radicalize yo'self

prison abolition
& black lives matter

this is a time to radicalize. to (un)learn. to document. to resist. to demand liberation. to and for freedom. let’s take the time necessary for revolution and justice to manifest.

online books/pdf’s/theory resources: access radical reads library/collective

revolutionary writings i am sitting with


“When I say, “abolish the police,” I’m usually asked what I would have us replace them with. My answer is always full social, economic, and political equality, but that’s not what’s actually being asked. What people mean is “who is going to protect us?” Who protects us now? If you’re white and well-off, perhaps the police protect you. The rest of us, not so much. What use do I have for an institution that routinely kills people who look like me, and make it so I’m afraid to walk out of my home? My honest answer is that I don’t know what a world without police looks like. I only know there will be less dead black people. I know that a world without police is a world with one less institution dedicated to the maintenance of white supremacy and inequality. It’s a world worth imagining.”

— Mychal Denzel Smith

“Prisons do not disappear social problems, they disappear human beings. Homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, mental illness, and illiteracy are only a few of the problems that disappear from public view when the human beings contending with them are relegated to cages.”

— Angela Y. Davis

“I am convinced that imprisonment is a way of pretending to solve the problem of crime. It does nothing for the victims of crime, but perpetuates the idea of retribution, thus maintaining the endless cycle of violence in our culture. It is a cruel and useless substitute for the elimination of those conditions – poverty, unemployment, homelessness, desperation, racism, greed – which are at the root of most punished crime. The crimes of the rich and powerful go mostly unpunished.”

—Howard Zinn

“One should recall that the movement for reforming the prisons, for controlling their functioning is not a recent phenomenon. It does not even seem to have originated in a recognition of failure. Prison ‘reform’ is virtually con­temporary with the prison itself: it constitutes, as it were, its programme.”

—Michael Foucault

“I remember the week following the protest with Alexia Christian’s mother, thinking a lot about Assata’s words: “ Who are they [prisons] for? They certainly aren’t planning to put white people in them. Prisons are part of this government’s genocidal war against Black and Third World people.” I thought to myself, if the answer to “who are prisons for” will always be an answer that transgresses my being and the being of my people, then why do we need them?”

—Devyn Springer

“Demands for parity with men’s prisons, instead of creating greater educational, vocational, and health opportunities for women prisoners, often have led to more repressive conditions for women. This is not only a consequence of deploying liberal – that is, formalistic [abstract] notions of equality, but of, more dangerous, allowing male prisons to function as the punishment norm. A more productive version of feminism would also question the organization of state punishment for men as well and, in my opinion, would seriously consider the proposition that the institution as a whole – gendered as it is – calls for the kind of critique that might lead us to consider its abolition.”

—Angela Davis

“In the carceral municipality you are followed in your car by a police officer as you drive to your shit job simply because you are not white. While you are being given a ticket for $300 the cop realizes there is a warrant out for your arrest for an unpaid fine for the length of your grass being three inches too long (though you cannot recall having ever received such a fine). In jail, you call your aunt to bail you out, but she doesn’t have the money and it takes her a day to secure your release through a commercial bondsman. Since your aunt lacked financial assets, she had to list her car as collateral. When she misses a payment due to low-waged and precarious employment, she will be charged additional fees by the bondsman. After you are released from jail, you are reprimanded by your boss for missing work without calling in, and you are written up. Because your license has been revoked for traffic violations and an unpaid ticket, you now have to use the unreliable and underfunded public transportation system to get to work. You arrive late on the day you have been summoned to appear in court because the bus did not arrive on time, and thus you are forced to reschedule your court appearance and pay an additional fee. This scenario could go on and on and on…”

—Jackie Wang

“The logic of terror and violence enacted upon the Black and Brown bodies that are identified in the present as “criminal” is reliant on inverted perceptions-in this case where brutal assailants become the victims or heroes. These visions of racial punishment are twisted into social hallucinations that legitimize policing and imprisonment. These twisted or inverted perceptions emerge from a whole constellation of institutional structures situated within histories where the meaning and the value of the racial body is actualized in the moment of its destruction at the hand of the state. Structures such as the courtroom, or the police car, or the booking station force a perception of justice marked by institutional symbols seen within a field of vision of reality: the police uniform and badge, the judge’s robe, the sanctioned gun. Despite this, they are hallucinations of justice.”

—Ofelia Ortiz Cuevas

“When children attend schools that place a greater value on discipline and security than on knowledge and intellectual development, they are attending prep schools for prison.”

—Angela Davis

“As important as some reforms may be – the elimination of sexual abuse and medical neglect in women’s prison, for example – frameworks that rely exclusively on reforms help to produce the stultifying idea that nothing lies beyond the prison.”

—Angela Davis

“What is, so to speak the object of abolition? Not so much the abolition of prisons but the abolition of a society that could have prisons, that could have slavery, that could have the wage, and therefore not abolition as the elimination of anything but abolition as the founding of a new society.”

—Stefano Harney & Fred Moten

“Whiteness, just as it functioned in the 19th century to pave over class differences in the interest of racial solidarity, also has contributed to structuring urban poverty and to building the fear of criminal populations (nonwhites) that has fueled the construction of the prison-industrial complex.”

—Kim Gilmore

“To respond to high levels of harm in ways that are not derivative of the PIC, we must first and foremost let go of the notion that there are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ people—that people who murder, rape, and assault people are ‘bad’ and that people who don’t are ‘good.’ We all harm people and are harmed ourselves, in different contexts and conditions and with different levels of power behind us. Accepting this does not minimize violence but actually empowers us to be able to face violence clearly.”

—Mimi Kim

“There has never been a major social transformation in the history of mankind that has not been looked upon as unrealistic, idiotic, or utopian by the large majority of experts even a few years before the unthinkable became reality.”

—Sebastian Scheerer

“Ever since the Middle Ages slowly and painfully built up the great procedure of investigation, to judge was to establish the truth of a crime, it was to determine its author and to apply a legal punishment. Knowledge of the offence, knowledge of the offender, knowledge of the law: these three conditions made it possible to ground a judgement in truth. But now a quite different question of truth is inscribed in the course of the penal judgement. The question is no longer simply: ‘Has the act been established and is it punishable?’ But also: ‘What is this act, what is this act of violence or this murder? To what level or to what field of reality does it belong? Is it a phantasy, a psychotic reaction, a delusional episode, a perverse action?’ It is no longer simply: ‘Who committed it?’ But: ‘How can we assign the causal process that produced it? Where did it originate in the author himself? Instinct, unconscious, environment, heredity?’ It is no longer simply: ‘What law punishes this offence?’ But: ‘What would be the most appropriate measures to take? How do we see the future development of the offender? What would be the best way of rehabilitating him?’”

—Michel Foucault

“But it should be remembered that the ancestors of today’s most ardent liberals could not have imagined live without slavery, life without lynching, or life without segregation.”

—Angela Davis

“The creation of new institutions that lay claim to the space now occupied by the prison can eventually start to crowd out the prison so that it would inhabit increasingly smaller areas of our social and psychic landscape. Schools can therefore be seen as the most powerful alternatives to jails and prisons.”

—Angela Davis

prison abolition resources


complete archive of resources for #blacklivesmatter
black owned bookstores (if you can avoid amazon please avoid it): tumblr guide