Mumia & MOVE
Psyclone attempts to raise awareness of the case of Mumia Abu Jamal, a Philadelphia journalist framed for murder who has spent most of his life on Death Row, (1981 to date) despite the seriously flawed and biased prosecution. One subject that Mumia as an independent journalist was very vocal about (which some consider instrumental in his subsequently being framed and imprisoned) was the persecution of the MOVE organisation by the U.S. authorities.
MOVE are a community-based organisation which began in Philadelphia during the early 1970's. Distinguished by dreadlock hair, the adopted surname "Africa", taken from the name of the MOVE founder John Africa, a principled unity, and an uncompromising commitment to their belief. Members also practiced the teachings of John Africa.
"MOVE's work is to stop industry from poisoning the air, the water, the soil, and to put an end to the enslavement of life – people, animals, any form of life. The purpose of John Africa’s revolution is to show people how corrupt, rotten, criminally enslaving this system is, show people through John Africa’s teaching, the truth, that this system is the cause of all their problems (alcoholism, drug addiction, unemployment, wife abuse, child pornography, every problem in the world) and to set the example of revolution for the people to follow when they realize how they’ve been oppressed, repressed, duped, tricked by this system, this government and see the need to rid themselves of this cancerous system as MOVE does.”– MOVE
MOVE advocated a healthy, drug-free life centred around a wholefood diet and physical work like running dogs, chopping firewood, shoveling snow, sweeping the street, etc. Other work in the community included helping homeless people find places to live, assisting the elderly with home repairs, intervening in violence between local gangs and college fraternities, and helping incarcerated offenders meet parole requirements through a rehabilitation program.
On May 13th 1985, police and firemen launched a full scale military assault on the MOVE house using tear-gas, water cannons, Uzi's, M-16's, silenced weapons, Browning Automatic Rifles, M-60 machine guns, a 20mm anti-tank gun, and a 50 caliber machine gun. Some of these weapons were illegally obtained with the help of the U.S Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Agency. Police flooded the area with tear-gas and fired over 10,000 rounds of ammunition at the house knowing there were women and children inside. They also tried to blast through the walls with the military explosives the FBI had illegally provided. None of these measures succeeded in driving MOVE from the house. Late in the afternoon, a state police helicopter was used to drop C-4 military explosive on the roof which started a fire that officials deliberately allowed to burn. It soon spread to the adjoining houses, eventually burning down the entire block of some 60 homes. With their house in flames, MOVE members repeatedly tried to exit but were met with police gunfire, which killed some of the adults and children in the alley behind the house. One adult, Ramona, and one child, Birdy, escaped the fire and were taken into custody. Six adults and five children were killed including Rhonda, Birdy’s mother.
The persecution persists today in the form of the unfair incarceration nearly thirty years later of nine MOVE members.
In April, 2008 the payrole board again rejected applications for payrole by certain MOVE women who survived the 1985 massacre. The parole board says that MOVE women were denied parole because they minimized or denied the nature and circumstances of the offense; refused to accept responsibility; lacked remorse and because the prosecutors office said MOVE should not be paroled because they act outside the "law".
Details of the atrocities and miscarriages of justice can be found at
The campaign to free Mumia is at