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Caging Borders and Carceral StatesIncarcerations, Immigration Detentions, and Resistance$
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Robert T. Chase

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469651231

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469651231.001.0001

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“From Dachau with Love”

“From Dachau with Love”

George Jackson, Black Radical Memory, and the Transnational Political Vision of Prison Abolition

Chapter:
(p.355) “From Dachau with Love”
Source:
Caging Borders and Carceral States
Author(s):

Dan Berger

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469651231.003.0013

The chapter explores how memorial constructions of George Jackson’s resistance against California’s prison system provide a discursive symbol of prisoner liberation that stretches across time and space. Writing between traditions that have both excoriated Jackson as criminal and celebrated Jackson as an intellectual, the chapter takes up Jackson’s activism within the framework of his lived experience as a California prisoner whose choices were always restricted by prison’s bondage. To break free of prison’s metaphorical and physical walls, Jackson’s activism was rooted in a transnational struggle for Black Liberation that equated the prisoners’ plight alongside Marxist movements for national revolution and independence in Vietnam, Cuba, South Africa, and South America. After his 1971 death at the hands of California prison guards, Jackson became a cultural martyr and a palimpsest as a memorial and symbolic inspiration to future abolitionist and protest campaigns against carceral regimes. Drawing on the transnational cultural memory of Jackson as ardent prison abolitionist, the chapter discerns a new era of prison protest where California’s prison hunger strikes in 2012 and 2013 share Jacksonian inspiration with the first-ever national prison work strike in 2016.

Keywords:   George Jackson, Cultural memory, Black memory, California, Prison system, Prisoner liberation, Black Liberation, Transnational, Prison hunger strike, Prison work strike

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