As we step ever onward toward a world without the violence of policing, surveillance, prison and the social and economic violence they support, art and culture can give us both the vitality to keep moving as well as visions to color the horizon. Issue 21 of The Abolitionist explores the world of “Art and Abolition,” and the way artistic and cultural expression nourish the spirit of our movement and amplify our collective power. In the steps we take towards PIC abolition, creativity and imagination are essential tools that energize and create space for the growth and development of alternatives to a system that is meant to crush the human spirit. In this issue, we see the ways in which movements have utilized images to further political messaging; we read about how fiction and storytelling allow us to do everything from conjuring with the rich histories that make us who we are, to putting forth worlds vastly unlike our own; we hear echoes of the songs sung 80 years ago by imprisoned women decrying their oppressive conditions, while maintaining and casting out the resistance that always meets repression. Throughout this issue, we see how art can be a means of personal expression and healing, just as it can be a powerful organizing tool.
This issues features art, poetry, articles, creative writing, and analysis from a diverse array of thought-provoking contributors including: Melanie Cervantes, Martín Espada, Mikey Muscadine and Ruben Leal of the Aztlán Beautification Movement, Pam Fadem, Walidah Imarisha, Marilyn Buck, Isaac Ontiveros, Ashley Lucas, Sarah Haley, Evan Bissell, Christopher P. Bell Jr, Project NIA, Mary Sutton and Hans Kuzmich of CRLA, Lydia Pelot-Hobbs, Pauline Collins, Robert C. Fuentes, Rashid Johnson, Hector Aristizábal, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Emory Douglas, Jose Villarreal, and Ronnie Goodman.
The Abolitionist is edited and produced by volunteer members of our Oakland Chapter. As you can imagine this tireless and inspiring work is no small feat. The paper is in English and Spanish and is distributed absolutely free of charge to over 3,000 people in prisons, jails, and detention centers throughout the US, who in turn share the paper with many more of their fellow prisoners. In order to continue to spread this paper far and wide, we need your support! By subscribing to The Abolitionist or making a donation, you help us keep this volunteer-led project alive and kicking. As George Jackson said:
The point is..in the face of what we confront, to fight and win. That’s the real objective: not just to make statements, no matter how noble, but to destroy the system that oppresses us. By any means available to us. And to do this, we must be connected, in contact and communication with those in the struggle on the outside.
And if you want to contribute to The Abolitionist, send your submission to:
The Abolitionist (c/o Critical Resistance)
1904 Franklin St., Suite 504
Oakland, CA 94612