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Abolition for the People: The Movement for a Future without Policing & Prisons Hardcover – October 12, 2021

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews


“This collection is certain to be an invaluable organizing tool, hopefully leading to widespread change.”


“Abolition is persistence. Abolition for the People combines examples and interpretations to show how people can and do achieve extraordinary change. We do so by combining analysis with socially powerful—organized—human energy. Such energy is renewable because we build on the past while inventing as we go. At the end of the day what matters is not what we say but what we do and do again: take a knee, build a movement, strengthen communities, share practices and resources, and fight for a world in which life is precious.”

—Ruth Wilson Gilmore, author of Golden Gulag

“This book brings clarity to the centuries-old systems of racialized policing and carceral control, and the impact of these systems on our lives now, and in the future. The short, rich essays in Abolition for the People are vital for the education of young people.”

—Ericka Huggins, Restorative Justice Practitioner and Facilitator

“Carefully curated, incisively conceptualized anthologies like Alain Locke's The New Negro and Toni Cade Bambara's The Black Woman can transform worlds. Abolition for the People is in this tradition. Kaepernick has assembled a community of visionary thinkers who unequivocally show that the path to freedom requires abolition.”

—Barbara Smith, Co-founder, the Combahee River Collective

“Colin Kaepernick has assembled many of the most important writers and activists in the growing movement to abolish prisons and the police, and has produced a book that holds the promise of educating and inspiring a new generation of abolitionists to build a new world without police and prisons through struggle, solidarity, and imagining our society anew.”

—Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation

Abolition for the People is an invitation to transform our communities into places where conflict, harm, and violence are addressed with collectivity, care, and holistic accountability—not the brutality and empty justice of policing or prisons. Each contributor guides us through the challenging work needed to radically change how we relate to each other as people under the heels of global capitalism, patriarchy, and anti-Blackness. A reflection of decades of organizing and intellectual work shaped by Black feminism, this book is a necessary love letter to our people that delivers uncomfortable truths alongside a compassionate, realistic approach to building abolition in our lifetimes.”

—Charlene A. Carruthers, Cultural Worker and author of Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements

Abolition for the People is a necessary and urgent blueprint for a world where all Black people are safe, healthy, and free. The essays in this volume answer the most common questions about abolition—What is abolition? Why not reform? What next?—while also shining light on the new systems of safety and justice that people are building in real time. The voices of political prisoners, grassroots organizers, scholars, and the family members of people killed by the police join together to call us into the work of imagining and building a world without police and prisons. Its brilliant use of essays, reading guides, and infographics makes Abolition for the People both a textbook and touchstone for people who are coming to abolition for the first time, those who have been doing the work for decades, and everyone in between. The book connects the uprisings of summer 2020 to a long history of naming and resisting anti-Black state violence and reminds us why reform can never truly deliver freedom. I will read this book at home. I will assign this book to my students. I will keep it close by as a reminder that the last year mattered and that those of us courageous enough to be moved by this moment are not alone.”

—Nikki Jones, author of The Chosen Ones: Black Men and the Politics of Redemption

Abolition for the People is nothing short of a gift to all of us who are working for freedom from the long, violent reach of the carceral state. Anyone who has been dreaming about a radically different world will be inspired by the rich collection of essays, and all who are fighting for justice will be encouraged, because taken together with the reader’s guides and infographics, this book delivers on the promise of helping to build an abolition movement for all people. Indeed, as the struggle for liberation continues, the vision of abolition is made clearer and more beautiful after reading this powerful and exhilarating book.”

—Beth Richie, author of Arrested Justice and Abolition. Feminism. Now.

Abolition for the People is an unprecedented collection of some of the most powerful and passionate voices on the planet speaking to the most critical social justice issue of our time: how to dismantle the carceral-surveillance-punishment industry. This inaugural collection from Colin Kaepernick's new publishing house is a political tour de force. Sharp, provocative, eloquent, and gut-wrenching—Abolition for the People is a must-read for anyone trying to make sense of the waves of protest that have swept over this country in recent years, from responses to the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012, to the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in 2020. If you read it carefully, this collection will make you rage against the injustices of the moment, and simultaneously push you to recommit to the collective struggle for a more just future.”

—Barbara Ransby, author of Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the 21st Century

Abolition for the People is an accessible and essential resource for today's movements. With moral clarity and political urgency, Colin Kaepernick and the book's contributors lay out the pitfalls of contemporary reform efforts. They are not misguided or too slow. They are how we got to where we are today. Complete with reading guides, graphs, and other valuable resources, reading this book—like abolition itself—is meant to be done in the community of others. Abolition for the People is more than a who's who of abolitionism. It's a what's what of abolitionist practice.”

—Garrett Felber, author of Those Who Know Don’t Say: The Nation of Islam, the Black Freedom Movement, and the Carceral State

Abolition for the People is the book we've been waiting for. With an all-star lineup of some of the most powerful thinkers and activists in the world today, this critical text not only explains the mechanics of mass criminalization in the United States, but it also shows us how we can undo the harms of the past to liberate all of our futures. The wisdom in these pages is sure to inspire generations of people committed to the struggle for decades to come.”

—Elizabeth Hinton, author of America on Fire: The Untold History of Police Violence and Black Rebellion Since the 1960s

About the Author

Holder of the all-time NFL record for most rushing yards in a game by a quarterback, Super Bowl QB Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the playing of “The Star Spangled Banner” in 2016 to bring attention to systemic oppressions, specifically police terrorism against Black and Brown people. For his stance, he has been denied employment by the league. Since 2016, he has founded and helped to fund three organizations―Know Your Rights Camp, Ra Vision Media, and Kaepernick Publishing―that together advance the liberation of Black and Brown people through storytelling, systems change, and political education. Kaepernick sits on Medium's board and is the winner of numerous prestigious honors including Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope honor, GQ magazine’s Citizen of the Year, the NFL’s Len Eshmont Award, the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award, the ACLU’s Eason Monroe Courageous Advocate Award, and the Puffin/Nation Institute’s Prize for Creative Citizenship. In 2019, Kaepernick helped Nike to win an Emmy for its “Dream Crazy'' commercial.

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kaepernick Publishing (October 12, 2021)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1595911162
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1595911162
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.4 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.25 x 1 x 9.25 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 123 ratings

About the author

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Mariame Kaba is an organizer, educator and curator who’s active in numerous social movements for prison abolition, racial justice, gender justice, and transformative justice. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Nation Magazine, the Guardian, The Washington Post, In These Times, Jacobin, The New Inquiry, Teen Vogue and more. She is the author of the New York Times Bestseller We Do This Til We Free Us.

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