What a double bill!
In a benefit for the organization MOVE
, controversial political activists Ramona Africa
and Craig Rosebraugh
are scheduled to discuss police repression faced by activists in the United States along with the necessity of direct political action to protect human rights and the natural environment this Wednesday, May 14, 7:00 p.m. at the Clinton Street Theater
Sounds good eh? Just the kind of thing Portland lefties-in-the-choir love to hear preached from the stage.
But there are some out there who think of these two as criminals at best, terrorists at worst.
A little background:
As part of the Philadelphia organization MOVE, Ramona Africa was part of, depending on who is telling the story, either a loose-knit, African-American activist group, whose members all adopted the surname Africa, advocated a 'back-to-nature' lifestyle and preached against technology; or they were simply a cult of child-molesting cop-killers.
Nonetheless, during a standoff with Philly cops in May 1985, a building that housed MOVE members was firebombed by police and all but Ramona Africa and a young Birdie Africa were killed in the blaze that consumed the tenement.
Rosebraugh, as many Portlanders may recall
, was the face and voice for the animal-rights group ALF (Animal Liberation Front) and enviro-group ELF (Earth Liberation Front) during a very active time for both outfits during the late 90's.
After subsequent raids in his home by FBI, BATF and other state and local agencies, eight federal grand-jury investigations and being questioned in front of the U.S. Congress about the actions of the ALF and ELF, Rosebraugh published two books and opened and closed a vegan restaurant. What a busy fellow.
Both are slated to be discussing environmentally themed issues along with the recent parole hearing
in Philadelphia for nine other members of MOVE—arrested in a 1978 incident involving a police shooting—and police repression in general.
But a former member of MOVE, Tony Allen, who operates an Anti-MOVE/Mumia Abu-Jamal
blog, has sent a press release to Portland accusing the group of being a cult and wants the public to know about Africa's unfriendly actions toward animals and children. He asked attendees of the event to “do their research” and wondered why the Clinton would host a “cultist who is as twisted as the Reverend Fred Phelps?”
Leroy Jameson, co-owner of the Clinton and a native Philadelphian, says that he hasn't received any calls regarding the lineup but is hoping for some lively discussion about the events in his hometown. Check it out tomorrow.