the film’s treatment of the 1985 conflagration in which anyone with a brain can determine was a catastrophe that was MOVE instigated, but botched to the point of criminality by an inept and sadistic bureaucracy.

Nobody sees fit to ask MOVE members why they had children in a home that was barricaded for war and that was the scene of confrontations with neighbors already. Nobody asks anyone in MOVE why these same children were not allowed to leave prior to the confrontation when the Police implored the MOVE leaders to surrender themselves and the children. Nobody asks why, with the exception of one of the six children inside were they all children of imprisoned MOVE members.

Instead the weight of the calamity is pressed firmly upon the shoulders of the authorities. As for MOVE members, they shoulder no responsibility, or at least that is what the film akers want one to believe. The MOVE members are not even given soft-ball questions, they are simply allowed to spew their faux history unchallenged.

For comic relief the film features "journalist" Linn Washington who offers his seethingly biased observations and speculations. And for someone who claims to not "like" MOVE he is rather adept at spouting their party line without pause. He fits in perfectly with the rest of the film with his glib assessments and omissions of pertinent facts that do not conform to his well worn notion of MOVE’s perpetual victim-hood. And while he feigns some criticism of the group, it seems as if he is doing so out of sheer obligation to some long lost idea of objectivity, something that he may have at one time strived for, but has long since abandoned for the cheap adulation of camera crews and the Mumia supporters who fawn over him.

So, at long last I have seen the "MOVE Film", whose website long since went blank. I tried to research any new projects by Cohort Media which produced the MOVE infomercial and came up with nothing.

I would be remiss not to mention that on the now defunct "MOVE Film" site there was a message board. It was the first place online where I posted anything about my leaving MOVE, and after a few weeks of heated debate on the board, it was shut down without explanation.
During one of the exchanges on that board someone posed the question to the film akers as to whether they would interview me if they ever did a follow up film on MOVE and they were emphatic that they wouldn’t. Now I don’t take such rebukes personally, but as someone who is not only MOVE’s most vocal critic, but also one of the most knowledgeable individuals about MOVE who is willing to speak out, I see their repudiation as further proof that they were more interested in selling an idea than documenting the truth.

Incidentally enough the film can be viewed online here. Something I discovered just after recieving my copy of the film on DVD.


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