No justice, no peace: an ethical re/orientation towards a grammar of justice
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No justice, no peace. In the late spring and early summer months of 2020, the chant shook the streets of cities across the United States and the world. No justice, no peace. Screamed in outrage and pain, the chant demanded a response to the question of justice. The goal of this thesis is to interrogate what justice has meant, what it continues to mean, and what it might mean. Through examining the 2020 uprisings in the U.S. against racial violence and police brutality, and accompanying calls for justice, this thesis argues for an ethical re/orientation to towards a grammar of justice. Concerned that contemporary cries for justice occur only following violence, in worst case death (e.g. in the wake of police murders), this thesis begins by interrogating when justice is invoked today, how it still depends on violence, and why it can only signify death when articulated through the Modern Grammar of separability, sequentiality and determinacy (Ferreira da Silva, 2016; 2017; 2018). I examine two protests in the state of California, both of which occurred during the spring and summer of 2020, and explore how each demand justice in respectively distinct registers. The first register articulates this moment in the US as one of emergency, suggesting the question of justice can be resolved by the indictment of murderers in blue. The latter protest evades the trappings of this carceral logic, understanding justice within the register of abolition. Ultimately, rather than providing an answer to the question of justice, this thesis aims to stay with the emergence of coalitional possibilities and culminates in an experimental poetic endeavor of ‘hacking’. With this, I hope to excavate a relational justice, a justice oriented towards liberation.
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