Racial, gender, and environmental justice. Class war. Militarism. Interpersonal violence. Old age security. This is not the vocabulary many use to critique the prison-industrial complex.
But in this series of powerful lectures, Ruth Wilson Gilmore shows that the only way to dismantle systems and logics of control and punishment is to change questions, categories, and campaigns from the ground up.
Abolitionism doesn’t just say no to police, prisons, border control, and the current punishment system. It requires persistent organizing for what we need, organizing that’s already present in the efforts people cobble together to achieve access to schools, health care and housing, art and meaningful work, and freedom from violence and want.
As Gilmore makes plain, “Abolition requires that we change one thing: everything.”
Change Everything is the inaugural book in the new Abolitionist Papers book series, edited by Naomi Murakawa.
“Ruthie has always been very clear that prison abolition is not just about closing prisons. It’s a theory of change.”—Michelle Alexander, author, The New Jim Crow
“In three decades of advocating for prison abolition, the activist and scholar has helped transform how people think about criminal justice.”—New York Times Magazine
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Watch the full video of our event with Ruth Wilson Gilmore on Covid-19, Decarceration, and Abolition, hosted by Naomi Murakawa. Gilmore’s new Haymarket book Change Everything: Racial Capitalism and the Case for Abolition, will be released in February, 2021.