David Maldonado


David is a formerly incarcerated activist and a founding member of the Berkeley Underground Scholars. He is deeply interested in the logics of carcerality, particularly in late stage capitalism. His work brings an undercommons sensibility to (re) imagine an abolitionist futurity at the site of the university. Drawing on both Marxian and Black Studies analysis, his intellectual questions traverse the terrain between the prison and the university, as both institutions are presumably ‘in crisis.’ Following the conjunctural work of Stuart Hall, Ruthie Gilmore, and others, his work argues conjunctural analysis exposes the particular contradictions in a capitalist liberal democratic society during an historical moment—especially when those contradictions can no longer reproduce themselves. By this Gramscian logic, during a crisis in hegemony, the historical bloc has to reconfigure the equilibrium between the state and civil society, forcing a readjustment of consent and coercion. The bloc achieves this, overwhelmingly, by seizing a racialized “folk devil” to harden ideological commitments towards a coercive state, built on law and order rhetoric and policies. He feels it is in interrupting these counterinsurgent and surplus management techniques that subversive abolitionist intellectuals can Study, plan, and organize.