Thursday, May 13, 2010


Better report on MOVE massacre of 1985

by Larry Geller

After listening to today’s Democracy Now segment 25 Years Ago: Philadelphia Police Bombs MOVE Headquarters Killing 11, Destroying 65 Homes (5/13/2010), I am impressed with the difficulty of writing something useful based only on Internet sources, including the Wikipedia. I did my best, yet it doesn’t compare with the DN story. For one thing, co-host Juan Gonzalez was there, in 1985. He was a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News at the time and saw the helicopter flying overhead that contained the bomb dropped on the MOVE building. He was a block away.

Some of the accounts I found, from reputable sources, reported that the feds bombed the building. Others differed on the number of houses burned, and on whether there was return fire from inside the building. The official version, of course, is hardly to be trusted, but it echoed through other accounts, many of which, like mine, may have been constructed not from first-hand knowledge or source interviews, but by hunting and gathering on the Web.

We were living in Japan in 1985, when Philadelphia police bombed MOVE and wiped out a whole city block, so we didn’t get very good news about it. There was no Internet in those days, and we were a world away. That’s no excuse. Well, I did want to commemorate the event, and it is pretty much disappeared news.

After listening to the Democracy Now report, which I highly recommend (click on the link above), it’s clear that the feds may have had some involvement. The plastic explosive dropped on the building is not standard stock in police arsenals.

From the Democracy Now report one can safely conclude that the intent was to wipe out MOVE. Forget neighbor complaints or smelly compost. Police came armed to the teeth and with weapons of mass destruction. That’s not an appropriate reaction to noise complaints, but can be understood as a reaction against a black power movement.

The DN story also links the attack to an earlier attempt in 1978 to shut down the movement.


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