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Law Against Love

For several years now, MOVE political prisoner Chuck Africa, has had to do battle with Pennsylvania prison officials to obtain the most fundamental of human rights -- the right to visit with his wife, May 13th, 1985 bombing survivor and ex-political prisoner, Ramona Africa.

Chuck, a veteran of the August 8th, 1978 police-MOVE confrontation who, like his eight other MOVE brothers and sisters, is doing a 100-year prison term following a political show-trial and sham conviction, has sued the prison at Graterford, in southeastern Pennsylvania, for denying him such visits.

Graterford Warden Donald Vaughn said he was "uneasy" with Ramona, a former prisoner, visiting a current prisoner, due to "intangible concerns."

When pressed, Vaughn wrote, to justify the exclusion of Chuck's wife, "I could not ignore the fact that Ms. Africa is a very vocal, high-profile member of MOVE ... highly critical of authority and the establishment."

Therefore, he worried that she "might question Graterford's policies and procedures, challenge correctional officers' actions and otherwise draw attention to herself," which may, in turn, "jeopardize security" and "disrupt normal operations."

Putting aside the obvious question, (which is, why shouldn't some prison procedures and guards' actions be challenged or questioned) the fact remains Ramona has visited her husband for years at Pittsburgh's state prison, and at Graterford without incident, the most expressive example that the "worries" raised against Chuck and Ramona are pretextual.

They are treating Ramona, a courageous, principled woman, as if she is still a prisoner -- despite her so-called "freedom." As she often does, Ramona cut away the nonsensical pretexts offered up by politicians and their cronied prisoncrats as justificiations for stripping her visitation rights away, to cite the real reason: "Because of my membership in MOVE."

Chuck, cast away in state dungeons for over 18 years despite his innocence (in a case where the judge publicly stated days after trial that he "hadn't the faintest" idea whether Chuck, or his 8 co-defendants, were guilty!) and his wife, are being punished cruelly for precisely that very reason -- for being MOVE members. Indeed, that is the reason Chuck, and the other MOVE veterans, are in prison. It is the reason Ramona spent seven long, tortured years in a man-made hell, for daring to survive the May 13th massacre of 1985.

Already unjustly imprisoned by the state, now the two revolutionaries are condemned by the same system to an unjust separation that treats their very marriage as if it is a crime.

Doesn't family come before government? How can any government put its nose in between a husband and wife? Upon what alleged "authority" can such a desecration rest? From whence comes this wretched right?

Once again, the repressive state that claims it acts to preserve "security", betrays instead its inherent insecurity. Chuck has been unjustly engaged by the state for almost two decades, with a sentence of 100 years.

Why should any government give a damn who he loves? They care -- when that woman is the remarkable Ramona Africa, for if it is a crime for a woman to survive, what a greater crime in this prisonhouse of nations, for such a woman to dare love a revolutionary?

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