It is amazing: Philadelphia is the only city in the United States where a city government/mayor has ordered a BOMBING of it's own taxpayers...Yet, it happened in Philadelphia 25 years ago.
I will always remember that day, because it was the day of my father's funeral, the day we laid him to rest...The story of his death and how I found out is another story, but let's just say my mind was in a different place that day, remembering Dad, and dealing with the frayed emotions of my family: about his death and toward me.
After the burial I skipped the reception for relatives and friends that my mother had arranged, and just went home...I turned on the TV, and saw that the MOVE crisis, which had been going on for a long while, and, on that particular day while listening to the radio in the morning, seemed to be coming to some kind of head.
MOVE were a Black radical 'back to nature' group who had caused an extremely violent confrontation with the City of Philadelphia back in 1978.
They had occupied a big Victorian house in the Powelton Village section of the city, and brought chaos into that neighborhood, On the weekends they blockaded an adjacent street, and raised money by watching cars, dumped all of their garbage into their back yard, which resulted in swarms of rats infesting the area, had their children running around naked, and, as the topper, openly carried firearms and got on the bullhorn threatening neighbors and police about what would result if anyone tried to interfere with them. After about 2 years of this with neighborhood residents begging for the city to do something, and after a particularly grizzly incident where they invited a few members of Philadelphia's City Council 'over for dinner' to discuss matters, and then brought out a dead baby in a shoebox, Mayor Frank Rizzo ordered police SWAT teams into action. The result was a major shootout where one Philadelphia police officer was shot, one MOVE member got his ass whipped on camera, and the rest of the cult members dragged out and locked up. The MOVE children taken by DHS but later returned to relatives. Mayor Rizzo had the MOVE house bulldozed the wek after the shootout. Rizzo took a lot of flack for 'police brutality' but in reality, the only person killed was a cop, and MOVE was guilty of child abuse.
Things were quiet for awhile, but in 1985/85 they took over a house on Osage Street in West Philadelphia, a block of rowhouses, and proceeded to terrorize their neighbors, with the constant yelling of obscenities through a bullhorn 365/24/7, and the building of a gun bunker on the roof of their house. They were all armed.
All Philadelphia residents who were old enough to comprehend remember what happened on that day: In an attempt to resolve a situation that could have been diffused many months back, if not for cynical politics and notions of 'political correctness' by city leaders, a whole city block (Osage Street in West Philadelphia) consisting of middle and working class Black families was bombed and torched, all to remove a handful of rabble rousers and would be revolutionaries...Innocent children and adults died, and a peaceful, relatively prosperous and decent neighborhood was destroyed. The MOVE members and children could have been taken into custody peacefully on a number of occasions, but Mayor Goode, not wanting to be viewed as an 'Uncle Tom' by certain deluded elements, refused to act, and the result was tragedy.
The aftermath was just as bad, as the political buck-passing and refusal to own up to responsibility ran rampant...Freemason Mayor Wilson Goode, Police Commisioner Sambor, the whole crew, showed us what incompetence and cowardice was all about.
And then, of course, came the City's disastrous attempt to rebuild the block...Taxpayer money wasted, corrupt contractors, every conceivable fuck up.
MOVE was a cult, much like Jim Jones' Johnstown group. There was never any evidence uncovered og government involvement, a la CO-INTELPRO, although it is possible that the group's founders, John Africa & Donald Glaspey, were somehow involved with the FEDS.
The only know involvement of FEDs came right on the day of the bombing,
when they supposedly provided Philadelphia police with the explosive mixture that was used for the bomb. But this in itself was bad enough.
Rather, the MOVE events fit in more with a couple of other famous cases in Philadelphia crime history: that of cop killer Mumia Abu Jamal, and sociopath killer Ira Einhorn. All were products of a peculiar Philadelphia flavor 'radical' milieu.
MOVE members still live in Philadelphia, but they now lead a rather quiet lifestyle, with no involvement in confrontational activities. In fact they would probably be embraced by sections of today's environmentalist movement.
Interestingly, the nation and even residents of Philadelphia seem to have completely forgotten what occurred on that fateful day.
Cost is beyond belief