Reviews

Abolition Geography: Essays Towards Liberation by Ruth Wilson Gilmore

francisco909's review

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challenging informative inspiring reflective medium-paced

5.0

courtums's review

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challenging emotional informative reflective slow-paced

4.0

seeceeread's review

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4.75

๐—”๐—•๐—ข๐—Ÿ๐—œ๐—ง๐—œ๐—ข๐—ก๐—œ๐—ฆ๐—ง ๐—š๐—˜๐—ข๐—š๐—ฅ๐—”๐—ฃ๐—›๐—ฌ : ๐—˜๐˜€๐˜€๐—ฎ๐˜†๐˜€ ๐—ง๐—ผ๐˜„๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ๐˜€ ๐—Ÿ๐—ถ๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป x Ruth Wilson Gilmore (2022)

๐Ÿ’ญ "Abolition is a fleshly and material presence of social life lived differently. Abolition is figuring out how to work with people to make something, rather than to erase something."

Recently, Gilmore was mistakenly credited for coining "prison industrial complex." Perhaps because she uses the term often, and passionately explains each part, as well as connections to Eisenhower's "military industrial complex." Myriad ideas (some built on others' intellectual shoulders, which she notes) to associate with this stunning thinker:
โ€ข ๐—ข๐—ฟ๐—ด๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ถ๐˜‡๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜: "Crisis, then, is organized abandonment's condition of existence ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ its inherent vice. To persist, systematic abandonment depends on the agile durability of organized violence."
โ€ข ๐—”๐—ป๐˜๐—ถ-๐˜€๐˜๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ: "The purpose and outcome of the anti-state state's crisis-fueled practice is to facilitate upward transfer of wealth, income, and political power from the relatively poor and powerless to the already rich and powerful."
โ€ข ๐—™๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ๐—ผ๐—บ ๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—ฝ๐—น๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ: "Marx: By mixing our labor with the earth, we change the external world and thereby change our own nature. That's what drama is; that's what geography is: making history, making worlds."
โ€ข ๐—š๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜ ๐—ฎ๐˜€ ๐—บ๐—ผ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—น ๐—ณ๐—ผ๐—ฟ ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—น๐—ถ๐˜๐˜†: "The broad normalization of the belief that the key to safety is aggression."
โ€ข ๐—ฅ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐˜€๐—บ: "Capitalism requires inequality and racism enshrines it. [...] Racism, specifically, is the state-sanctioned or extralegal production and exploitation of group-differentiated vulnerability to premature death."
โ€ข ๐—š๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ฑ ๐—พ๐˜‚๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜€ need "stretch, resonance and resilience"

Gilmore asks fantastic questions! She often answers them, as well ... but her model of mature inquiry is valuable for itself. Footnotes and callouts clarify her intellectual peers and ... whew ๐Ÿ”ฅ The author bounces between colloquial and esoteric. I often changed my pace to better process and savor the specificity.

I might have enjoyed this ๐˜ด๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ฉ๐˜ต๐˜ญ๐˜บ more had I engaged the text a small group of committed co-conspirators ... but as it is, I'm a lil enamored.ย 

breadandmushrooms's review

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informative reflective slow-paced

4.0

busyblackbookworm's review

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challenging informative reflective medium-paced

4.75

jewitt's review

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challenging informative slow-paced

4.5

glitterdyke's review against another edition

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too academic

archytas's review

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informative reflective medium-paced

4.5

"Activist scholarship attempts to intervene in a particular historical-geographical moment by changing not only what people do but also how all of us think about ourselves and our time and place, by opening the world we make. "

There is a lot packed into many sentences in this essay collection, demanding slow, awake, reading. Gilmore is incisive and challenging and, best of all, ever hopeful and reasoned.

"We make history, but not under conditions of our own choosing."

She also can turn a phrase well: "the stateโ€™s singular control over who may commit violence, how, and to what end."

While the whole collection looks at prison abolition, it is themed - while some essays are pretty theory heavy, others tell stories for a more general audience. Several of the essays written at the height of the Clinton era Three Strikes and Broken Windows policing, both now out of fashion but having left a tsunami of destruction behind, are a grim reminder that brutally inhumane policies are not the prerogative of ultra-conservatives. That Gilmore even has to state things like:
"What the research of Dina Rose and Todd Clear and their colleagues shows is that saturation policingโ€”arresting, convicting, and imprisoning too many people from a neighborhoodโ€”actually has negative impacts on the crime rate.34 Why? Because taking so many people out of a neighborhoodโ€”and returning many of them years later after the horrors of prisonโ€”disrupts the very neighborhood ties that Broken Windows purports to strengthen." this seems incredible now, but I remember the depth of support that these policies had in the 90s, even amongst those who viewed themselves as anti-racist.

The final section is focused on projects to build something different. Here Gilmore moves beyond simply arguing for new approaches and into arguing that working towards something better delivers the value itself. It reminded me of the best of the left.

lydiathevirgo's review

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challenging informative reflective medium-paced

4.5

nonfictionqueer's review

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challenging

4.0