#Black August: a storify

(click the arrow to activate the video below)

August 11

Shown on Mumia’s tweet, ‘The bombing of MOVE; When the police dropped a bomb on a quiet Philly neighborhood’, by Alex Q. Arbuckle, May 13, 1985 (breath-stopping evil history with awesome photos)

“The Mayor’s failure to call a halt to the operation on May 12, when he knew that children were in the house, was grossly negligent and clearly risked the lives of those children.”

~ Philadelphia Special Investigation Commission, March 6, 1986

“At 5:28 p.m., a satchel bomb composed of FBI-supplied C4 and Tovex TR2, a dynamite substitute, on a 45-second timer was dropped from a state police helicopter, detonating near the fortified pillbox on the roof of the house.

Within minutes, a fire had consumed the roof and begun to spread.

Firefighters, already fearful of being shot at by MOVE members, were told to let the fire burn.

The blaze raged out of control, spreading down the block of row houses and hopping the narrow streets. 

By the time it was extinguished four hours later, 61 houses had been razed. Apart from a woman and 13-year-old boy who escaped when the fire started, everyone in the MOVE house was dead.

The 11 deaths included MOVE founder John Africa, five adults and five children between the ages of seven and 13.

Despite investigations and formal apologies, neither the mayor, nor the police commissioner, nor anyone else from the city was criminally charged.”

16 responses to “#Black August: a storify

  1. The Philadelphia mayor in question was Wilson Goode (Wikipedia):

    W. Wilson Goode (born August 19, 1938) is a former Mayor of Philadelphia, the first African-American to hold that office. He served from 1984 to 1992, a period which included the controversial MOVE police action and house bombing in 1985. Goode was also a community activist, commissioner for the state Public Utility Commission, and managing director for the City of Philadelphia.

    Notice that the first demand of token firsts is that they act as Uncle Toms or slave catchers to continue the oppression of people of color. Community activists especially have to prove their “professional” and “practical” bona fides this way.

    Thus the continuing of Guantanamo, thus the long silence in DC about the #blacklivesmatter movement. Thus a neoconservative Hillary (to provide a parallel to what women must do to prove their “qualifications” for office,) It might be an act the first time but after a very short while it gets rationalized and integrated into character–and viewed externally as the product of a “complex personality”. “Complex” being the current fashionable euphemism for “compromised institutionally”.

    And yet, the city fathers of Philadelphia honors Frank Rizzo with a statue at City Hall. I find that complexity of local history very interesting.

    • now that’s interesting, THD. i can agree that the ‘firsts’ might be expected to act as brutal compradors, but they can’t be required to, even if it means losing their jobs. but then we’ve seen all too many times that black mayors, judges, po-po, DAs, and so forth, zip on the uniform of The State, haven’t we?

      now i’d remembered rizzo’s name, but not much more. oh, yes, i can see why he deserved not only a statue but a mural in philly. but hey, he treated the move folks with much more forbearance, eh?

      yanno, though, i was surprised that no one had tweeted the little africa massacre in tulsa. is that simply not known as well? i suppose this news is rather unsurprising, especially given the artwork the sfbayview had used, but still it’s a case of pretty cavalier endangerment. esp. the ‘2 for 1’ claim.

  2. Just looked at that Wikipedia article about Frank Rizzo. What struck me was the “endangering health and safety” frame that was put around MOVE that allowed the city to violate the Constitution, just like the one put around Occupy. It was the rats and the squalid condition that the commune was living in that justified the first police raid during Rizzo’s administration. Just as it was the armed resistance and the “pillbox on the roof” that justified an improvised explosive device being delivered by the FBI and the PPD to flush out the MOVE activists.

    A similar dynamic surrounded the FBI action in Waco during the Clinton administration, which is what got the Second Amendment folks really going hog wild when Jim and Sarah Brady sought to get limits on gun sales.

    And then there is AIM at Wounded Knee.

    • don’t forget the ‘rapes’ and occupy nyc. and ‘teh crazies’ (same related meme, iirc). waco, indeed, and good catch. clinton, remember?

      i’m not getting wounded knee, though. when i saw this in email, i goofily thought of the epic fear of the ghost dancers far earlier; not what you’re comparing from what? ’73?

      i confess that the past three days’ visit w/ our son, soon to be ‘deployed’ have left me almost outta words and have left my mind and soul, and body more scattered and exhausted than usual. i’m for a bath, a pbs mystery or two, then hoping against hope for some zleeep. love to you and miz.

      • The key symbols of health and safety that I saw in the coverage of Occupy was the hazmat suits and garbage trucks (health) and the concern about the homeless being in the tent cities (safety). But it was the health concern that most mayors used in the final coordinated suppression. “OK, kids, you’ve had your fun but you’ve made this place too unhealthy for you to keep camping out in the yard.” There was that sort of paternalism in the public statements of politicians about what was clearly suppression of First Amendment rights under health and safely judicial precedent loopholes.

        • how in hades did i forget the hazmat suit theatrics? well, the homeless were designated ‘crazies’, as i remember it. the intentional communities created also included finding social services help for the most afflicted.

          i explored a little bit this a.m. to discover what similar rationales were used at wounded knee, but didn’t find it. but one brief account claimed that AIM had kidnapped and held ‘eleven of dick(ie) wilson’s friends’. i swear i’d never heard that claim, had you?

          the yuuuuuge news has been that the DOJ will end contracting w/ private prisons. i can only assume that if it’s so, it will be a very long timeline unless O commutes a hella lot more sentences.

        • Hi Wendy and tarheeldem w/hat tip to Ohio Barbarian (saw your comments @ Ian Welsh and followed your link, Wendy),

          If you haven’t read Panther Baby by Jamal Joseph, you’ve missed an excellent, fast-paced read that illuminates the establishment’s tried & true destructive practices that have subdued “rebellions” globally over the centuries.

          To my mind, the reason Occupy was “successful” for a slightly longer period was its unorthodox “lack of leadership” that eventually had the establishment resort to the “public health” excuses that drove the movement from visibility.

          I use the phrase, “drove the movement from visibility” as the people continue working in their communities become nationally active almost instantly as evidenced by their mobilization in the wake of Hurricane Sandy New York where Occupy folks had food pantries, meals and distribution centers set up before the Establishment’s Red Cross, FEMA, et al held their first meeting to discuss the emergency. The recent mobilization for Bernie’s campaign nationwide was definitely aided by Occupiers with their internet communications knowledge as well as creative media content.

          Although there was no coverage of the 3-day People’s Summit in Chicago after the primaries, before the conventions, 1000 attended and made contacts with each other’s groups as well as having organizational workshops to apply on return to their communities.

          Also note that Bernie’s team is now “ourrevolution.com” with house parties this Wednesday 24 August for 9pm livecast organizational meeting.

          Just cause it ain’t on yur TV, don’t mean nothin’s going on. LOL <– my attempt at humor. In fact, thinking of it just now, lack of humor is probably easiest way to ID "establishment mentality" no matter the status of the individual.

          ^..^ karenjj2

          • Here’s a link:


            in case it doesn’t work, google “August 24 our revolution” for news articles

            ^..^ karenjj2

          • it’s great to see you here, karenjj2; welcome. no, i haven’t read it, but perhaps the voracious reader thd has. ;-) mine eyes can scarcely handle reading dead tree any more, but i found this interview w/ him at ‘ebony’, and there seem to be a lot of youtubes; maybe i’ll grab one in a minute.

            yes, the occupy spirit still lives, and i do know that the occupy newsletter i get said that he and they chose each other. and yes, i’d seen his ourrevolution.com’ announcement; thanks for the link, and yes, it works. ;-)

            but i hope you won’t be offended by my saying i’m not a fan of him, mainly due to his comments on military exceptionalism USA, and other indications of his love of drones, O’s terror tuesday kill list, etc. no, he’s not a neo-con, but still…’the saudis should get their hands dirty to fight isis’? oh, my, bernie.

            but i am a great fan of ajamu baraka, a very radical man who’s joined up with miz stein, whose platform is far, far, more socialistic, egalitarian, anti-war, anti-empire than the bern’s was. heh, i think i’ll even for for him in the quadrennial circus non-contest.

            ack, i’m embarrassed to admit that i’ve already forgotten the Peoples Summit in chicago; that’s okay; i can giggle it, eh?

            i’ll go try to suss out a jamal joseph video and bring it in your honor.

          • here we go; and only 11 mins and change. the barbarian: seems he and di are busy w/ their new house, and possibly a rental upgrade. ha; one of my cross-posts from months ago at his website is the most recent diary there. i keep thinking of emailing them, but emails seem to take about last place in my triage order, save for: fambly crises.

            yeppers, power to all the oppressed and immiserated. kinda hoping that ajamu’s proposed ‘southern strategy’ is utterly along those lines, and i reckon it will be…if he presses on w./it.

            on edit: did he mention the Red Nation? so many leave out the first amerians, don’t they?

  3. ‘Black August and the Unmasking of the US Police State’, by Jared A. Ball

    “That this August takes place amid a unique electoral moment in the U.S., a reset of the standard could not be more timely. The nominal “Left” defends their indefensible candidate as “not Donald Trump,” which would seem the very definition of damning with faint praise. Moreover, it signals that this neoliberal, hawkish femme is no friend to the people’s struggle. Hillary Clinton represents the interests of what has been affectionately called the “liberal wing of the ruling elite.” But she, like her political party, is skilled at masking their allegiance to power and posing as a representative of the majority of citizens who have been abandoned by the super white and male Republicans.

    One particularly egregious and pernicious example of this occurred when the former Secretary of State proudly proclaimed her intent to repair the country’s tarnished image by exporting hip-hop, and sending Black rappers around the world as cultural ambassadors of a sort. Many of these artists are indeed radical and consequently are seldom, if ever, heard or seen in commercial U.S. media. But Clinton’s gesture was intended only to help redeem the “War on Terror” by improving “poor perceptions” as part of what she described as a “complex game” of “cultural diplomacy,” or, as she explained, “multidimensional chess.” When asked if hip-hop would be a “chess piece” Clinton said, “Absolutely!””

    at least dubya secret weapon ambassador was karen whozzit. (‘hughes’, i looked her up.) ball featured a short video of a young black woman at a clinton even in SC interrupting her with ‘I am not a super-predator!’ and similar challenges. good on her, even though she was roundly dissed by the rest of the small crowd.

  4. related, Oh yes: ‘DOJ Ending Use of Private Prisons: Will Decarceration Follow?’ at trnn

    Truthout’s Maya Schenwar says the announcement won’t affect federal immigration detention centers or state prisons

  5. http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/08/23/phil-a23.html
    Duterte is an excellent disciple. lest anyone be deluded into thinking all this killing of the browns going on in the US is some kind of accident or aberration. nope.

    • christ in a canoe, jason. “duterte: our partner in pivot”. knowing you’d been tracking this, i’d clicked into a report at telesur english. now how queer it is that the report included (contra the trotskyite):

      “Duterte, nicknamed “the Punisher,” remains popular despite allegations of human rights abuses. The former mayor of a southern Phillipines city promised to rid the country of its illegal drug woes, and in his inaugural address, invited vigilantes and rebel guerilla factions to single out, and kill drug dealers of their own volition.”

      • i don’t know. i’d suspect the author at wsws is correct that the US will happily look the other way at his domestic atrocities, if not actively support, provided he plays ball re China.

        • your guess is correct, same for peno nieto of mexico. all they need to say in the way of uber-BS is that the US of A doesn’t interfere in domestic affairs, and hell: it’s a drug war!

          Secretary Kerry (July 27): “My purpose in coming to Manila today is to underscore the value that the United States places on the alliance and the true friendship and relationship that we have with the people of this country. The U.S.-Filipino relationship has absolutely withstood the test of time and it is clearly one of our most important in the Asia Pacific….”

          i dunno if this will work, and it almost seemed worth a stand-alone diary, but this is almost too funny for words. i hope if you click her tweet, you’ll be able to see most of the 50 or so commenters laughing, skewering, exposing her insane self-parody hypocrisy.

          on edit: yeppers, it works, lol. and never mind that her statement isn’t linked, and the font is about a micron high: that must be a tell, no?

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