MOVE people were not middle class. Many of them were high-school dropouts. Many of them were mothers without husbands. Or young men who refused any inducement to 'fit in'. Yet they had the nerve to critique the system. To reject it and to set up, in place of its rules, guidelines for living that reflected their own beliefs.
The people of MOVE are proof that poor people, not just upper- and middle-class whites and blacks who become hippies, are capable of intelligently perceiving and analyzing American life, politically and socially, and of devising and attempting to follow a different - and, to them, better - way. But because they are poor and black, this is not acceptable behavior to middle-class whites and blacks who think all poor black people should be happy with jherri curls, mindless (and lying) TV shows, and Kentucky fried chicken.
This is not to condone the yelping of fifty to sixty dogs in the middle of the night, dogs MOVE people rescued from the streets (and probable subsequent torture in 'scientific' laboratories), fed, and permitted to sleep in their house. Nor to condone the bullhorn they used to air their neighbors' 'backwardness' or political transgressions, as apparently they had a bad habit of doing. From what I read, MOVE people were more fanatical than the average neighbors. I probably would not have been able to live next door to them for a day.
The question is: Did they deserve the harassment, abuse, and, finally, the vicious death other people's intolerance of their life style brought upon them?
Every bomb ever made falls on all of us.
And the answer is: No.
ALICE WALKER 'NOBODY WAS SUPPOSED TO SURVIVE'
Mumia Abu-Jamal has been on death row since 1982, however other members of the MOVE organisation, a mainly radical African-American animal liberation ecology religious/political organisation, were killed with impunity.
Mumia is a prophet pure and simple. One of the most important political commentators on the planet.
I campaigned hard in 1995 when Gov Tom Ridge signed the death penalty and Mumia had just 30 days to live.
The novelist Alice Walker gave me special permission to use her essay on MOVE in my 1993 'Green History' anthology.
The news that his death sentence has been declared unconstitutional is a victory but the fact that Mumia has been in prison for decades and that MOVE members were bombed and killed by the FBI in 1985, says it all about AmeriKKa.
If you are interested you can read my article in Green Left Weekly here.
Mumia is seen as an icon, a symbol, however ever he is a breathing living human being and prophet in a perhaps biblical sense.