[Golden Gulag Prisons Surplus Crisis and Opposition in Globalizing California read] Ebook By Ruth Wilson Gilmore

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Despite a crime rate that has been falling steadily for decades California has what a state analyst called “the biggest prison building project in the history of the world” The first detailed explanation of California’s expanding prison population Ruth Wilson Gil’s landmark award winning Golden Gulag looks at how political and economic forces ranging from global to local conjoined to produce the pris. The approach that Gil takes to analysing the expansion of California s prison system centres on the political economy most especially on the pivotal moments of surplus and crisis She draws beautifully on cultural geography to describe the prison boom in the golden state over the past three decades which has created an archipelago of prisons Gil depicts surplus state power and surplus populations most especially people of color and poor white people as the making of a crisis to which prison is posited as the solution as opposed to a number of other possibilities that might better address social instability and insecurity She challenges the media driven gang scare that wasis largely conflated with youth of colour and demonstrates that despite the hype and hysteria around crime that law and order campaigns rely upon what actually occurred in California over the past fifty years is that crime rates went up then they began to decline and then there was a crackdown ie the crackdown in the form of mass incarceration wasn t a response to increasing crime rates but actually co occurred with falling crime rates Gil complicates and critiues a number of other progressiveradical arguments that attempt to explain California s prison boom such as racial cleansing neo slavery profits and reformist demands propelling prison expansion She notes that only a small number of prisons in CA are actually privatised and also that most prisoners are idle This points to the state s primary techniue of crime deterrance through the use of prisons which is incapacitation as opposed to rehabilitation or even punishment Gil s analysis invariably returns to organised resistance throughout the book culminating in a thorough examination of the group Mothers Reclaiming Our Children Marriage by Deception youth of colour and demonstrates that despite the hype and hysteria around crime that law and order campaigns rely upon what actually occurred in California over the past fifty A Tangled Affair (The Pearl House years is that crime rates went up then they began to decline and then there was a crackdown ie the crackdown in the form of mass incarceration wasn t a response to increasing crime rates but actually co occurred with falling crime rates Gil complicates and critiues a number of other progressiveradical arguments that attempt to explain California s prison boom such as racial cleansing neo slavery profits and reformist demands propelling prison expansion She notes that only a small number of prisons in CA are actually privatised and also that most prisoners are idle This points to the state s primary techniue of crime deterrance through the use of prisons which is incapacitation as opposed to rehabilitation or even punishment Gil s analysis invariably returns to organised resistance throughout the book culminating in a thorough examination of the group Mothers Reclaiming Our Children

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Golden Gulag Prisons Surplus Crisis and Opposition in Globalizing California

On boom Detailing crises that hit California’s economy with particular ferocity Gil argues that defeats of radical struggles weakening of labor and shifting patterns of capital investment have been key conditions for prison growth The results a vast and expensive prison system a huge number of incarcerated young people of color and the increase in punitive justice such as the “three strikes” law pose p. I was expecting this book to lay out the full economy of prisons but that s not what it does It does give a pretty good sense of the economics and dynamics of sitting prisons in rural communities but it doesn t go much beyond that The rest of the book deals both with the economic history in rural CA and an activist group Mothers Reclaiming Our Children I ve heard this book get talked up a lot so I was pretty disappointed Also Gil suggests but doesn t outright say that the massive prison boom in the 1980s and 1990s was the result of an economic downturn in California and a rural need for income which is an argument I m pretty skeptical of The actual reasons are much complicated and in good part social and irrational rather than economic though economics of course plays a part

Read Golden Gulag Prisons Surplus Crisis and Opposition in Globalizing California

Rofound and troubling uestions for the future of California the United States and the world    This revised second edition further connects California’s prison model to broader national and international trends and updates readers with developments in the 21st century including mounting grassroots opposition to the carceral state and a changing public understanding of why mass incarceration matters today. I gleaned a lot from the book It draws crucial links between many political economic and demographic changes that I wouldn t have pieced together on my own My reading experience was a bit marred by stylistic vices 1 complex sentences packed with abstract nouns and jargon 2 tendency to offer 2 3 nounsverbs when 1 would do and to ualify statements to death thereby trading clarity for nuanceMain take aways of value for me 1 Better understanding of connections among capitalist incentives neoliberal policies democratic and non democratic aspects of California politics harsh criminal laws eg three strikes and the prison building industry 2 Knowledge about grassroots movements driven by working class folks seeking social justice that began in LA and spread across the country 3 Perception of implicit kinship between these grassroots movements and today s Occupy movement


10 thoughts on “Golden Gulag Prisons Surplus Crisis and Opposition in Globalizing California

  1. says:

    This is written by an activist trying to answer uestions asked by mothers fighting for the lives of their children in prison and grappling with the theory behind her work so you know I loved it I found it uite c

  2. says:

    Summary Included some interesting info but it was dense and didn't answer the main uestion it addressedI've been working through an online class to learn about the prison abolition movement and it includes several interviews with author Ruth Wilson Gil That's what led me to this academic nonfiction work of hers which purports to explain the origins of the extensive California prison system Unfortunately while this book i

  3. says:

    The approach that Gil takes to analysing the expansion of California’s prison system centres on the political

  4. says:

    Finished this book a few weeks ago but didn't have chance to post review This book is really critical for understanding the 'why' of the prison industrial complex and not just the 'how' which I tend to think we know about Ruthie really breaks down why prisons emerged in California in the past several decades; specifically surplus land labor capital and government capacity I was really trying to absorb what she was saying in this

  5. says:

    I was expecting this book to lay out the full economy of prisons but that's not what it does It does give a pretty good sense of the economics and dynamics of sitting prisons in rural communities but it doesn't g

  6. says:

    This book breaks down the myths of anti prison sentiments while simultaneously providing a narrative of how the state specifically California became a prison state out of recession and surplus Gil provides the language of geographicalhistoricalcapital shifts that increased incarceration and created political tough on crime rhetorics She also layers this all with describing the racist laws and police interven

  7. says:

    Note as a reminder this is a long form book reviewreflection paper for my course CPLN 624 Readings on Race Poverty and PlaceRuth Wilson Gil’s Golden Gulag is about the massive growth of California’s state prison system and grassroots opposition to the expanding use of prisons as fix alls to social problems For me it also became a sharp indictment of the “tarnished practice of planning” and the way it has left ma

  8. says:

    I gleaned a lot from the book It draws crucial links between many political economic and demographic changes that I wouldn't have pieced together on my own My reading experience was a bit marred by stylistic vices 1 complex sentences packed with abstract nouns and jargon; 2 tendency to offer 2 3 nounsverbs when 1 would do and to ualify sta

  9. says:

    Excellent overview of an economic and racial analysis of prisons in Cali Two things I gathered from uickly running through this as a source for something I was working on prisons as containment policy towards structural unemployment and the key role the central valley plays as location and workforce for most prisons as well as on the political plane Downsides It could be cuz I'm not used to MLA style but in some sections

  10. says:

    good info but makes the info hard to digest

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