I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Radical Abolitionism and Liberation Movements

Found this fairly new blog this weekend - Negotiation is Over!. It looks a lot more edgy than I am - definitely is - but has some good reading to challenge one's commitment to liberation movements, and this article in particular (which you'll have to follow back to the site) has some interesting propositions about the intersections of our respective movements, which shouldn't be so fragmented as they are. 

The editor (not Steven Best) refers to herself as a radical abolitionist, which I can't claim to be myself because I'm not a vegan, I still smoke, and I'm a heavy pharmaceutical user...those are my big confessions for the week. But that doesn't mean those aren't things I'm willing to change...I've just been complacent and lazy and feeding my own system of denial while wandering along that slippery slope that begins with justifying placing just one creature in chains (not to mention ignoring my own)...and we know where that eventually leads.

I may not live entirely in accordance with my principles, and I'm not engaged in armed resistance, but for what it's worth this post and link are my articulation of support and solidarity with Earth Liberation prisoners around the world. Explore "Negotiation is Over!" if you're serious about the cause of liberation - these folks are about as serious as you'll find. These readings will make most of us rather uncomfortable, if we really soak them in.  

They're probably risking a lot to put it all up for us, so use the resources while they're there: as is often said in 12-step programs, "take what you need, and leave the rest." That's kind of what Frederick Douglass did when confronted with the passion, madness, and vision of John Brown. He could have been executed, too - and Harriet Tubman along with them - but we needed them all to do their respective things.

On that note, I will close with a message to Huntingdon Labs: you and everyone who still does business with you can shove the AETA. I'm doing nothing criminal here, and I wasn't even talking to you, so get your bloody, beagle-bashing vivisecting hands off my websites. 

Good night, all.


13 Ways to Promote Alliance Politics and Total Liberation

November 28, 2009 — Negotiation Is Over By Dr. Steven Best

We are thankful to all those who have shown keen interest in our recently published “Manifesto for Radical Abolitionism,”[1] and the corresponding Facebook group, Radical Abolition: Total Liberation By Any Means Necessary.[2]

We launched this group in the hope of revitalizing a vegan abolition movement mired in complacency, timidity, and dogmatic slumbers — a small but hegemonic approach paralyzed by pacifism and a cult-like following of an authoritarian leader.

We accurately identified this moribund manifestation as a bourgeois, elitist, single-issue, consumerist, apolitical, pseudo-abolitionism going nowhere fast.

We established that this insular, complacent, and pretentious lifestyle narcissism exacerbates the isolation of veganism and animal rights from other movements.  It reinforces the dominant image of a movement of privileged white liberals indifferent to the social, political, and economic realities that devastate and destroy billions of people throughout the world.

We dispelled the disabling illusions of pathological pacifism and exposed the arrogance, aggression, and verbal violence hiding behind the mask of ahimsa and Jainism.

We redefined veganism and abolitionism as social in outlook, pluralist and contextualist in method, and radical in politics.

We said what had to be said.

We framed our approach not just as a critique and negation of lifestyle veganism, “culinary activism,” and bedroom bloggers blathering in cyberspace vacuums, but also as a positive alternative to its blasé bourgeois values and utter sterility. It is incumbent upon us, therefore, to suggest new, creative, constructive, and concrete courses of action, such as can thrive only in alliance with a diversity of social movements and progressive political voices. Indeed since our debut on November 13, 2009, people from all over the world  ─ clearly yearning for new visions, politics, and possibilities – have expressed gratitude for our critiques and enthusiasm for our project, while eagerly requesting suggestions for promoting total liberation.

What follows then are thirteen initial suggestions for building the diversified and unified global  movement that alone can dismantle the systems of oppression that have devastated biodiversity, triggered ecological collapse, and thwarted human potential for over ten thousand years ─ which is quite long enough. We enjoin those interested in enlivening possibilities for change through a markedly different theory and politics to read, learn, think, grow, and expand their frames of reference until problems and potential solutions come into focus. In this evolutionary process, we mediate theory and practice, such that we learn not only by reading but also by doing; not in solitary confinement, but in dialogue with others.

As we exit the insular comfort zone of single-issue advocacy, and venture into the vast and complex global battlefield of power politics and resistance movements, it is necessary to cultivate the virtues of strength, fortitude, courage, and patience.  Building a radical coalition ─ one that is unprecedented in depth, scope, and inclusiveness ─ is a formidable challenge. One runs into the same wall of dogmatic speciesism among the peace, justice, and ecology crowd of left-wing humanists and sundry ”progressives” that surrounds social consciousness in general and repels subversive ideas and anti-hierarchical politics.

We must approach others with respect and humility, keenly aware that while we have much to teach, we also have much to learn, and to unlearn. For as we engage others about the monumental significance of the rise and potential fall of speciesism, people will also be challenged  to recognize any latent racism, sexism, heterosexism, ablism, elitism, and classism. The project of radical alliance politics, moreover, will not be any easier with the backlash of corporate power and fascist police states, such as is already underway.

Yet with past publications, conferences, and alliance building projects in numerous countries, and with the current Manifesto and Radical Abolition Facebook group, we have initiated the process of dialogue and bridge-building indispensible for a mass, multidimensional movement with the potential for revolutionary change.[3] Our modest goal is to help break new ground and plant the seeds for global resistance and social reconstruction.

The politics of total liberation have yet to be invented, and we hardly pretend to understand all the questions, let alone have all the answers. But we know the animal rights “movement” is at a standstill and impasse, and that we need a new way. We know that the hegemonic model of vegan abolitionism was co-opted in conception; emerged dead-on-arrival; and was doomed to fail. It was, is, and always will be fatally flawed in its hermetic state of isolation; its religious conviction in the possession of Truth; its dogmatic censure of dissent; its mind-numbing denial of social and ecological crisis; and its collective hallucination of peaceful change.

This is the first of many drafts, and we seek your suggestions for further actions and your input on the politics of total liberation overall. We hope you will join us in the exciting, experimental process of building new communities and broader alliances by utilizing strategies such as we suggest below. Please share your experiences and ideas in our discussion forum and elsewhere. A global crisis and challenge such as humanity has never before faced is upon us. We have no time to waste. Apathy and complacency are more dangerous enemies than capitalism itself.


1)  Begin with a thorough and ambitious reading project that provides grounding in history, social theory, political movements, and political economy (i.e., the critical analysis of the capitalist economy and the decisive influence it has on aspects of reality, society, experience, and thought). Such a project would involve immersion in Marxist, anarchist, feminist, anti-racist, anti-colonialist, anti-imperialist, and anti/alter-globalization literature, along with general history. Difficult? Yes. But who said revolution is easy?...

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