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by Tony Allen
Thursday, Jul. 08, 2004 at 5:49 PM
MOVE: A Radical Fraud
A Radical Fraud: The MOVE Organization
by Tony Allen
"Where the questions of religion are concerned, people are guilty of every possible sort of dishonesty and intellectual misdemeanor."
"The success of one imposter gave encouragement to another, and the quieting salvo of doing some good by keeping up a pious fraud, protected them from remorse"
Tom Paine, The Age of Reason
Many a reactionary political cult has tried to endear itself to the so-called "far-left" wing of the body politic over the years. There are the LaRoucheians, the oh-so-Amish Bruhderhoff; the Nader rejected Independence Party, just to name a few. Most of these groups are identified for the hucksters that they are, and exposed as such. There is, however, one group that has, for the most part, ducked under the critical eye of most "leftists" and that is the Philadelphia based personality/religious/political cult known as the MOVE Organization. MOVE is a group that I have come to know a lot about, having been a supporter of the group for some eight years, some of that time spent in a MOVE house. This proximity to the group has given me a front row seat for the political scam that they are running on the progressive community, both in Philadelphia as well as throughout the world. It is a scam that I knowingly participated in, ultimately rejected, and now speak out on.
I don't think that it would be too much of an assumption for me to say that most people don't know the first thing about what MOVE believes. MOVE's notoriety stems not from its "profound" religious doctrines, but rather from the 1985 confrontation between the group and police that left six MOVE members and five children of MOVE members dead. It is this confrontation with police and its aftermath that has allowed MOVE to inject its toxin of failed fascism into the radical body politic.
What is it exactly that MOVE believes in? Is it the marinade of socialism, black power, and Noam Chomsky quotes offered up by long-time MOVE supporter and death row "journalist" Mumia Abu-Jamal? Not a chance.
In a nutshell, MOVE believes that a learning disabled, occasionally employed, man who called himself JOHN AFRICA was and is God. They would have mankind dragged kicking and screaming back to the age of Fred Flinstone. No tools, no fire, of course no cities, or even language. That is the solution to all of the world's problems according to MOVE and their now deceased deity/Korean war veteran JOHN AFRICA.
In pursuit of this regressive course, MOVE keeps its children in an enforced state of ignorance and fear. Illiterate pre-teen girls are married off and are impregnated in the name of the "revolution." Education for MOVE exists only if it coincides with the rambling lunacy of JOHN AFRICA's so-called "wisdom." These children are taught to see the world as a terrifying place with police assassins hiding around every corner. Your children are not your own, they are the property of MOVE. This is a lesson everyone who is close to MOVE learns quickly.
For MOVE, homosexuality is a disturbing and immoral violation of God's Law. Reproductive choice is a symbol of societies degradation and devaluation of life. The mixing of races is frowned upon (even though the current leader of MOVE, herself black, has twice married white men and used invitro-fertilization in order to have a Caucasian child). Drug and alcohol use is frowned upon with a puritan's zeal. Decision making in the group is done by its leaders and is not to be questioned. MOVE's mostly white supporters are expected to cough up money and other "donations" for the group. Those in the group who do express dissent are subject to interventions that are as cruel as they are necessary for the control of this authoritarian sect. Anyone who speaks out publicly against the sect is subject to harassment, threats, and Internet based character assassinations carried out by the group and its small, but dedicated cadre of fanatical supporters. This is the real MOVE as opposed to the carefully crafted image fed to leftists and progressives through the "alternative media," as well as by front organizations as International Concerned Family and Friends of Mumia Abu-Jamal and AWOL.
While there are those on the "left" who know full well what it is that MOVE stands for, very few will come out in opposition to the group, or for that matter even offer any type of critique, no matter how small. There exists a double consciousness for people who know about MOVE. On the one hand many progressives who have knowledge of MOVE and its history put forth the idea that what happened in 1985 was a criminal act committed by the state, while at the same time rejecting MOVE's cultish ideals. This rejection, however, must remain silent according to MOVE's defenders as it could only help the authorities in their quest to destroy the group. While this type of argument may hold within it a short-term truth, the long-term reality is fraught with danger. For in giving oppressive and obviously violent groups such as MOVE a "pass," we invite them to spread their narcissistic brand of nihilism much to our own detriment.
As for me, I can say that MOVE has sparked a fire that will not soon extinguish, but it is not in the way that MOVE's leaders would have hoped. I am now and forever will be in opposition to their deceit and fear mongering. I helped them in their endeavors to vilify people who were undeserving. I made excuses for the intellectual deprivation of their children. Moreover, I advocated the release of murderers while turning a blind eye to people who are actually innocent of crimes and who are actually victims of a system that far too often is unjust. Perhaps worst of all, I led other people to MOVE, to drink of its poisonous blend of failed fascism and reactionary regression. It is a mistake that I hope to keep others from making.
MOVE and groups like it prey upon the progressive spirit of many well meaning individuals, but under their banner of freedom beats the heart of despotism. MOVE believes that they are doing "Gods Work." They proceed from conclusion to evidence never once bothering to look around or even bother with taking responsibility for their Neolithic conception of how things ought to be. Arrogant, solipsistic, and far more illogical than even Al-Queda, MOVE has somehow managed to nose its way into progressive circles.
Archconservative ideologue Leo Strauss made the point that religion might be nonsensical, but was after all great for keeping order. I doubt any MOVE member has ever read Strauss, but I am sure they know this axiom quite well as they have fused religion, a few left-leaning political ideas, and a ceaseless oratory of victim hood into a tapestry of bullshit that has endeared them to thousands of people, including I am sorry to say this writer.
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