Tag Archive: Dan Berger

Dan Berger Illustrates Centrality of Prison to Civil Rights Struggle

alcatrazFrom Truth Out

Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era, by Dan Berger, University of North Carolina Press, 416 pages with 28 illustrations, $34.95 hardcover. (Release date: November 14, 2014). 

Dan Berger’s exhaustively-researched study of the ways prison, and the threat of incarceration, impacted the nationalist politics of the 1960s and ’70s zooms in on what he calls “the intersection of black protest and state repression.” Much of the narrative is focused on George Jackson and his effect on activists both inside and outside of lock up. In addition, while the book is steeped in the hyperbolic language of the era, it offers an inspiring glimpse into the lives of men and women who were willing to risk everything for equity, freedom and justice.

Berger situates the development of prisons squarely within the history of the American republic. “The United States has been a leader in carceral violence because of its roots in settler-colonial racism and its egalitarian distrust of state power, which, paradoxically upholds degrading punishment over beneficent state action for those deemed ‘criminals,'” he writes. Skin color, of course, is key.

“Chattel slavery initiated a racial regime rooted in confinement,” he adds, and even when slavery was officially ended, bondage became a tool of authoritarian displeasure, with those deemed guilty of unlawful behavior sentenced to a period of enforced separation from their associates.

“Throughout American history,” Berger continues, “the idea of criminal justice has been bound up with anti-black racism: Black communities have been disproportionately harassed, policed, arrested, tried, convicted, confined, killed and generally thought to be deserving of punishment.” (more…)

The Final Straw: Dan Berger on “The Struggle Within: Prisons, Political Prisoners, and Mass Movements in the United States”

The_struggle_withinFrom The Final Straw

Streaming at AshevilleFM from 3AM EST on Monday, 04/28/2014 for a week, then podcasting later at radio4all.net and airing on KOWA-LPFM in Olympia, WA, KWTF in Bodega Bay, CA, and KXCF in Marshall, CA.

This week, William speaks with Dan Berger – who is an author, prison activist and movement historian – about his new book “The Struggle Within: Prisons, Political Prisoners, and Mass Movements in the United States” just out from PM Press. They speak about histories pertaining to radical mileus as well as the much debated term “political prisoner” and how it relates to prison abolition and support work, among other topics. More about him and his work can be found at: danberger.org.

Also included is a piece by comrades at ARadio Berlin entitled
“Practical Self Help; An Abortion Hotline in Chile”. More
of their works can be found at aradio.blogsport.de.

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