Hi welcome and thanks to everyone.joining us today from Portugal, Canada,.Argentina, Brazil, Scotland, Australia,.Italy, South Africa ,and all around the.world. I'm Naomi Murakawa and the author.of \"The First Civil Right: How Liberals.Built Prison America,\" and I'm moderating.today's conversation. Before I introduce.Ruth Wilson Gilmore I want to thank the.organizer and sponsor of this teachin.Haymarket books. Haymarket is the.publisher of a new series called the.Abolitionist Papers, I'm the series.editor and I'm proud that the inaugural.publication for the series is Dr..Gilmore's forthcoming book, \"Change.Everything: Racial Capitalism and the Case for.Abolition.\" Haymarket has three more.important events lined up this week on.Sunday the launch of christa Franklin's.too much midnight on Wednesday a.discussion of remaking schools in the.time of coronavirus with Wayne Au,.Jesse Hagopian, and Noliwe Rooks and on.Thursday a week from today Arundhati Roy.and conversation with Imani Perry. Just a.bit of housekeeping with so many people.joining this Cole we may need your.patience if we have any technical issues.if your stream gets choppy at any point.you might want to try reducing your.image quality this video will be.recorded and shared afterwards on the.Haymarket books YouTube channel and we.are reserving time for Q&A.so please post your questions on the.live video feed wherever you're watching.it now let's go. Arundhati Roy tells us.that the pandemic is a portal, it forces.us to break with the past and imagine.the world anew. Some responses to COVID-19.foretell a future that is only doubling.down on criminalization the policing of.national and sub-national borders and.even more surveillance now sold to us.with the message that total surveillance.is good medicine but as we try to.imagine a different world and as we.fight for our abolitionist future there.is no one I'd rather.here from then Ruth Wilson Gilmore. She.is the co-founder of many organizations.including California Prison Moratorium.Project, Critical Resistance, and the.Central California Environmental Justice.Network. She's professor of Earth and.Environmental Sciences at CUNY Graduate.Center, Dr. Gilmore is the author of.\"Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and.Opposition in Globalizing California,\".it's a brilliant study that locates.prisons as the foundation of a new kind.of state, the anti-state state where.elites dismissed the idea that.government can or should guarantee.social well-being. Her work has been.featured in dozens of journals and books.including Verso's \"Policing the Planet,\".edited by Jordan Camp and Christina.Heatherton and her new book, \"Change.Everything: Racial Capitalism and the Case.for Abolition\" is forthcoming with Haymarket.in February 2021 thanks so much.for being in this live stream Ruthie..Thank you for having me. With COVID-19.many are pointing out that detention is.death, can you start us off by giving us.the bigger picture on the relationship.between prisons and inequality? Sure I'd.be happy to. My dear friend Katherine.McKittrick who I think is listening from.somewhere and Greater Toronto recently.cited the fantastic poet and lawyer.M. NourbeSe Philip. NourbeSe said if we were.truly all in this together we would not.all be in this together and this is a.message I think that we can use as our.starting point tonight in talking about.COVID-19, mass incarceration, and the.struggle for abolition..Mass incarceration and the related forms of detention that connect to it is a.feature of places that have the deepest.inequality, the deepest inequality. We.have one slide to show you.tonight a slide that shows a list of the.founding nations of NATO. Now this slide.which was created by the Prison Policy.Initiative, perhaps the greatest data.collection visualization and spreading.organization in the United States and.one of the great ones of the world shows.us that even in the context.of NATO's founding organization and the.United States is off the chart.quite literally off the chart and what.holds this together what holds together.the possibility of mass incarceration in.the richest country in the history of.the world is a combination of organized.abandonment, which is to say austerity,.and organized violence, which is to say.criminalization, policing, prisons,.detention, deportation. Now we can take.this slide down if people are satisfied.with its image. We could but we're not.going to tonight also look at images.from the BRICS that is to say from.Brazil Russia India China and South.Africa and we would see a similar.pattern emerging where no one country.is remotely close to the United States.but as Russia and other countries of the.BRICS have followed increasingly.neoliberal policies, which is to say the.policies of organized abandonment, the.policies of austerity, we see the number.of people locked up rise and rise and.rise but as I said the United States.remains off the charts. That said,.abolition actually is not a recitation.of catastrophe or a culture of complaint..Indeed catastrophe and complaint, if that's all we do, are the kinds of practices.that induce in many people who are listening.what my friend the historian Daryl Scott.calls contempt and pity. And abolition is.not looking for contempt or pity. What we.are doing rather is this we're trying in.every possible way to find a way to.politics that rather than being.distinguished by, as the sociologist and.novelist Édouard Louis says, politics.distinguished by style we were looking.for politics that really are grounded in.the struggle over life and death..so Édouard Louis is a young French.writer and he wrote a fantastic book I.recommend to everybody called \"Who Killed.My Father\".And it's in this book that he makes this.distinction politics as style as against.politics as life and death. So what does.politics as life and death mean for.abolition? Well abolition is presence..It's already happening in so many ways.in so many places around the world and.many of the people who are listening in.tonight and watching tonight are already.doing the work and are stumped as many.of us are because so many of us are.under some version of shelter-in-place./ house arrest and yet the work.continues now..CLR James teaches us that revolutions.happen because people are so.conservative. Conservative. He says they.wait and wait and try every little thing.until one day people come out in the.street and clear up in a matter of years.the disorder of centuries. Now when.Arundhati Roy says that COVID-19 is a.portal this might be the portal.which people who are doing all kinds of.little things of various kinds around.the world come out and clear up the.disorder of centuries. My friend and.comrade Ayanna Maria of Rustbelt.Abolition Radio lifted up a mention I.made the other night of the Black.Panther Party for self defense motto.survival pending revolution and she.thought and named a discussion that a.few of us had on Rustbelt.Abolition Radio the other day, that we.could think of what we do as survival.pending abolition. Survival pending.abolition. So that means that the work.behind and the work ahead is very very.long. I'll give you an example in Los.Angeles County decades ago the ACLU.brought a conditions of confinement case.against the county for the horrendous.conditions in the jails over the years.the ACLU was in charge of of taking care.keeping an eye on what the county did to.remedy the horrific conditions. About 18.years ago.the ACLU invited a few abolitionists to.come and talk to them about something.they had never imagined, which was:.perhaps the way to remedy the problem.with the LA County jails was not to have.a jail at all rather than to build a.better jail..Slowly but surely this way of.understanding became central to the.struggle in Los Angeles County over.those jails. 16 years later abolitionists.who joined forces with the forces of.reform.managed to persuade the Los Angeles.County Board of Supervisors,.one of the biggest governments by number.of people in the United States, not to.build new jails but rather to put the.billions of dollars that would have gone.into that into housing health care and.other life-affirming projects. So.abolition is long, abolition is presence..Abolition is how we connect with, form,.grow from, and multiply organizations.that have the capacity to lift the.movement. I learned from Vijay Prashad.many years ago that our main work--we who.are talking heads sometimes on Skype--our.main work is to lift the movement, not to.lead it, to lift it. To lift it by showing.how anti-domestic violence people were.central to the formation of abolition as.a movement, that mutual aid organizations--.which are now flourishing everywhere.because of the emergency of COVID-19--that.unions--food, health care, nurses, building.trades--all of these organizations have.become in one way or another connected.with the movement in the direction of.abolition, because abolition is about.abolishing the conditions under which.prison became the solution to problems.rather than abolishing the buildings we.call prisons..There are faith organizations, neighborhood organizations,.artists organizations, tenant.organizations, prisoners organizations.(inside and out), libraries, environmental.justice, legal aid, transit workers, rights.advocates, public health advocates, bail.funds, you name it..Large and small, all of these.people are coming together in various.configurations around the world to try.to relieve the stress of organized.abandonment and its realization as.through organized violence by.changing the world in which we live, So.that is the big picture that connects.inequality with abolition and mass.incarceration. Okay so here we are.decades deep and organized violence and.organized abandonment and now, enter: the.COVID-19 pandemic what are the.political possibilities now and what.might the pandemic mean for the future.of criminalization, police, and prisons?.Well certainly the pandemic is focusing.everybody's mind. There's nothing like.fear to focus the mind and the fear has.many many aspects to it and therefore.the responses that people are putting.together are in many ways quite.astonishing, for example just to take one.very pointed case some people I think.mostly students at New York University.Law School put together a sheet, a guide.for all of the state jurisdictions and.the Federal Bureau of Prisons in the.country to show who actually has the.authority to release people so that.people who are organizing on the ground.could focus using this power map on.those who could in a brief amount of.time make the decision to release people..What we know about mass incarceration is.that it is class war. And it is as class.war very tightly knotted to the.vulnerabilities that the types of.organizations.I listed a few minutes ago and the kinds.of organizing they do are trying to.relieve. Labor unions are trying to.relieve certain kinds of vulnerabilities,.as are housing advocates, as are prisoner.rights advocates, as are people who are.incarcerated who are advocating on their.own behalf..Families communities and so forth. We.could spend some time perhaps thinking.about the fact that in the United States.over the period that mass incarceration.has become this catch-all solution for a.wide array of social, economic, behavioral,.and other problems, the number of prison.beds has gone up as the number of.hospital beds has gone down. That the.the movement in the opposite direction.is quite startling to me and as many.people have pointed out, those who are.against and those are for the.configuration of hospital and health.care in the United States today, we still.see the fact that many many areas of the.US are underserved.if served at all, places that have the.capacity to take care of people are.overwhelmed because of the cuts to.hospital and health care and the workers.who are working in hospitals working in.transportation working in all of the.sinews of the system to try to keep.people whose lives are in danger from.becoming sick and dying are struggling.with inadequate resources when the.resources could be there. So what can we.think about in terms of organizing now?.Certainly a lot of the work that many.people have done.concerning rural workers vulnerabilities.should and can be lifted up now whether.we're talking about the MST in Brazil.and the landless workers who have been.organizing for years, both to have access.to land to produce food and well-being.and to live and have shelter but who.have also built an enormous educational.program for themselves and others that.has very strong international.connections throughout this Hemisphere.and indeed around the world. Or in the.US South, the Highlander Center, which,.in Tennessee since the 1920s has been a.central place for organization,.anti-racist, pro-working-class.organization and they will have a.program on I think right after we log.off tonight starting at 7 o'clock on the.black freedom movement, 7 o'clock Eastern.Time..Similarly when we think about housing I.I can give a fantastic story about a.young abolitionist artist called Shana.Griffiths who's based in New Orleans. So.after Katrina destroyed a good deal of.everyday life in New Orleans and then.the anti-state state came through and.destroyed what hadn't already been.destroyed by the floods and the rot,.Shana and some of her comrades got.together and said we are going to create.a housing trust so that a few households.at least could have a safe secure and.pleasant place to live so they knock.themselves out learning learning how to.make a trust how to take land out of the.market, found the place they wanted to.buy, raised the money to buy the place,.did all of this, all the paper work, and.when they were finished.what Shana Griffith had to say about it.was we did.do this we helped ourselves and this.tells me that the state we need is the.one that will do this. We actually need.that state that belongs to us rather.than think that we can do this ourselves.for each other. We need the pro-state.state not the anti-state state. Other.possibilities with respect to COVID-19.connect with the various kinds of things.that people are doing immediately to try.to get people out of prison and jail or.to look after people who have gotten out.who are vulnerable because they need.shelter or food or other kinds of.sustenance..So there are bail funds that have sprung.up around the United States they aren't.new with COVID-19 but they are more.urgently.of course reaching out and raising money..We know that in Cook County in Chicago.Shayla Grant and the the comrades that.she has been working with over the years.have done an enormously wonderful job.getting people out of Cook County Jail..This is a good thing to do and yet we.also know that in the last four weeks, 22.million people in the United States lost.their jobs..That means the need couldn't be greater.for people to have the wherewithal to.pay rent to buy food and so forth there.is less as we say discretionary cash.available to help out with a bail fund.and therefore, like she and I discovered.in the work that she did in New Orleans,.we have to make demands on the social.wage which is our right and our.requirement of ourselves. From around the.world there are examples of artists such.as the mulies de pedra.Rio de Janeiro, radical educators here in.Portugal plataforma yet, the.Detroit Justice Center, people who have.been working with Mijente, working on.behalf of undocumented people, long.distance migrants all over the united.states,.Copwatch in Frankfurt, disability.organizers whose work has been so.beautifully pulled together by Liat.Ben-Moshe..People doing work on food, the Uptown.People's Law Center also in Chicago, many.many people have been working tirelessly to.try to extend protections and.opportunity and see that in this.emergency is exactly the time not to say.these people are deserving those people.are not, but rather to say if indeed in.four weeks 22 million people in the.United States have lost their jobs that.means many of us with jobs precariously.employed, steadily employed, or unemployed.who must join forces together rather.than imagine that we can prevail by.breaking ourselves up into smaller and.smaller groups. I wanted to turn more.specifically to some current calls for.decarceration in light of COVID-19,.so you've cautioned us against using.conventional dividing lines that mark.nonviolent versus violent or low risk.versus high risk, in short sympathetic.versus unsympathetic some of these lines.seem to be hardening with COVID-19. Can.you explain why it's problematic to.demand decarceration using these.categories? Well first and foremost we.should always plan to win and if we plan.to win we should ask ourselves what.happens next in the event of victory,.and if what happens next in the embed of.victory is that the people who have been.rightly released are the only ones who.can ever be released then we will not.have won. Do I say leave people everybody.inside? Of course not. But I do say this:.most people who go to prison leave.prison, most people are not doing life.sentences, there should not be any life.sentences and in most parts of the world.there aren't life sentences, but most.people do leave prison..So rather than imagining that there is a.magical line between less guilty and.more guilty or more innocent or less.innocent or more deserving or less.deserving or I will say violent and.nonviolent we should say why not take.seriously the fact that most people.leave prison, do a little bit of analysis.to see that we could be closing prisons.already and jails already if we just.cut by two weeks and three weeks and.four weeks, much less years, the kinds of.sentences people are serving and then.move on to the work of undoing organized.abandonment. As in the example that I gave.to you from Los Angeles County this is.not an impossible challenge. It did take.a long time in Los Angeles, the next time.shouldn't take as long. It shouldn't take.as long because of what we learned, it.shouldn't take as long because Los.Angeles can model behavior that other.polities can follow. Amilcar Cabral who.is one of the most important thinkers,.organizers, leaders, revolutionaries of my.consciousness taught us or cautioned us.I should say against claiming easy.victories.and he's absolutely right that said we.should gather all of our victories and.then stop and think about them and say.what is this victory going to make.possible next? Why do these victories.matter? Who have we abandoned? Who have we.used our own capacity for organized.violence against in order not to include.them in victory? So I'll give an example.from New York City. New York City plans.to build to spend 11 billion dollars.building four new jails.this is the so-called closed Rikers.project the mayor yesterday or today.announced that the city budget, ravaged.as it is by the effects of COVID-19, will.shrink by two billion dollars. 11 billion.dollars for prisons; two billion less for.everything the city needs. This is really.straightforward: the mayor can learn from.Los Angeles County do not build the new.jails, close Rikers, use the resources, the.money in human resources that would have.gone into that entire array of carceral.institutions that people would be.organizing to close just as people.organized to close Rikers which was.opened because people organize to close.the institution that preceded Rikers the.mayor and the City Council can use the.money for the well-being of a city that.has indeed been ravaged by unemployment.ravaged by the highest number of deaths.from COVID-19. How can that be?.How can that be? Turning a corner has to.happen now because where life is.precious life is precious..A young organizer and thinker who.has an entire story of his own to tell,.called Micah Herskind, just published a.piece in which he argues really.beautifully about you know what is this.high risk low risk no-risk? There are.people, humans, period. There are humans.period. The late Randy Martin wrote a.wonderful book about risk some years ago.in which he said the world under.neoliberalism is dividing into these two.categories people who are risks so they.get locked up and people who can bear.risk so they get mortgages and we can.see now with the economic collapse that.is hastened by the kind of political.leadership and normalized thinking which.is to say that domination if not.hegemony of neoliberalism tells us that.where life is not precious life is not.precious. And that is the corner we have.to turn. As the death counts have been.rising people have called on your.definition of racism as a way to name.and to understand what's happening right.now.you've written that racism is quote \"the.state-sanctioned and or extra-legal.production and exploitation of group.differentiated vulnerability to.premature death.\" Can you elaborate? Well.that's already a mouthful but let me see.what I do about that definition is to.caution people about falling into the.trap of the performance effect. And what.do I mean?.I mean people look at me and say oh in.the United States she's Black,.that means if she talks about racism.she's talking about what happens.to black people. Or they think Oh that.definition means black people have it.the worst. No. What that definition.tries to do and seems to do for people.as far in as varied places as Australia.and Argentina and Mexico Brazil South.Africa many many places where people.have used, operationalized that.definition to try to think about what's.happening in the world what the.definition helps them do is to think.about the design of things the design of.relationships whether the relationships.be to jobs to housing to transportation.to health to the justice system to.security in gender identity to age to.vulnerability in old age and well-being.as children that this definition lets.people start to think systematically so.that it's possible to see how various.groups come into being come into being.and therefore then become naturally.available for organizing and struggle..That's what that definition's for, so I'll.give you some examples the design of the.public health system in the United.States and I think this is true.throughout a good deal of the over-developed world as well as a good deal.of the world that although dominated by.resource extraction still went through.several rounds of governmental.organization in the 20th century that.put into play.large-scale complex governmental.institutions designed to extract value.from labor and land so things like.public health and public health was such.a project of elites in the 20th century.and so the design of public health as we.learn from people like Megan Shaw and.Samuel Kelly Roberts and others laid.out a framework of care and disregard.that itself has amplified over time so.that if today we say certain kinds of.people are more likely to have.underlying conditions that make them.vulnerable to COVID-19 death.the issue is not is there something.objectively pathological about a person.or a group of people but rather how has.the design of a public health system and.the wherewithal to make it to enliven it.in practice brought some people in and.push some people out over time? So.tomorrow afternoon and I think at 2:30.in eastern time US time Kenyon Farrow.longtime organizer AIDS activist.economic justice activist just activist.once upon a time critical resistance.organizer will be in conversation with.Tamara Nopper, the visionary sociologist.who is the best at at thinking about.data and thinking data visualization for.the purpose of strengthening people and.movements so that conversation will.happen tomorrow and I want to say.something else in thinking about my.definition of racism and that is that we.must all beware bad statistics as.statistical analysis here I've told them.tells us over and over again we have to.beware of bad statistics and at the same.time beware of the presumption the to.recite vulnerability is somehow.persuasive if we say fifty percent of or.three percent as against one percent but.somehow that's going to persuade people.to action that in my experience.especially years ago when I was doing.some outreach work with young people in.high school who we were trying to kind.of bring into the early days of critical.resistance abolition and I and others.talked to a group of mostly brown and.black young people and taught and one of.their teachers said well one in three.young black men is going to go to prison..Okay well first of all it turned out.that statistic didn't hold any water.politically even say it was true what.young person sitting in the auditorium.in 1998 would be encouraged to listen.and act if he stole the older people.came in and said you are doomed you are.doomed. So to go back to what the purpose.of my definition of racism is the.purpose of the definition is to enable.people to think about collectivities.whose vulnerability might then lead to.joining forces in order to overcome that.vulnerability and do something else..Example is water everywhere around the.planet people are struggling over water.so at the moment I'm the Navajo Nation.the Navajo Nation has become a hot spot.for COVID-19 in part because of the.scarcity of water people can't do this.simple thing we're all told to do which.is wash our.hands. The Navajo Nation obviously brings.to mind and the people who had organized.at Standing Rock and the no DAPL.pipeline people who have been trying to.get people to understand that the anti.pipeline organizing has everything to do.with protecting the land and.particularly protecting water so that.struggle and the struggle that produces.or the excuse me the vulnerability.around inadequate water that produces.likelihood of premature death connects.the Navajo Nation with Flint Michigan.and with Detroit and the work that the.Detroit's Justice Center is doing. People.in Australia where the especially after.the fires of last year the problem of.adequate water and adequate nutrition is.is quite enormous the fact that Cape.Town the city of Cape Town in South.Africa has been on the verge of running.out of water for some time now on the.verge of running out of water for some.time now and so forth so all of these.concerns about water thought through the.lens of my definition of racism.I hope provide people with a sense of.the opportunity to join forces to fight.racism by fighting for water to fight.racism by fighting against prison to.fight racism by fighting for housing.rather than to fight against people's.attitudes I don't really care what.anybody thinks of me as long as they.stay out of my way. Yes okay so I am.gonna bring in some audience questions.before I do I wanted to remind everyone.about some upcoming Haymarket events.again on Sunday Krista Franklin's superb.new book of poetry and images Too Much.Midnight and that launch is being hosted.by Mahogany Browne and on Wednesday a.teaching on Remaking.Schools in the Time of Coronavirus.with Wayne Au, Jesse Hagopian and Noliwe.Brooks and on Thursday a week from today.Arundhati Roy in conversation with Imani.Perry..You can register for all on eventbrite.and you can check them out at Haymarket.on their web page Haymarket is doing.really incredible work crucial work work.that's feeding the International left.and the radical imagination. If you're in.a position to make a donation no matter.how small please consider giving to Haymarket.through venmo and Haymarketbooks.org.and consider giving to abolitionist.groups like Critical Resistance at.criticalresistance.org. So Ruthie maybe.I'll give you a couple questions and you.can select as you feel your appetite so.Karen Aguilar San Juan asks does.abolition also apply to war and I.thought possibly you could elaborate.also the military industrial complex and.how you're thinking about the prison.industrial complex that's one for the.taking if you'd like there are also a.few really good questions that are.asking for just some more breaking down.of what is meant by Dakar serration and.if there's a meaningful contrast here.that you're trying to draw between Dakar.serration and abolition okay well let me.take care of parents a parents an old.friend from way back I will take that.question we haven't seen each other in.10 years maybe yeah ten years war.absolutely so let me talk a little bit.about the military industrial complex.and the prison industrial complex and.it's really kind of interesting that.we've gotten this far and.discussion and I think had not said.prison industrial complex once just kind.of great so some of us inspired mainly.by Mike Davis and an article he.published in the nation in 1994 I think.maybe five started to think about what.we didn't yet call mass incarceration so.we started to think about how come there.were so many people in prison and how.come there were so many new laws and how.come the sentences have gotten so long.and how come there are so many new.prisons everywhere so those were all the.questions that animated us.my dad is asked the question is there a.prison industrial complex and in playing.off the concept of military industrial.complex he was inviting people to think.about things that I even think he might.not have thought about it the outset.which is to say if we think about the.military industrial complex we think not.only about the people who go to war but.we have to think about the intellectuals.who design the public policy that.determines when the US for example will.use diplomacy and when it will send.troops it means that the military.industrial complex means all of the.people engineers and designers and.ordinance makers and so forth who design.the machinery of industrialized killing.and then the Pentagon that contracts for.the machinery of industrialization to be.made and made ready the military.industrial complex includes all of the.bases spread around the United States.and around the world around the world.there are more than 800 US bases around.the world not the only military around.the world but there is no military that.has such a wide.representation on the surface of the.planet than the US military the.military-industrial complex also.includes all of the people who are you.know residents of towns that are near.bases and the Boosters who want to have.more of the jobs that for civilians that.that come with the bases and the people.who work in the factories that make the.ordinance and the bombs and so on and so.forth all of that is the MIT and if all.of that is the military-industrial.complex the people make the laws the.people who make the who design the.policies that people who design the.weapons the people who are actually.uniformed and civilian personnel who.enlivened the whole thing by extension.the prison industrial complex has the.same complexity and that is not to muddy.the water but rather to clarify that.there are all these different places to.fight that we can fight in rural America.where people in many cases welcome to.new prisons thinking the prison was.going to bring jobs and save their rural.Hospital.neither thing happened or the people who.imagined that the only kind of future.they can have is first-generation.college students is to major in criminal.justice.of one kind or another and hope to.become a police officer or a prison.guard or a worker in that environment.rather than a teacher or an artist or.something else that the same amount of.education could produce uses of land.uses of resources uses of money and.relationships between and among people.are all involved in prison industrial.complex so that's a long way long lined.up to say.in answer to Karen's question absolutely.absolutely.abolition really does require that we.change one thing which is everything.which is what the title of that book is.about everything so there is some young.young my point of view I just turned 70.but some young lawyers legal scholars.and also practicing lawyers including a.young woman who is doing a postdoc at.Cornell who have been doing all kinds of.legal work in the various hot zones of.the so-called war on terror around the.world for a long time for example in.Afghanistan Pakistan border and in the.Horn of Africa and elsewhere and this.one particular young lawyer.zoran that said I think that the.principles of abolition as I have come.to understand them through the.combination of insight women of color.against violence put together with.critical resistance gives us the basis.for thinking about how to take abolition.into the most difficult struggles.outside of prison and detention which.are the struggles from ground to the air.of hot war and the complexities of those.struggles that as she put it it's not as.though we can say there's the drone.which is bad and everyone on the ground.was not rather all of these relations.have gotten so messed up over time that.we have to sort them out and that is the.way to sort them so I come out so yes.abolition does in a word extend to war.there are a lot of really excellent.smart non trolli audience questions.Zac Stiles asked.how can a volitional praxis be applied.by folks in the u.s. to support.Palestinians under occupation well Jack.you probably already know the answer to.this question and if you were sitting in.front of me I would ask you to answer it.there is so much mutual aid that extends.across the barriers of occupation of war.of of struggle that goes in both.directions so it's not as though people.in the United States are exclusively in.the position to offer help that people.who are in the occupied territories are.exclusively in the position to require.help.I don't think that that is the way to.think and I know for a fact that that's.not how things have gone so for example.during the very very active days in.Ferguson Missouri at the time the black.lives matter is becoming more and more a.feature of how people understood the.need to protest without cessation over.the facts of police killings of people.in this country young people and people.of all ages I should say in Ferguson.learned from people in solidarity in.Palestine how to deal with tear gas.that's just one example there are others.examples as well but I think perhaps the.the part of the question is how can we.reach through walls that seem to be so.solid you know what are the modes of.communication of solidarity of struggle.that we can put into practice and to.come back to the US and I'm not turning.my back in any way on Palace.a place I visited gosh 30 years ago.almost to the week is to talk about how.some of the very small things that.people do if they're done persistently.start to add up to something bigger so.for example to go back to that concept.survival pending abolition survival.pending abolition the fact not only that.people have worked very very hard to.create bail funds and other money.resources to help people get out of.being locked up but also the people are.sending care packages inside and sending.them over and over and over again so.that people who are inside who are not.expecting to be bailed or to be released.anytime soon can have some of what they.need to safeguard their lives and what.comes with the care package is the fact.of camp and this is not a small thing.it's a big thing the Solidarity is built.in care and I don't mean a kind of.sentimental although sometimes.sentiments okay but a sentimental oh I.care about you because you are needy.because as I said at the beginning of.our conversation.neither contempt nor pity is going to.get us anywhere.rather the constant interactions that.come from sending in care packages or.teaching in a in a program or writing to.people who are in occupied territories.or being in solidarity with the women's.artist group in Rio de Janeiro that is.organizing the favelas against bolson ro.on the one hand and the various.paramilitaries on the other means that.we build the kind of communication and.Trust which is to say we know the people.will be the.again only need them to do more to do.more so some examples of this sort of.work over the years have included the.kind of ongoing effort that people like.Jerry Silva have done in Los Angeles.where she has helped to form one.organization after another after another.being absolutely undaunted by what seems.to be an insurmountable problem which is.to say the problem of how to end mass.incarceration and end detention and as.well the problem of solidarity means.that we have a promise built into it and.the promise is to think about the edges.of our struggle not as limits but as the.beginning of the next struggle as well.that an edge is also an interface so if.we want to think after borders then we.have to live as though borders Kingdom.yes some really excellent questions on.indigenous liberation and the indigenous.struggle one from Margaux Tammuz who.asks is it possible for the dakar.serration movement and abolitionist.practice to be applied to the indigenous.struggle against the so-called border.role and logics of settler colonial.dispossession and erasure that's a great.question my friend Nick estie's has.written a little bit about this and.piece that well at least in one version.of a piece that he published in Leopold.Lum bears journal the Phenom ulis and.Nick's piece is called freedom is a.place and full disclosure that phrase.freedom is a place comes from my work.and Nick does the work Nick who's one of.the founders of red nation who's based.in Albuquerque these days from Dakota.Lakota Nick does the work of showing how.indigenous struggles for decolonization.and is abolitionist or abolitionist.struggle must be decolonial I teach in.addy colonial summer school every year I.don't know if we'll meet this year.because of Kovac and this is an ongoing.discussion that I have with activists.and intellectuals from around the planet.we talk about the continuum of abolition.and decolonization rather than that.abolition is one set of struggles that.have to do with people regaining their.freedom in the context of a nation-state.that doesn't go away and decolonization.is a separate struggle because it's a.struggle for people to undo the colonial.presence that is structured their lives.for generations these things must come.together to make freedom be a place.you're getting some questions about.current up to current upticks in.repression and surveillance so one.question comes in the form of what are.we to make of the current situation of.suspending civil liberties to prevent.the spread of kovat and the associated.police enforcement of kovat related.legislation and then a related question.from catherine days can you comment on.the increasing trend towards home arrest.and incarceration via surveillance.technologies sure and the latter.question actually informs any answer to.the former question and that is this.goes back to.what I was talking about earlier when I.was talking about the importance of.planning to win and for many people for.good reason the idea of making sure that.loved ones or indeed for individuals.they themselves would not be locked up.in a building somewhere else with bars.on the windows and bars on the doors and.all of that led to or enabled the.expansion of what my friend James.Kilgore calls ECAR serration electronic.car serration so years ago when I was.trying to put together a talk about this.and I googled you know ankle shackle but.what you google actually ankle bracelet.like it's jewelry rather than shackle.which is what it is I googled it it.always turned up Martha Stewart like.Martha Stewart you know famous fella and.blonde rich felon white woman so on and.so the the idea that oh this is a much.preferable way to be incarcerated.because you can be at home and how how.much better is that than to be in a in a.cell with somebody quickly showed itself.to be the nightmare that it is that the.lives of people who are subjected to.ECAR serration are incredibly shrunken.although they are living in their own.homes or their parents homes or their.whoever's taking them in their scope of.activity is extremely limited and they.are not only not actually living a life.for which they are responsible such as.parents for their children or children.for their aging parents or workers for.their jobs but also the fact of ECAR.Surrey.is a cost to the person who's wearing.the shackle and it takes essentially.it's an insatiable system that sucks.time and money from individuals.households and communities so Maya Schenwar and .Vicky Law just written a book.about this published by the New Press it.just came out I think last week called.Prison by Another Name I think it's the.title but you can learn about that and.so the the spread of this kind of.surveillance control arrests I think is.likely unless we organize against it.probably the most important word I've.used all evening is organize organize.organize organize everything else is.just noise if we're not organizing but.if we're not organizing in such a way.that each victory larger small whether.it's getting a care package into.somebody or getting new york city to.close Rikers and not build the four new.jails or it is achieving relief for the.people of Gaza or it is getting water to.Cape Town whatever it is yeah in in the.absence of organization nothing will be.done so the question is what kinds of.organizations already exist that do the.sort of work that will lead to the goals.that we need do those organizations have.currently the capacity to do more than.what they're doing if they don't can.people help and expand that capacity if.they have the capacity but for example.as is the case with many public sector.unions have had in some cases leadership.that has encouraged for example luxury.housing development.as against working-class housing.development then is it possible not to.fight the Union but from within to.change the Union and change the.direction we saw this happen with the.biggest local of the them SEIU in.California when the California State.Employees Association turned against.prison expansion even though they had.members who would lose jobs because they.realize that their larger unions riemeck.in the world was about making life.better for people in communities for.people working in public sector work for.people who did home health care for.people who did everything else and they.realize that they would be very happy.content should say to lose some jobs in.prison if those resources and the people.who were entrapped by those resources.could be free to do something else so.these are the kinds of things that we.have to do we have a lot of knowledge.many many people produce lots of good.work that we can use for what the.environmental justice scholar Rachel.Morello-Frosch calls data judo, data judo..Data judo is when you might know.something about the vulnerability of say.men in their 40s in Brooklyn who are.likely to suffer the ravages of COVID-19.because of this that or the other.underlying condition just announcing the.fact of that vulnerability doesn't do.anything but if we get to a point where.those forces that can make certain kinds.of decisions including the decision to.organize are arrayed in the right way.then busting out with the data is.exactly the way to flip what is into.what could be that's why she called it.so a lot of the research that many.people do and this is not just people.who are in schools but many people in.schools is work that people can use.later but and it's work.that is available free and should be.used by organizations to build.organizing there's there are some many.organizers on this call so I want to.make sure you get some of their.questions really applied thoughtful.questions so one question which is many.of us organizers are fighting against.government officials using our woeful.reentry infrastructure as a cynical.excuse to keep people incarcerated what.would you say to them I I don't know if.I get bleeped if I use a swear word.let's just say I would say bleep and.then it's this who comes to mind and.answering this question who comes to.mind answering this question a couple of.my nineteenth-century.main people and those are Sojourner.Truth and Harriet Tubman so what would.Sojourner say what would Harriet say let.it Sojourner Truth do New York State.where she was enslaved in New York State.New York State set out a program of.gradual emancipation and so there were.benchmarks and you had to achieve a.certain age or have been apprentice to.the person formerly known as the person.who thought they owned you before you.you the enslaved person could be free so.Isabella Bond gonnigan who we know as.Sojourner Truth one day said I called.bleep on all this and she left she just.left..She left so when when government.officials say well gosh the reason we.can't let more people out is we're not.ready for them we're ready we're as.ready as were ever going to be what does.that mean it means that we have to.struggle over the question of shelter we.have to struggle over the question of.food and the fact that 22 more people.are without employment as were four.weeks ago means that all 22 million plus.two and a half million in prison plus.everybody else should be struggling.together should be struggling together.this gradualism that is all the rage and.certainly strongly endorsed by you know.many kinds of think tanks and large.research institutions is an absurdity.and it is the same absurdity which we.must resist and refuse politically as.the one that says the way we fix what's.wrong in New York is to build these four.new jails or the way we fix the problem.of people getting sick and dying in.prisons in the UK is to flip the prisons.from being privately run to publicly run.nobody's going to live any longer in a.publicly rent reason people have to not.be in prison or the way to resolve the.problem of mass detention of of.immigrants again is to get rid of the.private contracts nobody gets to go home.when the contract goes well we have to.do is fight for what is right now those.words that I just shared with you are.really quite general the question is is.it possible to return.to the table again and again and again.and make the same demands this is what.is necessary this is what is necessary.and none of it will happen very quickly.but while certain people who are given.the advantage of being able to.editorialize in mainstream media say.well there must be a way we can balance.out about bail and bla bla bla.no that is not the answer it's not the.answer and it's really quite scary to.insist on what the answer should be it.is it is and we've all learned something.that I would like us to unlearn and it's.this I think that over the years over.the decades that the what did you call.it mean with the prison pandemic grew.the people were trying over and over and.over again to figure out a way to speak.it into illegitimate see and that the.way to speak it into a legitimacy was to.point out its many flaws now I have done.this too don't get me wrong I'm not.saying other people did something wrong.and I never get it of course I did it so.people would say prison it was designed.for men so it's bad for women people.would say prison is for adults and it's.bad for children or people prison is for.people who are healthy and so it's bad.for vulnerable people or prison is for.people who are have ordinary kinds of.abilities therefore it's difficult for.disabled people or prison is based on.their to gender system so it's difficult.for not gender non-conforming people all.those things are true but prison isn't.good for anybody.so like that healthy heterosexual.man with you know generally no.difficulties and getting around and so.on so it's not good for him either right.it's bad but I think that the search for.how to speak any legitimacy into being.came from a struggle that many people.have had in the beginning of the 21st.century over what on earth do we mean.anymore by rights what is it I mean you.wrote a book called the First Civil.Right what are we talking about when we.talk about rights civil rights or human.rights.either one why does it matter for us to.talk about rights.how can we undo this scourge by raising.up a concept that seems to be.fundamental to the scourge itself this.is this is I think where a lot of people.are at and so I think what's happened is.a lot of us we're trying very hard to.figure out who was relatively speaking.more innocent so that in the logical.system of mass incarceration itself it.would be possible to identify the people.who shouldn't be there that was a.mistake it wasn't it was no more or less.a mistake than telling young people.young black men 22 years ago you're.going to go to prison unless you join.our group ok that either either one it's.just it's not it was not doing the work.we wanted it to do so.today rather than go along with just a.way of talking about prison that and.detention that seems to suggest we can.identify the relatively innocent and.then do something on their behalf that.we would never do for everybody else.have to step back and say this entire.system is corrupt and it kills people it.compels people to die we can see it.right now with coven 19 and therefore.what are we going to do and we have to.say it over and over and over and over.and over again that's what I think I.love that I want to say that over and.over again right now in thinking about.all the range of work that's tried to.talk its way into the illegitimate of.the prison it does strike me that so.much of what's been happening for the.last 20 years has done the work of.saying prison fails by its own standard.which is it doesn't actually reduce.crime prison is too expensive those.logics are off the mark and that's also.built a sort of way of thinking and.speaking that in some I think actually.puts us on really especially terrible.footing, weak ground for the fight.that's coming ahead. I agree.ok there are many many excellent.questions also just what I know it's so.strange to just keep talking with no.real feedback so I want to let you know.you are getting all kinds of exclamation.points and yes thank you the toxicity of.criminal justice major and colleges and.questions about all manner of thing how.do we fight the anti state state and.higher education and and there are a lot.of questions about the distinction.between the anti state state and the pro.state state I think maybe all you can.take those I also want to combine maybe.two to final questions which are sort of.big break questions both from Annie Ko so.she asks how do we break the logic of.borders and cages and also how do we.break the economic.and emotional logic of prisons? Huh I.think I wrote a book about the economic.and emotional logic of prisons and I.don't know I don't know Annie Ko it.if it gave you the level of how-to that.you would like what the end of that book.of Golden Gulag what is to be done.is kind of how to there it's laid out of.ten theses because I you know secretly.wished it I were the kind of person whose.theses other people cite. The point of the.ending of that book was to lift up the.various struggles so that people could.look into the struggle and see oh I can.see something like this somewhere else.maybe I can do this thing I can see.something like this somewhere else maybe.I can do this thing and if I ever ever.ever finish a new edition of that book I.will make that all much more.heavy-handed let's say then then perhaps.that I did so how how to fight how to.fight is the question I think and how to.fight has everything to do with figuring.out again what do people who are already.organized do is it possible for what.they're already doing to be connected to.this radical vision of a future for all.of us how would that connection happen.like what nots those things together and.how to only trace their not so for.example I cannot say.that the people who organized that.Chicago teachers strike the Los Angeles.Unified School District teachers strike.the teachers strike in West Virginia and.the other teacher strikes I cannot say.that any one of those people in their.pre meetings their meetings the way they.persuaded each other they took the vote.they decided to strike me when I at.great risk to themselves there's risk.and struck I don't know that one of them.use the word abolition and yeah it's.abolition work because it is refusing.organize abandonment it is refusing.austerity is demanding a future that has.some sense of the voluptuous beauty that.life should hold all of those things so.I was in Chicago during the Chicago.strike last fall and I gave a talk and I.said what I just said to you know I.don't know that the teachers thought.they were doing abolition work but I.think they're doing it. well word spread.throughout the striking teachers saying.right up right I mean there were these.moments where consciousness opens and I.don't mean I open there's I mean in our.coming together the teachers and me.there in Chicago all of our.consciousness is opened and that made it.possible for us to think about doing.things we might not have thought about.before because this is an important.thing at the bottom.what matters is consciousness not.experience if our only experience then.the sum total of experience would lead.to somewhere that we don't seem to be.going rather it's the consciousness of.what the experience means and what the.possibilities are for joining forces.across struggles or even as is the case.with many individuals finding all of.their many struggles coming.gather in them which is two of so many.people that that the multiple struggles.that each of us live is what we're.trying to figure out how to bring.together and move forward with the late.great Rose Brass who was one of the.founders of critical resistance and.somebody I think about every single day.would say to us always when we would.be dreaming up a new campaign or.dreaming up a new organization, she would.always say we have to be bolder we have.to be bolder and she was the organizers.organizer I mean one who took great.pride in attention to detail and who.would make 400 phone calls and knowing.that 12 people might call her back.drove everywhere did all of these things.she in the midst of that kind of.organizing smarts would always say we.have to be bolder we have to be bolder.and that's what we have to do and so the.economic and the emotional sort of.downward drag that prison has on people.or things that we can't bit by bit push.off to organizing. The example that I.gave of the public sector Union in.California is an example of people who.said okay economically we have this much.dependence on that but so much more in.all other aspects of everyday life and.I'm thinking a lot about essential.workers the people who have been going.to work every day who have not been.exempted which is they've been told to.stay home so they're people who are.still getting paychecks but are working.long hours at great-great-great-great.leave ulnar abode to covert 19 so what.is it about the essential workers what.are they like they are many of them not.all of them modestly educated people in.the.prime of life that is demographically.speaking what prison called modestly.educated people in the prime of life.then many essential workers are also.people with skills that are needed you.know in the hospital and elsewhere when.they open the schools the teachers will.be suddenly the essential workers as.well this is the backbone of I think the.next great labor movement in the u.s. in.the UK and beyond all of the people who.see so starkly what the organized.abandonement has meant when at a time to go.back to NourbeSe Philip, the poet's.beautiful words if we were truly all in.this together we would not all be in.this together.if anyone knows that is the essential.workers including the artists I want to.recommend to everyone who can look at.the New York Times that the great.artists Shalene Rodriguez was one of 17.or so New York artists who was asked to.share in the newspaper a drawing from.her window and or a drawing of being.sheltering in place during kovat and she.attached to her join a demand for rent.strikes so not uh-oh I alone in my house.see things that I never saw before and.this is nothing against the other.artists who seem to be quite talented.but Shalene put her capacity for visual.expression through drawing with her.insistence and what it is that we need.now and that's really what we need are.all here I think because we want to do.so this is true then for our friends in.Australia, Debby Kilroy I think you're on.the line from Brisbane and our friends.in South Africa our friends in in Brazil.I think Olivia and me Shelley.Sallah sure there and our friends here.in Portugal and shout out to Vanessa in.Frankfurt and Lambo and Deb Coles and.Mo in the UK and London maybe Mo is.actually in Belfast now.Roisin Davis and Belfast and others you.know we've got this international.stretch we've got the consciousness.we've got the need we know what's wrong.with the world and so the question is.how we do the work to turn the world.green which it should be and a to turn.it green to turn it red which it must be.and in order to do those things to make.it the international it should always be.can I ask you to elaborate on green and.maybe here I'll just is okay if I share.the aoc meditation that you and I went.through before this conversation that.are pure - all right so in thinking.about the question of commonly used.language that draws lines that implies.deserving or undeserving or points out.all of the people in jail who don't have.criminal convictions.I thought about selecting a quote from.Alexandria Ocasio Cortez as to use as a.sort of gloss for why is troubling to.think in those terms and part of the.reason we backed away from it is that we.didn't want people thinking that there.are these sharp dividing lines between.an abolitionist who calls themselves an.abolitionist and someone who's working.and organizing and has bold radical.awesome ideas who may from time to time.use this language in speaking about.certain things that that we may have.some critique with so on that I was.hoping you could talk about the green.new deal and what makes the green new.deal and abolition.idea sure well you know i'm i've already.become a revisionist a little bit on the.green new deal I like green because.green says climate change is a.catastrophe that said I actually am.quite taken by the revisions to the.green new deal that red nation is done.in putting forward their red New Deal.and so that's red nation red and so the.other red that I'm talking about is red.in which to each according to his.ability and from each excuse me to each.according to his need and from each.according to his ability the idea the.urgency of rebuilding an economy that is.not based in fossil fuels analyst.extraction and deepening inequality.between people and places is absolutely.urgent and I do think that a OC sees.that urgency and she unlike many people.who get to be where she is says what she.means over and over and over again so I.am not about to disrespect in any way.what AFC has accomplished today the.problem with one of the quotations that.Naomi and I went back and forth about.was that AOC like many people presents.the necessity of decarcerating people.which is a step toward abolition to.answer that question I never answered.rather than abolition itself decarcerating.people on throwing them on the.street it's not abolition.it's just decarceration but the.necessity to decarcerate people seem.to encourage folks to say use words like.safely or you know here are the eligible.or that person who was the first to die.in Rikers was there on this minor thing.stop thinking that way as I said most.people leave prison anyway so why don't.we think about that as opening the door.or the portal which is Arundhati Roy Roy.opening a portal it takes us away again.from organized abandonment at our own.habits of reinforcing organized.abandonment even at the moment when we.think we're losing it by saying oh we.can fix this thing but not for everybody.not for everybody rather than saying we.should fix this thing let's make it as.expansive as possible as quickly as.possible and to get away from not only.the the notion that some people are more.deserving than others of the possibility.of actually living a lie get away from.that at the same time that we get away.from and I know that my brothers and.sisters and cousins and and loved ones.who are all over the other side of the.Equator let's say will appreciate this.get away from pathologizing places.because people are poor or pathologizing.places because in media whether it's.mainstream or social one has learned.something about a certain vulnerability.that some group of people might have to.one or another or another mode of.arriving at premature death rather than.think about what is going on underneath.that's structurally to be addressed so.that this.vulnerability to premature death it's.finally put aside so there are you know.social movement organizing in South.Africa that have been going on for.decades and decades among people for.whom the end of apartheid was only the.beginning.not the achievement of the world that.people wanted to live so I've learned.from all kinds of people who have been.organizing social movements in South.Africa about what possibilities are.there are people in Tanzania who are.trying to figure out how to maintain a.certain kind level of self-determination.in the face of new kind of geopolitical.relation between the horn and the.People's Republic of China in that.relationship in terms of the well-being.of everyday people on the ground not in.terms of they leave - all go to Switzerland.to talk to each other anyway you know.these are some of the questions that.come to mind but Green yeah we do need.to wrap it up okay I want to give you.the final word I'll just sign off by.saying Krista Franklin too much midnight.Sunday also thank you to Haymarket books.for all of the fantastic work that.you're doing also thank you for everyone.who joined on this call thank you for.all of your thoughtful questions and.finally thank you to the brilliant and.beautiful Ruth Wilson Gilmore who gets.the final word well think you know you.mean thanks everybody for tuning in from.all over the world I think I want to.leave us with a sentence that I've been.repeating for many years that involves a.repetition and that is where life is.precious life is precious so.straightforward and makes.me think about what it takes to make.life purchase and that making of life.precious arises through all different.kinds of struggles so there are strikes.there are slippage is but I also wanted.to leave out with something that I I.learned just recently and this is my.last thing and that is the art of care.and conviviality that a person I I know.who was recently released from being.locked up tells me that they and the.other people in their immediate area and.the prison has started singing a lot.they were singing and the singing was.bringing them a sense of being in the.world that they didn't have before and.that reminded me of the Freedom Riders.who got locked up in Parchman prison.another place that needs to close who.sang themselves through a terrifying.time so we shall overcome but only by.building our movement thank you.you.