Sunday, February 03, 2008

MOVE's Worst Enemy


(This article was first written by me and was published at It appears here slightly edited)

"Hatred, which could destroy so much, never failed to destroy the man who hated, and this was an immutable law." -James Baldwin

Sign the petition to keep MOVE members in prison

Recently, I came upon a statement by Martin Luther King III written in support of MOVE and delivered some years back by the "civil rights leader", Martin Luther King III.
I had to wonder though, and with all due respect to the son of one of the finest human beings this world produced, just how much time and effort Mr, King had put into actually researching MOVE’s case. Given the veracity of the comments, I am guessing not much. But that is not what has prompted me to write this article.

Thinking of King, both he and his father, caused me to reflect upon some comments made to me by MOVE members regarding just who they perceive would be the cult’s worst enemy, and it is not who you would think.

Given MOVE’s history with law enforcement, you would think that the cops would be perceived by the group as their obvious choice as public enemy number one. And while MOVE certainly has no love for anyone with a badge, you would be wrong to think that MOVE considers them to be the worst of the worst.

That honor is bestowed upon upwardly mobile African-Americans or even those in the middle class.

I readily admit that I was taken aback by this kind or revelation that I had heard after being involved with MOVE for a number of years, and occured in a conversation with long-time, white MOVE member, Sue Africa. She would tell me that this group of people were not only MOVE's greatest enemy, but the biggest threat to "John Africa's Revolution".

Apparently sensing my confusion, Sue went on to to tell me that John Africa had explained to MOVE members, that because so many blacks were set upon the goal of gaining acceptance into society, and were increasingly gaining access to higher education, that these factors would keep these African-Americans from being able to accept the ideology as espoused by MOVE. This ideology essentially dismissed education except with regards to learning very physical occupations such as home repair, landscaping, etc..And while I don’t diminish the value of these jobs, I do have to take issue with children being raised in a world where these jobs are their only options, regardless of their personal interest. This is certainly the case with MOVE.

Sue’s premise essentially boiled down to her thinking that blacks would be so enamored by the allure of the "system", that they would not realize they were chasing down a broken American dream that would turn out to be a nightmare. As the wave of Black Power politics broke and retreated, or was co-opted into the "system", most blacks would not accept MOVE's anti-systematic ideology.

On the other hand, she claimed that there was an un-tapped reservoir of discontent amongst young white people, who had been raised with all of the trappings of "the system" and were anxious to turn their back upon it and be led out of the darkness of their angst, into the solution that are the teachings of John Africa, or that is her story anyways.

It is with an eye towards the future of an Organization that is increasingly white, that Alberta Africa, MOVE’s leader, used in-vitro fertilization in order to ensure a child with very Caucasian features. She denies it of course, but if you see the child his race is beyond question. It is on him that MOVE’s future is set to rest upon. Unlike the other children in MOVE he is being educated, allowed to socialize with non-MOVE members, raised not in the filthy environment of traditional MOVE homes, but in an up-scale home in Cherry Hill New Jersey, a suburb that is over 80% white and barely 5% black.

That is where he gets to live, play, go to ballet class, etc.. while other children of MOVE live off food stamps, cramped houses, commit welfare fraud to get by, and live the violent city of Philadelphia, a world away from that which Alberta’s project/child inhabits.

He is being raised and groomed to not only lead MOVE, but also to recruit the white youth that are to be the future of "John Africa's" revolution. And not just poor whites, but well-to-do ones and especially people from Europe, where the mythology of MOVE runs largely un-challenged.
Of course Alberta’s child is not just hers. If you are even a casual reader of my site, you know his father was murdered as he sought to extract his child from this life of cult programming. This child is not just a son for Alberta, he is the embodiment of MOVE’s future. From the vantage point of MOVE, it is easy to see how easy it must have been for the cult’s members to kill if they thought the future of the Organization was in jeopardy. And indeed it would have been if John Gilbride had the access to his child that the courts were beginning to grant him.

While MOVE raises their modern day savior, I am struck by just how Sue Africa’s explanation of blacks as being MOVE's number one enemy is confirmed by history. A look at the cult’s actions shows that most of MOVE's victims are in fact, black.

In the 70's when MOVE became organized, the group was mostly black with a few white members and hangers on. Interestingly enough, at that point, the cult appeared to be an equal opportunity hater, targeting those who got in their way without regards to race. At the time, the sect was still idealistic enough to preach their utopian vision of all races living in harmony and aside from the black policemen who had the misfortune of being within view of MOVE members, the hatred seemed to be spread around somewhat evenly.

It was not till MOVE members took up residence on Osage Avenue that blacks began to bear the brunt of MOVE "heat" as the group called it when they attacked people physically or via megaphone. The residents of Osage Avenue, nearly all black working class residents, were by all reports, a proud lot, and who raised no protest when in the early 1980's MOVE members moved into the neighborhood, and into the whom of Louise James. James, was John Africa’s sister and one of the first devotees of the cult. Her son Frank was revered by the group as the next best thing to John Africa himself. Having been virtually raised by John Africa, he was the example for MOVE members to follow. They are actually proud of the fact that he was such an emotional cripple that he could not go to the store without calling to talk to his uncle/guru/living god.

The real problems began on Osage, when in 1983, MOVE members beat up a couple of neighbors on two different occasions., one of whom by three MOVE women who bit their male victim in the groin and had to be taken to the hospital. Complaints about the attacks and other issues regarding MOVE such as the rats, garbage, too many cats and dogs, and the ever-present bug problem these issues brought with them were ignored by city officials. The neighbors were urged to stay vigilant and not make too much noise till Wilson Goode was elected Mayor. The thinking apparently was that a black mayor would be able to handle the mostly black cult, or so they thought.

As the time passed, things only got worse for the African-Americans on Osage Avenue. In December of that year neighbors were shocked to see Louise James being chased down the street by her own son, an axe in his hand. James had abandoned her home to MOVE by this time, but not before she was allegedly beaten, again by her son, in the presence of John Africa himself. He allegedly asked his Uncle if he wanted his own mother to be killed, with the latter responding "not at this time". Driven by her fear for her son and herself, James did the unthinkable and the unforgivable and went to the police.

Christmas brought only more misery to the people of Osage Avenue as MOVE gave as a gift to their neighbors profanity via a bullhorn.

In the spring, a hooded MOVE member armed with a shotgun was menacing his neighbors from the rooftops. The police came and went and no arrests were made. Black politicos met with the police about the situation and nothing came of it. In May, MOVE spent two weeks straight on their bullhorn virtually 24 hours a day. They denounced the neighbors, city officials, the mayor, and of course Judges. When neighbors complained directly to MOVE, they were told by cult members that "John Africa told us not to respect your rights".

From MOVE’s perspective, they were going to put pressure on their neighbors, who would in turn pressure the city, and the end result would be MOVE members being released from jail. In a very real way, MOVE’s neighbors were essentially hostages in their own home. Who, after all, would be able to sell a house in a neighborhood where one of the row-homes sat, boarded up, a bunker on the roof, with the ever-present smell of dogshit wafting thru the air.

At this point, the neighbors were able to get an audience with the mayor who did not impress or effect change. MOVE, for their part, went on with their buisness of terroizing those around them.
It should be noted that at this point there had been a paradigm shift in Philadelphia’s political structure. When MOVE came into prominence, they did so in the era of Frank Rizzo. A white, former top cop, with a penchant for crass comments, and little sympathy for minorities, MOVE garnered support amongst many blacks and "progressive" whites who loathed Rizzo, even more than they did not understand MOVE.

With the arrival of Mayor Goode and a host of other black politicians, MOVE found itself with no bogey men to go after. But it wouldn’t be long before MOVE had a new enemy, whom they gave a new name. The city of Philadelphia's first black Mayor, was called "Nigger Willy" by MOVE.
As the faces on city hall changed from white to black, the situation on Osage Avenue was becoming un-sustainable, with one city agency trying to drop the ball on another as the nightmare on Osage Avenue became a burecratic game of "hot potatoe".

At this point, MOVE had attacked it’s own neighbors, threatened with death just about everyone from the President, The Mayor, down to the cops on the street. They had menaced people with a gun, had set up a gas-powered bull horn to torture those around them at all hours of the night. Frank Africa, wanted for parole violation, was known to be at the home, had been able to brutally beat his own mother and the group would not even allow city workers to get close enough to read their meter. And all Mayor Goode had to say through a spokeswoman, was that nothing could be done until "MOVE persons break a law". Of course, he knew that MOVE had broken dozens of laws and were currently harboring one parole violator, but nothing was done.
While all of this was occurring, MOVE was continuing to fortify the home they had hijacked from it’ owner, Louise James, who out of fear, had been driven to go the police and bet that they do something to, at the very least get her son out of the house. She was convinced that her brother, John Africa, had gone insane with power and was set upon a course that would lead to the deaths of everyone in what used to be her home. A home that had been transforme into a fortified fortress by zealous cult members.

One thing that is striking with regards to MOVE’s behavior towards their fellow African-Americans is the level of hostility directed towards the latter. Whether MOVE was angry that the new black leadership in Philadelphia did not aid them in their endeavors or at their neighbors refusal to endorse or accept MOVE’s ideology, MOVE exhibited a palpable hatred of the blacks around them and politicans . What is also striking is how MOVE, ostensibly revolutionary and an opponent of racism, so readily embraced the terminology of white supremacy and treated their fellow blacks not only as second class citizens, but not even as citizens at all. As John Africa had instructed them, MOVE members were to regard their neighbors as people with no rights. It was yet another echo of America’s racist past and sounds very much like the Supreme Court ruling in 1856 that declared"... that (African Americans) they had no rights which the white man was bound to respect".

Or in this instance, no rights which MOVE was bound to respect with regards to their black neighbors

Everyone knows that the confrontation on Osage Avenue ended in death and destruction. That John Africa had not only sought to destroy himself and his fellow cultists, but also the lives of his black neighbors. In a letter sent to the Mayor just days before the "confrontation", MOVE made it clear what would happen if the Police attempted to move in on the now fortified house "If MOVE go down...everybody in this block go down...we going to burn them with smoke, gas, fire, and bullets...We will burn this house down and burn you up with us."

Thankfully, the neighborhood was evacuated before the police took any action against MOVE. The city had finally had enough and went to serve warrants on a number of MOVE members in the house. Police Officers gathering around the MOVE compound in order to serve warrants got a taste of what the neighborhood had been enduring for the past three years as the following message was sent to them via bullhorn. Officers were told that after the "white cop was killed" by MOVE, that "the white cop’s wife would get a nigger, and this nigger would fuck his wife and daughter and get the white cop’s money".

Once the Police were in position, the warrants were read over a bullhorn to the MOVE members inside the house as well as a plea and a promise that if MOVE members surrendered that no harm would come to anyone that day. But, John Africa had been itching for a fight and had constructed two bunkers, one inside the house and one on top, complete with firing ports. He had no intention of surrendering and MOVE responded to the Police and clearly intended his barricades to be much more than agit-rop.

Most people agree that MOVE fired first, with Police responding in kind and the conflict went on all day long with periods of eerie calm, during which the Police and others begged MOVE to come out, who remained in the house.

Remotely controlled fire squirts were turned onto the house in a vain effort to flood MOVE members out and a "bomb" was dropped on top of the bunker on the roof in order to "neutralize" the fortification as a threat. In an act of unconscionable, stupid, brutality, authorities allowed the fire to burn as a "tactical weapon". It burned and burned and eventually the fire hoses which had been stopped to let the fire do it’s work were turned back on. But by now, it was too late. The fire was out of control, and it was at this time that some of the MOVE members, in the midst of fire, smoke, and the coming darkness decided they had enough and wanted to leave the tomb they had built for themselves.

It is believed that at this point, John Africa was already dead or was effectively cut off from those abandoning the house. Police reported that MOVE members were indeed leaving, but that at least one of the male MOVE members left the house firing with the police returning fire. No one can say for sure what happened in that chaos, but at the end of it, only Ramona Africa and a child named Birdie would escape the smoke, fire, and bullets as 11 others in MOVE were not so lucky. As for the neighborhood, 61 homes were lost in the inferno. The police escaped without any fatalities, their bullet proof vests not penetrated by the shotguns and small caliber weapons used by MOVE members.

For her part, Ramona Africa, who has perpetuated the myth around the world, that the police had come to "MOVE’s house" to kill "every man woman and child" who were in that house. She fails to mention the repeated attempts by Officers and others to get them to come out peaceably. Nor does she admit how she survived, attributing it only to the "power of John Africa". The truth however, repudiates her own story of the police bloodlust, as well as the purported mythical prowess of John Africa, who had been the architect of so much destruction that day. It wasn’t John Africa that saved her and Birdy’s life, it was the police.

Had the police been out there to "kill" all of the MOVE members as she claims, she would be six feet under as opposed to traveling the world capitalizing on her life as a perpetual victim and a kind of revisonist historian.

The Police report that they observed Ramona and Birdy approaching their position confused and staggering about. Ramona was heard saying "don’t shoot, we’ve had enough"at which point she was taken to an awaiting Police van and taken to the hospital to be treated for the burns that covered her arms and legs. Birdie had fallen face first into a pool of debris filled water.
Officer Berghaier, positioned nearby, and in spite of his fears of MOVE members still prowling around the area and said to be armed armed, scrambled to where Birdie had fallen and managed to drag him to safety. His last words to the little boy he saved was "It’s all over son, take care." And that is what Birdie has done. Having survived John Africa’s ploy to destroy himself and everything around him, his mother among the dead, was raised by his father who was never a part of MOVE and has grown up free from the cult which almost killed him.
MOVE, due to it’s involvement in the fight to "Free Mumia", the cult’s most well known supporter, still lumbers onward. It is a group that now has more white faces in it’s midst than black, yet it’s rhetoric is still drenched in identity politics as the group, instead of fighting to rid the world of racism, embraces it and uses the specter of bigotry to slander it’s opponents. They have tried to make support for themselves and for Mumia a kind of racial litmus test, even as the group itself abuses the mostly African-American children who have the misfortune of being born into the cult.
It is a group that has a policy of forced ignorance with regard to children. Knowing that the more ignorant one is, the more easily controlled they are, MOVE keep’s the children in the cult’s midst largely illiterate and the young girls forced to become breeding machines once they reach puberty. It is a scene far more similar to a southern slave plantation much more so than Philadelphia in 2008.

MOVE members still cross the globe preaching their gospel of hatred and white guilt to it’s mostly young, mostly white audiences, who are largely unaware the group’s real history and who eat up the group’s tales of oppression by the "system" of "white supremacy" and "capitalism".
And while MOVE may embrace bourgeois blacks to their face, there is a thinly veiled contempt in the group for African-Americans who have succeeded and thrived in the very "system" that the cult seeks to destroy. This contempt does not end with MOVE’s black members and supporters. White adherents of the cult are imbued with a sense of superiority to blacks who are not in MOVE. And it is not just successful blacks that MOVE has a problem with, it is also African Americans who embrace African culture beyond what MOVE believes is appropriate. MOVE members and supporters call those with an with extreme affinity to the continent from which their ancestors where stolen from, and who reflect that reverence with African style clothing, ways of thinking, and cultural expressions "ooga boogas".

This sense of superiority is not surprising coming from a group that hates everything not embraced by their leaders or John Africa. And if you ever want to see a MOVE member angry, bring up the fact that the word "Africa" is a European word imposed upon a continent of many nations in the age of colonialism.

While MOVE stays anchored in the past through their cultish, group-think, their teachings are becoming increasingly irrelevant as the doors that were closed to African-Americans in the past are broken down, as the "glass ceilings" that kept blacks in a perpetual state of second class citizenship are shattered, racism is becoming increasingly irrelevant. These cultural changes for the better are reflected also in the world of science as advances in genome studies are effectively discrediting the whole idea of "race" as a means of dividing human beings.

For MOVE, these steps forward with regard to "race", further illustrate the group’s impotence.
So while the rest of the world goes forward, as a black man stands as a true contender to become President, not because of the color of his skin, but because of the content of his character, we come ever closer that day when Martin Luther King’s dream becomes reality. We have seen the rise, although not the triumph of "post-racial politics", of the type that will leave the racists, addicts to the opiate of identity politics, and those groups like MOVE, which use all those aforementioned issues and include with it the cynical cult of victimization as a means to a financial end.

All the while, MOVE exists in it’s perpetually backward state, crushing the minds of the youth in their midst, while the group’s mostly white support structure unwittingly serve as enablers to a cult that does not seek to eradicate bigotry, but thrives on it. And similar to hate groups, needs it for it’s very survival.

And while the walls that separate us as people crumble, so to do groups like MOVE which do so much to pull people apart in the guise of bringing them together.

Sign the petition to keep MOVE members in prison


At 2:55 PM , Blogger MAD 69 said...

Too bad Ramona lived, we only wish Mumia was in the house at the time of the bombing. I would like to see another bomb dropped on those animals.

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At 6:37 AM , Blogger johnson said...

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