May- 2020 Monthly Spotlight with Lucas Dietsche
Interview by STK Committee and Matt Reschke
1. When did you get involved in activism in your life?
I became a revolutionary communist(anti-Stalinist Trotskyist) in 2004. I transformed from being a conservative overnight through Iraq war work, student work, tuition fights, and work on campus at University of Wisconsin Superior. I joined Youth for Socialist Action and then Socialist Action that fall. I was an organizer and supporter of SA till leaving SA for Socialist Resurgence in 2019.
2. What was the first type of activism you got involved with? I was involved with the opposition of a student center at UWS. The center was filled with all sorts of contradictions and hypocrisy and research into the plans, I became more aweare of things happening around the world.
3. How is racial justice, youth justice and being a schoolteacher relate in your opinion? One has to praxis(pun) what they preach. Radical pedagogy, transformative justice, convict criminology, and abolitionist criminology do not exist within the four walls of a classroom. What someone learns can affects and effects vice versa to capitalist dialectics. To not get involved in revolutionary politics when being infused with social justice is a great disservice to someone’s education and time. Many people get involved in politics at a myopic electoral level and then sell out to a profit non-profit and believe radical streak was just for college. Everything is political, and this must be internalized.
4. What is the biggest problem in schools that perpetuate the school to prison pipeline? The banal acceptance of the criminal justice system in classrooms. This means forming schools based on prison environments. Schools are letting cops arrest children, keep chimeric order, and allow cops inside schools. In Superior, WI police can congregate with kids and show off “crime fighting” robots on Juneteenth. This makes the argument that cops are the kid’s friends and to respect them at an early age. There must be a no cop but counselor and schools mentality.
5. What are methods that teachers, parents, administrators, the juvenile justice system, and community members can use to dismantle the school to prison pipeline? Administrators might be the problem in that they run schools like prisons and rely on the police and jails to control kids with mental interruptions. Teachers, parents, radicalized community activists(there is no such thing as a homogenous united community)They must have courage and internalize consciousness to be okay with protecting kids from contact with police. There must be an acceptance of police and prison abolition.
6. What do you do now in activist groups against the school to prison pipeline? I am formerly incarcerated finishing my last semester currently pursuing my master’s in criminology/Criminal Justice at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. My Master’s Thesis is on “Poetic Justice” to use poetry for healing, dissuasion, and help trauma-affected system-involved youth. I am starting research into the academic paradigm of Poetic Criminology. Currently living in Superior, Wisconsin I am self-taught poet. I have published works such as “Word Out”, “Elba”, “Commies and Zombies”, “Since the Oregon Trail”, “Moods are Like Wisconsin Weather”, and “Kapshida.” I have published poetry in Transformative Justice Journal, Ariel Anthology, and Nemadji Review. I have a blog called “Xennial Poetry Notes. I am Superior’s first Co-Poet Laureate in 2019.
I am the Regional Coordinator with North Save the Kids, Incarcerated People’s Liaison/Editor with Poetry Behind the Walls, and Transformative Justice Journal, , and organizer of Letters to Prisoners group. I have presented on Letters to Prisoners, zines as radical pedagogy, and upon intersectionality., and convict criminology. I am a member of Lake Superior Socialist Resurgence. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.