Delbert Africa was a member of the Philadelphia black commune, MOVE. This was a radical group of activists who lived together and believed that all living beings were interdependent. They annoyed their neighbors and were targeted by the Philadelphia police who raided their home in a violent eviction proceeding in 1978 that ended in a gun fight. A policeman was killed (the police claim it was from gunfire from the house, some witnesses believe it may have been from an accidental shot from another police officer). Nine MOVE members were arrested, charged with third-degree murder, and sentenced to a hundred years in prison each. Delbert was one of the last to be released. Later, in 1985, the mayor and the police decided that the best way to rid the neighborhood of these activists was to bomb the house–which they did, killing eleven people and destroying the entire block.
There weren’t a lot of comments, but here are the four that we got, including my memories of Philadelphia that were related to these incidents. Bizarrely, while Frank Rizzo was the mayor during the 1978 shootout, the mayor who okayed the 1985 was Wilson Goode, a black man, who together with the police chief at the time, classified MOVE as a “terrorist organization.”
If you are interested in seeing Mike Africa Jr’s performance, here is that part of the video:
Tomorrow, part four of our diversity series, Julia’s piece on Whiteness in Community.
In response to everything that was happening at Twin Oaks and beyond (see Parts One and Two), Theresa wrote this response:
Needless to say, lots of comments. Here they all are:
Tomorrow, the death of a black activist who was part of a black commune in the seventies and eighties, that was described as a “fusion of black power and flower power.” The police raided them in the seventies in a violent shoot out and in the eighties, after lobbing tear gas at them and firing more than ten thousand rounds of ammunition at the house, dropped two one-pound bombs on the house, killing eleven people in the house including five children.
On the evening of May 10th, tired and wanting to go to bed, I (Raven) noticed that there was no Facebook post for the next day. I thought about why I had put the blog on hiatus for May and just wrote about it for the next day’s post. I was surprised that it became very popular (or at least more popular than many of our posts before then). In it, I mentioned that, really, no matter what I post here, the same three posts almost always come up as the most popular posts of the day (or the week or the month). I checked just before writing this (at the end of June) and it’s still true. Here’s what I wrote:
As you can see, I got twenty comments. Here are some of them:
Since this was a question directed at me, I felt like I needed to respond.
When Aurora DeMarco put in a short, cryptic comment, Theresa (as Commune Life) pressed her for a longer answer, which she provided.
Tomorrow, I will return to our recent Facebook posts on diversity.
After George Floyd’s death there were protests across the US in support of black lives. This included protests in the part of rural New York state where the Glomus Commune that Theresa and I and a bunch of other communards live. Many of the folks from our community attended a Black Lives Matter protest in Delhi, NY. Theresa published a Facebook post about it.
Here is a picture of the crowd in Delhi:
And here are some of us, wearing green East Brook Community Farm t-shirts:
Finally, here is Theresa, in a masked self-portrait, at the protest:
Rachael and I also attempted to attend the end of a Juneteenth march that went from Delhi to Walton (the town that our farm and community are in) but we were late and apparently the march ended early, so we reached the cemetery in Walton where the march ended, just as people were leaving. We left flowers there but didn’t connect with anyone, because it’s hard to know who you are dealing with when everyone is wearing pandemic masks.
Although Julia’s Instagram post, that was the subject of yesterday’s post, was published on Facebook quickly at their request, we already had a post ready to go up, republishing a post from the Twin Oaks Facebook page, with commentary from us. (Mostly Theresa, although I provided the outline for it.) It was published the next day. Here is the original Twin Oaks post:
As the Facebook caption says, there were 57 comments on the Twin Oaks site. I am not going to put most of them on here–among other things, the comments reached a level of ignorance and acrimony that was truly awful–but I will put the first three, because they were telling:
Here is the commentary that we wrote when we reposted it on the Commune Life Facebook page:
We only got two comments to this post on our site, and they were from the same person:
Julia requested that we keep our Twin Oaks reposts and other material on the same subject, and although we did publish a few unrelated things that were in the queue about Acorn and East Wind, we kept a focus on diversity and dealing with racism. We publicized two workshops related to the subject, both (coincidentally?) on June 23:
And (another Instagram repost from Julia):
There is and will be a lot more on this subject, but much of it is still going on. I am going to take a couple of days to look at other things and then return with Part Three, which will contain current Facebook posts.
After the death of George Floyd and the renewal of the Black Lives Matter movement, difficulties that the Twin Oaks community had been having with diversity, escalated. I (Raven) am interrupting the flow of Facebook posts (I had been posting stuff from April), to present very recent posts about the events at Twin Oaks. I will start with this Instagram post that Julia from TO asked me to repost to Facebook and all the comments that it got.
I will try to print most of the comments, but some may be difficult to follow as the order of the comments was changed partway through, and some don’t necessarily follow others.
This is just the beginning of the conversation. More tomorrow.
We are a farm here at East Brook (home of the Glomus Commune). Among other things, we raise chickens.
I never knew, before I came here, that you could get baby chicks in the mail, but you can and we have. As I wrote on Facebook in April, “Much excitement here at East Brook Farm. These are from Anande Ozark’s Facebook page. As they said: ‘Chicks came this morning!'”
Earlier this month I posted the story of Living Energy Farm’s trip to Arizona to install solar energy systems in Navajo and Hopi homes. Now, LEF is offering kits that will allow you to install these systems in your place. They are pricy, but they work. Here’s what I posted on Facebook: