I invite you to a reading and discussion of my pamphlet
"On the Need to Abolish the Prison System: an ethical indictment"
by Steve Martinot
The Green Arcade
A bookstore in San Francisco
(in Hayes Valley)
1680 Market St. @ Gough
(near Market & Octavia / Central Freeway exit)
Sunday, November 4, 2012
This pamphlet is an extended argument for the abolition of prisons. Its argument is made on ethical and political rather than sociological grounds. That is, it addresses the logic of prisons as themselves criminal, and thus a source of social violence, instead of simply demonstrating that prisons fail in their allegedly intended purpose. Prisons do not reflect an oppressive system or government. They are the technology of that system's criminality. As such, the institutionality of prisons, and of the judicial machine that runs them, is inseparable from a criminality inherent in the structures of economic exploitation, the structures of racialization, an underlying commodification of personhood in the US, wars of aggression, and a general culture of contempt. Insofar as prisons are part of defining a crime problem (under the mask of dealing with one), they serve to decriminalize the criminality of the system that builds and uses them.
This pamphlet does not wander into that pragmatic labyrinth of "how," or "what do you do about x, y, and z." It points, instead, to the criminality of a cultural and political ethos that can see its way to building prisons in the first place (not far removed from the ethos that can think that building nuclear weapons is a good idea). It uses the violence of imprisonment itself to look into the present cultural ethos of this society, and poses some paths back to a humanity, and to a social structure that can take responsibility for the people in it, a vision that calls for a redefinition of crime itself, as well as punishment and the judicial system that metes it out.
Steve Matinot is the author of his recent essay booklet:
"On The Need to Abolish the Prison System: An ethical indictment"
Table of Contents of the essay
· The Criminality of Punishment
· Policing and the Structures of Racialization
· The Cultural Effect of Prisons
· Toward the Abolition of Prisons
Recent lecturer on:
"Trayvon Martin & the Structures of Racialization"
and author/co-author of a number of books including:
The Machinery of Whiteness: Studies in the Structure of Racialization
The Rule of Racialization: Class, Identity, Governance
Recreating Democracy in a Globalized State
Maps and Mirrors: Topologies of Art and Politics (Philosophy, Literature, and Culture)
Forms in the Abyss: A Philosophical Bridge Between Sartre and Derrida
Added to the calendar on Wednesday Oct 31st, 2012 6:15 PM