Abolition

A note from the editor

Amy Hall

Reimagining justice

Who keeps us safe?

I was doomscrolling through social media when an ad caught my eye. ‘The LGBTQ+ community aren’t just part of our community, they’re part of us,’ said the British Home Office tweet. The short police recruitment video featured an officer in Cardiff saying how much he enjoyed representing the force at the Welsh capital’s Pride event. ‘Be the difference,’ it proclaimed.

I’m happy in my current role but this bit of ‘copaganda’ got me thinking. More LGBTQI+ officers, awareness training and rainbow squad cars hadn’t made a difference to Sam (not their real name), a Black, trans, disabled person who spent months on remand in prison. They were arrested while undergoing a mental health crisis in a hospital emergency room.

A more ‘welcoming’ police force in South Wales hadn’t made a difference to Mohamud Mohamed Hassan and Mouayed Bashir who died within weeks of each other after contact with the police in early 2021. Mouayed, who was experiencing an acute mental episode, was restrained with ‘brutal force’ at his Newport home after his parents called 999 for help. They expected an ambulance but got the police.

This Big Story explores the call for abolition of prisons, police and the apparatus that support them. Starting from a place that does not see harm, violence and abuse as inevitable, abolition is a hopeful vision focused on being preventative and not reactive. Things could have been so different for Sam, Mohamud and Mouayed.

Elsewhere, Roxana Olivera gets embroiled in a legal tussle to try and get an abusive image of a child removed from the internet and Kieron Monks reports on Nigeria’s long quest to bring back the looted Benin bronzes.

Amy Hall for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

The big story

Making friends at the Bomana Prison, in Port Moresby City, Papua New Guinea in December 2017. Photo: Marc Dozier/Hemis/Alamy

Making friends at the Bomana Prison, in Port Moresby City, Papua New Guinea in December 2017.

Photo: Marc Dozier/Hemis/Alamy

Beyond punishment

Can we create a world where we don’t turn to police and prisons for justice? Amy Hall explores the movement offering a different vision for the future.

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The Big Story

Action & info

Action & info

Campaigns, groups, media, and further reading on Abolition.

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Crime and punishment - The Facts

Exploding population; Start 'em young; Health hazard; Covid-19.

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Riot police hit protesters participating in a demonstration against lawmakers’ salary demands outside the parliament buildings in Nairobi in May 2013.Photo: Thomas Mukoya/Reuters/Alamy

Colonize and punish

Mass imprisonment and merciless policing were the preferred tools of control for European colonizers. Patrick Gathara explores the legacy left in Kenya.

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10 steps towards abolition

10 steps towards abolition

From stopping criminalizing poverty to taking down the prison-industrial-complex.

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Jessie jokes with his dad. Jessie wrote to Briarpatch: ‘Growing up, my dad was in prison. When I got a life sentence, he changed his life and stayed out and has been my support. This picture is me mimicking my nieces, who pull on his beard – it’s something I never got to do as a kid…’Photo: Jessie Milo

Healed people, heal people

Writing from a Californian prison, Jessie Milo sets out his vision for a more caring society.

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Illustration: Alona Savchuk/Shutterstock

Everyday abolition: resisting the cop in our heads

Sarah Lamble explores the opportunities to challenge punitive logic in our day-to-day lives and replace it with social justice.

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Shut out – Too many children are young people are being discarded by England’s education system.Photo: Ievgen Chabanov/Alamy

Abandoned by the system

England’s schools funnel its most marginalized young people towards the criminal justice system, writes Zahra Bei. But abolitionists are reimagining what’s possible.

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Atlanta’s Policing Alternatives & Diversion Initiative dispatches two-person harm reduction teams, instead of the cops.Photo: Dustin Chambers

So, what’s the alternative?

Community organizations are helping keep people safe where the police fail. Here are some examples from Puerto Rico, Brazil and the US.

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Sanarya practices searching for explosive ordnance as part of her training as a deminer in Chamchamal, Sulaymaniyah, Iraq.Photo: MAG

Feel the fear and carry on

In Iraq a growing number of women are now doing the dangerous work of removing landmines – previously a male preserve. Adrian Margaret Brune reports.

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Illustration: Andy K

A child’s right to be forgotten

Roxana Olivera tells a cautionary tale of her dogged attempts to get an abusive, intrusive photograph – taken without its subject’s consent – removed from the internet.

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Swapsies: Nigerian artist Lukas Osarobo-Okoro, photographed outside the British Museum in London. Osarobo-Okoro and the Ahiamwen Guild of Benin have offered to donate new artworks to the institution.Photo: Dylan Martinez/Alamy

Stolen treasures

Taken during a violent British raid, the Benin bronzes have sat in Western museums and private collections for over a century. Kieron Monks reports on Nigeria’s battle to get them back and what it means for the wider push to return works robbed from Africa.

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Illustration: Shutterstock/Andy K

The politics of futility

Our deep desire for change is continually thwarted by the limiting political choices on offer. Political theorist and philosopher Neil Vallely digs into the roots of apathy and polarization.

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Opinion

View from Africa

View from Africa

Migration: Europe’s Achilles’ heel. By Nanjala Nyabola.

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View from Brazil

View from Brazil

The gathering storm by Leonardo Sakamoto.

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View from India

View from India

No laughing matter by Nilanjana Bhowmick.

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Currents

The struggle over Cairo House – a former cotton mill – was complicated by Oldham’s high unemployment and post-industrial decline.Photo: Palestine Action

Shut it down

Israel’s largest private arms firm closes its factory in Oldham, England.

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All bets off

All bets off

Report on Nagaworld Casino in Cambodia by Zoe Holman.

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Open wounds

Open wounds

Zimbabwean activists demand the repatriation of human remains, reports Stefan Simanowitz.

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Chile’s new president Gabriel Boric of the Approve Dignity party faces a number of challenges after defeating far-right candidate José Antonio Kast.Photo: Felipe Fegueroa/SOPA/SIPA

Uphill battle

Gabriel Boric Font's mandate is to tackle Chile’s social and economic inequality, reports Carole Concha Bell.

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Sri Lankan factory manager Priyantha Kumara Diyawadanage was beaten to death and set ablaze in Pakistan. Here his mother is pictured by his coffin at their family residence in Ganemulla, Sri Lanka.Photo: Saman Abesiriwardana/Pacific Press/Alamy

‘WhatsApp blasphemy’

Husna Ara reports on ‘vigilante killings’ in Pakistan.

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Paved paradise

Paved paradise

Peter Yeung reports on Black Johnson beach.

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Illustration: Emma Peer

Reasons to be cheerful

Met Sacks Sackler; Solidarity Bites; Case Dismissed.

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Regulars

Letters

Letters

Praise, blame and all points in between? Give us your feedback.

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Illustration: Sarah John

Taking back the streets

How do you protest against discrimination? With dancing and song among other things, observes Virginia Tognola.

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Illustration: Emma Peer

Seriously?

Fast fashion and the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’.

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Source: Oxfam

Inequality Watch

The Covid pandemic vs wealth inequity.

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His royal lowness.Illustration: Anthony Garner

Open window

His royal lowness by Anthony Garner.

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Country Profile: Jamaica

Country Profile: Jamaica

The photos, facts, and politics of Jamaica.

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Cartoon History: Asma Jahangir

ILYA sketches the uplifting life-story of an inspirational legal defender of the rights of women and religious minorities in Pakistan.

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Should emergency aid be neutral and unconditional?

Khin Ohmar and Toby Lanzer explore the complex trade-offs made by humanitarians working under repressive regimes.

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Illustration: Kate Evans

Thoughts from a Broad

Vote nothing. Illustration by Kate Evans.

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In South Africa, activists are challenging Shell’s drilling plans along the country’s eastern coastline.Photo: Mike Hutchings/Reuters/Alamy Stock Photo

Temperature check

The ultimate 2022 climate to-do list by Danny Chivers.

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The Interview: Antoinette Nikolova

The Bulgarian director of the Balkan Free Media Initiative speaks to Jan Westad.

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Illustration: Marc Roberts

Only Planet

Hemispheres by Marc Roberts.

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Photo: Grace Baey

Southern Exposure: Grace Baey

Highlighting the work of artists and photographers from the Majority World.

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Photo: Brazil Government/Alamy

Hall of Infamy

President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro.

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The Puzzler

Crossword Puzzle, Association Words and Wordsearch.

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Agony Uncle: Cultural appropriation

Agony Uncle: Cultural appropriation

Ethical and political dilemmas abound these days. This month: Is it acceptable for a white child to wear a sari?

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Illustration: Andy Carter

What if…

We took degrowth seriously? Ditching planet-popping expansion for justice is a vision worth getting behind, says Dinyar Godrej.

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Film, Book & Music Reviews

Mixed media: Books

Mixed media: Books

Vagabonds!; Chilean Poet; The Trial of Julian Assange; We Slaves of Suriname.

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Mixed media: Music

Mixed media: Music

Bahía by Ana Carla Maza; Ghost Song by Cécile McLorin Salvant.

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Photo: Martin Dee

Spotlight Silvia Moreno-Garcia

The author of bestselling novel Mexican Gothic.

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