Spirituality and Abolition

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    Abolition Collective, Ashon Crawley and Roberto Sirvent (eds.)

    Publisher: Common Notions

    Year: 2023

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 224 pages

    ISBN: 9781942173724

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Abolition can be a spiritual practice, a spiritual journey, and a spiritual commitment. What does abolition entail and how can we get there as a collective and improvisational project?

To posit the spirituality of abolition is to consider the ways historical and contemporary movements against slavery; prisons; the wage system; animal and earth exploitation; racialized, gendered, and sexualized violence; and the death penalty necessitate epistemologies that have been foreclosed through violent force by Western philosophical and theological thought. It is also to claim that the material conditions that will produce abolition are necessarily Black, Indigenous, queer and trans, feminist, and also about disabled and other non-conforming bodies in force and verve.

Spirituality and Abolition asks: What can prison abolition teach us about spiritual practice, spiritual journey, spiritual commitment? And, what can these things underscore about the struggle for abolition as a desired manifestation of material change in the worlds we currently inhabit? Collecting writings, poetry, and art from thinkers, organizers, and incarcerated people, the editors trace the importance of faith and spirit in our ongoing struggle towards abolitionist horizons.

About the Authors

Abolition: A Journal of Insurgent Politics is a collectively-run project supporting radical scholarly and activist ideas, poetry, and art, publishing and disseminating work that encourages us to make the impossible possible, to seek transformation well beyond policy changes and toward revolutionary abolitionism.

What People Are Saying

“Spirituality and Abolition is an invaluable collective contribution to thinking abolitionist theology and spiritual praxis, an open invitation to an abolitionist struggle being waged in the earthly and also the immaterial and spiritual realm, demystifying the ways in which colonialism and anti-Blackness shape carceral religiosity and also calling forth and evoking liberationist models of spirituality. Activists, spiritual workers, clergy, and academics in religious and Black and Indigenous and feminist, queer and trans studies as well will greatly benefit from this indispensable anthology.” Che Gosset, Racial Justice Postdoctoral Fellow, Columbia Law School and Visiting Fellow, Animal Law and Policy Center, Harvard Law School

“This brilliant and absorbing collection of rigorous research articles, thoughtful political interventions, and innovative artworks is immensely important to the work of committed scholars, activists and organizers. There is much that teaches, fortifies, motivates and mobilizes here.” Laleh Khalili, author of Sinews of War and Trade: Shipping and Capitalism in the Arabian Peninsula and Time in the Shadows: Confinement in Counterinsurgencies

"Making Abolitionist Worlds is an urgent reminder that theorizing and practicing abolition must take place across prison walls and the boundaries imposed by the colonial state, heteropatriarchy, settler colonialism, white supremacy, and capitalism. Finally, here is a journal providing a platform capacious enough to embrace the insurgent knowledge of activists, the analytical rigor of scholars, and the visionary power of artists." Jackie Wang, author of Carceral Capitalism

“As the world we know is shattering more rapidly than we might have ever imagined, comes Making Abolitionist Worlds, an urgent call to build the new. These pieces movingly remind us that liberation will not transpire solely through opposition; it demands radical inquiry, imagination, creation. This collection brilliantly illustrates a core truth: we don't need ‘alternatives to incarceration,’ we need a wildly recreated society in which incarceration is unthinkable. Making Abolitionist Words will nourish and fuel struggles for transformation.” Maya Schenwar, author of Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn't Work and How We Can Do Better and coauthor with Victoria Law of Prison by Any Other Name: The Harmful Consequences of Popular Reforms

"Making Abolitionist Worlds is a rich and compelling mixed-genre collection of radical perspectives that makes an urgent contribution to abolitionist world-making. Inspiring and incisive, these political interventions advance collective and transformative revolutionary praxis—what we need, now more than ever. On fire, indeed!" J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, author of Hawaiian Blood and Paradoxes of Hawaiian Sovereignty and editor of Speaking of Indigenous Politics

"Abolishing Carceral Society is an immense contribution to contemporary struggles for freedom. The pieces in this collection provoke new questions that inform resistance strategies, and deepen our understandings of the systems we are seeking to abolish and the social relations we are working to transform. This collection will be a profoundly useful tool in classrooms and activist groups. The conversation happening in Abolition is essential reading for those participating in the thorny, complex debates about how we dismantle structures of state violence and domination. The writers and artists whose work makes up the inaugural issue of Abolition, rigorously explore the most pressing questions emerging in liberation struggles." Dean Spade, author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law

"Abolishing Carceral Society is a wonderful mix of provocative ideas married with art, to help us consider a world without prisons, policing, and surveillance. Many of the submissions, however, are less concerned with dismantling what exists than they are with taking seriously that abolition is a project interested in building and in practical organizing. This comes through particularly in David Turner's essay, among others. Abolishing Carceral Society asks us some questions that we sometimes prefer to ignore, like ‘What does it mean to transform human relations?’ This inaugural issue from Abolition pushes us to ask a number of questions that are important to moving us toward an abolitionist horizon." Mariame Kaba, founder of Project NIA, and cofounder of Chicago Freedom School, Chicago Taskforce on Violence Against Girls & Young Women, and Love & Protect

"Abolition is a crucial contribution to radical social movements. While fighting against prisons and the death penalty as instruments of class rule, the journal amplifies the voices of the incarcerated, actively engages with organizers on the ground, and builds bridges across multiple movements. The first issue, Abolishing Carceral Society, presents incisive interventions in the current debates about prison abolition and abolitionism as a political principle. It is a bold beginning for what will become an essential forum for all insurgent thinkers." Silvia Federici, author of Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and the Feminist Struggle and Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body, and Primitive Accumulation

"From slavery to prisons, abolition has always been a project of courage and breadth. Abolishing Carceral Society brings to bear the reflective, transformative urgency needed to confront today's violent world order. Of the struggle, by the struggle, and for the struggle: this auspicious collection offers not answers but pathways down which contemporary abolitionists travel en route to a future freedom. Check out their words, scope their visions—heed their calls." Dan Berger, author of Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era

"Abolishing Carceral Society continues the radical, democratic tradition started by abolitionists to speak truth to power. In these dismal political times, it is a matter of the greatest urgency to create and sustain a counter-public sphere and an alternative print culture to sustain and expand American democracy. This remarkable and inspiring advocacy journal is poised to do precisely that for democratic activists as well as the broader lay public." Manisha Sinha, author of The Slave's Cause: A History of Abolition

"The Abolition Collective embodies the kind of work anybody interested in justice should aspire to reproduce. Astute, rigorous, and uncompromising, the collective seeks to bring radical perspectives to a wide readership within and beyond academe. With the publication of its inaugural issue we are treated to the very best of revolutionary analysis. Anybody interested in upending a carceral and colonial order will find plenty of inspiration here. Something we all need and do well to pass along." Steven Salaita, author of Inter/Nationalism: Decolonizing Native America and Palestine

"The Abolition Journal project offers a unique, revolutionary lens through which to view, analyze and fight against capitalism and patriarchy on the terrain of the prison-industrial complex. It aims to combine an abolitionist message with a democratic production process that prioritizes participation of those directly affected by incarceration. What a welcome and needed approach! I am confident the project will help intellectuals build ties of solidarity across race, class, gender, nationality, and other borders that block liberation and in its finest moments will help teach us, as Mumia says, to ‘fight with light in our eyes." James Kilgore, author of Understanding Mass Incarceration: A People's Guide to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time

"Abolishing Carceral Society is a bold journal mapping new roads out of the inferno in which we live. As the editors’ Manifesto tells us, ‘abolition’ is a key strategy out of our carceral, slave-like society—the prison being the pivotal place for the perpetuation of an unjust political system. But the journal also sheds light on the many ways in which we’re imprisoned beyond the prison’s walls. With scholarly articles, poems and artwork, in a beautifully designed text, it asks us to open our eyes and support a liberation struggle against jails and jailers." George Caffentzis, author of In Letters of Blood and Fire: Work, Machines, and the Crisis of Capitalism and No Blood For Oil: Essays on Energy, Class Struggle and War, 1998–2017

Tags: Abolition Collective ....... art ....... Ashon Crawley ....... Common Notions ....... philosophy ....... poetry ....... Prisoners & Prisons ....... religion ....... Roberto Sirvent .......