Abolitionist Agency of (Political) Prisoners

The Abolition Collective is helping to highlight the agency of the incarcerated in abolitionisms of incarceration/policing/executions. We also support the right of the incarcerated to teach about abolitionism. A forthcoming Blog on the Abolitionist Agency of (Political) Prisoners invites contributions in prose, analysis, poetry, visual culture. Questions raised for consideration include: Where do the analyses of […]

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(re)Thinking Sex Positivity, Abolition Feminism, and the #MeToo Movement: Opportunity for a New Synthesis

by Brooke Lober

Sexism, gendered harassment, and sexual assault are so common in our culture that they constitute norms; the phrase “rape culture” puts a name to this phenomenon. While assault and harassment remain rampant, a renewed sexual conservatism—consonant with the current right-wing power-grab and evacuation of the already ravaged social safety net—reproduces systematic inequity through an overt culture of misogyny, along with the privileging of marriage and monogamous partnership, heterosexuality, and sex/gender normativity. This hierarchy is produced at the expense of sexual outsiders including survivors of rape, abuse, and harassment, who lead the current public outcry on gender-based violence.

For the last forty years and more, feminist and queer movements have arisen to identify and resist the conditions of social subordination that are created through sex and gender hierarchy, while at the same time, these movements propose expansions of sexual freedom and gender self-determination. The current wave of protest and public speech against sexual violence, under the sign of #MeToo, while extraordinary, is not without precedent. But it offers a renewed chance to synthesize a popular framework for freedom through which we can work toward two longstanding feminist goals: freedom from sexual violence, and freedom to enact and celebrate all forms of consensual sexuality. Two feminist actions demonstrate these two aspects of sexual liberty. Since 1975, Take Back the Night marches and rallies have provided space for the outpouring of stories of sexual assault; and since 2011, Slutwalk has offered a site for the reclamation of self-determined sexuality as a public, political, and participatory act. While often emerging as opposed interests, freedom from violence and the struggle for sexual liberation are linked. As Adrienne Marie Brown writes, “Your strong and solid no makes way for your deep, authentic yes.” Feminist movements including women of color feminism, abolition feminism, and the sex-workers’ rights movement all offer possibilities for the integration of freedom from sexual coercion, and the freedom to engage in all consensual forms of sex. The radical imaginaries offered by these movements are crucial for activists who are now considering the next steps for countering omnipresent sexual harassment, abuse, and assault.

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Open Letter of Response to the Closure of Edward Said Search at CSU, Fresno

On April 26th Fresno State abruptly closed the Edward Said search in Middle East Studies (MES). The Administration claimed procedural violations in the search. This claim was made after the search committee had completed all aspects of the search and submitted a rank ordered list of four candidates, all of Palestinian or Arab American ethnicities. The cancellation of the search generated an overwhelming response by academics at the national and international levels. Numerous letters of objection from scholars in Middle East Studies and petitions with over 2500 signatures called into question the action of the administration, asking the university president, Joseph Castro, to reopen and complete the search.

Vida Samiian, one of the authors, who served as Director of the MES program, resigned in objection to this discriminatory closure. In her public letter of resignation, she documented a campaign of pressure on search committee members by Zionist and Israeli state supporters.

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Prison Abolition Gift/Donation Ideas for the Holidays!

We’ve compiled the following list of radical abolitionist gift/donation ideas for the holidays. If you don’t already know about it, the Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners calendar makes a great gift for the abolitionist in your life, with proceeds going to The New York State Task Force on Political Prisoners and the Addameer: Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association […]

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Prisons and universities are two sides of the same coin: Eli Meyerhoff on Abolition

Popular narratives portray society as made up of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ people. Figures of the citizen, the worker, and the graduate are contrasted with the deviant, the criminal, and the dropout. For the safety of ‘good’ people, we are supposed to put ‘bad’ people in separate places. When they are younger, those stigmatized as ‘bad kids’—as […]

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Dismantling the architectures of global apartheid: Konstantin Kilibarda on Abolition

In North America—where I live as a settler and guest in Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee lands—abolition means confronting settler-colonial realities, the prison-industrial complex, legacies of slavery, exclusionary migration regimes, and the violent bordering, confining, and ghettoizing practices that are part of this landscape. Coming from the Balkans, abolition also means challenging internalized nationalism, as well as […]

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The production of freedom and liberation from within collective rebellion, insurgency, and community: Dylan Rodríguez on Abolition

Let us not sever abolition from the people who inhabit and constantly remake it, over the course of an apocalypse that remains uncontained. Abolitionists are the people who imagine, practice, wage, and thrill in the radical and irrevocable destruction of things for sake of something/anything else, whether it’s the end of things as we know […]

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Abolition is a praxis that never compromises the integrity of Black liberation: Damien Sojoyner on Abolition

Freedom.  A freedom informed by the social vision of the Black radical imagination. Framed by the tenets of love, compassion and communal fellowship, the social vision of the Black radical imagination represents a path to undo multifaceted relationships to power and forge new connections. Such a social vision is centered in the practical and political understanding […]

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These are the moments in which another world becomes possible: Lisa Guenther on Abolition

Abolition is both a negative process of dismantling oppressive structures and a positive process of imagining, creating, and sustaining the sort of relationships, practices, and institutions that would make oppressive structures obsolete. Abolition is not a telos, if by telos one means the end of a process that is eventually completed, once and for all. […]

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To build a world that is otherwise: Andrew Dilts on Abolition

Abolition is the collective practice of productive refusal. It is an immoderate rejection of white supremacy (and whiteness itself), patriarchy, hetero-normativity, ableism, settler-colonialism, border imperialism, political hierarchy, and the rule of capital. It is a politics of discomfort, constant reflection, continuous analysis, and what Alisa Bierria has eloquently named, a practice of “subversive proposition.” It is […]

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