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Beyond Walls and Cages

Beyond Walls and Cages: Prisons, Borders, and Global Crisis

Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 168
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  • Book Info
    Beyond Walls and Cages
    Book Description:

    The crisis of borders and prisons can be seen starkly in statistics. In 2011 some 1,500 migrants died trying to enter Europe, and the United States deported nearly 400,000 and imprisoned some 2.3 million people-more than at any other time in history. International borders are increasingly militarized places embedded within domestic policing and imprisonment and entwined with expanding prison-industrial complexes. Beyond Walls and Cages offers scholarly and activist perspectives on these issues and explores how the international community can move toward a more humane future. Working at a range of geographic scales and locations, contributors examine concrete and ideological connections among prisons, migration policing and detention, border fortification, and militarization. They challenge the idea that prisons and borders create safety, security, and order, showing that they can be forms of coercive mobility that separate loved ones, disempower communities, and increase shared harms of poverty. Walls and cages can also fortify wealth and power inequalities, racism, and gender and sexual oppression. As governments increasingly rely on criminalization and violent measures of exclusion and containment, strategies for achieving change are essential. Beyond Walls and Cages develops abolitionist, no borders, and decolonial analyses and methods for social change, showing how seemingly disconnected forms of state violence are interconnected. Creating a more just and free world-whether in the Mexico-U.S. borderlands, the Morocco-Spain region, South Africa, Montana, or Philadelphia-requires that people who are most affected become central to building alternatives to global crosscurrents of criminalization and militarization. Contributors: Olga Aksyutina, Stokely Baksh, Cynthia Bejarano, Anne Bonds, Borderlands Autonomist, Collective, Andrew Burridge, Irina Contreras, Renee Feltz, Luis A. Fernandez, Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Amy Gottlieb, Gael Guevara, Zoe Hammer, Julianne Hing, Subhash Kateel, Jodie M. Lawston, Bob Libal, Jenna M. Loyd, Lauren Martin, Laura McTighe, Matt Mitchelson, Maria Cristina Morales, Alison Mountz, Ruben R. Murillo, Joseph Nevins, Nicole Porter, Joshua M. Price, Said Saddiki, Micol Seigel, Rashad Shabazz, Christopher Stenken, Proma Tagore, Margo Tamez, Elizabeth Vargas, Monica W. Varsanyi, Mariana Viturro, Harsha Walia, Seth Freed Wessler.

    eISBN: 978-0-8203-4492-8
    Subjects: Population Studies, Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Introduction Borders, Prisons, and Abolitionist Visions
    (pp. 1-16)

    Borders and prisons—walls and cages—are global crises. Walls and cages are fundamental to managing the wealth, social inequalities, and opposition to the harms created by capitalism and the present round of neocolonial dispossession. The work of making and remaking state institutions of citizenship, punishment, and war shapes the human condition at this moment. But what is this moment, and what kind of crisis is this?

    Global apartheid is one part of the story. It is a condition in which the wealthiest regions of the world erect physical and bureaucratic barriers against the movement of people from poorer regions...

  5. Part I Why Now?: Prisons, Borders, and Global Crisis

    • [Part I Introduction]
      (pp. 17-18)

      The first part of this book analyzes the growth of prisons and migration controls within a context of global crisis. The structural logics of prisons, borders, and capital accumulation have much in common even in seemingly distinct, distant places. The contributors to this part illustrate their theoretical and empirical analyses in a specific geographic context (or contexts). Yet the policing of mobility and the neocolonial project of conquest—in the name of, over, and through nation-states’ borders—are visible around the world. Rather than a meta-narration, the contributions to this part can be read as a series of complementary analyses,...

    • Policing Mobility Maintaining Global Apartheid from South Africa to the United States
      (pp. 19-26)

      In May 2008 anti-immigrant pogroms took place in many of South Africa’s main cities. The violence left sixty-two dead—some of them burned alive by mobs—including twenty-one South Africans. Dozens of women were raped, at least a hundred thousand people were displaced, and property worth millions of South African rand was destroyed, looted, or stolen. Coming fourteen years after Nelson Mandela assumed the presidency of the country, which marked the official end of the transition from a national system of formal racial segregation, the violence exposed the enduring nature of apartheid beyond what is normally associated with South Africa....

    • Understanding Conquest through a Border Lens A Comparative Analysis of the Mexico-U.S. and Morocco-Spain Regions
      (pp. 27-41)

      This chapter draws on the experiences of vulnerable populations in the Mexico-U.S. and Morocco-Spain border regions through the concept of border sexual conquest (bsc).¹ We have used border sexual conquest in other writings as an apparatus to understand violent phenomena and forms of resistance in vulnerable places (e.g., Mexico-U.S. border). We find the concept’s elasticity useful as the basis for a comparative exploration of two transcontinental regions. There are four interlocking components of bsc: (1) political-economic structures that create “disposable” workers; (2) the subjugation of a local place and region due to its exploitable, profitable potential; (3) gender and class...

    • Race, Capitalist Crisis, and Abolitionist Organizing An Interview with Ruth Wilson Gilmore, February 2010
      (pp. 42-54)
      JENNA LOYD and Ruth Wilson Gilmore

      Jenna loyd (jl): It’s great to be talking with you, Ruthie. Can you tell us how you got involved in anti-prison work?

      Ruth wilson gilmore (rwg): I started working on anti-prison organizing about twenty years ago. It was never not on my agenda, but it became the focus of a good deal of my work when I realized that people who were trying to organize themselves around all different kinds of issues kept running up against the criminal justice system, which then seemed to become a focal point for people who were trying to achieve other goals, whether the goals...

  6. Part II Global Crisis, National Struggles: The Work of Policing the Nation around the World

    • [Part II Introduction]
      (pp. 55-56)

      This part focuses on how border enforcement, imprisonment, and criminalization are fundamental to nation-state-building projects around the world. The contributors analyze these processes in a number of different places, but also draw attention to the ways in which policing technologies and practices are shared among states internationally. This part of the book is explicitly concerned with the role of nationalism and state sovereignty in forging exclusionary and discriminatory migration and citizenship policies.

      The specific case studies and regional foci on Australia and the Pacific, the European Union and northern Africa, and the Americas provide a comparative lens to see the...

    • The Texas-Mexico Border Wall and Ndé Memory Confronting Genocide and State Criminality, beyond the Guise of “Impunity”
      (pp. 57-73)

      Ha’shi? Shi Kónitsąąhįį dá’áášį gokíyaa, gòłgà’ Gònìcéi. I am Ndé from there, our homeland, along the Big Water, also known as the Rio Bravo/Rio Grande. I was born from Gochish (Lightning People), Gònìcéindé (Big Water People), Suma Ndé (Red Mud Painted People), Cúelcahén (Tall Grass People), and Cìšįįhííndé (Black Rock People). In this chapter, I use “Ndé Lipan Apache” and “Lipan Apache” interchangeably. Since the mid- to late eighteenth century, Ndé have interrelated in kinship, marriage, reciprocity, ceremony, governance, cosmology, justice, and land-based knowledge systems with Tlaxcaltecas, Nahuas, Coahuilas, Kickapoo, Jumano Apaches, and Mescalero Apaches. Inter-exchange and alliance building through...

    • Prisoners of Passage Immigration Detention in Canada
      (pp. 74-90)

      The myth of Canadian benevolence, the ideology of Canadian peacekeeping, and the veneer of Canadian multiculturalism have served to cast Canada as a liberal counterpoint to aggressive U.S. immigration enforcement tactics. However, the lack of sensationalized stories about workplace raids, massive roundups, or overflowing detention centers does not point to a humane migration policy in Canada. Rather, Canadian migration policy is a perfected system of social control, containment, and expulsion. The extolled multiculturalism of the Canadian government’s handpicked diaspora exists parallel to what Peter Nyers has termed the “deport-spora.”¹ In fact, during talks for the Security and Prosperity Partnership agreement,...

    • Mapping Remote Detention Dis/location through Isolation
      (pp. 91-104)

      Detention is a punitive measure that relies on geographical isolation. The stories of what happens to migrants who are detained in remote locations speak of the power of isolation. Detention often removes migrant workers from the places where they were living and working prior to their arrest. Once spatially entrapped within national systems of detention, detainees are funneled quickly to the ever more remote locations where detention happens. As a result they find themselves far from family members, friends, coworkers, resources, and potential advocates.

      While remote detention sites may appear ad hoc, they must be viewed together to show how...

    • Migration Policy and the Criminalization of Protest
      (pp. 105-114)

      On November 8, 2006, I was present at an action of the Dutch Stray Insurgent Clown Army (Clolonel). Four activists dressed as clowns and calling themselves Rita’s Clowns Promotion Team handed out leaflets near the Vredenburg conference center in Utrecht. They were there to “agitate” for the conservative-liberal party of Rita Verdonk, the minister for immigration and integration (2003–2007), who was speaking at an event organized by the Institute for Multicultural Development’s Forum, a think tank promoting multiculturalism, which is understood by most as forced integration.

      For many people in the Netherlands, Verdonk, a former prison director, became the...

    • William Bratton in the Other L.A.
      (pp. 115-126)

      Most Los Angelenos know that William Bratton headed up police departments elsewhere before he came to L.A. They know he was chief in New York. They may even know he was chief in Boston first. Fewer are aware of Bratton’s ventures abroad, despite their impressive scope. Bratton has literally been around the world, offering consulting services to police departments on demand. He tries not to publicize his travels during his chieftaincies for fear of criticism that he is distracting himself from the places he ought to be protecting, and he doesn’t trumpet the work performed during his moments of private-sector...

  7. Part III Poverty and Wars at Home: Finding Spaces for Refuge and Change

    • [Part III Introduction]
      (pp. 127-128)

      This part shifts our focus from the transnational lens of the previous two sections, where state migration and criminal justice policies are premised on waging wars against outsiders and criminal insiders to create safety. In this part we focus on the economic and political crises of poverty and war-making on the U.S. “home front.” Previous chapters identified nationalist definitions of violence that depict the nation as threatened by outsiders or by “criminals” internally. The chapters in this part show how policing, imprisonment, and deportation projects make some families and communities less secure and entrench poverty and economic inequality.

      Whereas part...

    • Building Prisons, Building Poverty Prison Sitings, Dispossession, and Mass Incarceration
      (pp. 129-142)

      A troubling paradox characterizes the current political and economic land-scape in the United States: poverty, inequality, and homelessness have all but disappeared from the contemporary political agenda except in ideological campaigns that advocate individual responsibility and the market as the solution to impoverishment and inequality. Yet poverty persists across all places, and inequalities across gender, race/ethnicity, and class have significantly deepened. Increasing numbers of the poor and people of color are incarcerated; between 1970 and 2003 the U.S. prison system grew sevenfold; and the United States now has the largest prison system in the world.¹ Currently over 7 million people...

    • Business of Detention
      (pp. 143-151)

      Immigrant rights advocates cheered when the Obama administration announced in August 2009 that it would stop holding immigrant children inside a former medium-security prison run by the nation’s largest private prison company. But by then, immigrant detention contracts with the federal government had become a key part of Corrections Corporation of America’s expansion plan. The company’s executives seem unfazed by the development, noting that immigrant women would continue to be held at the facility. “In some respects there may not have been much of a change,” Damon Hininger, cca’s president and chief operating officer, told investors in a conference call...

    • Torn Apart Struggling to Stay Together after Deportation
      (pp. 152-162)

      It was shortly after five on the morning of June 2, 2004, when Calvin James woke up, put on his bathrobe, and headed outside to put the trash bins on the street for pickup. As the super of his building in Jersey City, New Jersey, James liked taking the trash out early in the morning before the humidity settled in. Besides, the forty-five-year-old had to be at the first of his two bike messenger jobs in New York City by 7:00 a.m. He had left his girlfriend, Kathy McArdle, asleep in their bed. In the next room was their six...

    • Creating Spaces for Change An Interview with Amy Gottlieb, November 2009
      (pp. 163-172)
      JENNA LOYD and Amy Gottlieb

      Jenna loyd (jl): I wonder if you can give the readers a bit of background about your work in migrant justice and the kinds of organizing you are doing with the American Friends Service Committee.

      Amy gottlieb (ag): Sure. I am an attorney; I have been since 1996. I graduated from Rutgers Law in Newark, and my first job after law school was as a staff attorney at the afsc in Newark, where I am currently the director.

      The afsc has long been known for its work on prison and criminal justice issues. In recent years we have changed the...

    • Bajo la Misma Luna (Under the Same Moon)
      (pp. 173-178)

      My last memory of my dad is him sitting across from me in an orange suit in handcuffs with his head to the floor because he was too embarrassed to even look at me. We talked but I couldn’t hug him or touch him. There were two large tables in between us where we had to put our hands because if the guard saw you put your hands under the table they would kick you out.

      My dad was in jail after I had to call the police on him when he hit my mom. But right now the only...

  8. Part IV Battleground Arizona: Local Crossroads, National Struggles

    • Policing Our Border, Policing Our Nation An Examination of the Ideological Connections between Border Vigilantism and U.S. National Ideology
      (pp. 181-189)

      In February 2009 Maricopa County’s notorious sheriff, Joe Arpaio, staged a chain-gang-style parade of two hundred undocumented people down the streets of Phoenix.¹ Pictures of the parade disseminated in the media featured mostly Latino men—shackled at the feet and hands and clothed in old-fashioned black-and-white-striped prison uniforms—flanked by an array of burly, shotgun-wielding officers dressed in commando garb. The spectacularly punitive and martial images were orchestrated to convey the message that Sheriff Joe is willing and able to go above and beyond the status quo of twenty-first-century law enforcement; apparently, present law does not treat immigrants and incarcerated...

    • Resisting the Security-Industrial Complex Operation Streamline and the Militarization of the Arizona-Mexico Borderlands
      (pp. 190-208)

      Every day, beginning at 1:30 p.m., on the second floor of the DeConcini Federal Courthouse in downtown Tucson, the U.S. government assembles before a judge seventy people arbitrarily singled out for special prosecution. Those being prosecuted here have been taken into custody by the U.S. Border Patrol for entering the territory of the United States without inspection. They wear the grunge and sweat from days spent crossing a remote and barren desert. For many of these individuals, this was their first time entering the United States; others have lived here for years and are trying to return to homes and...

    • Detention and Access to Justice A Florence Project Case Study
      (pp. 209-214)

      I step into the visitation room and see the long-tired faces packed around kindergarten-style lunchroom tables. I greet my coworker and we look over the court list for the day.

      “The two buses were late and they barely got in for court,” Marcelo comments. “I had to do the talk in ten minutes, but I think they got it.”

      Marcelo is an attorney for the Florence Project and gives know-your-rights presentations every morning for detainees who have their first court appearance. The Florence Project is a small nonprofit that has been providing free immigration legal services in Arizona detention centers...

    • Community, Identity, and Political Struggle Challenging Immigrant Prisons in Arizona
      (pp. 215-227)

      This chapter offers a glimpse into a campaign to fight the construction of new immigrant prisons in the state of Arizona. It highlights the strategies and tactics activists used to challenge the state’s capacity to cage, kill, and criminalize poor people of color in the United States. Stopping the expansion of prisons is one of many fronts in a larger abolitionist struggle examined throughout this volume. My analysis begins with a consideration of the relationship between identity and political struggle in building social movements. I will then analyze ways in which anti-prison and immigrant rights activists, working together, reimagined community...

    • “Live, Love, and Work” An Interview with Luis Fernandez, August 2010
      (pp. 228-238)
      JENNA LOYD and Luis Fernandez

      Jenna loyd (jl): I’m glad to be talking with you in Arizona at such an important and rapidly changing time. Arizona Senate Bill 1070 just went into effect. Can you give us a sense of where sb1070 fits in the longer history of Arizona and migration politics?

      Luis fernandez (lf): The most important element of sb1070 is the intentionality of what’s happening in Arizona. And by this I mean the “self-attrition” strategy.

      There’s the longer history of white supremacy and colonization, of course, but this particular wave started in 2003 or 2004 as part of a very deliberate white supremacist...

  9. Part V Speaking Up! Standing Up!: Local Struggles against Walls and Cages

    • A Politics for Our Time? Organizing against Jails
      (pp. 241-252)

      This chapter is about a community-led effort in a town in New York state to advocate for people held in our county jail. Under the auspices of the local naacp, civil rights activists, formerly incarcerated people, local students, and other community members came together to form a coalition to stop abusive and neglectful health care at the jail. As the coalition expanded, we noticed that the jail is also used for detained immigrants. We took tentative steps to form a coalition with groups that were working to end U.S. imperialism and the abuse of people held in U.S. custody both...

    • “A Prison Is Not a Home” Notes from the Campaign to End Immigrant Family Detention
      (pp. 253-265)

      While mainstream American history understands the internment of Japanese families during World War II as a lapse, a paranoid moment pardoned by the anxieties of war, the war on terror has exhumed and institutionalized these practices to round up a new group of supposed enemies: immigrant and asylum-seeking families. Beginning in March 2001, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (ins) began to hold families in a former nursing home in Berks County, Pennsylvania. In 2006, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ice), part of the Department of Homeland Security (dhs), expanded family detention to the T. Don Hutto Correction Center in Taylor, Texas....

    • Fighting for the Vote The Struggle against Felon and Immigrant Disenfranchisement
      (pp. 266-276)

      Casting a vote is often considered, perhaps next to military service, to be the premier act of membership in the American polity. Yet there are three groups of adults in the United States who do not have that right: citizens convicted of felony crimes, legal immigrants, and undocumented migrants. The number of adults impacted by this disenfranchisement is significant. Approximately 5.3 million adult citizens have lost the right to vote as a result of state criminal disenfranchisement laws. One-quarter of these individuals are currently serving prison terms for felony crimes, one-third are on probation or parole, and 40 percent are...

    • ¡La Policía, la Migra, la Misma Porquería! Popular Resistance to State Violence
      (pp. 277-284)

      Millions of immigrants, documented and undocumented, rose up fearlessly to confront the state and demand justice and equality on International Workers Day in 2006. They were successful in stopping federal bills that proposed to further criminalize immigrant communities. They inspired students to walk out of schools in support of their communities, and inspired workers to put down their hammers and brooms and pick up picket signs with handwritten slogans like “Legalización Ahora” (Legalization Now) and “Alto a las Redadas” (Stop the Raids).

      The character of the mobilization quickly changed. One week immigrants were confronting the state to demand equal rights,...

  10. Part VI Ending Border Wars: Building Abolitionist Futures

    • [Part VI Introduction]
      (pp. 285-286)

      The work of building and maintaining borders and prison walls is also about creating and policing social difference. This part focuses on how prison and migration regimes are gendered, racialized, sexualized, and classed institutions that reproduce and police dominant relations of power. Put another way, state policing practices are bordering practices that violently enforce heteronormativity and hierarchies of race, gender, and class. Finally, this section shows how prisons enact violence within the prison walls and transmit harms to already vulnerable communities.

      If societies can be militarized, they can also be demilitarized. The intersectional analyses and organizing strategies found in this...

    • Mapping Black Bodies for Disease Prisons, Migration, and the Politics of hiv/aids
      (pp. 287-300)

      Few could have predicted the role prisons would play in the expansion of hiv/aids. The rapid explosion of prisons in the 1970s and 1980s, which relocated tens of thousands of poor urban Blacks to rural landscapes, crossed paths with a growing “secret epidemic” that was devastating “gay spaces” in cities like San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles.¹ This collision resulted in a rapid growth of the disease among the most marginalized elements of Black life. The anti-Black, antipoor, and antigay policies of the Reagan administration were stirred together in a cauldron of silence and conservative policymaking. This political climate...

    • The War on Drugs Is a War on Relationships Crossing the Borders of Fear, Silence, and hiv Vulnerability in the Prison-Created Diaspora
      (pp. 301-313)

      The rain was coming down in sheets across Philadelphia. As we sat waiting for the Frances Myers Recreation Center doors to open, all of us were getting a bit worried. Teresa, Waheedah, Ben, and Eddie had been covering the surrounding blocks for weeks—reaching out to halfway houses, parole offices, barber shops, laundromats, welfare offices, corner stores, bus stops, and service organizations to find individuals struggling under the fear and silence of perpetual dislocation. Their message was simple: Do you have a loved one in prison? Did you just come home? Do you need support? This is a day for...

    • Immigrant Justice from a Trans Perspective An Interview with Gael Guevara, May 2009
      (pp. 314-324)
      JENNA LOYD and Gael Guevara

      Jenna loyd (jl): Let’s start with a history of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project.

      Gael guevara (gg): The Sylvia Rivera Law Project [srlp] started off as a one-person fellowship. Dean Spade, who founded the organization, is a white trans man and lawyer. When srlp was created over seven years ago, there was a great need in New York City to provide basic free legal services to low-income trans communities. The services included everything from advocating to obtain public assistance benefits, to changing your name on your identity documents, to working with people who had issues in their workplace and in...

    • Descado en Los Angeles Cycles of Invisible Resistance
      (pp. 325-336)

      In 2007, a former roomie died in Los Angeles’s Daniel Freeman Hospital after a brief battle with pneumonia and sarcoma resulting from hiv. The nurses at Daniel Freeman ignored Shaun, or Shauna as we lovingly called her in our home (both names are pseudonyms). Shauna’s brother called the nurses for everything from medication to medical attention to requests for clean sheets, which were all repeatedly ignored.

      Shauna was magnetic. She loved Missy (as in Elliott), big sequins, Destiny’s Child, little sequins, Tom of Finland, big hugs, and an afternoon cocktail hour that was announced with a cheer and a chiming...

    • Winning the Fight of Our Lives
      (pp. 337-346)

      If the immigrant rights movement doesn’t understand raids, detention, and deportation in the context of the greater prison-industrial complex, and organize accordingly, we will lose the fight of our lives—a fight we can and must win.

      During the immigration debates and protests of 2006–2007, a small but significant chorus of organizations—those working with families facing deportation—spoke out strongly against many of the immigration reform legislative proposals. What many inside the beltway were calling “comprehensive immigration reform” wasn’t comprehensive enough to fix the detention and deportation system that had eaten up and spit out almost 2 million...

  11. Contributors
    (pp. 347-356)
  12. Index
    (pp. 357-372)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 373-374)