Political Imprisonment and Confinement

Cover of Issue 146, The acrylic on canvas painting is titled Desvelo, 1990, by former Puerto Rican political prisoner Elizam Escobar.

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Political Imprisonments and Confinements
This issue of Radical History Review explores states’ uses of criminalization and imprisonment to silence critical voices and maintain structures of authority.

Features: Orisami Burton examines the US government’s counterinsurgency strategy against Black prisoners in the United States in the 1970s.  Kathleen Alfin details how the US Army encamped Liberian women for the sexual satisfaction of male GIs during the Second World War. Islamist forces in Turkey, Rustem Ertug Altinay argues, made an icon of a rightwing nationalist in order to oppose secular Turks. Debora D’Antonio examines the importance of “regular” prisons in 1970–1980s Argentina. Garrett Felber and Stephen Ward describe how prisoners become politicized during incarceration, while Stevie Wilson argues for the need to recognize the importance of “politicized prisoners.” Luis Rosa relates his experiences as an imprisoned Puerto Rican nationalist to explain why he was a political prisoner. Angelina Godoy explores the US government’s relationship to political prisoners in El Salvador in the 1980s.

Intervention: Pam Fadem, Rachel Leah Klein, and Benjamin D. Weber discuss the “open lettering” campaign publicized in the California Coalition for Women Prisoners’ newsletter.

Curated Spaces: Cecilia Belei presents the photography Alicia Sanguinetti produced from inside an Argentine prison in 1973. Andor Skotnes documents the fifth anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from confinement on Robben Island, South Africa, in 1995.

Caption for cover photo: The acrylic on canvas painting is titled Desvelo, 1990, by former Puerto Rican political prisoner Elizam Escobar. Our thanks to Jan Susler for providing us with the background on this painting.