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Jun 20, 19

Bend the Bars Conference August 23rd in Lansing!

You’re invited to Bend the Bars 2019, a day-and-a-half long conference about strategies and tactics for supporting the prisoner movement and the struggle for a world without prisons. Taking place in Lansing, Michigan starting on August 23rd.

Bend the Bars is a day-and-a-half long conference about strategies and tactics for supporting the prisoner movement and the struggle for a world without prisons. In 2016 and again in 2018 national prisoner strikes swept the nation and shifted the narrative about prisons and incarceration. At the same time, in response to both the slow decline of law-and-order politics as well as recurrent state budget crises, the methods of incarceration are changing with a shift away from large and costly state facilities to pouring resources and people into county jails as well as an increase in the use of ankle tethers or “e-carceration.”

In the wake of these two national strikes, and in the midst of this ongoing re-organization of incarceration, it is important to come together to critically reflect on the past struggles, their limits, the potential to exceed these limits, and the ways that we should be adapting to a changing terrain. The conference will consist of presentations and facilitated discussions about media/-making, tactics of support (letter writing, newsletters, phone zaps), broad strategies (prisoner strikes, legislation), and reflections on our efforts to build outside networks of solidarity.

Activists, organizations, and currently or formerly incarcerated people and their family members from across the Midwest are all welcome. The conference will take place from the evening of Friday August 23 to the evening of Saturday August 24 in Lansing, Michigan. Plan to arrive before 5pm on the 23rd. A more specific schedule will be sent out closer to the date of the event.

We hope to hear reflections from incarcerated organizers by phone. Please consider inviting a comrade behind bars to the conversation, to share thoughts on the state of prisoner struggle and forward-moving strategies for people inside and out.

If you are in need of accommodations in Lansing for the days of the conference, please let us know and we will do our best to meet your needs!

Proposal Submittal Guidelines:
– Please keep proposal submissions less than 500 words
– In addition to an abstract/outline, please send a short biography of you and/or your organization, as well as a few links to your work! We will be circulating biographies ahead of the conference as well
– Email your proposals to [email protected] as PDFs or .txt files with “Bend the Bars 2019 Proposal” in the subject line

Where: Cristo Rey Church, 201 W Miller Rd, Lansing, MI 48911
When: August 23-24th, 2019
RSVP here:

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Michigan Abolition and Prisoner Solidarity (MAPS) is a group organizing in solidarity with imprisoned people against the violence of incarceration.

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