A Scholar Talks With PushBlack About Justice

Dr. Joy James
William Anderson
January 12, 2021

“There’s a difference between revolutionary struggle and liberation.” (2:12)

Liberation can be carved out of smaller spaces in our communities, but in order to preserve it so we don’t have to do it “every generation,” we need revolutionary struggle that challenges the entire State structure.

“The foundational abuse of enslavement never concretely stopped; it continuously was reinvented.” (4:02)

Reflecting on historical abolitionist struggles, Joy notes that we have “never achieved power” to end the white supremacist terror we’re fighting. Instead, it’s been reformed repeatedly while still killing us.

“These reforms are not about people’s power, and I don’t believe you can really reform a predatory carceral system.” (8:47)

James raises the issue that reforms often don’t actually challenge power, because we still don’t control our lives or communities.

“The police as we know them should not exist.” (14:47)

Joy mentions the origins of police as slave patrols and how that mutated into the hypermilatarized brutality that kills us now. We need control over the police, as opposed to just defunding them.

“We are more than what anybody says we are. We have capacity that we’ve never dreamed of and we can manage our fear so that we stop allowing ourselves to crowd into containers that are really just kettles orchestrated by some cop that needs to embellish themselves by dominating us.” (18:35)

You can listen to the whole interview on PushBlack's Black History Year podcast.

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