26 July 2019

Eddie Africa Paroled

On June 21, after being incarcerated for over 40 years in Pennsylvania’s dungeons, Eddie Africa was released, the fifth of the MOVE 9 to be paroled over the past year. MOVE, a largely black, back-to-nature radical group, has been a target of the racist capitalist state since the early 1970s. The MOVE 9 were sentenced to 30-100 years for the death of a cop killed in police cross fire during a murderous siege of MOVE’s Powelton Village home in Philadelphia on 8 August 1978. The state vendetta against MOVE reached a peak with the 1985 bombing of their Osage Avenue home by the police and the Feds, which killed eleven people, including five children, and reduced a whole black neighborhood to ashes. The bombing was ordered by black Democratic Philly mayor Wilson Goode.

Over the years, prison authorities and guards heaped further vicious abuse on the MOVE 9. In celebrating Eddie’s release, class-war prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is a former Black Panther and longtime MOVE supporter, wrote: “Forty years is far more than 40 years if your name is Eddie Africa. That’s because MOVE people face the fury of county and state officials, and that meant a kind of cruelty that most prisoners have never seen nor imagined.” Two of the MOVE 9, Merle and Phil Africa, both died under suspicious circumstances behind bars.

Despite overwhelming evidence of their innocence, repeated parole requests by the MOVE 9 over the last decade had been rejected on the grounds of “lack of remorse.” Two of them—Delbert and Chuck Africa—continue to languish in prison. In 1978, TV cameras caught the police beating and stomping on Delbert Africa after he emerged, hands raised, from the MOVE house under assault by nearly 600 cops. As a former Black Panther and prominent MOVE member, Delbert Africa is still in the crosshairs. Both Delbert and Chuck Africa have parole hearings later this year. We demand: Free them now!

We seek to sear the racist atrocities against the MOVE organization into the memory of the working class as part of the fight to sweep away capitalist rule and its barbaric state apparatus through workers revolution.

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(reprinted from Workers Vanguard No. 1158, 26 July 2019)

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