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Against Equality: Prisons Will Not Protect You Paperback – November 1, 2012

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Review

Resisting the belief that safety is found in the arms of the law or at the feet of the State--the authors gathered here illustrate how technologies of capture, social death, and liquidation produce prisons as spaces of infinite brutality. Through an abolitionist analysis they detonate the LGBT mainstream's argument that justice hinges on imprisoning the "correct" bodies and reaffirm that imprisonment itself is the antagonism of our collective liberation.
~ Eric A. Stanley, coeditor Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex (AK Press, 2011)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 114 pages
  • Publisher: AE Press (November 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615678920
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615678924
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,811,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ryan Conrad is an artist, activist, and scholar from central Maine. He co-founded Against Equality (www.againstequality.org) with Yasmin Nair in 2009, and he is currently pursuing an interdisciplinary PhD in Sexuality Studies at Concordia University in Montréal. His visual work is archived at www.faggotz.org and he can be reached at rconrad/at/meca.edu.

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Format: Paperback
For far too long, the right-wing gay establishment has been collaborating with law enforcement and the FBI, supporting the profit-driven prison industrial complex instead of fighting for prison abolition. In this short but thought-provoking anthology of essays by radical queer and transgender activists, the sacred cow issue of hate crime legislation is tackled, showing how it fails to address the actual causes of homophobic and transphobic violence, while simultaneously incarcerating massive numbers of impoverished people, people of color, and sexual minorities. Needless to say, given the constant state violence perpetrated against LGBT people, particularly though not exclusively against transgender women of color, homeless LGBT youth, and sex workers, it is absurd to entrust the police with our protection. Instead, we should be building better, community-based solutions to end all forms of violence. The final book in the Against Equality trilogy challenging the mainstream LGBT movement's conservative agenda of gay marriage, gays in the military, and hate crime legislation, this is a great and extremely important book.

For a more in-depth exploration of this issue, I also strongly recommend reading, "Captive Genders: Trans Empowerment And The Prison Industrial Complex" edited by Eric A. Stanley and Nat Smith and published by AK Press.
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I didn't expect much from a book with such a cutesy cover and slightly longer than a Hallmark card. But the book put language to my intuition that "enhanced" sentences were a bad thing. I think my intuition was about too many people being in prison for too long already and really, what is it that makes us think that by locking someone up, we're going to fix the problem?
I read the book a couple years ago and then it apparently and unfortunately went out of print. But it made a big impact on my view of our criminal/justice system. First of all, the very people hate crimes is trying to protect (because they are disliked in our general population) are the same ones that are going to end up in prison because we don't like them: LGBTQ people, people of color and people with "weird" religions (not really my description).
If you care about justice, please get this book--it will give you the language to help stop this irrational idea that "we just lock them up and throw away the key" is a remedy for anything. Like slave owners, jailers live in a spiritually bankrupt world--both the jailed and the jailer are damaged in this relationship. And remember, the jailers live with us.
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