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Beyond Walls and Cages

Prisons, Borders, and Global Crisis

Jenna M. Loyd

Publication Year: 2012

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.

Published by: University of Georgia Press

Series: Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. xi-xiv

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Introduction: Borders, Prisons, and Abolitionist Visions

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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...

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

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...

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Policing Mobility: Maintaining Global Apartheid from South Africa to the United States

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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...

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Understanding Conquest through a Border Lens: A Comparative Analysis of the Mexico-U.S. and Morocco-Spain Regions

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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...

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Race, Capitalist Crisis, and Abolitionist Organizing: An Interview with Ruth Wilson Gilmore, February 2010

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pp. 42-54

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...

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

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...

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The Texas-Mexico Border Wall and Ndé Memory: Confronting Genocide and State Criminality, beyond the Guise of “Impunity”

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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...

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Prisoners of Passage: Immigration Detention in Canada

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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...

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Mapping Remote Detention: Dis/location through Isolation

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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...

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Migration Policy and the Criminalization of Protest

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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...

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William Bratton in the Other L.A.

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pp. 115-125

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...

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

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...

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Building Prisons, Building Poverty: Prison Sitings, Dispossession, and Mass Incarceration

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pp. 129-142

A troubling paradox characterizes the current political and economic landscape in the United States: poverty, inequality, and homelessness have all but disappeared from the contemporary political...

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Business of Detention

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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...

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Torn Apart: Struggling to Stay Together after Deportation

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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...

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Creating Spaces for Change: An Interview with Amy Gottlieb, November 2009

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pp. 163-172

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...

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Bajo la Misma Luna: (Under the Same Moon)

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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...

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Part IV: Battleground Arizona: Local Crossroads, National Struggles

The contributions in this part focus on struggles over nation, race, and citizenship in the state of Arizona. The media attention paid to Arizona in 2010, following the passage of sb1070 — whose stated mission is “attrition through enforcement” — consistently treated...

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Policing Our Border, Policing Our Nation: An Examination of the Ideological Connections between Border Vigilantism and U.S. National Ideology

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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...

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Resisting the Security-Industrial Complex: Operation Streamline and the Militarization of the Arizona-Mexico Borderlands

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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...

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Detention and Access to Justice: A Florence Project Case Study

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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...

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Community, Identity, and Political Struggle: Challenging Immigrant Prisons in Arizona

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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...

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“Live, Love, and Work”: An Interview with Luis Fernandez, August 2010

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pp. 228-238

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?...

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

Part V can be read as a series of antiwar protests. These chapters make vividly clear that the harms that security wars inflict on families, neighborhoods, and communities are not received passively. People who are most directly impacted by prison and border regimes...

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A Politics for Our Time? Organizing against Jails

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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,...

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“A Prison Is Not a Home”: Notes from the Campaign to End Immigrant Family Detention

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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...

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Fighting for the Vote: The Struggle against Felon and Immigrant Disenfranchisement

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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...

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¡La Policía, la Migra, la Misma Porquería!: Popular Resistance to State Violence

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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...

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Part VI: Ending Border Wars: Building Abolitionist Futures

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...

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Mapping Black Bodies for Disease: Prisons, Migration, and the Politics of HIV/AIDS

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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...

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The War on Drugs Is a War on Relationships: Crossing the Borders of Fear, Silence, and HIV Vulnerability in the Prison-Created Diaspora

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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...

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Immigrant Justice from a Trans Perspective: An Interview with Gael Guevara, May 2009

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pp. 314-324

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...

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Descado en Los Angeles: Cycles of Invisible Resistance

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pp. 325-336

Tell us something we don’t already know about borders. Show us a line we haven’t already crossed. Your walls, your fences, your bullets, your holding cells cannot keep us from our destinations. We have been planning our outfits for this journey for years. We cross though we already long for home...

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Winning the Fight of Our Lives

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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...


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pp. 347-356


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pp. 357-374

E-ISBN-13: 9780820344928
E-ISBN-10: 0820344923
Print-ISBN-13: 9780820344119
Print-ISBN-10: 0820344117

Page Count: 168
Illustrations: 11 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation