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Big Alcohol vs. Working Class Joy / James Wilt


I think it's something that police and prison abolitionists like Black and Indigenous women especially have been sort of thinking about and theorizing and practicing for a very long time: It's something that we take really seriously, is the fact that there are ways that we can keep ourselves and keep our communities safe and in a state of well-being ... that doesn't rely on policing and incarceration which so often leads to death and assault...I think in specific regard to alcohol or other drug use, I think what it really has to come down to is just the wholesale elimination of police and carceral facilities and all the rest in terms of responding to this as a "social issue." So what can replace that I think is already being articulated in many ways for many other different issues. It really is about civilian public services which are not connected to the carceral institutions that are out to promote genuine harm-reduction and to promote public health and promote these things that actually keep people safe...It really does require the front-on confrontation and reduction of police power and carceral power...Failing to do that will mean that whatever kind of public health ideas we come up with will eventually be reconstituted within the carceral state.

We have on James Wilt, author of, “Drinking Up the Revolution: How to Smash Big Alcohol and Reclaim Working-Class Joy.” James is a writer and PhD candidate based in Winnipeg, Canada.  

James discusses how working class people form their relationship with drugs and alcohol when these are commodified by big business interests as well as the way in which enforcement of norms surrounding drug and alcohol are often racialized.

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James Wilt

James Wilt is a freelance journalist and author of the book Do Androids Dream of Electric Cars? Public Transit in the Age of Google, Uber, and Elon Musk (Between the Lines Books). He organizes with the police abolitionist organization Winnipeg Police Cause Harm.


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