In 1980 a judge sentenced nine people (the Move 9) in the USA to 30-100 years in prison, after a deadening confrontation with the police had occured. In 1978, a gunfight between MOVE and Philadelphia police had left one police officer dead and nine of the MOVE members later imprisoned for murder. Almost seven years later, a police effort to serve warrants on several other MOVE members resulted in more shooting and a raging house fire that incinerated an entire city block, leaving 11 MOVE members dead, including MOVE founder John Africa, and 250 people homeless. The police had bombed “MOVE's communal residence”. Six adults and five children in the MOVE house were killed.
MOVE is very committed to trying to get the Move 9, that have been in prison for a very long time now, liberated. It also tries to get Mumia Abu-Jamal (picture) out of prison, he has been the most known follower of John Africa. Mumia Abu-Jamal is a journalist from Philadelphia who has been in prison since 1981 and on death row since 1983 for allegedly shooting a Philadelphia police officer.
MOVE is also, in its own words, “a deeply religious organization”. The people in it see their message as very threatening to “those in power” and, according to the group, this is why the very powerful come down so hard on them. “JOHN AFRICA taught us that Life is the priority. Nothing is more important or as important as Life, the force that keeps us alive. All life comes from one source, from God, MOM NATURE, MOMA.“
It is disturbing to see how MOVE is mystical and idolizes its founder, many people see the group as a cult and therefor it receives little support. “JOHN AFRICA live very simply; JOHN AFRICA don't wear no jewelry at all because He don't believe in exploiting MOM-NATURE in any way”. What is also disturbing about the MOVE group, is that it is biocentric. “JOHN AFRICA teach MOVE people to believe in and love life, to understand the absolute necessity of life and protect all life equally, meaning all living beings (people, animals, water, soil, air), because all life come from one source and is necessary, so all living beings are equally important. JOHN AFRICA teach us the principle of equality, the principle of life and there's nothing crazy about that.” All of this makes it more hard to support those MOVE members that are in prison, because it leads to ideological confusion.