Statement of the Abolitionist Common Library 7/22/20
This statement was written on the traditional indigenous homeland of the Kalapuya people.
We are writing this in the midst of mass uprisings against the state-sanctioned and extra-legal murder of Black men, women, gender non-conformining, trans people, and children, demanding the abolition of the police, prisons, and the anti-Black violence they uphold. We recognize that these instances of violent execution are not anomalies deviating from a normally harmonious world but belong to the very fabric of racial capitalism, which, rendering these instances of violence possible, disappears into a background of unintelligibility. As abolitionists, we are necessarily committed to an anti-capitalist and anti-racist vision. Our project forces the hidden to the fore, articulating the necessary imbrications between apparently disparate forms of violence.
The Abolitionist Common Library maintains that abolition consists of the elaboration of revolutionary alternatives to racial capitalism. Accordingly, an abolitionist perspective is not exclusively concerned with the symptoms of domination, but with grasping and destroying domination by the roots. We seek to make explicit the intrinsic connection between spectacular displays of violence and everyday forms of loss and disposability. This demands recognizing that direct and indirect, overt and covert, quick and slow, seemingly incidental and structural expressions of violence which continuously recreates settler colonialism, slavery, genocide, incarceration regimes, migrant exploitation, in the reproduction and expansion of racial capitalism both in the past and in the present. We live in its wake and demand its reckoning.
As a library for liberation, we seek to build spaces and times within and beyond what already exists. Our abolitionist common library is an invitation to think and to act more expansively in the struggle for liberation, for in its pages are contained the intersections, interrelations, and connections between both oppressive structures and also the liberatory struggles against them. We aim for nothing less than to overturn the idea that learning and knowledge are non-partisan, apolitical, and disinterested and instead strive to generate and to enact radical liberatory visions of an abolitionist future now. To this end, we will share critical literature and foster critical spaces that address the radical transformation of society along anti-racist, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, and abolitionist lines.
We believe that this project of grasping domination by the roots means turning our critical eye to the differential ways in which the working class is exposed to racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, and imperialist domination. We maintain, further, that only an abolitionist struggle waged by those who live through and struggle against these oppressive realities prove up to the task of abolishing them through their own self-activity. The Abolitionist Common Library, in this sense, remains committed to a differentiated vision of internationalist working class liberation, a vision that takes the dynamic interrelations between class, race, and gender as a crucial framework through which to shed light on the character and the possibility of abolishing racial capitalism as a whole.
Thus, we emphatically reject neoliberal and multicultural forms of ‘inclusion’ which leave the status quo fundamentally unchanged. For neoliberal forms of inclusion seek to incorporate BIPOC and oppressed peoples into existing structures of domination, reproducing rather than dismantling them. Neoliberalism remains complicit with racial capitalism and effectively co-opts emancipatory struggles in the interest of containing radical social, economic, and political transformation. Neoliberal conceptualizations of racial inclusion uphold white supremacy, prioritizing market relations over mutual aid and solidarity, capital over labor, profit over human life and concrete human needs, individualism over radical collective struggle.
As abolitionists, we ultimately struggle against this world not merely for the sake of a better world in the future, but for a radically transformed world now. We are struck by and seek to strike back against everything that presently hinders the possibility of a radically different world; everything that presently destroys and suppresses the possibility of other worlds; and everything that continues to prevent a multiplicity of struggles for liberation from uniting against this world. Not only the police can, should, and will be abolished, not only the prisons, not only racial capitalism, settler-colonialism, imperialism, hetero-patriarchy, and all other oppressive institutions, but moreover the world in which all of these oppressive structures are possible – this world, can, should, and will be abolished.
Black Lives Matter
Hasta la victoria siempre
Sous les pavés, la plage!
Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ an-niẓām
All Cops Are Bastards
It Is Right To Rebel
UNTIL THE ENTIRE PRISION WORLD IS REDUCED TO ASHES!