Two events took place in the Bay Area in California to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the bombing of Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney and attacks on Earth First! by the FBI.
On May 23, a packed house at La Pena Cultural Center heard speakers Ramona Africa from Move in Philadelphia–whose home and family were firebombed by police, killing 11 people in 1985; climate activist Gopal Dayenneni; lead attorney in the victorious Judi Bari vs. FBI lawsuit Dennis Cunningham, Earth First! organizer Karen Pickett; Darryl Cherney, who was injured in the car bombing with Judi, and others. An overflow crowd came from far and wide, and also marked the moment of the bomb explosion the following day, Monday May 24, at the site Judi’s car blew up, nearly killing her, and ended any illusions that the FBI and the corporations were not taking Earth First! very seriously.
At the bombing site in Oakland on Monday, there was a speak out and music at noon, with many people who were organizing for Redwood Summer in 1990 present.
[moderator’s note: Check out this article from the Earth First! Journal for more on Judi Bari]
Long Live John Africa!
It is of great news that Ramona Africa of the MOVE Organization came out to speak of and support the commemoration of Judi Bari on the 20th anniversary of the bombing of Judi Bari. It is of great disappointment that Earth First! Newswire and Earth First!ers have and surely will continue to promote such an appearance by a powerful and proud Black woman such as Romona Africa of the MOVE Organization. This disappointment comes from the fact that the Earth First! ‘Movement’, the Earth First! Journal, and Earth First! Rendezvous have shown little to no support for the MOVE Organization, the MOVE 9 or Mumia Abu-Jamal. All of whom Ramona Africa surely spoke on and asked for others to support, to free and to fight for.
At the 2007 Winter Organizers’ Conference and Winter Rendezvous in Austin, TX, the 2007 Summer Rendezvous near Bloomington, IN, the 2008 Winter Organizers’ Conference and Winter Rendezvous in southern Florida, and at the 2008 Summer Rendezvous near Athens, OH there were workshops listed, announced, and open to all about the MOVE Organization, the MOVE 9 and Mumia Abu-Jamal. Though not neccessary, it was ‘advertised’ to an almost entirely white audience mentioning the MOVE 9 and Mumia Abu-Jamal being listed in the EF! Journal as political prisoners and that Judi Bari, as well-known and widely respected EF!er, often spoke of and wrote about the MOVE 9 and Mumia. Connecting defense and freedom of the Earth with defense and freedom of people of color.
The attendence for all four workshops were no more than four people each time and often repeating attendees. Most often the only attendees were also the only people of color who attended those Rendezvous. I know this because I was the organizer of these workshops and attendee of those Rendezvous. The overwhelming response from announcing and conducting these workshops that I got were ‘MOVE is homophobic’ ‘didn’t Mumia do it?’ ‘we’ve tried the whole support the political prisoner thing, but the Earth must be saved first’ ‘good to hear that someone’s still talking about them (with a pat on the back.’
The white race as a whole tries to find every reason to not support the movements of indigenous and original people of the world. Even when those very movements and struggles are the exact same ones those whites are fighting for.
How interesting. The Earth First! ‘movement’ that says its moved past the, only a few years ago, tendencies to support HIV/AIDS because it helps reduce the human population, knowing the majority of people with HIV/AIDS are black in the US and Africa worldwide. This ‘movement’ claims to be past the frequent stances to support a tightened and stricter US and Mexican border to prevent supposed further damage to the southern United States bioregions. Those that said Earth First! was past all that didn’t care to consider another point of view on people of color, on MOVE, on interconnectedness of struggles. Did they not care at all? Or do they only care when Ramona Africa shows up to their events (no EF!ers attended the 25th anniversary of the MOVE bombing May 12, 2010 in Philadelphia, PA) and they can get some quotes and good pictures of a black woman at EF! events?
ONAMOVE! LONG LIVE JOHN AFRICA!
FREE MUMIA! FREE THE MOVE 9!
RACE FIRST! BLACK POWER! BROWN POWER! RED POWER! YELLOW POWER!
THE COLLECTIVE WHITE RACE ARE HISTRORICALLY DEVILS BY NATURE!
Moderator: The Earth First! Journal has been consistently run by a small, rotating collective. We want to express our solidarity with indigenous and original peoples struggling for sacred places, environmental justice and sovereignty. We support prisoners in the struggle including Debbie Sims Africa, Michael Davis Africa, Edward Goodman Africa, William Phillips Africa and Delbert Orr Africa, whose addresses are listed every issue in our Prisoner Directory page and online at earthfirstjournal.org.
We feel like we have come a long way from the article you mention about HIV/AIDS, which was published over twenty years ago. Since then, the Journal has published numerous articles about MOVE and about Mumia. Even so, we understand your frustrations about what you call “the collective white race,” and agree with many points you raise in your comment. We apologize if we have disappointed you and/or the MOVE movement in the past. With your help, we hope that we can be better allies, and work together in the future.