We are pleased to announce that our latest Issue of The Abolitionist (#33) is finally being mailed out to our readers right now!
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Issue 33 rolls out The Abolitionist’s new paper structure, which includes a feature section, this time focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, and a columns section, with new columns for readers to look forward to every issue. Examining the relationship between the pandemic, the prison industrial complex (PIC) and the struggle for abolition, Issue 33’s features offer critical analysis on the COVID-19 pandemic as a portal for the world we want and are fighting for, along with reflection and resources for organizing and survival. As stated in the “Letter from the Editors” and CR’s COVID Platform:
“Through the pandemic, we see that abolition is the only way forward. […] As a severe and widespread public health crisis, the pandemic necessitates abolitionist demands and practices to ensure health and safety efforts that directly support people’s ability to live. This is immediately present in the massive movements to share resources, look out for each other, and build networks for care across prison and border walls, cities and towns, as well as neighborhoods and virtual communities.”
Analysis by Sarah T. Hamid on the methods used to monitor the spread of COVID-19 explores the origins of contact tracing in disease control and the dire implications of using a policing and surveillance strategy in public health. CR’s and The Abolitionist’s Susana Draper interviews Yunuén Torres, a P’urhépecha woman and member of the first youth council created after the 2011 Cherán uprising for self-determination. The uprising unfolded when a group of local, indigenous women in the state of Michoacán, Mexico rose up to defend their forest and land from armed loggers controlled by cartels, kicking out police and politicians while simultaneously resisting cartel violence. Cherán remains an autonomous community today and gives a glimpse of how essential self-determination is to public health.
For more lessons to apply to the COVID-19 pandemic, the editorial collective’s Rory Elliott interviews three movement elders and HIV/AIDS advocates Kathy Boudin, Linda Evans and Crystal Mason with Emily K. Hobson on their work with prisoner support during the HIV/AIDS crisis. Our features’ resource section includes a holistic care guide for imprisoned people to defend themselves against COVID-19, CR’s Toward Healthy Communities COVID-19 Platform to guide our organizing through the pandemic and beyond, and a Prisoner Speak Out, which centers the critical insights of imprisoned people, revealing their resilience, as well as the complexities and grave urgency of addressing COVID-19 inside the belly of the PIC with abolition.
Finally, we are excited to kick off our new columns: the Inside-Outside Fishing Line; the Abby Throwback; 9971 with imprisoned author, educator and abolitionist Stephen Wilson; and CR Updates and Movement Highlights. This issue also includes a continuation of our column on political prisoner updates—Until All Are Free—and letters, or “kites”, to the editors from prisoners.
As a sneak preview to the issue, we’re sharing this reflective piece on disability justice and abolition by Katie Tastrom, which discusses the disproportionate and devastating impact COVID-19 has had on communities deemed most disposable by capitalism and the PIC. Tastrom argues “disabled folks – including/especially those who are or have been locked up – have a unique insight into how we fight the state and win, or at least how we try to survive.” This piece is an important call that disability justice is necessary for PIC abolition. Click the link to read the full article and subscribe today to continue making The Abolitionist possible!
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