Reconsidering Narratives: An Abolitionist Response to Anti-Asian Violence
As abolitionists, what does it mean to #StopAsianHate and enact “justice” in response to the ongoing spate of attacks against our elders and peers? How do we materially address the root causes of anti-Asian violence—without re-entrenching the carceral entities that harass, evict, brutalize, and traumatize our communities?
A collaborative effort, by Asian comrades from NYC-DSA’s Racial Justice Working Group (RJWG)
*Content warning: Descriptions of violence*
On January 15th, Simon Martial, a homeless man with schizophrenia, shoved 40-year-old Michelle Alyssa Go onto the path of an oncoming subway train and to her death. In a public statement, Michelle’s family mourned their loss of a woman described by loved ones as “smart, funny, big hearted and a real role model.”
“Her life was taken too soon in a senseless act of violence,” Michelle’s family stated. “We pray that she gets the justice she deserves.”
As Asian members of a socialist organization with a political commitment to abolition, we have often discussed what it means to enact “justice” in response to the ongoing spate of attacks against our elders and peers. As the groundswell of anguish and shock at Michelle’s tragic death reverberates across our city, and as Asian activists across the country demand that we “Stop Asian Hate,” we ask once again: What’s the world we’re trying to build? In our grief and anger, what does it mean to fight for justice? Can “justice” mean something beyond the cruel and racist logic of prisons and policing, and be something that materially addresses the conditions that make Asian people vulnerable to violence?
We can predict, at this point, the responses to this heartbreaking violence. Since the start of the attacks, Asian celebrities, influencers, activists, politicians, and businesspeople have organized all manner of events and actions to demand that onlookers do their part to “#StopAsianHate.” As organizers who are part of a mass, multi-racial movement to defund the police…