The Prison Slave as Hegemony’s Silent Scandal

Wilderson’s classic 2003 article on the anti-politics of the slave relation and its implications for the war against prisons, the economy, and humanist ethics. In our opinion, the best introductory text to Wilderson’s thought and Afropessimism more broadly.

“From the coherence of civil society, the Black subject beckons with the incoherence of civil war, a war that reclaims Blackness not as a positive value, but as a politically enabling site, to quote Fanon, of ‘absolute dereliction.’ It is a ‘scandal’ that rends civil society asunder. Civil war, then, becomes the unthought, but never forgotten, understudy of hegemony. It is a Black specter waiting in the wings, an endless antagonism that cannot be satisfied (via reform or reparation), but must nonetheless be pursued to the death.”