I am MOVE’s Minister of Confrontation. I was born and raised in West Philly, youngest of eight children, raised in an environment of poverty, gang war, and all the other afflictions of ghetto life. I started drinking at an early age to hang out with the crowd and eventually ventured over to drugs. I joined the Marines at age 16 to try to stem that spiral, but it definitely made things worse. I wasn’t socially conscious about many issues and didn’t really care to be. My whole life basically centered around locatin the next happening party.
I was introduced to some MOVE members by my wife’s family, MOVE members had come to aid them during a neighborhood dispute. I later saw some of those same MOVE people demonstrating against the 16th Police District, a notoriously racist gang known for terrorizing the community where I grew up. The same 16th District that had members of the Black Panthers stip buck naked in front of their HQ, including pregnant women in the early 1970’s. Most people I knew hated them, we just feared them more, so while I wasn’t immediately attracted to MOVE, I was immediately amazed by their courage. I had never seen people confront the cops the way MOVE did – directly, forcefully and never taking a step back.
In 1974 I attended a demonstration where MOVE was protesting the jailing of 2 or their younger members, ages 13 and 15. A judge had them thrown in jail for speaking out against them. The police arrested us all, literally, as we got off the bus, and jailed us on a whole slew of charges. It really scared the hell our of me, but it also let me see more clearly what MOVE was saying about the system.
From that moment on, I listened more carefully to the Teachings of JOHN AFRICA. I became more attracted to the strength it took to confront the system as MOVE did. And as I read more of the Guidelines written by JOHN AFRICA I did become motivated for the first time in my life by something other then diversions, drugs, and parties. The more I engaged in MOVE activity, the less I engaged in that other stuff. In the first couple years being around MOVE I went from being a young chain smoking, pill popping alcoholic, completely apathetic to the problems of virtually everybody, to doing none of those things and being motivated to become a strong revolutionary soldier because of the example I say being demonstrated by JOHN AFRICA.
LONG LIVE JOHN AFRICA!
And that example has only gotten clearer and stronger since I’ve stayed.
Long Live MOVE, and down with this rotten ass system!
Additional Writings of Mike Africa
On The Move!
By Michael Davis Africa
On August 8, 1978, the Move organization’s headquarters was attacked in a pre-dawn raid by several hundred Philadelphia cops and officials. Under cover of smoke, tear gas, and thousands of gallons of water from water cannons, the cops fired thousands of bullets from all directions. During the assault one cop was killed, and several other cops and firemen were wounded, all from police fire. However, Move members were charged for the assault we all miraculously survived.
We were all given a sentence of 30-100 years in a railroad trial. That 30 year minimum was up as of August 2008, and we were given our first parole denial. The parole board has denied us our freedom four more times, making it perfectly clear to all those that didn’t understand their role that they fully intend to finish up where the cops and city officials left off.
While there has always been some debate about the guilt of the men, one fact that has never been disputed is the innocence of the women. Police on the scene, the D.A., and the courts all collectively agree that none of the Move women could possibly be guilty of the death of that cop. Yet, they are still languishing in prison. Victimized by the same cops and officials that dropped a bomb, brutally murdering their children on May 13, 1985. A heinous attack broadcast live nationally captured the cops murdering babies, unarmed Move women and men. Not a single cop or official was even charged.
Debbie, Janet, and Janine have spent the last 34 years of their lives in prison for a crime city officials know they could not possibly be guilty of. However, the parole board, at the insistence of Philadelphia officials, continues to deny their release. Even worse, the parole board actually gives the Move women longer sanctions than they do even men.
The issue is not what the parole board will do on the 5th or 6th time around. Anyone claiming to be conscious knows full well that the “decision” they claim to be contemplating in 2012 was already decided back in 1978 when we survived their murderous assault.
So the issue ain’t what the parole board will “decide”, the real issue is what the people will allow. The parole board, like all public officials, make those decisions in the name of the people, and when the people demand justice, it will happen. Look at Sanford, Florida. Look at L.A. in the wake of Rodney King. It’s the people that have the power to effect real change.
If people want to know just how the government can get away with giving Marissa Alexander a 20 year sentence for simply trying to protect herself in 2012, it’s because the people were silent as the cops attacked in 1978.
If people want to know why Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Trayvon Martin, and countless other Black, Latino, and poor whites continue to be caught on film being brutalized and murdered with impunity, it’s because the people seem to forget 1985, and every other atrocity, until it becomes their turn.
All those that sit back in the face of the oppression of your brothers and sisters, remaining silent as poor folks’ children are murdered and sent away like slaves to the many prisons scattered through-out this country, refusing to support those who do resist and fight, only further encourage the system to keep assaulting. Because finally, people’s apathy and silence is their permission.
People have to demand justice not just from the 1%, but also from the masses in the ranks of the 99% who will never fight to occupy anything other than jobs that exploit on behalf of the 1%. Cops, parole agents, prison guards, judges, and all of the many others feeding from the bottomless trough of the law enforcement budget, comes directly from the ranks of the 99%. They feed their families by enslaving yours.
The army that enforces hegemony for the U.S. industrialists is made up of the 99%. The workers that foreclose on your home, that cut off all your utilities in mid-winter, that dispense poison chemicals into your food and water at the behest of the 1%, come from the 99%.
So finally, how is the person that takes a job executing people any different than the person that legislated the racist policy. Try to make that distinction to the person being executed.
A just person would refuse to carry out an unjust order.
The People must close its ranks to all agents of repression and demand justice for all our sisters and brothers.
Free our Move sisters!! Free all of our soldiers!! Free all political prisoners!!
On the Move!
Michael Davis Africa
The Move Organization
Long Live John Africa!!!