July 11, 2017, 6:30-8:30pm, Centre for Social Innovation (Annex)
Much of what Canadians know of prisons is imported from analyses of the United States, the world’s undisputed leader in incarceration. But how much of what we know of the US applies to Canada? This presentation will briefly cover the major contours of the Canadian prison system and critically review the main theories of contemporary incarceration, before turning to a more in-depth look at the political economy of prison and prison labour in Canada. It will then consider various theoretical and practical issues for the left, ultimately arguing that the left needs to abandon both attitudes of romantic lionization of prisoners as well as callous indifference to their struggles. Socialists can do this by building solidarity with prisoners on a class basis that seriously takes up issues of freedom and unfreedom in capitalism.
Jordan House is a PhD candidate in Political Science at York University. He holds an Honours BA and MA in Political Science from the University of New Brunswick. His research interests include the politics of prison, policing and state repression; the political economy of prison and prison labour; and labour movement renewal and strategy. His doctoral dissertation examines prisoner-worker organizing in Canada.