From It’s Going Down: “Abolitionist histories offer essential insights into the so-called nature of progress, as it occurs under racial capitalism. Just as the convict leasing system arose in the post-Civil War era, today’s abolitionists must remain vigilant against ‘alternatives to incarceration,’ including house arrest, electronic monitoring, and community assisted ‘treatment’ programs. In today’s fight against false alternatives, mad and disabled communities carry profound wisdom – because we know that the current mental health system is not an acceptable ‘alternative’ to mass incarceration or state violence. If abolitionists simply replace prison bars with hospital walls – or give social workers bulletproof vests and arm paramedics with lethal doses of ketamine – this doesn’t change anything.
The struggle requires incremental changes because police, prisons, and psych wards aren’t going to disappear overnight. This is why prison abolitionists talk about ‘non-reformist reforms,’ which lay the foundation of our revolution. But where and how do these changes occur, in actuality? This is an open-ended question, and one that requires acts of imagination. We are, after all, dreaming new worlds (back) into existence.”