2 November 2018

MOVE Member Mike Africa Paroled

On October 23, after having more than four decades of his life stolen, Michael Africa Sr. was finally released from a Pennsylvania state prison. Only the second of the MOVE 9 to be paroled—his wife Debbie was released in June—Mike was able to join her and their son Michael Africa Jr., who was born in prison 40 years ago. (See WV No. 1136, 29 June.)

The MOVE 9 were sentenced to terms of 30 to 100 years on bogus charges of killing a Philadelphia police officer during a brutal cop assault on their Powelton Village home on 8 August 1978. After a months-long siege, an army of nearly 600 cops surrounded the MOVE house, unleashed a hail of gunfire and then stormed the home. One police officer, James Ramp, was killed in the cops’ own cross fire. At least eight witnesses testified that no gunshots came from the MOVE house, and no fingerprints of any MOVE member were found on the weapons supposedly recovered from their home. The presiding judge who entombed them in prison admitted he hadn’t “the faintest idea” who shot the cop.

Mike Africa’s freedom is welcome news. But we do not forgive or forget the decades of prison hell he and his family have suffered. This includes watching in horror on 13 May 1985 when the Philly police firebombed their Osage Avenue home, killing eleven, as well as the deaths of Merle and Phil Africa behind bars. The MOVE 9 are innocent victims of a vicious 1978 cop attack on their home and an obvious frame-up. Despite the overwhelming evidence of their innocence, MOVE members Delbert, Eddie, Chuck, Janet and Janine remain in Pennsylvania’s dungeons. We demand: Free them now!

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(reprinted from Workers Vanguard No. 1143, 2 November 2018)

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