Anti-Capitalist to Fund Future as Contestant in Capitalist Beauty Contest

Meet Annia, a young, energetic, and passionate milwaukeean with a reputation for badass local organizing who has participated heavily in projects such as the Brave Green Wave Trybe (BGWT) and the 21st Street Community Cooperative, Uplifting Black Liberation and Community (UBLAC), and MKE Good Food Bus. For the average black child having grown up in milwaukee’s segregated, incarcerated, and disinvested northside neighborhoods, Annia’s life is fairly typical – growing up with a single mother working multiple jobs for less than her worth and still struggling to pay the bills, schools stripped bare by budget cut after cut until there are no sports or arts or music programs at all, an ever-mounting stream of brutal attacks and murders of Black and brown people coupled with personal racially targeted experiences – shit pretty much sucks and no one’s going to come and make things better anytime soon. 

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Racist Bills in WI Legislature

Wisconsin’s racist legislature is at it again—this time they’re coming for the parental rights of incarcerated (and formerly incarcerated) people.

Assembly Bill 627 aims to terminate the parental rights based on the parent’s incarceration status. As recently as October 2021, research has shown that Wisconsin has the highest incarceration rates for black people in the country. Given this information, is there any other way to interpret this law? It’s clearly yet another attack on Black parents and Black youth.

As with many racist misconceptions held by those who uphold and defend white supremacy, the absentee Black parent has been shown to be a myth and a falsehood meant to delegitimize the pain Black families experience when they’re broken up by state violence. This is nothing more than a continuation of the antebellum practice of separating families.

This bill was introduced and co-sponsored by a host of republicans who’s constituencies are designed to exclude BIPoC by way of racist gerrymandering and voter restriction laws. Though it is unlikely to be signed into law by Governor Evers, it’s introduction and co-sponsorship makes clear what kinds of oppressive attacks the state intends to take once the governorship swings back to the GOP.

Having a strong connection to friends and family has been consistently linked to a reduction in recidivism. But, the state and DOC consistently put policies into place that only exacerbate the problems in our society, ruin the lives of everyone entangled in their web of corruption and perpetuate violence and harm.

On December 1, 2021, a handful of collaborators with abolishMKE went to the capitol in Madison to speak against this bill. Anticipating that the public would speak against this bill, the committee scheduled it for the end of the session, making anyone who opposes it wait all day. Nearly 3/4 of the people who signed up to speak ended up being unable to wait due to this scheduling decision. This tactic has consistently employed by these committee’s so they can ignore the public. It’s just another example of how they don’t care what we want or what we think, they get into power and do what they can to ruin all of our lives.

Ep 23: Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win part 2 (special episode)

This is a special edition of the ABOLISHmke podcast.

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Ep 22: Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win part 1 (special episode)

This is a special edition of the ABOLISHmke podcast.

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It’s literally attached to the district 1 police station.

“Municipal courts, as we are fond of saying, are not broken. They are a coercive apparatus perfectly suited to limiting the mobility (physical, economic, and political) of racialized subjects. They will produce what they are designed to produce until they are abolished.” – Brendan Roediger

Milwaukee exercised its option to create a municipal court in 1975. Since that time, Milwaukee Municipal Court has played an important role in legitimizing police, expanding the scope of the legal punishment system, and has extracted hundreds of millions of dollars from Milwaukee residents, primarily Black residents who are experiencing poverty. In 2015, several of Milwaukee’s Common Council members publicly considered abolishing the municipal court. This piece will explore the harms perpetrated by the municipal court and show that Milwaukee Municipal Court must be abolished. 


How to defund police and sheriff now!

Demonstration in Wauwatosa, June 2020.

People have overwhelming come out to say: we want fewer cops, and more investment in people and communities. But right now: our work is at risk!

Politicians in Milwaukee are making decisions that will either continue the city’s carceral and white supremacist approach to public safety, or depart from it to invest in people and communities. This is a time when we need the whole city talking about the budgets, and particularly about defunding police. If you haven’t contacted your local representatives yet, on both the city and county level, now is the time. 

What’s at stake this week:

  • 195 more cops. Mayor Tom Barrett proposed three police recruit classes of 65 cops each, which will cost Milwaukee $6 million. Common council will approve it next Monday unless we stop them.
  • Harm reduction in the jail and house of corruption (HOC). A committee of the county board is hearing a resolution about giving people held in the jail and HOC free phone calls and video visits on Friday, October 29, at 10:30am. 
  • $3 million increase for county sheriff’s office (MCSO). County exec David Crowley proposed raises for MCSO staff, but the county board can shut him down. 
  • $700,000 for lakefront surveillance. Crowley also proposed a system to expand MCSO surveillance and violence on the lakefront.
  • Divesting $11.3 million MCSO. County board members introduced 24 amendments that will take money from the sheriff and put it into human needs and real public safety. 
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Close Youth Prisons Part 3: forty-six million 

The people’s revolution marching, September 2020.

This is the last in a three-part series about closing the illegal youth prisons in Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake (LH/CL). Part one outlined the best, fastest way to close these prisons. Part two re-examined the sordid tale of compromises that left the prisons open, and the millions of dollars the democrats are trying to spend on new ones. In this part, we’ll take a look at what could be funded with those millions instead. 

The actual needs of Milwaukee youth

Democrats are trying to spend $42-46 million on a new prison in Milwaukee county that would cage 36 children. At the low end, that’s $1.17 million each child. Last February there were 22 kids from Milwaukee county in LH/CL who this new prison would be built for. That’s about $2 million each child. That’s ridiculous.

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Close Youth Prisons Part 2: the wrong way

This is the second in a three-part series about closing the illegal youth prisons in Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake (LH/CL). Part one outlined the best and fastest way to close these prisons: by eliminating the Serious Juvenile Offender Program (SJOP) and adult sentencing of youths. These bad laws were inspired by the racist “superpredator” myth which requires the state to lock some kids in extra harmful “type 1” facilities. In part two, we’re going to examine why that didn’t happen, and the foolishness that happened instead. 

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Behind the headlines on the governor’s violence prevention funding

Tony Evers visits Milwaukee.

On October 13, governor Evers almost kind of started making an investment in alternatives to state violence in Milwaukee. He came here to announce $45 million from Wisconsin’s recovery act (ARPA) funds would go into “safer communities and violence prevention.” 

Unfortunately, as with his pardon announcements, this is another of his misleading headlines. Behind the headlines, nearly half ($20 million) of the allocated funds are going to supporting victim services through the department of justice. We know them from their work obstructing the release of old law prisoners. That is not violence prevention.

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Close Wisconsin’s illegal youth prisons NOW!

Fireworks set off outside the prison in protest and solidarity with the youth, September 2021.

This article is the first in a three-part series.

The Lincoln Hills and Copper Lake youth prisons (LH/CL) in Irma, WI have been illegally confining children since July 1, 2021. More than seventy percent of the kids are Black, and nearly half are from Milwaukee county. Starting in 2010, kids in these prisons successfully exposed horrific abuse practices by staff. By 2017, the kids and their advocates had drawn investigations from the media, the state, and federal agencies. They built so much momentum that the legislature passed and the governor signed Wisconsin act 185, which required that both prisons close by January 1, 2021. 

Unfortunately, when that date approached, rather than closing the prisons, politicians passed a new law pushing closure back to July 1. The second deadline passed this summer, and the prisons were not closed. No new law extended the deadline. The state just continued operating illegally. 

Which sends a pretty clear statement: Wisconsin politicians are willing to ignore and violate state law when it comes to abusing Black kids from Milwaukee.

Continue reading “Close Wisconsin’s illegal youth prisons NOW!”