Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California

Golden Gulag Prisons Surplus Crisis and Opposition in Globalizing California Since the number of people in U S prisons has increased than % Despite a crime rate that has been falling steadily for decades California has led the way in this explosion with what a state

  • Title: Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California
  • Author: Ruth Wilson Gilmore
  • ISBN: 9780520242012
  • Page: 352
  • Format: Paperback
  • Since 1980, the number of people in U.S prisons has increased than 450% Despite a crime rate that has been falling steadily for decades, California has led the way in this explosion, with what a state analyst called the biggest prison building project in the history of the world Golden Gulag provides the first detailed explanation for that buildup by looking at hSince 1980, the number of people in U.S prisons has increased than 450% Despite a crime rate that has been falling steadily for decades, California has led the way in this explosion, with what a state analyst called the biggest prison building project in the history of the world Golden Gulag provides the first detailed explanation for that buildup by looking at how political and economic forces, ranging from global to local, conjoined to produce the prison boom In an informed and impassioned account, Ruth Wilson Gil examines this issue through statewide, rural, and urban perspectives to explain how the expansion developed from surpluses of finance capital, labor, land, and state capacity Detailing crises that hit California s economy with particular ferocity, she argues that defeats of radical struggles, weakening of labor, and shifting patterns of capital investment have been key conditions for prison growth The results a vast and expensive prison system, a huge number of incarcerated young people of color, and the increase in punitive justice such as the three strikes law pose profound and troubling questions for the future of California, the United States, and the world Golden Gulag provides a rich context for this complex dilemma, and at the same time challenges many cherished assumptions about who benefits and who suffers from the state s commitment to prison expansion.

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    1. Ruth Wilson Gilmore

      Ruth Wilson Gilmore Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California book, this is one of the most wanted Ruth Wilson Gilmore author readers around the world.

    759 thoughts on “Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California”

    1. This is written by an activist trying to answer questions asked by mothers fighting for the lives of their children in prison, and grappling with the theory behind her work, so you know I loved it. I found it quite challenging though, and I'm still thinking about how she frames the political economy of prisons and how that intersects with race. In a nutshell, she argues that "isons are partial geographical solutions to political economic crises, organized by the state, which is itself in crisis" [...]


    2. The approach that Gilmore takes to analysing the expansion of California’s prison system centres on the political economy - most especially on the pivotal moments of surplus and crisis. She draws beautifully on cultural geography to describe the prison boom in the “golden state” over the past three decades; which has created an "archipelago" of prisons. Gilmore depicts surplus state power and surplus populations (most especially people of color and poor white people) as the making of a cri [...]


    3. I gleaned a lot from the book. It draws crucial links between many political, economic, and demographic changes that I wouldn't have pieced together on my own. My reading experience was a bit marred by stylistic vices: (1) complex sentences packed with abstract nouns and jargon; (2) tendency to offer 2-3 nouns/verbs when 1 would do, and to qualify statements to death, thereby trading clarity for "nuance."Main take-aways of value, for me: (1) Better understanding of connections among capitalist i [...]


    4. I was expecting this book to lay out the full economy of prisons, but that's not what it does. It does give a pretty good sense of the economics and dynamics of sitting prisons in rural communities, but it doesn't go much beyond that. The rest of the book deals both with the economic history in rural CA and an activist group Mothers Reclaiming Our Children. I've heard this book get talked up a lot, so I was pretty disappointed. Also, Gilmore suggests, but doesn't outright say, that the massive p [...]


    5. Excellent overview of an economic and racial analysis of prisons in Cali. Two things I gathered from quickly running through this as a source for something I was working on: prisons as containment policy towards structural unemployment and the key role the central valley plays as location and workforce for most prisons as well as on the political plane. Downsides: It could be cuz I'm not used to MLA style, but in some sections they gave too much clutter to the text. I was hoping to find a more d [...]


    6. This book breaks down the myths of anti-prison sentiments while simultaneously providing a narrative of how the state (specifically California) became a prison state out of recession and surplus. Gilmore provides the language of geographical/historical/capital shifts that increased incarceration and created political tough on crime rhetorics. She also layers this all with describing the racist laws and police interventions used to fill prison beds. Build the prison, then create the prisoner. It [...]



    7. Real awesome analysis of the California prison boom of the '80s and '90s. The book does a cool job of going from macroscopic big-picture analysis of capitalism and California political economy, down to more local analysis of small farm towns and activist groups of Southern California. Very dense, lots of information, but all written in a clear and concise way, accessible regardless of your background in the relevant subjects. My only gripe is that I was hoping that it would cover dynamics across [...]


    8. A political-economic geographic analysis of the history of the prison industrial complex in California. Avoiding the prison-as-plantation narrative, Gilmore instead opts for a Marxian illustration of surplus labor/population and the "prison fix" as the solution to this problem of modern capitalism.Golden Gulag faces the correlation/causation challenge prevalent in many social-science works. However, the book is extensively researched and referenced and provides a plausible explanation for how an [...]


    9. Awesome read. I had been in the social science doldrums for a while, yet walked away feeling inspired. May be a bit thick for non-social science/humanities people. Would provoke a pretty violent reaction by the Ayn Rand crowd if one happened to read it.Gilmore has two unique insights. First, "crisis" is what happens when something in society (people, land, buildings) becomes surplus and society decides it must do something about it. Building from that, California's prison system represents a dis [...]


    10. ruthie is professor of geography and program director of american studies and ethnicity at usc. she is also a member of the california prison moratorium project, critical resistance, and the central california environmental justice network. this unique combination of theory and practice makes golden gulag one of the most sophisticated, grounded books i've ever read on the prison-industrial complex. golden gulag is imperative for anyone who wants to understand how and why california's undertaking [...]


    11. Finished this book a few weeks ago but didn't have chance to post review. This book is really critical for understanding the 'why' of the prison-industrial complex, and not just the 'how' - which I tend to think we know more about. Ruthie really breaks down why prisons emerged in California in the past several decades; specifically, surplus land, labor, capital, and government capacity. I was really trying to absorb what she was saying in this book, and the chapter on Corcoran (the siting of a p [...]


    12. Great book. In depth analysis of the development of prisons in relation to the rise of the neoliberal state. Followed by a social movement history of grassroots response to imprisonment by those impacted by it. Finishes off with her own thoughts on how to respond to the injustice that is the prison system by drawing from lessons learned by studying the problem and the grassroots response. This is a good example of activist scholarship. If you are just starting to read about prisons this is a bet [...]


    13. This book contained fascinating political, economic, and cultural analysis demonstrating that prison expansion has become a cultural epidemic. The reason I only gave it three stars was because the (large) section on California's political economy was dry. However, the section dealing with Mothers Reclaiming Our Children (a non-profit organization) was both insightful, moving, and inspirational. I think the most valuable aspect of this book was Gilmore's insights about the best way to bring about [...]


    14. A somewhat conspiratorially-minded book on how the rise of the carcereal state in California represents a specific form of punitive response to the transformation of the state's political economy from Cold War industrialism to globally oriented information technology — a shift that has made the excluded brown underclass largely redundant. The writing is more activist than academic in tone (nothing wrong with that!) and the arguments are largely derivative of the scholarship of others.


    15. Interesting historical account of the development of the California prison system. However, it is deliberately, unabashedly, unsubtly Marxist to the point of being quite annoying - she uses "structure" and "class" to denote anything she feels like mentioning, which is both disingenuous and just plain wrong. Ultimately, her obsession with structural causes leaves no room for the sociocultural side of life.


    16. Ruth Wilson Gilmore lays it all out there in this sobering, yet hopeful, analysis of California's prison industrial complex This book is tough to get through because there is a TON of information in it. It's written by somebody who is an experienced organizer for prison abolition. She offers insightful commentary on the system and ways that people can effect change.


    17. An excellent book that breaks down the development of mass incarceration in California. Each chapter is a necessary part of the conversation, but I think that those interested in gaining a working understating of mass incarceration as a political and economic strategy will find the most use in the introduction and chapters 1 & 2.


    18. dense and tightly researched geography of prisons in the political economy of california. ruthie is an amazing geographer and prison industrial complex abolitionist. read it and weep, then struggle with us.


    19. A look at the rise of the Californian penal system, which is truly staggering in its dimensions, as well as the anti-prison organizations that seek to dismantle it.








    20. Just in case you were thinking California was all sweetness, liberalism and light. Take a heavy dose of this book and start a revolution in the morning.




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