To get a sense of what’s inside our latest issue, read the letter from the editors below along with two early-release “sneak peek” feature articles and a new feature resource for formerly imprisoned people and prisoners looking for employment.
Letter from the Editors: Issue 38 of The Abolitionist
Printed December 7, 2023
Greetings in struggle. We warmly welcome you to 2022’s second and final issue of The Abolitionist: Issue 38, exploring the intersections and possibilities of labor struggles and prison industrial complex (PIC) abolition. As we put this issue together, worker struggles grow mightier, as austerity and repression intensify towards exploited workers advocating for their rights and liberation. Inflation rises, the pandemic continues with zero protections for sick workers, and money continues to flow into imprisonment, surveillance, and policing instead of to the life-affirming and dire infrastructure our communities need. And yet, we know resilience and resistance are strong; there is so much to learn from the past and the present to shape the future.
This issue’s feature section includes a robust set of interviews with different organizers sharing analysis, reflections, resources and grassroots examples of labor struggles intersecting with PIC abolition. 38’s feature analysis is an interview with former Critical Resistance (CR) member Isaac Ontiveros assessing our economic and political landscape in the US and uplifting past and present organizing lessons to propel abolitionist strategy forward in 2022 and beyond.
This is followed by two reflective articles: one by currently imprisoned and returning author of The Abolitionist “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” Ricardo Vela, Jr and another by Mujeres de Frente on “feminist unionism” and the June 2022 Indigenous-led national strike in Ecuador. These pieces are accompanied by a round table discussion on union organizing, an overview and communique on Colombia’s 2021 general strike, a call to decriminalize sex work by Chanelle Gallant, and a look into Melissa Burch’s work with the Afterlives of Conviction Project challenging the rise of background checks for formerly imprisoned people.
To wrap up the feature section, we offer two resources. The first is a new guide by CR for imprisoned people to prepare for the job market upon release. The other is CR’s organizational analysis – or political line – concerning the 13th amendment and “prison is new slavery” argument, which we offer in this issue as an organizing resource to build more political unity across walls and cages for PIC abolition.
Three of our columns also speak to this issue’s focus on labor struggles. Stephen Wilson discusses CR’s political line of the 13th Amendment and prison labor for his column 9971 and includes a survey on work and prison he hopes all imprisoned readers of The Abolitionist will complete and send back to the editorial collective. Additionally, this issue’s Movement Highlights underscore a potential resurgence in the labor movement, both in the US and internationally.
In this issue we also grieve recent losses of some influential liberation fighters: we pay tribute to Mike Davis in CR Updates, and we honor Angola 3 political prisoner Albert Woodfox and dedicated independista Francisco “Franky” Velgara Valentín in our Until All Are Free column. Please note, we cut the Abby Throwback reprint of this issue due to page limitations with our printing press.
Our first issue of 2023, Issue 39, will be printed in June and take a close look at a rising movement for reproductive justice. As ever, we invite all our readers to help shape the content of our newspaper by reviewing our submissions guidelines in our Call for Content on page 24 and submitting pieces for this issue or future issues.
As always, we hope Issue 38 fuels your spirit and your tools for resistance, collective liberation and self-determination.
Critical Resistance & The Abolitionist Editorial Collective
Update to Post on 4/30/23:
In honor of International Workers’ Day on May 1, and now that we are approaching print of our Summer 2023 issue on reproductive justice (#39), Issue 38 on labor struggles is now available for free download and distribution online. Check it out here!