27 July 2018

Attack on MOVE 1978

We Will Not Forget!

August 8 marks the 40th anniversary of the vicious cop assault on MOVE in Philadelphia’s Powelton Village neighborhood. A mostly black commune advocating the right to armed self-defense, MOVE had been under a months-long police siege when an army of 600 cops assaulted their home and fired thousands of rounds of ammunition. After MOVE members and their children surrendered, police publicly beat, dragged, kicked and stomped a shirtless Delbert Africa nearly to death. A cop was killed in the ferocious police crossfire, and nine MOVE members were framed up and imprisoned on bogus murder charges. A number of witnesses testified that no gunshots came from the MOVE house. Three months prior to the attack the police had removed from the house all weapons, which were found to be inoperable.

Today, forty years later, six MOVE members remain in prison: Janine, Janet, Mike, Eddie, Chuck and Delbert Africa. Merle and Phil Africa died in Pennsylvania prisons under suspicious circumstances. Last month, Debbie Africa became the first of the MOVE 9 to be released on parole, at the same time that Janet and Janine Africa were denied parole. The 1978 assault was a dress rehearsal for the cop/FBI bombing of MOVE’s Osage Avenue home on 13 May 1985, killing eleven, five of them children, and turning to ash and rubble an entire black neighborhood. We will not forget these racist atrocities, which graphically demonstrate American capitalism’s murderous vendetta against anyone who defends black self-defense. Free all the MOVE prisoners!

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(reprinted from Workers Vanguard No. 1137, 27 July 2018)

Workers Vanguard is the newspaper of the Spartacist League with which the Partisan Defense Committee is affiliated.