Volume 1, Issue 1/2: Police & After Prisons
The first volume of bonfire will be published as a double issue, focusing both on policing today and imagining a life after prisons. We seek contributions that deal with these two themes in the form of essay, personal testimony, interviews, poetry, visual art, and research papers.
We have chosen these two themes for our first issues for several reasons, not least of them being that policing and prisons are two of the most violent forms of state and authoritarian control. We have seen intensification in these methods of social control over the last several decades, as gentrification and mass incarceration have become the primary solution for addressing unemployment, lack of housing, and urban and rural abandonment. At the same time, social movements like Black Lives Matter and calls for the abolition of prisons have brought greater public attention to the violence of these institutions as well as the potential to envision a world beyond them. By bringing together information, perspectives, and experiences around how the police and prisons impact our communities on the Central Coast, we hope to begin a conversation that extends far beyond the pages of this project.
Volume 1, Issue 1: Police
While the Central Coast’s towns and villages are marketed as idyllic tourist stops, our communities — like so many others around the country and world — are facing the consequences of a social system that relies on punishment to address social problems related to intensified poverty and racial inequality. From the militarization of the Salinas Police Department to the targeting of houseless people in Chinatown and Downtown Monterey and the intensified police presence in racialized communities like Seaside, we are all witness to the immense harm that cops do to our communities. With this issue, we want to create a platform for people to connect their disparate experiences with police coercion, harassment and violence to reveal patterns and strategize against these practices.
This issue seeks contributions that address the above themes in informative or creative ways. Ideas for contributions might include essays, poetry, art, or personal testimonies which explore:
- Police intimidation, harassment, coercion, and violence
- Police militarization (military collusion with local police, selling and sharing military equipment, use of military strategies – like counterinsurgency techniques – on civilian populations)
- Targeting marginalized populations, such as immigrants, houseless people, and people of color
- Collusion between police and non-profits to stifle dissent
- Strategies and resources for resistance, rebellion, and abolition
Volume 1, Issue 2: After Prisons
In the 20th and 21st centuries, prisons have emerged as a central method of social control, intimidation, and state violence. This issue rejects incarceration as a solution for social problems and recognizes the prisons system as a tool for upholding capitalism and white supremacy. In the spirit of prison abolition, we ask: After we’ve burned the last prison to the ground, how will we seek to address social problems and interpersonal harm? Can we think outside the paradigm of punitive justice and coercive punishment? What does meaningful justice look like for people who have been harmed, those who have harmed others, their loved ones, and communities? This issue seeks contributions that address the above themes in informative or creative ways. Ideas for contributions might also include essays, poetry, art, and personal testimonies which explore:
- The question of justice and how it might be achieved outside of prisons
- Examples of non-punitive forms of addressing harm
- Vengeance as a form of justice
- Case studies of groups or communities who are experimenting with justice outside of prisons and the criminal punishment system
- Instances of justice before and outside of modern state-formations
- Accountability and harm reduction
- Resources and strategies