Nasrin Himada: When I think about incarceration, I really think it’s connected to the root issues we are already fighting against. I already mentioned colonization, but also white supremacy, and class war. I feel the prison system is not separate from these bigger issues already creating power relations on the ground that further cause violence to communities of colour. In the U.S. Black Americans and Hispanics represent the highest populations in prisons. Here, in Canada, it’s Indigenous people and Black Canadians. This is connected to how racial capitalism is structured, organized, and managed. The prison system mirrors the violence of inequality in the spaces outside it that we’re struggling against. For me, abolition felt like an obvious turn because of my concerns and urgencies already rooted in social justice via Palestine.

[…] I’m not already thinking that there’s something to replace the prison. When I think of prison abolition or transformative justice, I’m not thinking that we need to come up with infrastructures or buildings to replace the prison institution. I’m thinking, first of all, with non-state imaginings, though not necessarily connected to anarchist traditions. I want to make that clear. I don’t know much about anarchism. I am really just thinking about the societies, structures, and ways of organizing in communities that existed, already existed, before this land was colonized. Second, I think a lot about time. As a prison abolitionist and a transformative justice advocate, I know that I am already working within a different timeframe. This work, just plainly speaking, takes time. Because it’s about consistently changing — being-in-transformation — how I live, and how I want to be in the world. These politics are lived politics, and are fundamental to how I desire to live with others. They’re life-changing, not state-changing. Listen here.

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