Issue 20: policy

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The term “policy” has become so conceptually wedded to the state that when it is spoken, most imagine something akin to what scholar Jasbir Puar calls, in the case of Israel, an “asphyxiatory regime of power”—a series of guidelines enforced by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) producing both physical and virtual hi-tech enclosure where “the target is … not just [Palestinian] life itself, but resistance.” This dominant idea of policy signals an abandonment of abolitionist politics and an investment in the buttoned-down world of reform, where tepid conversations concede “better training for police” instead of the street’s demand for their destruction. What is more cisheterosexual and abled than the capacity for upright compliance with state assignations positioned as policy—in other words, a seat at the table?

However, as Safiya Noble offers in this issue, we can envision a more capacious policy that is wedded neither to the state nor to the reformist disregard for Black life embodied in Michael Brown’s depiction as “no angel”—or the rendering of Palestinians as “human animals” and India’s Dalits as “untouchables.” What are the guidelines and precepts for A Nation on No Map, as William C. Anderson’s critical text on Black anarchism is titled? How do we conceptualize a set of beliefs to guide us through these “brutal undoings,” to borrow Christina Sharpe’s phrase, without attempting to stabilize liberal notions of citizenship, personhood, or monstrous innocence?

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