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In the early morning of June 16, after nearly 40 years of unjust imprisonment by the state of Pennsylvania, political prisoner and MOVE 9 member Debbie Sims Africa was granted parole and released from the State Correctional Institution-Cambridge Springs. Messaging on Instagram, the MOVE Organization wrote: “Our sister Debbie Africa is FREE! What a beautiful day to find freedom! Let’s keep fighting for our bros and sisters still behind bars — Mike [Sr.], Eddie, Chuck, Janet, Janine and Delbert! The struggle is underway!” This important victory comes exactly two years after Debbie, Janet and Janine Africa were last denied parole in 2016.
UN-Habitat, the UN’s human settlements program, states that the number of people living in slum conditions is now estimated at 863 million, which was only a couple hundred million less in the 1990s. The Shack Dwellers Movement or Abahlali baseMjondolo (AbM) is a political group dedicated to the betterment of the urban poor’s living. They strive to organize “a society where everyone counts and where capital and the state are subordinate to society.”
In the spirit of the MOVE conference held May 5-7 in Philadelphia to educate the public about the MOVE organization, I will like to expound on the U.S. government sanctioned attacks on MOVE within the larger context of the FBI’s campaign of harassment, murder, frame-ups and imprisonment of Black revolutionaries during the radical ‘60s and ‘70s, and even today, in an effort to thwart the realization and actualization of Black unity, Black power and Black liberation.
Everybody thinks they’re an expert on MOVE, but they’re not. So MOVE organized this opportunity for MOVE to tell people who MOVE is. On Friday, May 5, we’ll start with MOVE’s Belief, who John Africa is and why this system wants to exterminate us. On Saturday and Sunday, May 6 and 7, we’ll go into our history in detail, from the emergence of MOVE ‘til the present, covering years of police brutality, the trial of The MOVE 9 and the illegal 900-year sentence of The MOVE 9.
Why should we care what happened on May 13th, 1985? Because what happened then is a harbinger of what’s happening now – all across America. I don’t mean bombing people – not yet, that is. I mean the visceral hatred and violent contempt once held for MOVE is now visited upon average people – not just radicals and revolutionaries, like MOVE. A free screening of “Let the Fire Burn,” the documentary on the police bombing of MOVE in Philadelphia, takes place on the 30th anniversary of the bombing, Wednesday, May 13, 7-10 p.m., at Omni Oakland Commons.
On Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015, Phil Africa, revolutionary, John Africa’s first minister of defense and beloved brother, husband and father, passed away under suspicious circumstances at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, Penn. Phil will never be forgotten and this is not the end. He is dearly missed, but his strong example should inspire everyone to fight harder for the freedom of the MOVE 9 and all political prisoners.