New rules for MOVE

by Mumia Abu-Jamal

It happened a long time ago. Aug. 8, 1978, to be exact. Over 35 years ago.

Free-the-MOVE-9-Mumia-poster-Delbert-Africa-080878, New rules for MOVE, Abolition Now! That’s when Philadelphia police raided the MOVE house and headquarters in Powelton Village, West Philadelphia, firing hundreds of rounds of gunfire into the home.

Remarkably, when MOVE people were forced to exit the building, they were mostly unharmed, with several suffering severe beatings upon exiting the premises.

After months of trial, nine MOVE men and women (five men and four women), were convicted of third degree murder and sentenced to 30 to 100 years imprisonment.

Never before in Pennsylvania’s long history has such a sentence been rendered, but as the late trial judge, Edwin Malmed stated, “They were tried as a family, so I sentenced them as a family.”

That was 35 years ago, and today, MOVE men and women remain in jail – five years past their minimums. It doesn’t matter what their prison behavior or record is. They have been exemplary prisoners.

But, because they remain MOVE, parole, essentially, doesn’t apply.

Oh, they have hearings. But nothing comes of it, besides more denials.

They were attacked for political reasons, prosecuted for political reasons, and sentenced the way they were for political reasons.

Their innocence? Irrelevant.

And now, five years past parole. Politics, again.

Who can deny that they are political prisoners, persecuted because of their religious belief in the teachings of John Africa?

In truth, they are spiritual prisoners: imprisoned because of their faith.

It is past time for their freedom.

Note: To help fight for the freedom of MOVE, contact

© Copyright 2013 Mumia Abu-Jamal. Read Mumia’s latest book, “The Classroom and the Cell: Conversations on Black Life in America,” co-authored by Columbia University professor Marc Lamont Hill, available from Third World Press, Keep updated at For Mumia’s commentaries, visit For recent interviews with Mumia, visit Encourage the media to publish and broadcast Mumia’s commentaries and interviews. Send our brotha some love and light: Mumia Abu-Jamal, AM 8335, SCI-Mahanoy, 301 Morea Road, Frackville, PA 17932.