“Can’t Jail the Revolution”: Policing, Protest, and the MOVE Organization in Philadelphia’s Carceral Landscape
- The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
- University of Pennsylvania Press
- Volume 143, Number 3, October 2019
- pp. 333-362
- Additional Information
This essay examines the anticarceral protest and lifestyle politics of the MOVE organization in 1970s Philadelphia. MOVE is a group of mostly Black radical naturalists who formed a collective in West Philadelphia in 1972. Between 1972 and 1978, the organization engaged in varying forms of anticarceral resistance and directly confronted the emerging carceral landscape in Philadelphia, characterized by not only prisons but also police violence, housing segregation, surveillance, and counter-insurgency. This work offers an account of how MOVE members challenged racialized and gendered police violence, prisons, and housing inequality during the early years of the group’s existence in order to demonstrate that the 1978 raid on their home in Powelton Village was part of the city’s systematic repression of Philadelphia Black radicalism. This work charts MOVE’s changing use of protest politics and unconventional lifestyle practices as tools for resistance. This article unearths early MOVE philosophy and practice while exploring the conditions of racialized and gendered police violence that led to the ongoing incarceration of the MOVE 9 political prisoners.