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Rebel Archives in the Golden Gulag

July 23, 2020

Two UCLA grad students in information studies have assembled an online archive of struggles around justice and prison abolition in California, called Rebel Archives in Golden Gulag (a nod to Abolitionist geographer Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s description of California as the ‘Golden Gulag’).

This online archive includes a plethora of source material, tons of art (including posters from Justseeds projects, art by coop members, and other art and photos relating to prison abolition), and is organized around three exhibitions:

More than a Statistic is a map and data dashboard detailing how COVID-19 and state medical neglect ravaged California’s prisons, jails, and immigration detention centers is juxtaposed with the personal stories of incarcerated people living through the crisis. This exhibit also highlights the agency and resistance of incarcerated people who continue to fight for their lives and freedom.

Rebel Archives in Black Power California centers incarcerated revolutionaries who exposed horrific prison conditions and galvanized the movement for Black liberation in the prisons and the streets. Brutal state repression proved deadly for many prison rebels like George Jackson, but it also fostered resistance and uprisings across the nation that continue to this day. 

And Sisters in Struggle: The California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Feminism, and Abolition documents the work of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners which helped the voices and experiences of incarcerated women break through prison walls. As California prisons became infamously overcrowded, incarcerated people faced extreme medical neglect and abuse and fought for their lives through lawsuits and everyday practices of care and solidarity. These struggles embodied both Black feminist perspectives that emphasized the continuity between gendered violence inside and outside of prison walls and a new abolitionist politics.

This project was compiled by Julia Tanenbaum and Jacob Tompkins.

Police & PrisonsRacial JusticeSocial Movements

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