Kevin Johnson #1007485
Red Onion State Prison
P.O. Box 1900
Pound, VA 24279
Kevin Johnson #1007485
Red Onion State Prison
P.O. Box 1900
Pound, VA 24279
When I first arrived in the Florida prison system on June 22, 2017, and was thrown in solitary confinement in the latest of numerous retaliatory interstate transfers for publicizing and resisting prison abuses, I questioned and discussed with numerous other prisoners our being forced to live in sweltering cells without air-conditioning, or fans, or any other protections against the severe Florida heat….
Paperback copies of our periodical publication PROPTER NOS
are NOW AVAILABLE for purchase at the following locations:
You can also order individual copies via snail-mail:
True Leap Publishing Collective, P.O. Box 408197 Chicago IL, 60640.
Please enclose $15.00 per book requested.
We can do bulk orders up to 10 copies, but books must be purchased up front.
Don’t worry, PN is also always available for free download on our website
The below list of materials is abolitionist food-for-thought. Each collective-author pushes the limits of what a mass struggle to abolish white supremacist domestic warfare and the U.S. prison industrial complex could look like. These can be shared electronically, printed out, mailed to friends/comrades, memorized, or otherwise circulated freely.
All items reproduced for educational purposes and are not the creation of True Leap Press
Reading List for January 2018:
> Courtesy of Ill Will Editions
> To learn about Mariame’s work, see: US Prison Culture (blog) or follow her on twitter: @prisonculture
> Learn more about Critical Resistance and follow them on twitter: @C_Resistance
all items reproduced for educational purposes
and are not the creation of True Leap Press
We are avid readers of Hortense J. Spillers and believe this bibliography of her life’s work will be a useful tool for people interested in reading and learning. Two summers ago our collective held a reading group, exchanging our thoughts on Spillers’ collection of essays Black, White, and in Color (2003). Through that experience we became most familiar with her work. Professor Spillers is a Black radical literary and cultural theorist who is oft cited for her essays “Interstices: A Small Drama of Words” (1984) and “Mama’s Baby, Papa’s Maybe: An American Grammar Book.” (1987). Yet, her life’s work in papers, essays, speeches, and interview transcript spans over FOUR DECADES, and she is writing and teaching to this present day. Please take some time to get to know and appreciate her philosophical outlook. Below is a list of every work (to our knowledge) that she has published since 1970. We’ve also attached a zip file for ya’ll to download most of the titles listed below. Enjoy.
download link: Spillers Essays, Interviews, and Book Reviews
Hortense J. Spillers
Working Bibliography and Source Book
[last updated 7/3/17]
If there are any missing essays, articles, interviews, or titles that you find, please contact our collective and let us know. We want to make this work accessible as possible.
Cali friends and those who travel there frequently: 34 Trinity Arts and News is a radical newsstand, art space and used bookstore in downtown San Francisco. You can now find the first two volumes of Propter Nos in fancy print form, available for purchase at 34 Trinity!
Please visit: https://www.34trinity.com/
As U.S. politics lurches rapidly to the right, worried residents wonder about getting out. Friends talk among themselves about moving to Canada, Europe, Mexico—anywhere to escape Trumpland. Taking a different angle, some activists propose separating the “blue states” from the “red states,” essentially redrawing the map of North America. One plan calls for the West Coast to secede. Others lobby for California to become an independent country. So far, most radicals don’t seem too serious about these exit strategies. But they do have a serious aspect. For one thing, if things keep getting worse, some of us might be forced to flee. What’s optional now could become a necessity.
But whether that happens or not, U.S. borders are going to be the focus of intense political struggle in the coming period. We already see it happening. The borders are brute physical expressions of the authority of the empire and its state. So naturally they are zones of contention, especially in times of social stress. Principled radicals in North America have always challenged the U.S.’s arrogant territorial claims and its corrupt settler nationalism. Right now, as the lives of hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees are thrown into turmoil by the Trump regime, we’re forcefully reminded that this challenge is no abstraction. It’s a concrete practical obligation.
So it makes sense for us to think creatively (and disloyally) about the borders of the empire we live in. With or without Trump, we should never adopt the oppressors’ borders as our unchangeable destiny. But we need to generate better solutions than hunkering down with Democrats in “blue” California, or searching for a friendlier, more progressive home overseas. Our strategy must be more radical than that.
It won’t last forever
The U.S. isn’t a legitimate nation. It was formed by war criminals and human traffickers who raped and pillaged their way across the continent. It became rich through genocidal land grabs, slavery, white supremacy and colonialism. The U.S.’s imposed imperial borders and its colonial claims are buttressed by white capitalists’ economic dominance and the overwhelming power of their military. But those circumstances won’t last forever.
Every empire falls eventually. And today the U.S. is a declining superpower, wobbling on the edge of economic and social collapse. Its industrial base is hollowed out; its infrastructure and educational systems are crumbling. Imperial rivals are snapping at its heels. Its environment and food supply are compromised. Its corrupt health care “system” is in chaos. Its rulers, in their insatiable hunger for obscene profits, have become addicted to elaborate financial swindles that are more and more vulnerable to global economic shocks. The current US regime’s greedy, blundering imperial foreign policy threatens to ignite major wars, which probably won’t turn out well for them.
The New Deal “social contract” between U.S. capitalists and their white population is being phased out. Capitalists don’t want to pay for it any more. They’re rolling the dice on a meaner and cheaper version of the “American Dream” for the white masses, even though that has already caused greater social instability. They’re counting on naked racism to maintain white loyalty, and on naked force to contain the emerging non-white majority. But reactionary populism, repression and race conflict have volatile side effects; they lead to unexpected consequences.
When empires fall, they can fall fast and fall hard. It wasn’t that long ago that the Soviet Union was a major superpower, rivaling the U.S. in military power and geostrategic influence. Starting in 1985, during a period of economic stagnation and military overextension, Chairman Mikhail Gorbachev and his crew decided to shake things up with a new set of economic, political and foreign policies that they thought would “make the U.S.S.R. great again.” But as it turned out, they had underestimated the underlying weakness of the U.S.S.R.’s economy, and overestimated its social cohesion. Over the course of just six years, the Soviet Union collapsed. Not only was the Soviet Union officially dissolved into more than a dozen sovereign countries, but some of those countries sub-divided further into separate nations along old historical lines. For instance, Yugoslavia broke down initially into Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro; after further secessions there are now seven independent states within its former borders. Czechoslovakia divided into Slovakia and the Czech Republic. On the other hand, East Germany reunited with West Germany. Some former Soviet countries are still allies of the Russian Federation, while others joined NATO. What had seemed like an established order with fixed borders changed almost overnight.
There are lots of differences between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S., of course. But this empire will also fall someday, unable to survive its own centrifugal forces and its own geopolitical overextension. As with the Soviet Union, that fall may happen sooner that we expect. Today’s volatile political and economic turmoil could easily spiral into depression, world war, total fascism or civil war. Fragmentation and division could spike suddenly and gain momentum quickly, like they did in the U.S.S.R.
Not “our” country
Will the collapse of the U.S. as a political entity be good or bad? Well, clearly it could have a variety of outcomes, depending on how it happens, and the strength of all the active social forces. But a disintegrating U.S. certainly offers opportunities for oppressed people and for revolutionaries—if we’re prepared. One thing’s for sure: for activists serious about fighting oppression, the U.S. isn’t “our” country. We don’t pledge allegiance to it. We don’t consider it “one nation under God” or “indivisible.” We don’t celebrate the Euro-settler conquest of North America. The U.S. is a prison-house of nations, held together by white supremacy and imperialism. If it falls apart, that’s no reason to mourn. In fact, we shouldn’t wait to see if the U.S. disintegrates on its own. We should be strategizing right now about breaking it up. We should be trying to make it happen, on our terms.
What will the dismemberment of the U.S. look like? There are lots of theoretical possibilities, with different timelines. But more than likely, a breakup will happen along the deep national fault lines that already exist.
Breaking it down
There’s no unanimous formula for revolutionizing the borders of the U.S. A territorial breakout by one oppressed nationality could set off land struggles by other nationalities. Or a chaotic disruption of the social order might lead to the rise of insurgencies for self-defense and independent community-building. One thing we do know is that the necessary negotiations and decisions about redrawing the map of a dying settler state belong in the hands of oppressed nations and peoples, not the white settler population. The Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika provides one illustration of how conflicting and overlapping land claims might be resolved:
It shall be the policy of the Provisional Government to recognize the just claims of the American Indian nations and other oppressed nations for land in North America. It shall be the policy of the Provisional Government to negotiate with the American Indian Nations the claims which conflict with the claims of the New Afrikan nation and to resolve these claims in the spirit of justice, brotherhood, and mutual revolutionary commitment to the human and natural rights of all oppressed nations in North America.
In the meantime, all radicals, including white radicals, should be struggling to secede—both mentally and physically—from the U.S. Because practically speaking, it’s not just the U.S. ruling elite that we have to overthrow; it’s the settler nation itself.
As activists of conscience, we should reject political schemes that promise to keep the U.S. intact, while somehow turning it into a “progressive” country. These “left” patriotic scenarios aren’t realistic or honest. They’re based on the pretext that the world’s deadliest imperialist settler state can turn into its opposite; that the bulk of the white settler population will surrender its beloved race privileges, its imperial benefits, and its domination of land and resources in order to lift up the oppressed and return what was stolen. There’s no support to be found anywhere in U.S. history for this fantasy.
Instead, we need an entirely different alignment: the oppressed peoples of the U.S. empire fighting for self-determination, plus a rebellious white minority acting in solidarity, committed to tearing down colonialism and white supremacy. It’s within that alignment that we all can contribute to the empire’s revolutionary demolition and find a path to freedom.
Internationalism has always been close to the heart of radical politics. In the long run, we strive to break down arbitrary and unnecessary barriers that divide peoples from each other. Some of us envision a time when nations and borders as we know them are unnecessary. But internationalism doesn’t mean we sweep the U.S. empire’s constant drive to conquer, liquidate or subordinate oppressed nations and nationalities under the rug. For radicals, internationalism is based first of all on the establishment of justice among nations. It’s a voluntary unity of equals—something which can only become a reality if all parties are exercising self-determination.
This is something white radicals in particular must grasp as a matter of principle. Otherwise, we find ourselves utterly compromised: promoting supposedly progressive politics without fundamentally and fully repudiating the ruling class’s own “internationalist” program of genocide, colonialism, forced assimilation and white domination. That’s how some white leftists end up, through twisted and opportunist logic, blaming oppressed peoples for “divisiveness.”
Native and national liberation movements face many challenges as they confront modern imperialism. In some cases they’ve been weakened by neo-colonialism and internal divisions, and struggle to regroup and rebuild. Still, given their deep-rooted tenacity, and their strategic position astride the main contradictions in imperial society, these movements are currently the main forces capable of leading an anti-imperialist breakdown of the U.S.
That breakdown can also be significantly advanced by creating and defending enclaves where people of color, women, gender non-conformists and radicals struggle to create diverse forms of independence and autonomy.
Unfortunately, on a practical level, the radical Right is ahead of us here. Many die-hard fundamentalists and neo-fascists have already started building enclaves of their own. They’ve grasped a harsh reality: that in a chaotic, deteriorating, violent society, a group’s chances of survival increase according to their social unity, self-sufficiency, control of territory, and capability for self-defense.
With or without our intervention, the U.S. will disintegrate eventually. If it happens without us planning it, or even expecting it, we could be disoriented and caught in the crossfire. It’s far better to be prepared and proactive. In coming years, as the empire weakens, many strategies for revolutionary change will be proposed, discussed, and attempted. The breakup of the U.S. must be central to those strategies.
J Sakai, Settlers: The Mythology of the White Proletariat
Victor Sebestyen, Revolution 1989: The Fall of the Soviet Empire
Ward Churchill, I Am Indigenist
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the US
Sanyika Shakur, “Who Are You?”
Butch Lee, The Coming of Black Genocide
Provisional Government, Republic of New Afrika, The Code of Umoja/Black Constitution
Kersplebedeb, “Black Genocide and the Alt-Right”
Rodolfo Acuña, Occupied America: A History of Chicanos
Nelson Denis, War Against All Puerto Ricans: Revolution and Terror in America’s Colony
Oscar Lopez Rivera, Between Torture and Resistance
Natasha Lycia Ora Bannan, “The United States Makes the Case for Why Puerto Rico is Still its Colony”
Michael Kioni Dudley & Kioni K. Agard, A Call for Hawaiian Sovereignty
J Sakai, Learning From an Unimportant Minority: Race Politics Beyond the White/Black Paradigm
P.O.Box 408197 Chicago, Illinois 60640
Free all U.S.-held political prisoners and prisoners of war!
Center of Excellence
autonomous social center, partisan library & cinema /// centro social autonómo, cine y biblioteca partisana
National Movement Against Mass Incarceration and Prison Slavery
"Et s'il faut commencer par les coups d' pied au cul faudrait pas oublier qu' ça descend dans la rue"
A Publication of Critical Resistance
Join the effort to stop the construction of a $95 million dollar Cop Academy, and fund youth & communities instead.
Journal of an Autonomist Person of Color