On this episode, Hannah invites Maya Binyam, editor of The New Inquiry, to discuss the publication’s Bail Block project. Bail Block is a desktop application that uses leftover processing power to mine for cryptocurrency which is then converted to dollars and used to post bail for people jailed awaiting trial, currently through their partner The Bronx Freedom Fund. The app foregrounds the intersecting ways that finance capitalism and the surveillance state work to generate, or mine, value out of marginalized people through pervasive carcerality and predictive policing.
Binyam explains that posting bail is not just about immediate pretrial freedom, but for ensuring freedom going forward. Bail, as a control scheme entirely based on an always already stratified access to capital, works to enforce a condition of assumed guilt even before trial for those with the least means, as public attorneys pressure those charged into questionable pleas in order to escape possibly even worse fates at the hands of the prison state.
Rather than just opened up, some boxes are better off being broken down.