We are not fighting people. We are not out there fighting cops for the sake of fighting cops. Those cops are fighting us and they are fighting us because they want to uphold this industry.
For being naturalists, for their refusal to live under the shadow, the Philadelphia MOVE organization became outright "disposable" people.
"They want to exterminate us," Ramona Africa told me in a phone interview. Exterminate resistance.
Ramona Africa is a member of MOVE and the survivor who saved Birdie Africa (then 12 years old) by escaping the burning building at 1662 Osage Avenue in Philadelphia after the police illegally dropped a C-4 bomb on their home.
On the 24th anniversary of that police assault in May 13, 1985, Ms. Africa is still on the battlefield. John Africa, along with 4 other adults and 5 children were killed in that firestorm. Along with the FBI and Police Commissioner, Gregor Sambor, the first Black mayor of Philadelphia, Wilson Goode, condoned the illegal bombing of the MOVE home. Goode held a press conference while the Africa family was under siege. Goode told his audience he was ready "to seize control of the house...by any means necessary."
MOVE members and supporters had been working to free 9 of their family members falsely charged and "jointly sentenced in the 1978 killing of Officer James Ramp after a year-long police stakeout of MOVE's Powelton Village home," writes Hans Bennett in "Attention, MOVE: This is America! - At the 24th Anniversary of the May 13 Massacre, MOVE organizes for 2009 Parole Hearings." He quotes Ms. Africa:
"The government came out to Powelton Village in 1978 not to arrest, but to kill. Having failed to do that, my family was unjustly convicted of a murder that the government knows they didn't commit, and imprisoned them with 30-100 year sentences. Later, when we as a family dared to speak up against this, they came out to our home again and dropped a bomb on us, burned babies alive."
Ramona Africa, severely burned, was charged with "conspiracy to riot" and served 7 years of a 7 year sentence. She could have received a shorter sentence, she told me. They had a question for me: "Would I agree to no contact with MOVE?"
Today, Ms. Africa is working to free the MOVE 9. They could be out too if they agreed to denounce MOVE!
But you can't kill a revolution!
"We have traveled world-wide and people want to know when will we open a chapter?"
MOVE plans to open chapters throughout the U.S., and chapters in Spain, France, and Cuba.
"We have spoken to students at Vassar, Harvard, and the University of Pennsylvania and other campuses."
People denounce the tactics of oppression used against MOVE and other resistance organizations and they want to learn and become involved - because they are involved, Ramona Africa told me. Silence, fear, and inaction are responses greatly appreciated by the corporate world.
But Ms. Africa notes how some people have been "duped, "as John Africa used to say, into believing they "must abide by legality. Your rights are embedded in legality. How can you think that abiding by rules of your oppressors" would set you free? John Africa taught the members of MOVE to recognize who benefits from this legality and who suffers.