An Interview with Russell “Maroon” Shoatz
This chapter presents a written exchange between incarcerated activist and scholar Russell “Maroon” Shoatz and philosophy professor Lisa Guenther. Shoatz was held in solitary confinement for more than twenty-two consecutive years before being released into the general population, thanks to the work of his family, supporters, and the Abolitionist Law Center. In Maroon the Implacable: The Collected Works of Russell Maroon Shoatz (2013), Shoatz describes the decentralized structure of fugitive slave communities and connects this model to contemporary social movements. In the interview presented here, the author reflects on the practical and theoretical implications of his analysis in conversation with Lisa Guenther, author of Solitary Confinement: Social Death and its Afterlives (2013). Shoatz's life and work attest to the legacy of not just slavery but also the resistance to slavery. He offers an alternative history of the Americas—one that does not begin with the “discovery” of a “new world” ready to be conquered but rather with networks of relation and resistance that go beyond the colonial project and offer concrete models of mutual empowerment.
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