abby-22-english-0408-1.coverWelcome to issue 22 of the Abolitionist, our first paper of 2014. As we go to production in the month of March we are inspired and motivated by the history and legacy of International Women’s Day.  International Women’s Day was first celebrated in the early part of the 20th century in Europe, highlighting the the struggles of women’s political participation in various nations, along with amplifying the role of women in the the pitched labor battles of the time.  It has  has gone on to uplift and be uplifted by social movements all over the world, playing an important role in anti-imperialist, national liberation, and other freedom struggles and campaigns for economic justice…

At Critical Resistance we see the prison industrial complex (PIC) as a system of violence that works to manage, defend, and extend social economic, and gender inequity–as well as inhibiting the self-determination of the peoples it targets.  The violence of the PIC take on a particular character in how it  polices, surveils, and imprisons women, trans people, and gender nonconforming people.  We see this in the attacks on programs of services in communities of color throughout the US, the sexual violence of military occupation, the ubiquitous violence of police policy against queer and trans people, and the conditions of women inside prisons and jails.  We also see it in the beyond-offensive language used to justify the expansion of the PIC–for example, claiming new jail and prison construction will somehow be “gender-responsive” and cater to the needs of women, children, and their families.  In turn, we see abolition as framework for us to not only undermine the nature and  logic of the PIC, but to also expand our political horizons.  As it relates to the the ever-intensifying fight for gender liberation, we are honored by how the fights of women, trans people, and gender nonconforming people have enriched our freedom dreams.

In this issue of the Abolitionist, we are excited to dip into the historical and present day struggles that embody these important issues.  As you will see, the pieces that comprise this issue span different times, places, publications, and political projects that uplift and contribute to the spirit of International Women’s Day….

With articles by: Misty Rojo, Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign, Assata Shakur, Charlotte Kates, Che Gossett, Reina Gossett, and AJ Lewis,  Silvia Federici, Lisa Rudman and Marcy Rein, Fire Inside Editorial Collective, Audrey Huntley and Everyday Abolition, Angela Y. Davis and Gina Dent, and Dorie Klein and June Cress.

CLICK HERE TO READ PRISON AS A BORDER by ANGELA Y. DAVIS and GINA DENT (originally published in Signs, Vol. 26 No.4)




Click for English or Español

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.

brown and prowd

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.


abby20_english_final-1We are proud to announce issue 20 of the Abolitionist Newspaper!  Throughout this issue, we highlight the variety of ways in which communities and organizations are refusing to be divided and conquered and are working to fight back against and the devastations unleashed by different types of borders. We hope the pieces in this issue will add to the brave work and the thoughtful conversation happening on, through, and across borders. How would more freedom of movement affect our families, our communities, and our labor?  How would greater movement affect our notions of freedom as whole?  All over the world people are refusing to allow nation state borders to determine their political alliances and solidarities. As abolitionists, we join them and to continue envision a world without borders.

This issues features contributions from a diverse array of  though-provoking contributors including: Santiago Armengod, Kymberlie Quong Charles, Detention Watch Network, Zoe Hammer, June 17th Coalition, Colby Lenz, Enrique Lopetegui, Fernando Martí, Dylan Miner, Teresa Miroslaw,Felicia Montes, Zachary Ontiveros, PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Collective, Alex Sanchez, Alexis Shotwell, Texas Prison Bid’ness, Timothy Trujillo, Sam Valorose, Jose Villarreal, Visualizing Palestine, and Harsha Walia.

alex-sanchez 1We are also excited to share with you the following article from issue 20 of the Abolitionist–an interview with Alex Sanchez of Homies Unidos on Wars and Borders at Home and Abroad


Before You Pick Up That Phone…

Infographic by Xino from Issue 19.

Lincoln Detox Center: The People’s Drug Program

Interview with Vicente “Panama” Alba, by Molly Porzig


hat was the Lincoln Detox Center? How did it start and why? 


This article is a sneak peek from The Abolitionist No. 19: Mental Health. Subscriptions keep us going!

In the late 1960s and early 1970s in New York, we were living through a drug epidemic. In November of 1970, I was 19 years old and had been a heroin addict for five years. I began using heroin when I was 14, which was very common for young men and young women of my generation. Fifteen percent of the population was addicted (communities in the South Bronx, Harlem, the Lower East Side, Bushwick in Brooklyn, including everyone from a newborn baby to an elderly person ready to pass on). The concentration of addiction was on teenagers and people in their early 20s and 30s. Addiction at that time was primarily to heroin.

In the 1960s, the U.S. government engaged in a war in Southeast Asia commonly known as the Vietnam War, but the United States was involved in all of Southeast Asia. There was an airline that was an operation of the CIA transporting heroin from Southeast Asia to the U.S. We see now in Hollywood movies “gangsters” importing heroin, but the bulk of heroin imported to the United States was a United States government operation, targeting poor communities of color, black and Latino communities.

In New York, heroin devastated most of Harlem and the South Bronx. Young people utilized heroin very publicly, sniffing heroin at dance halls or in school bathrooms, which led to shooting up intravenously. This was an epidemic that Black Panther Michael Cetewayo Tabua, one of the New York 21, wrote a pamphlet on called “Capitalism Plus Dope Equals Genocide,” which we used widely. In 1969, the Black Panther Party in New York City was decimated by the indictment of 21 Black Panthers and needed to focus on the trial, becoming inactive in other areas at that time. Because of the relationship the Black Panther Party and the Young Lords had, together we began looking at the heroin epidemic, the general health of our communities and the public health positions of institutions against our communities.

Lincoln Hospital was built in 1839 to receive former slaves migrating from the South. By 1970, it was the only medical facility in the South Bronx. It was a dilapidated brick structure, from the previous century that had never been upgraded. It was known as the “butcher shop of the South Bronx.” In the old Lincoln Hospital (and even today) you walk down the hall and see blood everywhere—blood on the walls, the sheets, the gurneys, your shoes. Doctors were assigned there for internships and learned on Blacks, Puerto Ricans and a very small diminishing white community in the South Bronx.

In early 1970, there was a woman by the name of Carmen Rodriguez who was butchered in the hospital and bled to death on a gurney. Following that death, the Young Lords, with the participation of some Black Panthers, took over Lincoln Hospital for the first time and demanded better health care delivery for people in that community.

During the takeover, the Young Lords, Panthers, supporters and translators set up tables where people came to document their experiences of the medical treatment. A major part of the takeover focused on how there were no translators at Lincoln Hospital. South Bronx is a predominantly Puerto Rican community, primarily of Spanish-speaking people newly arrived or second generation who spoke little-to-no English. People would walk in Lincoln Hospital for medical treatment and there was nobody there to understand your ailment or problem. The hospital administration had also been confronted about the lack of services for people with addictions, primarily heroin addiction. The community had told the hospital one of its shortcomings was that you come to the hospital and you get no treatment whatsoever. The hospital administration paid no mind to it.

Months later on November 10, 1970, a group of the Young Lords, a South Bronx anti-drug coalition, and members of the Health Revolutionary Unity Movement (a mass organization of health workers) with the support of the Lincoln Collective took over the Nurses’ Residence building of Lincoln Hospital and established a drug treatment program called The People’s Drug Program, which became known as Lincoln Detox Center.

The police surrounded us and we said we weren’t leaving. By day two, the takeover had spread by word of mouth and we had hundreds of people lined up wanting to get treatment for addiction. About a month later, the administration had to come to terms with the fact that we weren’t leaving. They had been sitting on the proposal of some monies that had been earmarked for treatment that hadn’t been implemented. The money was brought and staff was hired from the very volunteers of the Lincoln Detox program we started. Of course the powers that be did not want us there but could not figure out how to deal with people saying we ain’t going. We’re staying and we’re going to serve our people.

We were very effective in doing so, and kept our program running until 1979.

What was your involvement? 
Continue reading

Issue 19 Celebration in Oakland, Monday, Feb. 25


Click here for the Facebook events page.

Issue #18 / Fall 2012: Surveillance

Theme: Surveillance

  • Letter from the Editors.
  • Watching the Olympics: Understanding and Resisting Surveillance of Mass Events. By Rachel Herzing and Isaac Ontiveros. The 2012 London Summer Olympics saw an increase in surveillance throughout that city. Such events are sites of legalization and normalization of a culture of surveillance: they extend and expand the criminalization of populations labeled as threats by the state.
  • Letters to the Editors. Readers chime in about Irish political prisoners and Marilyn Buck’s passing.
  • Your Cellphone, Surveillance Device. An infographic by Renee Perry, using info from Cellphone security basics.
  • Networking Rebellion: Digital Policing and Revolt in the Arab Uprisings. By Ian Alan Paul and David Zlutnick. On censorship and policing as well as resistance in the Arab Uprisings.
  • Nothing to Lose But Our Chains: Organizing Under Surveillance. An interview with Ashanti Alston and Masai Ehehosi, with Molly Porzig. The Critical Resistance and Black Panther Party/Black Liberation Army organizers talk about how to organize under the threat of surveillance.
  • California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Secret Surveillance Program. By Kijana Tashiri Askari. Pelican Bay prison’s “Communications Management Unit” surveils prisoners to try to keep them from organizing inside.
  • Fertilizer for the Grassroots. By Inger P. Brinck. Conservative foundations and other funding sources attempt to eliminate radical activism by withdrawing their financial support.
  • Surveillance vs. Social Security. An infographic by Oliver Spires. The incredibly high costs of state surveillance, as compared to the cost of living.
  • Surveillance: 1900s to Present. Compiled by Kamau Walton. A timeline with major state surveillance landmarks.
  • Exodus 2012. By D’Andre Moore. A current prisoner’s call to end surveillance of oppressed people, particularly immigrant communities.
  • USA’s Prison Industrial Complex Moves South of the Border. By Nasim Chatha (reprinted from the Alliance for Global Justice). The United States exports its draconian style of imprisonment to Central and South America.
  • Book ReviewsFrank M. Ahearn with Eileen C. Horan: How to Disappear: Erase Your Digital Footprint, Leave False Trails, and Vanish Without a Trace (Lyons Press, 2010); review by Jay Donahue. Eric A. Stanley and Nat Smith: Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex (AK Press, 2011); review by David Gilbert. David Gilbert, Love and Struggle: My Life in SDS, the Weather Underground and Beyond (PM Press, 2012); review by Eric A. Stanley.

Thanks to all our contributors and translators!
Ashanti Alston
Kijana Tashiri Askari
Inger P. Brink
Nasim Chatha
Jay Donahue
Masai Ehehosi
David Gilbert
Rachel Herzing
Larry James DeRossett
D’Andre Moore
Isaac Ontiveros
Ian Paul
Renee Perry
Oliver Spires
Eric A. Stanley
David Zlutnick
Kentaro Kaneko
Andrea Salinas
Luigi Celentano
Susana Draper
Leah Furumo
Armando Hernandez
Alma Muñoz
Sylvia Romo
Andrea Salinas
Gabriel Torres
Alfonso Tovar
Alia Trindle
Benjamin Wood