The Prison Abolitionist Argument for State Power

Franklin Bynum and Tiffany Cabán show that the movement should not eschew power, but seize it.

The first time I ever faced the power of the carceral state in full force was during the October 22, 2011 protests by a coalition of Occupy Wall Street spinoff groups like Occupy the Hood and New York Leftists like the Audre Lorde Project and the Revolutionary Communist Party. I had become a prison abolitionist about a year before then, but on the campus of William & Mary as a white person I was not very exposed to the violence of the state. It really cannot be overstated how terrifying it is to walk down a street where cops are lined up, shoulder-to-shoulder, as far as you can see. I hear one of the Occupy Hood marshals say that they have deployed 80% of the NYPD. Mayor Bloomberg’s personal army was out in full force. While I left unharmed, it had a profound effect on me, the experience carving the reality of the US police state deep into my consciousness.

Image for post
Image for post

Written by

Feminist socialist writer fighting for econ justice. Views do not represent my firm, DSA, or my cats, who are sadly both ultra leftists.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store