Photo credit: Thomas Hawk via Foter.com / CC BY-NC.

“Prison Treated Me Way Better Than You”: Reentry, Perplexity, and the Naturalization of Mass Imprisonment

Renée M. Byrd

In the absence of a critique of the logics at the heart of the prison industrial complex, seemingly progressive trends such as prisoner reentry initiatives will simply bolster racialized state violence. This essay grapples with questions of representation and power, and details how the disposability of imprisoned people is reproduced and renaturalized through carceral practices. Academic accounts continue to be complicit in this process, without a complex theorizing of subjectivity, representation, and state violence. This essay uses interviews with formerly imprisoned people in the Twin Cities to disrupt the way that formerly imprisoned people’s narratives are “mined as rich sources” in pathologizing and voyeuristic ways. Prisoner reentry programs appear progressive on the surface; however, they expand the prison industrial complex through perplexing logics that make it harder for women to navigate toward freedom. I use the notion of perplexity as a rubric for understanding penal logics and subjectivities as they emerged in my interviews with people recently released from Minnesota’s only women’s prison and analyze how they reproduce the vulnerability of people leaving prison. The gender-responsive façade of this unique prison and the surveillance orientation of reentry programs naturalized imprisonment as a solution to social problems in deeply problematic ways.

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UC Democracy: A Manifesto – Demilitarize! Deprivatize! Democratize!

This manifesto is a demand to finally have our voices heard, as well as a call to action to resist the neoliberal forces encroaching on our university that are increasingly present in higher education systems worldwide.

On May 17, 2017, I traveled with a group of students to the University of California Regents meeting in San Francisco. Originally, we had planned to speak in the “public comment” portion of the meeting, in protest against the Board of Regents and the UC Office of the President (UCOP). However, because of strict security measures, few of us spoke at all. Our experiences being silenced and policed are not unusual and reflect a decades-long struggle against corruption in the UC system, alongside worsening conditions of inequity, social injustice, and a lack of transparency.

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#ResistCapitalism to #FundBlackFutures: Black Youth, Political Economy, and the 21st Century Black Radical Imagination

– by David C. Turner III –
Critical Black Youth Politics takes all forms of resistance into account, & suggests that riots are just as important for democratic repair as nonviolent civil disobedience. … Black youth are engaging in forms of activism that deeply connect systems of oppression, especially how these systems are monetized, and no singular theoretical analysis can possibly capture all of it. Our youth are giving us new ways to re-imagine and think about the world: it’s about time we pay attention.

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Authoritarianism in America: A Call for Resistance

– by Henry A. Giroux –
Authoritarianism has now become viral in America, spreading its toxic ideology into every facet of American life. The threat of totalitarianism with its legions of alt-right political zombies has now exposed itself, without apology, knowing full well that it no longer has to code or apologize for its hatred of all those who do not fit into its white-supremacist and ultra-nationalist script.

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‘White Privilege’ Defanged: From Class War Analysis to Electoral Cynicism

– by Zach Schwartz-Weinstein –
Throughout the current election cycle, it has been striking to note the ways that privilege discourse has been deployed to demand loyalty to particular parties and candidates. …This use of the concept marks an appropriation, one which transforms privilege discourse fundamentally, from an analysis of white supremacy’s capillary and quotidian power into an individuating and deeply ideological mechanism of state discipline.

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