A Scholar-Activist Roundtable (with Joy James)
A new era of abolitionism has arrived in the United States. We see the idea of abolition reverberate across the Black Lives Matter and other BIPOC-led racial justice movements, as well as ongoing campaigns against police brutality, criminalization, mass incarceration, migrant detention and deportation, and support for political prisoners. How are today’s abolitionists challenging establishment media in their role in perpetuating racial, class, and social injustice and their responsibilities to redress historic and ongoing harm to racialized communities? What alternative abolitionist media are emerging from a range of communities and social movements?
This event brings scholars and activists into conversation to reflect on the lessons and possibilities for today’s abolitionist movements and their relation to media transformation—both institutionally in terms of the transformation of the existing media system, as well as the media transformations unfolding at the community and movement level that are building abolitionist futures.
The discussion will address the questions: What role does the media play in upholding the particular form of penal democracy to which we are asked to consent? How important is freedom to democracy? What other forms of media and democracy are possible? What does a truly free press look like?
Ultimately, we will explore the fundamental question of how the principles of democracy and abolition can guide a just media system and a free society.