Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Friday the 1312

I have a review of the 2020 Blue Lives Matter horror film Body Cam, up now on Hard Crackers. Be sure to check it out. The review, that is. Can't say I recommend the film.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Support Your Local Police

Tyler Wall and I have a new article in Race & Class examining the Blue Lives Matter movement and its precursors in US history, namely the John Birch Society's Campaign to Support Your Local Police. We also attempt to make sense of the presence of police officers among the insurgents at the Capitol on January 6th. You can read it here.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Here We Go Again

Zhana and I have a new piece in Truthout about the recent history of reform in the Minneapolis Police Department and how the Justice Department cannot be counted on to stop police violence. Check it out.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Tribute to Noel Ignatiev

The eight print issue of Hard Crackers is now available! We assembled a special issue honoring our late founding editor Noel Ignatiev. It features remembrances and reflections by some of the folks who knew him best, including John Bracey, Beth Henson, M. Treloar, Don Hamerquist, Jay Caspian Kang, numerous Hard Crackers collaborators including yours truly, and other comrades and friends of Noel. The issue also features an excerpt from Noel’s forthcoming memoir Acceptable Men, out soon from Charles H. Kerr Press. You can order it here.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

"Didn't it look like so much fun?"

Red May's Cinder Bloc podcast is back with part two of Zhana and my dialogue with Hinterlands author Phil Neel. This episode combines a discussion we had back in December with a follow-up interview we did in the immediate aftermath of the Capitol insurrection. You can listen here, and be sure to check out Red May's consistent stream of quality content!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Thin Blue Line

Tyler Wall and I have a new short piece on the Institute of Race Relations blog, reflecting on the presence of cops among the Capitol insurgents. This is a preview of a longer piece of historical analysis that will be out soon in the Race & Class journal. Check it out here.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Abolition and Survival

I sat down with Asia Art for a substantive discussion of the Floyd rebellion, the resurgent US right, and the strengths and weaknesses of the abolitionist movement. Check it out here, and be sure to follow their incisive coverage of world politics.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Race in America Series

I'm honored to be featured in Governor State University's Race in America series. You can see my section here, and be sure to check out the rest of my excellent colleagues here.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Police Story

 

I have a new piece on Ill Will Editions exploring the NYPD's response to the George Floyd Rebellion and what it teaches us about the divide between state agents promoting a soft counterinsurgency strategy and those who favor a hard one namely, the cops.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

On the Antifada


Zhana and I paid a visit to our pals at the Antifada podcast for a lively discussion of the George Floyd Rebellion, the Capitol insurrection, and the Hard Crackers project. Check out the episode here, and consider becoming a subscriber!

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Introducing Cinder Bloc.

Last month Zhana and I sat down with Phil Neel and the comrades at Red May for a wide-ranging discussion of the George Floyd Rebellion, the US election, the resurgent far right, and the prospects for struggle in post-Trump America. Part one of our discussion is now available as the inaugural episode of Red May's Cinder Bloc. podcast. Check out part two next week, and be sure to follow all of Red May's exciting programming!

Saturday, January 9, 2021

"The Big Takeover" on Three-Way Fight

There is an excellent short feature about my new artice "The Big Takeover" from the comrades at Three-Way Fight. I have learned a lot about how to understand the US far-right from reading TWF, so this is a big honor.

 

Monday, January 4, 2021

Best of the Worst

Happy 2021! I am honored to learn that my appearance on the Labor Wave podcast, to discuss the life and legacy of the late Noel Ignatiev, was voted their top episode of 2020.

I also landed a spot alongside some great comrades and friends on the Hard Crackers Top 20 of 2020 list.  

Here's to causing trouble in 2021!


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Thankful for President Trump

I attended a "Stop the Steal" rally in Chicago on Thanksgiving and wrote about the rally and the state of the MAGA movement in the final days of Trump's presidency. You can read it now on Hard Crackers.
 


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Police: A Field Guide

 I have a review of David Correia and Tyler Wall's Police: A Field Guide (Verso, 2018) in the latest issue of Social Justice. You can read it online here.


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Dangerous Seduction of Reform

Zhana and I have a review of Prison By Any Other Name by Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law (The New Press, 2020) in the October Brooklyn Rail. Check it out here and never miss an issue!

Friday, October 2, 2020

"All the Way in the Fight"

My friends Ray Noll, Ryan Fazio, and I just published a piece with Perilous about a recent Black Lives Matter protest inside Michigan's Chippewa Correctional Facility, where protest activity of any kind is banned and treated as "incitement to riot." Read it here, and never miss a story from Perilous!

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The Show Must Go On

I recently attended a Trump rally in Mosinee, Wisconsin and wrote about the experience for Hard Crackers: Chronicles of Everyday Life. I am proud to have made it this far without writing about Donald Trump. Hope this was worth it. Read it here.


Sunday, September 20, 2020

The Shifting Ground

Zhana and I sat down with our comrades at Ill Will Editions for a lively discussion of our article "Prelude to a Hot American Summer" and the present dynamics at play in the George Floyd Rebellion. Check out the interview here, and check out the other great articles they have run about the rebellion so far.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

The Crisis Behind a Hot American Summer (Updated 8/24)

 

Zhana and I recently sat down with Kite Line Radio to discuss our recent article "Prelude to a Hot American Summer." Our interview was split into two episodes. 

Update 8/24: The first and second episodes are now both available. Tune in, and don't miss an episode of this fantastic program!

Sunday, August 9, 2020

"So Are White People"

Following Trump's recent claim that more white people are shot by US police than black people, I sat down with Tanz Ajmiri and Zhana Kurti for a frank discussion of the reality hidden behind this statistic, and what it means for organizing multiracial solidarity in a polarized and fraught political moment.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Police Rebellion, Then and Now


As the NYPD prepares for a strike on July 4th, John Garvey and I revisit the history of rebellion in the NYPD in a lively discussion of its relationship to white supremacy, police power, and struggles for emancipation.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

On Police Reform


I had the honor of speaking with Francine Knowles of the Daily Southtown for an article exploring the possibilities and limits of police reform. Check it out here, and consider subscribing!

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Class Power on Zero-Hours


I have a lengthy review of the new AngryWorkers book, Class Power on Zero-Hours, in the June issue of the Brooklyn Rail. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone trying to orient their praxis right now. AW are one of the hardest grinding groups out there, and their website is constantly updated with news and analysis. I'm not sure when they sleep!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

In Solidarity


The Gotham Center for New York City History has put together a handy compendium of historical articles around police violence and resistance in NYC, and I am honored to be included.

Needless to say the unfolding rebellion in the USA has my unqualified support. Some of us write historical articles; this movement is writing history. Hope to see you all in the streets.

Friday, May 1, 2020

NYC Can't Jail Its Way Out of a Public Health Crisis


Nadja Eisenberg-Guyot and I have a piece in City Limits examining NYC's emergency budget, which replicates the "law and order" priorities that have made so many people vulnerable to COVID in the first place.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Speaking at Columbia University Rent & Work Strike Teach-In, Wednesday 4/29


I am honored to present on academic labor organizing at the Columbia University Rent Strike / Work Strike Teach-In, 4pm on Wednesday April 29th. My talk, presented via Zoom, will focus on lessons from five years organizing inside and outside a massive business union at City University of New York, and my participation in CUNY Struggle and the 7K or Strike campaign. Check out my talk and the rest of this exciting event. And support Columbia University on strike!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

COVID and the US Carceral System

Some excellent colleagues and I are featured in a story on COVID in the US carceral system, up now GSU news. Echoing comrades from around the country and world, I argue that the COVID crisis in prisons reveals conditions that have always been disastrous.



Monday, April 6, 2020

COVID-19 Coverage in Hard Crackers (Updated 4/14)

As the COVID crisis transforms daily life around the world, we have been working to collect stories and interviews for the Hard Crackers blog. So far we have published:

An MTA workers discusses the chaos of running the NYC subway amid the crisis.

An Amazon warehouse worker calls out the unsafe and hyper-exploitative practices which put Amazon workers and the general public at risk.

Tanzeem Ajmiri on Coronavirus conspiracy theories and what they tell us about American society.

Fast food worker Luis Brennan from the Burgerville Workers Union on the present horizons for workplace organizing and what could come next.

An Emergency nurse on supply shortages, bureaucratic hospital management, and the absurdity of capitalist medicine.

An ICU nurse speaks out on shortages, deteriorating standards of care, and retaliation against a whistleblower.

An editorial roundtable on the social significance of the crisis for American society.

Boyda Johnstone on the challenges of online teaching as students grapple with hardships in their daily lives.

Editor Mike Morgan on the potential for resistance in the military amid COVID, and his own experiences organizing against the Apartheid-era South African military.

CJ Leblanc on the impact of COVID on incarcerated people at Angola, and the potential for rebellion.

Last but not least, a discussion of America's #1 quarantine obsession: Netflix's Tiger King.

We are looking for testimonials from everyday people about workplace safety, unemployment and housing issues, struggles with paying bills and taking care of their loved ones, as well as any acts of solidarity and collective action in these very difficult times. We want to hear from you! If you have a story that you want to share with us, please email the editor at editor@hardcrackers.com.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Saturday April 4th: Against Jails (Updated with Video)

On Saturday, April 4th Nadja and I will be joined by some dope organizers for a panel discussion called Abolition and Pandemic. This event was organized by the Brooklyn Rail as a public forum on our "All Jails Fit to Build" article. In light of COVID the event has been moved online. To attend, follow this Zoom link.

Update 4/6: A full video of this event is now available online. Thanks to the Rail and everyone who made this a big success!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Let Them Out Now

I have an op-ed in City Limits supporting the Board of Correction's call to immediately release 2,000 people from Rikers Island amid COVID-19's rapid spread. It is literally a matter of life and death.

Friday, March 13, 2020

No Such Thing as a Nice Prison

When we presented at last month's International Transformative Justice and Abolition Criminology Conference in Salt Lake City, Zhana and I were struck by the surprising similarities between the new carceral and policing schemes we heard about in SLC and the situation in New York City. We decided to sit down with Decarcerate Utah organizer Brinley Froelich for a wide-ranging discussion of new trends in criminalization and incarceration in these two cities, and how they can be resisted. A transcript of this lively exchange is now available on the Verso blog.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

The Everyday Abolitionism of 13 Reasons Why


I have a new article in Hard Crackers exploring the surprising prison and police abolitionist themes in the popular teenage melodrama 13 Reasons Why.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

5th International Transformative Justice and Abolition Criminology Conference

On February 18th, Zhana Kurti and I will be appearing at the 5th International Transformative Justice and Abolition Criminology Conference in Salt Lake City. We are really excited to be presenting our ongoing investigations into carceral devolution and the non-profit sector, alongside some excellent scholars and activists. We have some more writing in the works, so keep an eye out!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

All Jails Fit to Build

Following the New York Times editorial board's endorsement of the new NYC jails last Fall, Nadja Eisenberg-Guyot and I decided to research other jails the Times has supported over the years. The answer might surprise you! Check out our new article in the February edition of  The Brooklyn Rail. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Managing Urban Disorder in the 1960s: The New York City Model

Zhana Kurti and I have a new piece at the Gotham Center exploring the historical role of the non-profit industrial complex in planning explicit counterinsurgency in New York City. This is part of an ongoing project we began two years ago with "Rebranding Mass Incarceration." In our new piece we explore the role played by the Ford Foundation and Vera Institute of Justice in planning a counterinsurgency strategy for New York City in the late 1960s. To my knowledge the two main documents we dug up have not been written about before. The result of this study, we argue, is a theoretical and historical foundation for understanding the role criminal justice non-profits play in New York City, and beyond, as the crisis of legitimacy around mass incarceration deepens. But there's much more work to be done.


Sunday, January 5, 2020

Treason to Whiteness is Loyalty to Humanity

I recently appeared on Laborwave Radio to discuss the life and work of Noel Ignatiev. Click here to check out the interview. The episode largely revolves around the article I wrote for Commune on Noel's legacy and our friendship, which can be read here.


Saturday, December 21, 2019

"We Had to Take Things Into Our Own Hands"

Earlier this year I sat down with Alexandra Adams and Lauren Barbato for a lively exchange about university-based rank-and-file unionism and their founding of the Rutgers Rank-and-File Caucus. This interview, which appeared in a limited-run newsprint version of The File,  is now available to read online alongside lots of other swell articles at The File's new website.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Jailhouse Schlock

My scholarship was cited in two recent articles about the new jails planned for New York City: Michael Kimmelman's "After Rikers Island Closes, What Will Jail Look Like?" in The New York Times, and Tiera Rainey's "Mainstream Reform Efforts are Simply Evolving, Not Ending, Mass Incarceration," written for the American Friends Service Committee, Arizona Office. The critique of "justice hubs" Zhandarka Kurti and I wrote also made an appearance on the Antifada episode "Abolish Justice Hubs," where the gang is joined by No New Jails activist and my friend Nadja Eisenberg-Guyot. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

There Are Abolitionists All Around Us

Earlier this year I had the privilege to sit down with veteran NYC abolitionist Pilar Maschi for a wide-ranging discussion of her path to politics and the successful attempt she helped wage to stop an earlier iteration of the NYC jail expansion currently underway. The interview appears in Issue 4 of Commune, and can be read online here without a subscription. But you should subscribe anyway!



Friday, November 15, 2019

Noel Ignatiev, 1940-2019

saying goodbye, the last time I saw Noel
The great revolutionary Marxist and my dear friend Noel Ignatiev has died. I had the honor of celebrating his life and work in the pages of Commune.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

NYC Jail Fight in the News

behind the scenes at "True Crime" on WGN
The NYC jail fight has been featured in a number of journalistic and activist outlets in recent weeks surrounding the New York City Council's shameful decision to add up to twelve jails to the City's carceral landscape with no guarantee that the jails on Rikers Island will even close. I have been honored to be called upon to speak on the history and political stakes of the present moment.

My research figured prominently into a story by Chelsea Sanchez for City Lab entitled "Rikers Was Planned As NYC's Kinder, Gentler Jail. What Happened?" in which I am also quoted.

I was also extensively interviewed alongside some excellent activists for Anakwa Dwamena's impressive New York Review of Books piece "Closing Rikers: Competing Visions For the Future of New York City's Jails."

Following the City Council vote I was interviewed and quoted by Teo Armus in a Washington Post article entitled "'A Stain on New York City: As lawmakers vote to close Rikers Island (sic) some see history repeating itself."

On that accursed day I also had the privilege of contributing to a powerful statement by No New Jails entitled "Nothing has changed. Together we will win."

In the lead-up to the vote, No New Jails circulated a short statement I wrote to each member of the City Council, for which I did not receive any personal responses. My favorite robo-response began with "Dear [name]."

Finally, I was invited on WGN radio's "True Crime" program for a freewheeling discussion with Kelly Pope and Bill "Professor Fraud" Kresse about Rikers History, invest/divest, the Rikers Island art heist, and building a world without police and prisons.

It's a real honor to find a tiny little spot for my work in the unfolding of such consequential events. I will continue to use my scholarship to serve the movement however possible. Otherwise, what's the point?

Thursday, October 17, 2019

The Crucifixion of Rikers Ysland


I have a new piece in Hard Crackers contextualizing the 2003 Rikers Island Art Heist, undertaken by four exceptionally brazen – and apparently, inept – high-ranking jail guards. The story has since been recounted as a tragicomedy of "stupid crooks," and surely the shoe fits. But I argue it offers a more fundamental lesson about the nature of truth in carceral facilities, and its relationship to the violence that structures daily life for incarcerated people. 

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Speaking in Knoxville, Tennessee 10/9

On Wednesday, October 9th I will have the honor of speaking at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, as part of the Fall Colloquium Series put on by the Department of Sociology. I will be speaking on a familiar topic: how a mid-century jail reform movement in the New York City Department of Correction paved the way for the Rikers Island of today.

If you can't make it out to Knoxville, check out "A Jail to End All Jails," an article Jack Norton and I wrote a few years back. In it, we outline how the mid-century jail reform program of Anna M. Kross and her humanist cohort inadvertently built the bridge, quite literally, the the Rikers Island of today. 

As jail reformers in New York City once more attempt to solve the problems of incarceration with better jails, attention to this history is essential. For a practical alternative to the dead end of prison reform, check out the abolitionist program offered by No New Jails NYC. This group, operating on the right side of history, has a practical plan to decarcerate New York City, and replace Rikers Island with no new jails. Anyone concerned with actually fixing the mess of mass incarceration should support this group any way they can.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Introducing: The File



I had the honor of co-editing a The File, a DIY publication by and for rank-and-file academic workers, along with my great comrades (pictured left) Sonam Singh and Danielle Carr!

The File features in-depth coverage of dissident labor organizing at CUNY, Rutgers, Barnard, Columbia, and more, including an extensive  interview I conducted with AAUP baddies Alexandra Adams and Lauren Barbato of the Rutgers Rank and File Caucus.

Check out our site, or click here to read the first issue online. We also printed a good amount of paper copies! If you'd like some, or would like to participate in a (hypothetical) second issue, contact me or follow the contact link on our site.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Bigfoot Cop and the End of Policing


I have a new essay about Kevin Shamel's classic novel Bigfoot Cop and its relationship to contemporary paradigms of police reform and abolition. Check it out in Hard Crackers: Chronicles of Everyday Life.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Free Meek

The inimitable Dr. Zhandarka Kurti and I have a new article in Jacobin examining the Meek Mill case, the docuseries Free Meek, and its lessons for effective organizing against mass incarceration. It was a thrill to be putting the finishing touches on this piece when the news came down that Meek would finally be rid of the case that's dogged him for practically his entire adult life  not, it should be noted, without still accruing a record.