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

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The People, United: Resisting Arizona's prison industrial complex.

For those of you who only have a cursory awareness of Black Panther Party history and the story of George Jackson (if any at all), Angela Davis is more than a legendary-black-militant-turned-professor from that era. She's the contemporary visionary whose scholarly work - dating all the way back to her incarceration and study of women's resistance to slavery - has been the foundation of much of my own decision to embrace the politics of prison abolition.

I'd encourage anyone interested in the issue of
criminal justice to read Davis' work and catch a lecture or two on Youtube. Her message this evening was consistent with her written words and strong on principles of abolitionism; Google it if you want more, though. Something more awesome happened in Tempe, AZ tonight than Angela Davis' talk that I need to write about. It's been unfolding all along, really....

I showed up at NEEB Hall early today - somewhere around noon, I think, to scope it out and chalk the walk. There's a great canvas out in front of the place - it was a great spread, though my camcorder photos are all grainy and I didn't pull out my that respect my work was lost. There was hardly any traffic until the event, too, so I didn't have much chance to interact with curious on-lookers, as I usually do. I killed a lot of time in the heat, and started to get bummed.

But as the hour approached and more people began to arrive, I found myself surrounded by friends, old and new. Anarchists, former prisoners, loved ones of those passed, ASU students, members of the immigrant rights' community, and even a few Wobblies (yep - the IWW folks) have all been showing support for prisoner rights' actions of late, organizing and standing in solidarity where our paths overlap - I seem to be in the middle of many of those intersections right now.

Anyway, as a result of all my comrades' assistance, I had a ton of t-shirts with prisoner mug shots floating among the standing-room-only crowd this evening: at least 15 victims of prison suicide, neglect or violence were represented. Again, I was slow on the draw with my camera, but at one point after the lecture everyone was milling around the AZ Prison Watch banner out front: God, I hope someone out there had the presence of mind to take pictures of them. I was just kind of stunned, really - seeing these folks gather from a distance in all those shirts, I realized how much power we actually have among us, within us, and behind us...

So, I have no doubt that what we have together far exceeds the power against which we fight. I'm not just talking about pushing through some feel-good legislation or coercing the ADC to make a few reforms. Prison abolition is not a losing battle, not even in this forsaken place.
That's going to help me sle
ep a little better tonight. Thanks all.

And thanks, Professor Davis, for coming to town today.

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