Rustbelt Abolition Radio (RAR) is an abolitionist movement-building media project. Full episode transcripts are available on our website.
Survival Pending Abolition
Longtime abolitionists, thinkers, writers, activists, militants: Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Kim Wilson, and Amanda Alexander discuss revolutionary survival amidst pandemia and how abolitionist struggle is making the 'impossible' become possible.
“I’m fighting for my life right now”
This past weekend we spoke again with our friend-comrade Bruce X at Macomb correctional facility in Michigan. Bruce X has been warning us of this tragedy for weeks now. Last time we spoke with him, he refused to go back to his cell because his bunkmate was sick. He’s asthmatic. As a result, he was put in solitary confinement. A correctional officer at Macomb told him, ”I don’t give a damn if you live or die.” His unit is now the epicenter of the outbreak inside Macomb prison. After much insistence, he was finally tested last week and was put in quarantine. He has tested positive for Covid-19. Bruce X — along with almost 60 others inside Macomb prison alone — is fighting for his life.
Updates about the dire situation inside Macomb prison in Michigan
As of today (3/27/2020), there are 24 confirmed cases of Cov-19 inside Michigan prisons. Two weeks ago, we spoke with Bruce “X” Parker about the situation inside Macomb prison and he warned us about what would happen if no action was taken. The Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC)- even though they had placed multiple facilities on quarantine- seemed to play down the threat of the pandemic. Today, we hear once again from Bruce X Parker, a 35 year old ashmatic, who is facing an increasingly desperate situation inside Macomb prison. Just north of Detroit, Macomb prison is located in the midst of the epicenter of the rapidly growing pandemic in Michigan. Bruce X tells us that he has been having headaches, and is experiencing both shortness of breath and cold sweats. He tells us that the situation is so dire that “I would rather go to segregation than have my life put in danger by this deadly disease.” Inside Macomb's “5 block,” he's sharing a tiny cell with someone that was just on quarantine. Needless to say, he is not able to follow Governor Whitmer’s order to “social distance.” Citing the MDOC’s own policies (in particular MDOC policy directive 03.04.110), he tells us that the MDOC is not even following their own rules and is putting the health of both staff and prisoners at risk. Bruce X directs two demands by prisoners inside Macomb to Governor Whitmer and Director Heidi Washington; they are as follows: (1) Release prisoners who have preexisting conditions over the age of 50 and (2) commute sentences. It is only by taking these extraordinary measures that we might interrupt the tragic ending of what we are seeing unfold right before our eyes.
Why are so many Michigan prisoners on quarantine?
Prisoners in several Michigan prisons are currently on quarantine — being subjected to the absolute and arbitrary sovereign will of the MDOC with little to no possibility of redress. We hear from Bruce X — a comrade quarantined at Macomb correctional facility, located just north of Detroit — who tells us about the desperation of the situation inside.
Crimmigration and Internationalist Abolition
In this episode the Asian Prisoner Support Committee, an internationalist abolitionist organization, speaks about their fight against criminalization. They discuss how a rejection of “good immigrant” versus “bad immigrant” narratives takes form in their work, how the committee strategically intervenes at the intersection of criminal and immigration law to stop deportations of all those caught up in the crimmigration system -- and what it takes to bring back those that have been deported.
Prisons on Hunger Strike in Argentina
Thousands of prisoners in Argentina are on hunger strike. We speak with militant intellectual Liliana Cabrera about her experience inside Argentinean jails, her involvement with the organization Yo no fui, and also about this extraordinary event of the global prisoner resistance movement.
Excellent and informative podcast
This podcast is an excellent primer for those wanting to learn more about prison abolition and offers lots of new info for those who have been organizing for years.
A great mix of information, history, and updates on current organizing. Awesome interviews.
Highly recommend this podcast!