“For scholarship to be transformative, it has to be dangerous: It has to identify, understand, and threaten the institutions of power that keep freedom struggles from flourishing. Against the deathly failures of racial capitalism and the carceral state, my responsibility as a scholar and organizer is to advance our collective capacity to become such threats, to better understand sources of counterrevolutionary violence and harm, and to map them in service of the anticapitalist and anticolonial liberation movements I am accountable to.”

Charmaine Chua, Ph.D.

Charmaine Chua is an assistant professor in the Department of Global Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her scholarship and organizing confront the global regimes of production and distribution that configure race and class inequalities, with a focus on how these inequalities are lived, contested, and overcome by anti-imperialist, anticapitalist, and abolitionist freedom struggles. Chua is currently writing two books, The Logistics Counterrevolution: Fast Circulation, Slow Violence, and the Transpacific Empire of Circulation and How to Beat Amazon: The Struggle of America's New Working Class (coauthored with Spencer Cox). Her essays and articles have been published in the Socialist Register, Theory and Event, Antipode, the Boston Review, Jacobin, and the Nation, among other venues. Informed by long traditions of anticolonial internationalism, Chua currently organizes with Cops Off Campus, the Marxist Institute of Research, and Amazonians United, a class-struggle union of Amazon warehouse workers. She received her BA from Vassar College and PhD from the University of Minnesota. 

“Abolition Is a Constant Struggle: Five Lessons from Minneapolis,” Theory and Event (October 2020)

Abolition is an ongoing fight, not a singular event. The Minneapolis abolition movement teaches us that sustained organizing, intersectional alliances, and creative direct action are crucial for lasting change. By learning from the past and adapting to new challenges, we can continue to push towards a more just and equitable society

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“Battling the Behemoth: Amazon and the Rise of the New US Working Class,” coauthored with Spencer Cox, Socialist Register (November 2022)

In "Battling the Behemoth," Charmaine Chua explores the rise of America's New Working Class, who are redefining the nature of work and challenging the dominance of Amazon and other tech giants. This group values purpose, autonomy, and community over traditional measures of success, and they are creating new models of work that prioritize meaningful engagement and personal fulfillment.

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“When the Public University Is the Corporate Landlord,” coauthored by Chua, Desiree Fields, and David Stein, LPE Project blog (February 2023)

The article "When the Public University Is the Corporate Landlord" highlights the growing trend of public universities partnering with private companies to manage and profit from student housing. This shift raises concerns about the impact on affordability, academic freedom, and the role of public universities in serving the public good.

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“The Ever Given and the Monstrosity of Maritime Capitalism,” Boston Review (May 2021)

The Ever Given incident has highlighted the dangers of unchecked maritime capitalism, prioritizing profits over safety and environmental concerns. It is a monstrosity that puts profit over people and the planet, leading to avoidable disasters.

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Questions about the Freedom Scholar awards can be sent to freedomscholars@caseygrants.org.