I obviously got the same obsessive reading gene my sister Megan has because visually consuming books has become one of my favorite pastimes! I can go through one reader per day (depending on the topic and length of course) and I often do when I’m finished with my other work. Last week I devoured Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, Lenin’s State and Revolution, and Maya Schenwar and Victoria Law’s Prison By Any Other Name—all three of which were absolutely incredible reads I loved and would highly recommend to anyone! And while these books were truly sublime (and which I’ll share in ‘reactions to’ posts soon!), I’m most looking forward to reading these four pieces of not-yet-released abolition literature I can’t wait to get my hands on in 2021!
The first selection of my greatly anticipated abolition literature is We Do This ‘Til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice by Mariame Kaba. Mariame is probably the main reason why I’m a staunch PIC abolitionist today as even without meeting me, she’s taught me so much about justice, empathy, and healing when the current main solution to harm is punishment and pain. As a baby abolitionist organizer, I know this book will be the most useful and thorough of my four abolition literature! Mariame has been doing abolition work for decades, but this is her first reader ever. I’m thrilled to read about her experiences organizing, the history of the PIC, and steps we as organizers can take to advance our causes even more moving forward! Abolition. Feminism. Now. is by Angela Davis (can’t you tell by the familiar cover?), Gina Dent, Erica Meiners, and Beth Richie. Part of the book’s description on Haymarket Books reads “organizing that continues to cultivate abolition but a recognition of the stark reality: abolition is our best response to endemic forms of state and interpersonal gender and sexual violence.” This summary illustrates why these four authors/scholars/organizers are the most poised to offer advice and analyses of abolitionist theories in this decade. Rachel Herzing and Justin Piché wrote How to Abolish Prisons: Lessons from the Movement Against Imprisonment, which compiles abolitionist work and projects from different individuals and orgs across North America. The timely book also details the radical importance of abolishing policing and prisons today as more people adopt language of dismantling and demolition of these carceral institutions. Having a collection of concrete abolition examples will be extremely helpful for baby organizers like me as we continue to find our footing! The last of my anticipated abolition literature is Change Everything: Racial Capitalism and the Case for Abolition by the one and only Ruth Wilson Gilmore. Ruth has written several other full length books and smaller pieces before, but within these series of Ruth’s lectures, she thoroughly explains to both her students and to us why punishment and pain aren’t our only options, but rather new systems of healing, safety, and love and care for each other. Just as Ruthie always says, “Abolition requires that we change one thing: everything.”