Black Panther Party political prisoner Herman Bell was viciously assaulted by guards at Great Meadow Correctional Facility (Comstock) on September 5, 2017. While being “escorted” by a guard back to his housing unit, a guard struck Herman, age 69, in the face causing his glasses to drop to the floor. He pushed Herman against the wall, Herman stumbled and fell to the ground. The guard then continued viciously hitting and kicking Herman. Very soon about 5 other guards arrived and joined in the violent attack, hitting and kicking Herman all over his body. He was also maced in the eye and face. One of the guards kneed Herman in the chest causing two cracked ribs. At one point, one of the guards took Herman’s head and slammed it very hard into the pavement three times. Herman said when this happened he thought he was at the end of his life.
Increasingly critics of mass incarceration are confident that restorative justice is an alternative that will slowly replace or reform the state’s monopoly on “justice.” It is particularly of restorative justice as an “alternative” to state retribution that I remain skeptical. To my eyes, restorative justice has within it no revolutionary power remotely sufficient to undo the embedded ideology of retribution, nor does it bear any promise of truly challenging the material power of the state and the prison industrial complex. Restorative justice is a powerful, therapeutic practice that creates healing for individuals and exposes the stark failure of the state’s rehabilitative enterprise. However, we must cease to see it as a structural alternative that will take the place of incarceration. Though it is a useful tool for undermining the retributive narrative of the state, it is insufficient to meet the challenges of ever-encroaching state legality and mass incarceration.
by Matt Evans
What is to be done? This question centers George Ciccariello-Maher’s new book, Decolonizing Dialectics, which addresses racism and colonialism through the works of Georges Sorel, Frantz Fanon, and Enrique Dussel, channelling Marxism in a praxis grounded in explaining colonialism and local conditions of the non-Western world.
– by Jallicia Jolly –
… Black female resistance is always greeted with punishment as young Black women are forced to accept both the apology and justification for their violation. Viewed as a bearer of an incurable immorality, Black girls and women remain culpable for the suffering caused by their dynamic dehumanization. Ask Marissa Alexander – a Black woman from Florida charged with firing a warning shot at her abusive ex-husband.
Yet, Black women continue to fight against murderous embodiments of racist patriarchy. It is this context that makes the use of their own bodies as weapons of resistance revolutionary. It is in the battlefield of legal visibility, public recognition, and personal safety that their self-defense asserts their right to life, protection, care, and dignity. …
– by Janine Jones –
A critique of political thinking in Africana thought brings us to a crossroads. At this intersection, passing trajectories meet. Moving in opposite directions, they send contradictory messages concerning democracy, racism, and political violence. One trajectory pursues the accomplishments of Africana intellectual, artistic, economic, and political elites… The other trajectory tracks the misery of local and global black masses. It also traces minority group repression by global capitalism, as well as the potential and real possibilities of racial democracies through state violence and neglect. The intersection of these two diverging lines produces a conceptual dead zone, one that is marked by the absence of analysis engaging antiblack racism and genocide in Western democracies and the resilience of elite thinkers to disavow such analyses.
– by Ahmad Greene-Hayes –
Even as white liberals cry and lament Trump with more fervor than they would ever mourn Tamir Rice, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, and Sandra Bland; or cry with and for our indigenous co-laborers in North Dakota; or even our Latinx kin who have been deported under Obama’s regime, what is undoubtedly apparent to those of us who have been living under white nationalism is that white tears will not save us, nor will white Jesus, nor will white liberals, nor will white Evangelicals. What will save us, though, is a doing away with whiteness writ-large.
– by Janine Jones –
Michelle Obama is being hailed as Hillary Clinton’s best surrogate. Arguably, this is as it should be. However, black women, at the very least, should be concerned with such praise, especially when historically they have been white women’s–white families’–best surrogates, and, more recently, have become the best gestational mothers a white woman could buy.