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“Racial Capitalism and Prison Abolition” zine

This Zine uses an approachable and accessible comic format to introduce the racial capitalism and prison abolition. The comic demonstrates how social injustice is a systemic, rather than individual, issue. Understanding systems reveals how society functions: “systems impact how we think, what rules we make, how and to whom resources are distributed, etc.” Material inequality is produced by a system in which capitalists exploit land and people. Capitalism requires ownership over land, people, and things as “private property,” and state institutions like the police and military enforce these conditions. Within capitalism, race is used to divide workers, structure labor, shift blame, and manage and hide unemployment. This racialization of capitalism builds on its history in which it “developed as an inherently racialized system, which uses differences between people (like skin color, for example) to justify exploiting some people over others.”

The Zine shows how capitalism sustains racism and vice-versa. Its definition of capitalism, however, is based on the material results: wealth inequality. Capitalism, as defined by a Marxist definition, is explained by examining means of production. While capitalism has resulted in material inequality, it is defined by a division of two classes: 1) capitalists who own the means of production and can therefore turn capital into commodities to then sell for more capital; and 2) workers whose labor is commoditized and produces profit that capitalists have the exclusive ability to own and recommodify. For a fuller discussion of capitalism’s definition and functioning, see Racial Capitalism Definition (on Home page).

Wikipedia article that defines the capitalist mode of production