Abolitionist Zones

There’s a lot of abolitionist zones in the US. You go to the Hamptons, its abolitionist. You go to the Upper West Side, its abolitionist. You go to places in California where the medium income is over a million dollars, abolitionist. There’s not a cop to be seen. And so, the reality is that rich White people get to deal with all of their problems in ways that don’t involve the police, or cages, or drug tests or things like that. The reality is that people actually know that police and cages don’t keep you safe, if it’s your son or your daughter.

As a political movement, prison abolition builds on the work of slavery abolitionists of a previous era and tools like Appolition bring the movement into the digital arena. Days after the original tweet first circulated, Ziegler partnered with Tiffany Mikell to launch the app and began collaborating with the National Bail Out movement, a network of organizations that attempt to end cash bail and pretrial detention and to get funds into the hands of local activists who post bail. In September 2017 Ziegler was planning a kickoff event with the modest goal of enrolling 600 people. But after the launch in November the project garnered 8,000 enrollments, which landed Appolition in the top ten most innovative companies in 2018.

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More important for our discussion is that Appolition is a technology with an emancipatory ethos, a tool of solidarity that directs resources to getting people literally free. In fact, many White people who have signed up say that they see it as a form of reparation,5 one small way to counteract the fact that the carceral system uses software that codes for inequity. To date, Appolition has raised $230,000, that money being directed to local organizations whose posted bails have freed over 65 people.6 As the National Bail Out network explains, “[e]veryday an average of 700,000 people are condemned to local jails and separated from their families. A majority of them are there simply because they cannot afford to pay bail.”