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Rustbelt Abolition Radio


Rustbelt Abolition Radio (RAR) is an abolitionist movement-building media project. Full episode transcripts are available on our website.


United States


Rustbelt Abolition Radio (RAR) is an abolitionist movement-building media project. Full episode transcripts are available on our website.




Survival Pending Abolition

Longtime abolitionists, thinkers, writers, activists, militants: Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Kim Wilson, and Amanda Alexander discuss revolutionary survival amidst pandemia and how abolitionist struggle is making the 'impossible' become possible.


“I’m fighting for my life right now”

This past weekend we spoke again with our friend-comrade Bruce X at Macomb correctional facility in Michigan. Bruce X has been warning us of this tragedy for weeks now. Last time we spoke with him, he refused to go back to his cell because his bunkmate was sick. He’s asthmatic. As a result, he was put in solitary confinement. A correctional officer at Macomb told him, ”I don’t give a damn if you live or die.” His unit is now the epicenter of the outbreak inside Macomb prison. After much...


Updates about the dire situation inside Macomb prison in Michigan

As of today (3/27/2020), there are 24 confirmed cases of Cov-19 inside Michigan prisons. Two weeks ago, we spoke with Bruce “X” Parker about the situation inside Macomb prison and he warned us about what would happen if no action was taken. The Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC)- even though they had placed multiple facilities on quarantine- seemed to play down the threat of the pandemic. Today, we hear once again from Bruce X Parker, a 35 year old ashmatic, who is facing an...


Why are so many Michigan prisoners on quarantine?

Prisoners in several Michigan prisons are currently on quarantine — being subjected to the absolute and arbitrary sovereign will of the MDOC with little to no possibility of redress. We hear from Bruce X — a comrade quarantined at Macomb correctional facility, located just north of Detroit — who tells us about the desperation of the situation inside.


Crimmigration and Internationalist Abolition

In this episode the Asian Prisoner Support Committee, an internationalist abolitionist organization, speaks about their fight against criminalization. They discuss how a rejection of “good immigrant” versus “bad immigrant” narratives takes form in their work, how the committee strategically intervenes at the intersection of criminal and immigration law to stop deportations of all those caught up in the crimmigration system -- and what it takes to bring back those that have been deported.


Prisons on Hunger Strike in Argentina

Thousands of prisoners in Argentina are on hunger strike. We speak with militant intellectual Liliana Cabrera about her experience inside Argentinean jails, her involvement with the organization Yo no fui, and also about this extraordinary event of the global prisoner resistance movement.


Abolitionist Study with Steve Wilson

Black and queer abolitionist writer Stevie Wilson, held captive by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, was recently released from solitary confinement. He speaks about the importance of abolitionist study as a space of common encounter that undermines the hold that the carceral state has on our lives, both inside and outside prison walls.


A strategy of disruption: Thinking through the prison strike as an abolitionist tactic

Three years after the nationwide September 2016 prison strikes, abolitionist intellectual "HH" re-joins us on the show. "HH" speaks about what the few months before the prison strikes looked like from inside Michigan’s Kinross prison and we discuss the tactical advantages of the strike within an abolitionist strategy of disruption.


Ohio Prisoners Speak! A Year After the 2018 Nationwide Prison Strike

In this special bonus episode, released on the anniversary of the 2018 nationwide prison strike, we speak with two Ohio prisoners-- David Easley and Mark Houston (aka Mustafa) -- who called us from inside Toledo Correctional Institution. Both Easley and Mustafa were involved in the 2018 prison strike and experienced brutal retaliation as a result of their activities. They both reflect on the prison strike, state repression, what sort of steps need to be taken in order for immediate needs to...


Democracia y Dictadura: el estado carcelario Chileno y resistencias abolicionistas

Hablamos con Patricio Azócar Donoso sobre los aparatos carcelarios que se despliegan dentro de los territorios que hoy se conocen como Chile -- desde la dictadura hasta la llamada transición democrática. Patricio traza tanto la emergencia del punitivismo corporativo que capitaliza la miseria de las poblaciones por medio de sus varios aparatos de control social como también las resistencias que le hacen frente a estos aparatos de administración de la miseria.


Prison Labor and Industrial Penology

Charlie Bright speaks about the re-articulations of carceral narratives: from the era of Fordism through discourses on modernization and the desperate rehabilitation of the rehabilitative model. Bright discusses how a century’s worth of constant re-negotiations of the coherence of departments of correction has been informed by struggles within prisons and the populations they seek to control, and some of the reasons why industrial penology was overcome by riots and may be turning to...


The Death Penalty, Sovereignty, and Abolition

Lisa Guenther, currently a professor of philosophy at Queen’s University in so-called Ontario, Canada, deconstructs the state’s right to kill or let live within settler-colonial & racial capitalist social relations. We also discuss abolitionist forms of relationality that interrupt sovereignty’s hold on life and social death.


Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments Feat. Saidiyah Hartman

Saidiya Hartman speaks about her latest book, Wayward Lives: Beautiful Experiments Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval, and the beauty, autonomy, anarchy, fugitivity, queerness, and errancy in forms of Black sociality — what she calls waywardness. We also discuss how to interrupt the state’s apparatus of capture and the new social formations that emerge as people flee from predatory state forms. Transcript available at


Pill or Punishment: Involuntary Medication at a Michigan's Women's Prison

On January 2019, more than two thousand women confined at Michigan’s only women’s prison were put in quarantine. The quarantine comes in the wake of a possible scabies outbreak at the facility -- which has a long history of abuse and multiple cases of medical neglect. While many of the women held captive there displayed no symptoms, and pointed out other health hazards, such as black mold and infested showers, all of those who refused the state’s systemic administration of medical treatment...


Abolish Risk Assessment

"Predictive" instruments are common currency within the carceral reform movement. In this episode we speak with three abolitionists --Rodrigo Ochigame, Chelsea Barabas, and Hamid Khan-- to contextualize the use of pre-trial assessments and algorithmic policing tools by technocratic stalker state.


Letters from inside: The 2018 Prison Strike

In the thick of the 2018 prison strike, we published a notice in the San Francisco Bay View -- the extraordinary monthly Black newspaper which circulates through hundreds of prisons and other centers of detention in the United States -- asking those on the inside to write to us with their immediate reflections on the prison strike. Specifically: how recent prison strike actions advanced the politics of abolition. We received letters from folks imprisoned in a dozen different states, and in...


Ni Una Menos en las Cárceles

Nos encontramos frente a la difícil tarea de entablar un diálogo más allá del rustbelt, más allá del “cinturón oxidado,” más allá de esos territorios y poblaciones como Detroit y Flint, zonas de abandono organizado y violencia organizada del Estado y el capitalismo racial. Es decir, nos encontramos frente a una cierta tarea de traducción, una tarea siempre fallida, siempre imposible, pero hoy, más que nunca, sumamente necesaria. En particular, en este programa, que titulamos "Ni Una Menos en...


Riots, Crisis, and Prisons

In this episode, we speak with Joshua Clover, author of Riot. Strike. Riot: The New Era of Uprisings and professor of literature and critical theory at the University of California Davis, about the ongoing crisis of racial capitalism and its relation to riots and the carceral state.


Anti-Fascism and Carceral State feat. Lorenzo Ervin and JoNina Abron-Ervin

In this special bonus episode, we present a conversation between True Leap Press and Lorenzo Ervin and JoNina Abron-Ervin, recorded in Chicago earlier last month. Lorenzo Kom’boa Ervin is an anarchist writer, organizer, and former political prisoner who came up through the Black Panther Party in the 1960’s. Among other works, he is the author of the pamphlet “Anarchism and the Black Revolution”, which introduces the principles of class struggle anarchism and discusses its relevance to the...


Political Organizing Behind the Walls

In this episode, we speak with Michigan-based writer and activist Dennis Boatwright. Dennis was held captive by the state for 24 years of his life and has written about the strategies and politics of the prisoner resistance movement. We speak with him in the wake of the two most massive prison strikes in Amerikan history to grapple with the possibilities of political organizing on the inside as well as the challenges that lie ahead.