State violence and interpersonal violence are not separable from one another. Abolition Feminism, which began as a grassroots anti-violence movement, maps out the connection between these two forms of violence and the violent matrix of heteropatriarchy more generally. It addresses how the oppressive logic of the carceral capitalist state harms women, trans, queer, and gender-non-conforming communities, especially those that are BIPOC; it outlines how the prison regime ultimately furthers community and interpersonal harm by removing those who have harmed and locking them in cages, rather than allowing for collective accountability and the transformation of the material conditions from which harms emerge. Abolition feminism highlights how accountability—as opposed to punishment—offers us an opportunity to reduce shame, harm, and suffering.
Combahee River Collective, The Combahee River Collective Statement (1977)
Beth E Richie, Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation (2012)
Andrea Smith, “Heteropatriarchy and the Three Pillars of White Supremacy: Rethinking Women of Color Organizing” (2016)
Evelyn Nakano, Unequal Freedom: How Race and Gender Shaped American Citizenship and Labor (2004)
Joy James, Resisting State Violence: Radicalism, Gender, and Race in U.S. Culture, (1996)