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Trouble #20: Inside-Out

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Prison is the foundation of state authority and the anchor of capitalist social relations. It’s the baseline threat that coerces us into accepting a daily regimen of exploitation and abuse. It’s a shrine to power and a monument to futility. It’s cameras, motion sensors, and walls of thick concrete wrapped in concertina wire. It’s an ongoing experiment in regimentation and psychology. It’s a sweatshop run on reclaimed slave labour. It’s a forced separation that rips up families and tears loved ones apart. It’s the last shitty stop before you’re deported back to the life you fled. It’s a sprawling job site, where unionized guards earn a living by keeping human beings in cages. It’s a sterile time capsule, where individuals are kidnapped from the present and thrown into limbo for years on end.

For those inside, the struggle against prisons is often a struggle for survival; it’s a constant fight to preserve whatever dignity you can in a place that’s designed to grind you down. For those on the outside, it is a struggle to break through the barriers of institutionalized isolation – whether physical, technical, or bureaucratic. It’s a battle to build and maintain relationships with those the state would have you forget. Prisons are constructed to be impenetrable fortresses. The fight for their abolition is a daunting one. But no matter if you’re on the inside or the outside, their continued existence is an affront to the very notion of freedom... and one that demands resistance.