More Lessons and History from the 30th Anniversary of the Bombing of MOVE
The iMiXWHATiLiKE crew Jared Ball and Bashi Rose with Esi Ramu and Todd Steven Burroughs conclude their coverage of the MOVE 30th Anniversary
PROTESTER: Take it in. We’re celebrating and we’re mourning. We know that eleven people were assassinated. Assassinated in their homes, men, women, and children. Taking this energy we are honoring them. We are honoring them. We are not going through the motions, we are honoring those people. We are honoring those lives, those spirits, that energy that we can no longer see but is still with us, honor them in this space.
JARED BALL, PRODUCER, IMIXWHATILIKE: So you were here when the bomb happened. When the bomb got dropped.
SPEAKER: Yeah, we were there. We watched it from out the window.
BALL: Now, were you ready for something like this?
SPEAKER: No, wasn’t ready for it. We got, we got interviewed the day before the shooting started. Anthony Mason with KYW. He did [a report]. I know him from, he’s ex-Vietnam vet, too. It was all I did to get on that [call]. When it started shooting, we were in the house. Yes, was all here.
BALL: So you were here the day before they started shooting and you got interviewed.
SPEAKER: The day before. The night before. And morning–.
SPEAKER: They said they would. They said that it was going to be a, it was going to be–they weren’t going down without a fight.
BALL: This is the members of MOVE.
SPEAKER: They said yeah, they said no. They spoke their piece, and said–no, they wasn’t trying to kill. Nobody knew it was going to escalate to that. That happened.
SPEAKER: We didn’t know [inaud.] would drop the bomb. That happened like that.
SPEAKER: We watched them build the–. All you had to do was sit at the bottom of the [bed]. You could see them–I watched them build the bunkers and stuff. So I mean, it is what it is. But I’m not against them. You know, they did what they needed to do.
SPEAKER: They took those children out of their house every morning and took them to the park. They had a chance that they could have gotten those children before they trapped them in the house. That’s the history of it. That’s right.
SPEAKER: And they had their own [water] stands right there and everything, right there on the corner.
SPEAKER: Mayor Abraham, the one that’s running for mayor now, she could have signed that warrant to pick those children up, and they could–they would have been alive today. Those are innocent children in their grave now, crying out for justice.
BALL: Welcome back to I Mix What I Like here at The Real News Network. I’m Jared Ball. We’re again live from Iladelph, celebrating or commemorating the 30th anniversary of the bombing of MOVE, and celebrating and championing all political prisoners. Free them all is the call. And we’re here with one now, Francisco Torres, unfortunately famously part of the San Francisco 8. If you would, just quickly remind everybody what’s your story and what the San Francisco 8 was, and then tell us why you’re here.
FRANCISCO TORRES: Well, I was one of the brothers who was brought up on charges for the murder of a policeman in California, Ingleside police station, back in 1971. This case had been ongoing, people had been arrested for many years, and finally in 2007 myself along with seven other brothers were arrested for the murder of that policeman in San Francisco. Another brother who was being charged who would have been the eighth one, died of cancer, which was [John] Brown, along the way unfortunately.
But anyway, we were finally, all of us were exonerated of those charges–charges were dropped after fighting the case for about four years. Two other brothers who were incarcerated took a plea deal to go back to the sentences that they were already serving. So life sentences, which was Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim. And so they’re in New York State prison. And their sentence is running concurrent. But the other six of us were, the case, the charges were dropped on us.
BELL: Well, we appreciate at least that small victory, if we want to even call it that. And we’re glad to see you on this side of things. But tell us a little bit why you think it’s important that you’re here, as someone who has suffered this political imprisonment directly and the repression directly, why is it important for you to be here today, now?
TORRES: Oh, we have to support each other. I mean, it’s a global struggle, it’s a communal struggle, and it’s our struggle. And it’s our people’s struggle, it’s black people’s struggle. It’s a community struggle and we have to be supportive of each other. I mean, whether it was 30 years ago, it happened 30 years ago, but we’re still here today letting people here in the community know, letting members of MOVE know that we support each other, and that even after 30 years we’re still here. We’ll go into 31, 32, 33, 34, and we’ll keep on–and this is an ongoing struggle. And you know, we may not win this overnight, but we’re here to win it.
And you know, we have to be victorious, because we have to have our human equality. You know, we must have our economic equality. You know, so this is a struggle for our lives. Our livelihoods. For our children and future generations. So we will be here until the end, and if there is an end, because we must pass on the torch to future generations, brother.
BALL: Well brother, we appreciate you taking the time to join us, and of course for being here, and for setting the example that you’ve set. And again, we’re glad you’re on this side of the walls. If we’re not all fully free at least we got you on this side, and we appreciate you. Thank you very much.
TORRES: Oh, thank you brother. I appreciate it, and we have to keep moving on.
BALL: Jared Ball, Bashi Rose back with you, Real News Network and IMixWhatILike.org. We’re here with Kanahus. You are representing who?
KANAHUS MANUEL: The Secwepemc Woman Warrior Society, from Secwepemc Nation, up in so-called British Columbia, Canada.
BALL: Okay. Well, it’s interesting. Chairman Fred, Jr. introduced us and asked that we interview you, and he actually referred to a lot of the African-descended folks as the original victims of white supremacy and capitalism. But you might have in addition, you know, a story that adds to that a little bit. Tell us a little bit about your perspective and why you’re here as a true original victim of white supremacy and capitalism?
MANUEL: Well, first of all, that there’s civilian occupation happening here in Canada and the U.S. That civilian occupation is an act of war on our people. That people need to recognize that this is indigenous territory that we’re standing on all throughout the Americas, and in order for us to liberate ourselves and liberate our lands, then we need to work together. That our liberation is bound together as black, African people, indigenous people, our liberation is bound. We can’t separate it, because we’re all here and we have to fight for our land, fight for our water, fight for our clean air. And that’s what we’re all about up there. We eat deer meat, we eat salmon, we pick our berries, we harvest our food, we live off the land. Without the land we have nothing. By destroying our land, they’re killing us. They’re killing our people right now.
BALL: So how would you–when you go home into your community, how do you specifically relate that to what is happening here to MOVE, what’s happening to Mumia Abu-Jamal now, to the communities affected here in Philadelphia? How do you make that connection clear or plain to the folks back home?
MANUEL: Well, our fight is the same. We’re fighting against the United States of America. We’re fighting against Canada. Those oppressive states that are coming to destroy our people. They use their police and military force to kill our people, imprison our people, disappear our people. This is happening across all sectors of society, indigenous and African. So we have–our struggle is the same. We’re dealing with the same oppressive governments, the same oppressive police force. But really it’s the government. It’s America, it’s Canada, it’s all built on native land. It’s all built, the whole infrastructure is there to oppress us and keep us enslaved.
BALL: So what would you like folks to do, and how would you like folks to contact you or follow the work that you and your organization or your people are struggling with right now?
MANUEL: Well, right now we’re dealing with a massive mining company that’s destroyed a big section of our territory, a big huge mining tailings disaster, one of the biggest in the world. And so we have a campaign. You can search the hashtag #ImperialNoMore. And the Secwepmc Woman Warrior Society. Secwepmc is our nation, but it’s S-E-C-W-E-P-E-M-C. You can check out Secwepmc Woman Warrior Society on YouTube, on Google, you’ll find us.
BALL: All right. Well thank you for being here, thank you for joining us here at The Real News Network.
BALL: All right, back again. Jared Ball for I Mix What I Like and The Real News Network, here with my people, Rebel Diaz is in the building. RodStarz and G1, what’s up, fellas.
G1: Peace brother, man. Happy to be here, G.
RODSTARZ: What’s up [inaud.], man.
BALL: I want to start with this real quick. We’re here in Iladelphia commemorating or paying tribute to political prisoners Mumia Abu-Jamal and the 30th anniversary of the bombing of the MOVE building on Osage Avenue 30 years ago, obviously, today. You all just did a song with Rakaa Iriscience, Dead Prez, Which Side Are You On, which I think is perfect for all of this and makes a call for us all to adhere to. That is, what side are we all on? And I want you, if you wouldn’t mind, to say a word about that in terms of what brings you here, what side are you on that you want other people to get on? The side that you want them to get on?
RODSTARZ: Hey, Eddie!
EDDIE CONWAY: Don’t go nowhere, I want to [see] you all, all right. I’m interviewing somebody right now, but [inaud.]
RODSTARZ: Okay. I’m here for you, brother.
BALL: We’re interviewing them now, Eddie.
CONWAY: Ah, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
BALL: It’s perfect.
CONWAY: Okay. I’ll be back. I’m sorry, I’m sorry.
BALL: So we saw you dapping up Eddie Conway, giving a sign of what side you’re on. But talk about–.
RODSTARZ: So look–.
G1: We’re on Eddie Conway’s side.
RODSTARZ: We’re on Eddie Conway’s side. But more than anything, a reason for a song like that is, you know, too many people walk that fine, liberal line. And I think that we’re living historic moments of oppression. And you know, we say this all the time, the response has to be historic moments of resistance. And if we’re talking about real resistance, we can’t participate in this whole, you know what I’m saying, vagueness of what kind of politics you’re talking about. You know what I mean?
And I think that even being here, the 30th anniversary commemoration of the terrorist U.S. government bombing a community, you know what I’m saying, I think that to us MOVE represented an alternative. MOVE represented–I think they were ahead of their time, you know what I mean? When you talk about, you know, folks a lot of days now, talking about oh, let’s go plant farms. They’ve been talking about that, you know?
But I think that that’s what we need, is we need to be up front and radical about our politics. But at the same time there’s a large void of political education in the community that needs to be stepped up. You know what I’m saying? Like, I think–.
FRED HAMPTON, JR.: [Inaud.]
RODSTARZ: What up, Chairman?
BALL: That’s what happens out here.
HAMPTON: [Inaud.] the culture they be representing. Real talk, y’all. [Inaud.]
BALL: So before we were interview-bombed by Chairman Fred Jr.–.
RODSTARZ: We just got interview-bombed by Eddie Conway and Chairman Fred, I don’t even know what to say anymore.
BALL: I mean, I’m saying if you’re going to get interrupted that’s who it should be by. But G, say something on that if you would about this whole piece about what side are you on, what brings you here, maybe even a little bit about your collective personal histories, about what brings you to these kinds of politics and the art you bring to those politics.
G1: I mean for us, man, like when we see–we’ve been inspired by the rebellions that started in Ferguson, and what we’ve seen in Baltimore as well. And it’s also a reminder when we see the repressive acts that the state does, bringing out the tanks, you know what I mean, bringing out the teargas, that ain’t nothing changed. This is a continuation. You know, we have the example of the MOVE bombing here, that’s what we’re commemorating today. But this type of oppression has been occurring for time immemorial in regards to upholding this system that they have.
So like, whether it’s in here in Philadelphia with the MOVE bombing, whether it’s overseas where we’re from, with Chile where we faced the coup, where our democratically elected president was bombed on September 11th, 1973. We say that’s our September 11th. Those struggles are connected, you know what I’m saying, because anywhere where you have people that are willing to say you know what, we’re going to put people before profits, we’re going to put humanity before greed, you’re going to have that repression go down. You know what I’m saying?
That’s why we, when we talk about which side are you on, it’s not about, you know what I’m saying, walking that fine liberal line. Because we’ve already, we know that that’s failed us. That road, to collaborate, to ask for small reforms, to ask for crumbs, that road has failed us. And whenever we really want to have an alternative, they try to obliterate us. And that’s really what it is.
Today we was in front of the building, in front of MOVE today. And we see that there’s young people, elders, coming to pay their respect, because it was a loss of life over here, you know what I’m saying? And all across the world we’ve seen that loss of life in the name of profits. And you know, today we’re standing with the people of MOVE, we’re standing with the city of Philadelphia right now, and the people of Philadelphia. And we’re saying, I’m saying we remember the MOVE bombing, remember that resistance, and it’s not going to stop. We have to keep going.
BALL: Now I got to ask you all, because you all are not only activists and incredible artists, and your music is just dope as I don’t know what, but you’re also journalists. You all do some of the best media work that I’ve seen, which is showing you don’t stop. You got your brother [since] here taping, my man Bashi Rose, we got some superstar camera people doing this interview. But I want you to say a word about that, too. I mean, because I think it’s extremely impressive, not only the diversity of your work, but bringing that media component, that journalistic component to your full apparatus.
RODSTARZ: I mean, for us it’s–you know, it’s kind of crazy, but even since we started doing music we used to always say [speaking Spanish] like, we, that’s Spanish for we like the street corner journalists. I remember, I [inaud.] I tried to go to journalism for college. I didn’t get in.
BALL: Probably a waste of time.
RODSTARZ: Of course. Of course. But I think that what we’re learning now is just the reality that, like, you can’t hate the media, you’ve got to be the media. And there’s technology and there’s tools that we’ve been presented with that I think we need to use, you know, to liberate people. Whether it’s through their minds or whether it’s through them learning something new. And that’s really the goal behind You Don’t Stop. Even the name is like, it’s never going to stop. It’s kind of a play on words with the bilingual, you know, eñe. The little n with the squiggle over it.
But it’s really, it’s a reference to hip-hop, it’s a reference to the struggle never ending. And it’s a reference that, you know, we’re going to try to tell the story to the people. We’re doing it today, to come film some of the MOVE children and see, try to give a different angle and show the beauty of what the struggle is.
BALL: By the way, just for the record, I meant it would have been a waste of time unless you went to the Morgan State University School of Global Journalism and Communication. Any last words, man, on any of the work that you all are doing? And how can people follow up with your work as Rebel Diaz, the show, and you don’t stop? Where can people go to stay linked?
G1: Man you know, I just want to say first of all, respect to you for the work that you do, and really again the idea of create an alternative. We always, you know, in the Bronx and with the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective, with the crew that we got out there for us, we always, our motto is we can’t just oppose, we need to propose. You know what I’m saying? And for us our proposal is creating alternatives. It’s creating infrastructures in our neighborhoods, creating small economies, creating spaces where young people can gather where they’re free of state violence or inter-community violence, all that. So for us, that’s the work continues, we move forward in terms of the work that we do in the Bronx.
And in terms of the music work we go out to Venezuela next month and continue building with the Bolivarian revolution and other amazing artists out there, Ana Tijoux, Shadia Mansour. So you could definitely follow our travels and the work that we do. And you don’t stop, @RebelDiaz is the Twitter. RebelDiaz.com on the website. Again, we don’t–we know that the Fed book is full of Federales, but at the same time we try to say use that for what it is, communicating with our people in terms of the work that we’re doing. So definitely follow up with us on that as well.
BALL: That’s what’s up. Venceremos, I believe is the word that is appropriate here. For my man Bashi Rose, for [Sensa] Nandez, for Real News Network, and you don’t stop. I’m Jared Ball. Peace if you’re willing to fight for it, everybody. Thanks again, everybody. Thanks again, Rebel Diaz.
DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.