“Fascism has temporarily succeeded under the guise of reform. The only way we can destroy it is to refuse to compromise with the enemy state and its ruling class.” — George Jackson, Blood in My Eye “A politics of abolition could never finally be … Read more
This essay was written collaboratively by two Portland protest community members, Susan Anglada Bartley and Lexy Kahn, and is the result of conversations after participating in protests, both as frontline protestors and as writers and journalists. Throughout the article, we switch italicized and non-italicized fonts (Lexy in … Read more
Here’s an interview with writer and activist Hillary Lazar on the connections between border politics and antifascism, applying intersectional frameworks to movement organizing. The discussion begins with a conversation about Lazar’s recent essay, “Connecting Our Struggles: Border Politics, Antifascism, and Lessons from the Trials of Ferrero, Sallito, and Graham,” published in Perspectives on Anarchist Theory (N30, “Beyond the Crisis” issue)
Since Trump’s election, fascism has barged onto center stage, moving more brazenly into public space, mainstream media and public discourse than it has in decades. This renewed and emboldened presence of overt fascism has been met by an explosion of analysis and discussion about its history and politics, and the conditions necessary for its emergence. A proportionally growing attention is also being paid to the history and politics of anti-fascism.
This is welcome, and it is crucially needed. However, it’s also true that the bulk of the writing and speaking on fascism and anti-fascism—the better-selling books, the high-profile interviews–are being done by white men.
This essay appears in the current anarcha-feminisms issue of Perspectives, N. 29, available here, from AK Press!
Tiana is crying. She walks into the room, a large, powerful woman wearing a bland ensemble of a faded green top with similarly colored pants. The silent tears on her face are enough to quiet the many scattered conversations happening among us. Many of us try to make eye contact with Tiana, waiting for her to tell us what is wrong. She doesn’t speak. She doesn’t look at anyone. She sits and stares.
We’re all sitting in a classroom in a women’s prison. The space is filled with remedial educational materials for GED students, collages with magazine cutouts of models and vacation getaways, and clichéd motivational posters that inspire the incarcerated to become “ambitious” and “dedicated.” In the moments of silence that follow Tiana’s entrance, I’m reminded of the poster on the wall that lists the amendments to the US Constitution. On this poster the legendary constitutional change, the thirteenth amendment, only includes the part that formally abolishes slavery and does not include the part that says, “Except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.” Every time I encounter suffering in that room, including my own, I remember that sterilized, whitewashed version of history hanging on the wall and cringe. And I rage, quietly.
This essay appears in the current issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, N. 28, on the topic of Justice. The full issue is available from AK Press here!
Since the publication of Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness in 2012, there has been much talk about the need to end mass incarceration. More and more people are speaking publicly about the moral and financial implications of maintaining the world’s largest prison system. However, what it means to end mass incarceration, and what it would take to end it, is less clear.
Mass incarceration plays a central role in maintaining state and capitalist power in the United States, and abolishing the prison system must play a central role in movements for radical change. Mass incarceration allows the state to perpetuate unpopular economic policies that would not be possible in the face of strong resistance movements. While reform efforts might cause the structures of mass incarceration to shift, and lead to decreases in the prison population (as is already happening in some places), a more fundamental transformation is necessary if we hope to see an actual rather than cosmetic shift in the meaning and practice of “justice.”
Our efforts to end mass incarceration cannot be rooted in reform, but must instead address the structural roots that have given rise to the world’s largest prison system. We must create movements that thrive on our differences and build on our strengths. The prison system sits at the nexus of multiple forms of oppression, so we must generate analysis and resistance that is intersectional. Supporting political prisoners, developing the capacity to withstand state repression, and embracing meaningful forms of justice and healing, horizontal models of sharing power, and feminist and queer ways of understanding the multitude of possible futures are all part of this struggle.
Alanis, who does the podcast for CrimethInc. Ex-Workers’ Collective, with her partner in crime Clara, did a really thoughtful review of the current issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory (n.28) in their most recent broadcast. We excerpt it below, and provide links to the broadcast, the full transcript of the show, and to CrimethInc.’s website as well. Thanks comrades! Perspectives on Anarchist Theory’s recent issue tackled the theme of “Justice” – quite a can of worms for the contemporary anarchist! The journal opens with a reflection on the theme written by the editorial collective, and quickly sets a thoughtful and inquisitive tone as it explores different dimensions of what justice might mean to anarchists in political, economic, ecological, and intra-movement or community contexts. It uses a series of rhetorical questions to prompt readers to examine our thoughts and values relating to justice without authority and the practical challenges posed by social oppression and reliance on state structures. While I sharply disagreed with their partial defense of certain principles of the US’s adversarial legal system, overall I found the introduction to be highly thought-provoking, and an excellent lens through which to read the forthcoming pieces.