Warfare in the American Homeland

Policing and Prison in a Penal Democracy

Warfare in the American Homeland

Book Pages: 376 Illustrations: 1 map, 1 figure Published: July 2007

Activism, American Studies, Sociology > Social Theory

The United States has more than two million people locked away in federal, state, and local prisons. Although most of the U.S. population is non-Hispanic and white, the vast majority of the incarcerated—and policed—is not. In this compelling collection, scholars, activists, and current and former prisoners examine the sensibilities that enable a penal democracy to thrive. Some pieces are new to this volume; others are classic critiques of U.S. state power. Through biography, diary entries, and criticism, the contributors collectively assert that the United States wages war against enemies abroad and against its own people at home.

Contributors consider the interning or policing of citizens of color, the activism of radicals, structural racism, destruction and death in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina, and the FBI Counterintelligence Program designed to quash domestic dissent. Among the first-person accounts are an interview with Dhoruba Bin Wahad, a Black Panther and former political prisoner; a portrayal of life in prison by a Plowshares nun jailed for her antinuclear and antiwar activism; a discussion of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement by one of its members, now serving a seventy-year prison sentence for sedition; and an excerpt from a 1970 letter by the Black Panther George Jackson chronicling the abuses of inmates in California’s Soledad Prison. Warfare in the American Homeland also includes the first English translation of an excerpt from a pamphlet by Michel Foucault and others. They argue that the 1971 shooting of George Jackson by prison guards was a murder premeditated in response to human-rights and justice organizing by black and brown prisoners and their supporters.

Contributors. Hishaam Aidi, Dhoruba Bin Wahad (Richard Moore), Marilyn Buck, Marshall Eddie Conway, Susie Day, Daniel Defert, Madeleine Dwertman, Michel Foucault, Carol Gilbert, Sirène Harb, Rose Heyer, George Jackson, Joy James, Manning Marable, William F. Pinar, Oscar Lòpez Rivera, Dylan Rodríguez, Jared Sexton, Catherine vön Bulow, Laura Whitehorn, Frank B. Wilderson III


“The American homeland is a place produced by constant warfare, both domestic and international. The United States is the world’s leading jailer, with 2.3 million people in cages today. These essays detail how the continual intensification of criminalization is grounded in the principles of racism, expropriation, and aggression that centrally organize the land of the ever-diminishing free.” — Ruth Wilson Gilmore, author of Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Joy James is John B. and John T. McCoy Presidential Professor of Africana Studies and College Professor in Political Science at Williams College. She is the author of Shadowboxing: Representations of Black Feminist Politics and Resisting State Violence: Radicalism, Gender, and Race in U.S. Culture and the editor of The New Abolitionists: (Neo)Slave Narratives and Contemporary Prison Writings and Imprisoned Intellectuals: America’s Political Prisoners Write on Life, Liberation, and Rebellion.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Preface: The American Archipelago ix

Acknowledgments xix

Introduction: Violations / Joy James 3

I. Insurgent Knowledge

1. The Prison Slave as Hegemony’s (Silent) Scandal / Frank B. Wilderson III 23

2. Forced Passages / Dylan Rodriguez 35

3. Sorrow: The Good Soldier and the Good Women / Joy James 58

4. War Within: A Prison Interview / Dhoruba Bin Waha 76

5. Domestic Warfare: A Dialogue / Marshall Eddie Conway 98

6. Soledad Brother and Blood in My Eye / George Jackson 122

7. The Masked Assassination / Michel Foucault, Catherine Von Bulow, Daniel Defert, Translation and Introduction by Sirene Harb 140

8. A Century of Colonialism: One Hundred Years of Puerto Rican Resistance / Oscar Lopez Rivera 161

II. Policing and Prison Technologies

9. Racial Profiling and the Societies of Control / Jared Sexton 197

10. Jihadis in the Hood: Race, Urban Islam, and the War on Terror / Hishaam Aidi 219

11. The Effects of Repression on Women in Prison / Marilyn Buck 238

12. Ponderings from the Eternal Now / Carol Gilbert, O.P. 250

13. Resisting the Ordinary / Laura Whitehorn with Susie Day 273

14. Cultures of torture / William F. Pinar 290

15. Katrina’s Unusual Disaster: A Tragedy of Black Suffering and White Denial / Manning Marable 305

Bibliography 315

Contributors 333

Permissions 337

Index 339
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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-3923-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-3909-0
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