The Left Against the Prison-Guard State
Here's a pretty old post from the blog archives of Geekery Today; it was written about 13 years ago, in 2010, on the World Wide Web.
(Found via New York City Anarchoblogs.)
For those of you in and around the capital of capital, here’s an upcoming event at Left Forum at Pace University in New York.
WHAT: What Does the Left Need to Know about Prison? panel with Vikki Law, Asha Bandele, Cleo Silvers, and Laura Whitehorn, moderated by Susie Day.
WHEN: Sunday, March 21, 3pm-5pm
WHERE: Left Forum, Pace University, One Pace Plaza, New York, NY 10038
What Does the Left Need to Know about Prison? (a panel at Left Forum)
Placated by TV-cop-show justice, worried about economic survival, most of the U.S. Left – like the U.S. mainstream – ignores the ongoing reality of prison in the lives of poor people and revolutionaries, alike. Yet prison in this country is the basis for the creation of new forms of increasing government/corporate control. The prison system has already played a critical role in ensuring that popular rebellions, like those of the mid-20th century, do not occur again. What do people who do support work for political and social prisoners have to teach us about building a more viable and oppositional Left?
Panelists: Vikki Law, Asha Bandele, Cleo Silvers, and Laura Whitehorn, moderated by Susie Day.
Asha Bandele: Journalist, editor-at-large of Essence magazine, mother, and author of The Prisoner's Wife, her memoirs of her relationship with a New York State prisoner with whom she had a daughter. She is also the author of other books, including Daughter, a novel about the impact of police brutality. Asha continues her writing and work as a prison activist.
Laura Whitehorn: Political activist who was incarcerated for more than 14 years on political charges, Laura now does support work for U.S. political prisoners. At the request of Wonda Jones, daughter of former Panther, political prisoner, and prison activist Safiya Bukhari, Laura edited a compilation of Bukhari's writings and speeches, just published by the Feminist Press.
Cleo Silvers: Former Black Panther Party member and South Bronx community worker, Cleo has worked for years as a union and labor organizer and has done extensive work on behalf of U.S. prisoners. She is currently a member of the Safiya Nuh Foundation for the Support of Political Prisoners.
Vikki Law: Writer, photographer, and mother. She is a co-founder of Books Through Bars-New York City, an organization that sends free radical literature and books to prisoners nationwide; editor of the @@e2;20ac;2dc;zine Tenacious: Writings from Women in Prison, and author of Resistance Behind Bars: The Struggles of Incarcerated Women (PM Press, 2009).
Susie Day: Assistant editor at Monthly Review, writes a regular satire column and has, since 1988, written about political prisoners and prisons.
at Left Forum
Pace University, One Pace Plaza
New York, NY 10038
Sunday, March 21st, 3 to 5 pm, W-504
— Vikki Law, Resistance Behind Bars (2010-03-08): What Does the Left Need to Know about Prison? (a panel at Left Forum)
Joel Schlosberg /#
I’ve gone to Left Forum in the last two years, and I warn you that LF discussions that sound like they’ll definitely be antistatist often turn out not to be; I once went to a panel on rhizome forms of organization, only to find that the guy talking was denouncing the Argentine social movements for not using the state to defend themselves. There are actually a lot of anarchists at LF, and even a lot of people friendly to markets once you add up the single-taxers from the Henry George School, market socialists of the David Schweickart variety, and so on, but the overwhelming majority of it is quite firmly statist (one of the low points was when one of the plenary speakers last year went on a rant about how dystopian fiction’s critical attitude towards statism has paved the way for neoliberalism, and was flabbergasted that Orwell had convinced people that the government being your big brother is a bad thing, given how nice it is to have brothers). And a lot of the potential of LF is undermined by poor organization, there’s too much of an emphasis on celebrity intellectuals and on seeing a few people talk to the crowd and little time for mixing with the fellow attendees (so that while a ton of cool people come there’s little chance to actually interact with them), plus so many sessions run simultaneously that you can’t avoid missing stuff you want to go to; Louis Proyect’s remarks on the organizational problems give an idea of what it’s like.