Critical Resistance and the Anarchist Sensibilities

By Ashanti, CR/NYC

Since the first CRITICAL RESISTANCE CONFERENCE in California several years ago, and the second one in New York City last year, activists have come together in difference parts of the country to further make this focus on the Prison Industrial Complex the basis of a resistance movement and a visionary movement. Its timeliness as a resistance movement is “critical” because of the genocidal implications of the PIC for Black, Brown and poor communities across Babylon, USA. Its visionary timeliness lies in our challenge as activists to put forth some visions of what a society could look like WITHOUT prisons and other class-race biased instruments of social control.

In New York City we have been working toward this resistance and visionary initiative. We are in Harlem, a community being devastated by the PIC in a way that is so exemplary. Not only do most New York state prisoners come from about eight Harlem-like areas in the city, but the connections to racism, big business and government are also obvious. We are attempting to find ways of raising this issue in Harlem in connection with its other devastating issues such as gentrification, new fascist housing policies, police occupation and terroristic control, and the continuing process of turning our schools, hospitals and streets into jails and extensions of the prison-culture-industrial complex.

The challenge to anarchists comes from a special desire for a society without prison, police, standing armies and the like but to draw realistic pictures of such as ways to challenge folks to think about the possibility as REAL, as even grounded in some of the very social and cultural activities that already go on in our communities. CR New York City is now promoting Roundtable Discussions in the community as a way to begin the exploration of realistic way to proceed on making Prison Abolition realistic. We invite folks from various communities and perspectives who believe that prisons have to go to frame such ideas pragmatically. Anarchists can help point to current examples of folks resolving their own issues of community order/peacemaking, etc. From the Indigenous Peoples in the U.S. and Canada who adapt their own traditional justice systems to what churches and community centers here and around the world may be doing around justice and peacemaking WITHOUT THE STATE.

As Critical Resistance participates with other anti-prison forces to further this mission we keep in mind that those most affected by such a vicious and devouring PIC monster must be in the leadership of its resistance and visioning. That is not a simple struggle, but it is unavoidable if we are to ground our belief in a prison-less world in the concrete best of our collective humanity. We are trying to deal with such internal dynamics here in the New York City work and know it’s the best way to build truly respectful and powerful alliances with communities of color and poor communities most affected by the monster, and to change ourselves in the process.

DOWN WITH THE PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX, SUPPORT THE LIBERATION OF INTERNAL COLONIES WITHIN BABYLON, IT’S ABOUT FREEDOM, RESPECT & JUSTICE – LET’S DO IT, DARE TO STRUGGLE, DARE TO WIN!


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