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“We know that the danger of trying to ‘fix’ the system allows the PIC to say that it is responding to our concerns providing justification for the mass imprisonment and policing of our communities, which makes the long-term goal of abolishing the PIC impossible. How can we transform the material conditions of our lives in a way in which we do not perpetuate and strengthen the ideologies that create the material inequality and devastation we face in the first place?” – Letter from the Editors

Welcome to Issue 15 of The Abolitionist! We hope that this issue of the paper reaches you in the best possible health and spirits.

We offer this issue of the paper in dedication to our comrade Marilyn Buck. Marilyn has been the Vicissitudes columnist for The Abolitionist since its inception in 2005. She recently passed away on August 3, 2010, two weeks after she was released from serving 33 years in federal prison. Her life provides us with a strong example of lifelong commitment in struggle to abolish the prison industrial complex. We offer her piece, “The Freedom to Breathe: In Confinement, what happens to the self?” written in 2004, which reflects on meditation as a path to peace while inside. To honor her memory we have also included a piece read by activist Yuri Kochiyama at Marilyn’s memorial in Oakland, and a poem from Alexis Pauline Gumbs, who has been active in CR, entitled “Catch”. We are humbled and saddened by this huge loss to our movement, and so we allow this moment to fuel our anger and strengthen our resolve to fight to win.

On all fronts, we see people fighting for more freedom than they have ever seen in their lifetimes, even while conventional political wisdom tells us to settle for incremental reforms instead of liberation. Taking these fights together, we feed the abolitionist fire by gathering the courage to resist control and the creativity to envision a world defined not by imprisonment, by bars, walls, war, or capitalism but by collective liberation, struggling for everyone’s basic needs to be met and daring to dream wildly.

Much love and many thanks to all of our contributors and translators!

Love and struggle