Verso Books is a proud Co-Sponsor of this year’s Historical Materialism New York Conference: “Resurgent Radicalisms in a Polarizing World.” The conference will be held April 21-23 at NYU and will bring together hundreds of radical scholars in conversation and debate on some of the most pressing questions posed today by social movements and Marxist theory. More information about the location and registration is available here.
Brett Story's film The Prison in Twelve Landscapes depicts the variety of ways in which incarceration and criminal punishment shape the American landscape, both urban and rural — without ever showing a penetentiary. It begins its New York theatrical run on November 4th at Anthology Film Archives.
Below, Story recommends five books on carceral geography: an approach to analyzing incarceration and policing in spatial terms, drawing from the discipline of human geography.
From The Prison in 12 Landscapes
1. Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis and Opposition in Globalizing California by Ruth Wilson Gilmore (University of California Press, 2007)
Regardless of your interest in space or place, if you read only one book to help make sense of mass incarceration, it should be this one.
"Historically, only a small number of police officers have been armed in Britain but we’re moving towards a police force that is increasingly armed... The uprising and grassroots response to Mark Duggan’s death sprang from people’s repeated experience of racist violence from the police" — Arun Kundnani
With contributions from #BlackLivesMatter & Ferguson activists, as well as leading writers and experts, Policing the Planet: Why The Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter traces the global spread of the broken-windows policing strategy — first established in New York City under Police Commissioner William Bratton, who was later brought to London as an advisor following the police killing of Mark Duggan, who was shot by a police marksman 5 years ago, on 6th August 2011, sparking riots in London and across the UK.
In this interview, Jordan T. Camp and Christina Heathertonspeak to Arun Kundnani about the killing of Mark Duggan and the export of US policing practices to the UK, the aggressive racialized surveillance of Muslims in the UK and US, and the need to fight against policing and surveillance as part of a larger struggle against racial capitalism.
Over the weekend, protests spilled out across the U.S. in response to the police murders of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota. Christina Heatherton and Jordan T. Camp, editors of Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter spoke with "Unauthorized Disclosure" hosts Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola and discussed how incidents of police brutality relate to the everyday life of policing. Far from a race neutral resopnse to criminality, as Camp says, policing functions as "an instrument of state violence and terror."
KEVIN GOSZTOLA: When you look at Castile and when you look at Sterling, Castile was a working class person. He was a school cafeteria manager. When you look at Alton Sterling, both of these being black men, Sterling in Baton Rouge, he was on a strip hustling CDs so that he could make some of kind of a living in an informal economy. So, I want to put this to you. What’s your perspective on how we got to this moment based on what we’re seeing police do to black people trying to make it in this economy?