Abolitionist or Demolitionist? (Words Carry Meanings)

During the 19th century those who were against chattel slavery were called “Abolitionists” and they organized what was called The Underground Railroad, a vast conspiracy consisting of slaves, escaped slaves, free-Blacks, whites, Natives, secret codes, routes, safe houses, defense forces, etc. and actively fought to free those being held as chattel and end chattel slavery in the U.S. Chattel slavery was eventually “abolished” after the Civil War and the enactment of the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, except for those who was to be “duly convicted of a crime” in a court of law.

The point is that those “Abolitionists” of the 19th century didn’t attempt to destroy the state, only the institution of chattel slavery, but left the oppressive government intact, thereby allowing the state to continue slavery as enacted by the 13th Amendment, denying the right of individuals to hold Blacks in slavery, but allowing the state the right to enslave anyone.

Today, there are those who call themselves “Abolitionists,” even some anarchists. But there are other anarchists who have begun to use the term “Demolitionists” instead, and for good reason.

“Abolition” depends on the good will and supposed humanity of politicians to enact more laws to end prisons. So they say…but most of their actions only bring about reform (more humane prisons). The real deal is that as long as government (the state) exists, there will be prisons. It’s in the state’s interest to erect prisons. The state uses prisons as a tool for social control, business uses prisons to reap obscene profits, and politicians are funded by big business and administer the state through the making of laws.

So, logic instructs us that if we desire to end prisons and truly live free, we must totally destroy the state and turn this world and the social order upside down. And that is why some anarchists have begun to use the term “Demolitionists” as opposed to “Abolitionists.”

The term “Abolitionists” as used is a major contradictory strain among anarchists who should know better, but obviously do not and need to be reminded of this.

The state and its proponents attempt to persuade us to subdue our passions and desires and accept the logic of submission to authority and domination, and the necessity of prisons, police, courts, and slavery by another name.

We can’t rely on the same institutions of oppression to rectify the problem and to do so is anathema to anarchy. Learn from the past.


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