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 the toxic legacies of war, dictatorship, and capitalist transition. In a wider global context, abolition means dismantling the architectures of global apartheid that mark certain bodies as targets for continuous surveillance, control, regulation, and violence. To me abolition therefore means many things in different contexts, but above all I understand it as a series of practices dedicated to rooting out the deeply racialized, gendered, classed, ableist, heterosexist, ecologically destructive, and (settler-)colonial relationships that shape present hierarchies of power. Abolition is thus about challenging the multiple oppressive structures that people are consistently enmeshed in through an intersectional approach. It is about questioning those assumptions one has been socialized into that serve to perpetuate logics of enclosure and segregation in the everyday. After becoming a parent last year, I’m also increasingly coming to appreciate the importance of thinking about social justice struggles in wider generational terms, attentive to the multiple pasts and potential futures grassroots movements are trying to navigate.  In working out collectively the nuances and tensions that exist between and within different abolitionist struggles with radical honesty and love, I’m hoping that new spaces will be created for more affirming futures.

—Konstantin Kilibarda

[This post is part of a series of “Abolition Statements” from members of the Abolition Journal Collective and Editorial Review Board. See here for a brief introduction to these posts.]