Book launch with Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Brenna Bhandar and Alberto Toscano.
‘Abolition is figuring out how to work with people to make something rather than figuring out how to erase something. Abolition is a theory of change, it’s a theory of social life.’
Gathering together Ruth Wilson Gilmore’s work from over three decades, Abolition Geography presents her singular contribution to the politics of abolition as theorist, researcher, and organiser, offering scholars and activists ways of seeing and doing to help navigate our turbulent present.
Abolition Geography moves us away from explanations of mass incarceration and racist violence focused on uninterrupted histories of prejudice or the dull compulsion of neoliberal economics. Instead, Gilmore offers a geographical grasp of how contemporary racial capitalism operates through an ‘anti-state state’ that answers crises with the organised abandonment of people and environments deemed surplus to requirements. Her approach escapes one-dimensional conceptions of what liberation demands, who demands liberation, or what indeed is to be abolished. Drawing on the lessons of grassroots organising and internationalist imaginaries, Abolition Geography undoes the identification of abolition with mere decarceration, and reminds us that freedom is not a mere principle but a place.
Ruth Wilson Gilmore is Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, and American Studies, at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and teaches on the Maumaus Independent Study Programme in Lisbon. She is author of Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (University of California Press, 2007) and Change Everything: Racial Capitalism and the Case for Abolition (Haymarket, 2021).
Copies of the book will be available for sale at the event.
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