A collage of MOVE members with guns and a Tyson worker in a chicken factory

The bombing you’ve never heard of. And chickens.

“So the helicopter took off, made a circle, came back and then the whole neighborhood shook … It sounded like a gas main had exploded — but some of the media members knew it was a bomb. And things just went down from there.”

I’d like to discuss an incident that happened three decades ago that I was utterly ignorant of of until today: the MOVE bombings in Philadelphia. Thank you Facebook for bringing this incident to my attention. I’m still in disbelief.

How did the 1985 conflagration–and confrontation–come about? The group MOVE was formed of Rastafarian-leaning extremists, some well-educated and middle class like Ramona Africa, who were outraged by social justice and animal rights issues. While many of the group’s members were African-American, the group wasn’t racially exclusive.

Soon MOVE members were occupying a house in a West Philly neighborhood and brandishing an impressive cache of weapons on their rooftop. This led to police barricades, understandably nervous neighbors, and a bombing. Read Gene Demby’s full account as reported by NPR.

Not that unrelated to poverty, human dignity, and social justice and animal rights issues, we have another recent news story: Tyson Foods Inc. workers denied bathroom breaks, some resorting to wearing diapers and dehydrating themselves.

According to OxFam, here’s what the workers deal with on a daily basis:

“ … supervisors mock them, ignore requests and threaten punishment or firing. When they can go, they wait in long lines even though they are given limited time, sometimes 10 minutes, according to the report. Some workers have urinated or defecated themselves while working because they can’t hold on any longer …”

Thinking that cheap chicken–which could be infected with salmonella anyway–might not be worth it? Read what workers on OxFam’s Lives on the Line website have to say.

 

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