Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

MOVE Rejects Philly Democrats’ Cynical Apology

Three decades later, Philly Democrats apologized for the brutal MOVE bombing. It’s a cynical ploy by the representatives of white supremacist capitalism.

Jason Koslowski

December 15, 2020
Facebook Twitter Share
Black and white photo, a street in Philly with smoke in the distance due to the MOVE bombing.
PHOTO: Bettman / Getty Images

It only took 35 years, but the Democratic city government of Philadelphia has finally said “sorry” for the brutal, deadly attack on MOVE. 

The pathetic apology comes with a promise to dedicate the anniversary of the attack as “an annual day of observation, reflection and recommitment.” It’s a publicity stunt — a way to scrub  the Democratic city government’s image in response to the new documentary about MOVE on HBO, 40 Years a Prisoner.   

On May 13, 1985, Philadelphia police mounted a mass offensive against the Black, radical, and anti-capitalist organization, MOVE. That morning, the Philadelphia Police Department gathered in force to raid the house, attack and arrest the thirteen MOVE members living there. The police fired more than ten thousand rounds in the firefight that followed. 

And then the cops dropped two one-pound explosives — created in DuPont company labs — onto the MOVE house from a helicopter. The explosion and fire killed eleven MOVE members.  Five of them were kids between the ages 7 and 13.   

The fire engulfed 65 homes as it tore through West Philadelphia. Firefighters were told to let the fire burn — a message from the police commissioner to the Black radical struggle in Philadelphia. 

Last week, MOVE denounced the obvious PR move.

“If City Officials are sincere about rectifying the debacle of 1985, they would release our brother, Mumia Abu Jamal immediately! They can’t give us back our 11 family members they murdered in 1985, but they can give us back our brother, Mumia Abu Jamal, who has been in prison 39 years for a crime he didn’t commit and everybody knows this […] MOVE is saying that if Philadelphia officials think offering an apology is the answer, they should be offering apologies to the families of Walter Wallace, Winston Hood, William Green, and the families of countless other victims of police brutality and murder in the city of so call ‘Brotherly Love.’ We’re saying an apology without action is meaningless. RELEASE MUMIA ABU JAMAL! LONG LIVE JOHN AFRICA [founder of MOVE]!”

As MOVE points out, the apology is an obscenely cynical play by the Democratic city government. And the apology showcases a crucial lesson: Philadelphia is a Democratic Party-controlled city. And yet it was — and still is — the representative of the white supremacist ruling class of capitalism.  

While Abu Jamal sits in prison, Wilson Goode — the mayor who green-lit the bombing, refused to order the fire put out, and later lied about his role in the massacre — gives speeches at local churches and is heaped with honors by Philly Democrats. Russel Maroon Shoatz, a former Black Panther, is also still in prison. When Ant Smith, a prominent anti-police activist in Philly, was targeted by the federal government for arrest as payback for the massive anti-cop uprising in Philly this past summer, City Council had nothing to say. 

Neither did the “progressive” DA Larry Krasner, darling of the local DSA leadership. Krasner has also been totally silent about the cops who murdered Walter Wallace, Jr. and who still walk free. In fact, Krasner scolded the the people protesting Wallace’s murder for being “violent,” and he’s leading the prosecution of activists from the summer anti-cop protests.

The last 35 years teach us that the Democrats won’t be reformed into a better party. Local elections won’t fix this problem. Only a revolutionary struggle against the Philly Democrats, against their police force, and against the ruling rich can win real change.

Justice for MOVE! Justice for Walter Wallace, Jr. and all the many people murdered by the cops! Free Mumia! Jail all killer cops!

Facebook Twitter Share

Jason Koslowski

Jason is a contingent college teacher and union organizer who lives in Philadelphia.

United States

Pro-Palestine protesters at a march in Philadelphia. Palestinian flags in the background while someone holds up a sign that says "Freedom for Palestine."

Temple University Rank and Filers Release Palestine Solidarity Statement

Rank and filers at Temple University in Philly are demanding their union local and national fight to end all support for Israel and join the cause of Palestinian workers.

Jason Koslowski

August 3, 2021
An older woman wearing a hat holds a sign that reads "No More Unjust Revictions: I Lost My Home of 36 Years"

Eviction Moratorium Expired, Millions Face Homelessness

After a half-hearted attempt to extend the eviction moratorium failed, the House of Representatives left for summer vacation.

Emma Lee

August 2, 2021

Pandemic Profiteers: Pfizer Profits Exceed $10 Billion in Six Months

Pfizer has announced record profits as a result of vaccine sales. While the world is in crisis, pharmaceutical companies are raking in billions of dollars from advance contracts and by preventing the release of patents.

Biden Is Expediting Deportations of Migrant Families

The Biden administration added another repressive measure against migrants on top of Donald Trump's already draconian Title 42. Now border patrol agents have the right to decide asylum cases.

Tatiana Cozzarelli

July 29, 2021

MOST RECENT

Four healthcare workers, including co-author of this article Mike Pappas, stand in scrubs and masks in front of an Amazon warehouse holding signs in support of better wages and safer working conditions for Amazon workers.

What Billionaire Space Flights Mean to Healthcare Workers

While the Covid-19 pandemic continues to rage around the globe and climate disaster is destroying the planet, billionaires are taking joyrides to space. Two healthcare workers who worked throughout the pandemic respond.

Mike Pappas

August 2, 2021
Image of rubble and a lot of smoke in the background. People stand in front of the wreckage.

Joe Biden is Bombing Somalia

Despite claims to reduce drone strikes, Joe Biden is bombing Somalia.

K.S. Mehta

August 1, 2021

Coldest Weather in Decades Hits Brazil — Climate Change Is to Blame

This month, on the heels of the country’s worst drought in a century, Brazil has experienced historic cold weather. The effects on agriculture could have negative consequences across the world.

Otto Fors

July 30, 2021
On the left, the front cover of Argentine Marxist Juan Dal Maso's book Hegemony and Class Struggle. On the right, Dal Maso sits at a desk wearing a black sweater, mid-speech.

A Welcome and Necessary Encounter Between Trotsky and Gramsci

The following is Warren Montag's foreword to the new book by Argentinian Marxist Juan Dal Maso entitled "Hegemony and Class Struggle. Trotsky, Gramsci and Marxism" released by Palgrave Publishing House on July 28th.

Warren Montag

July 30, 2021