We Do This 'Til We Free Us

Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice

206 pages

Published March 10, 2021 by Haymarket Books.


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5 stars (6 reviews)

A reflection on prison industrial complex abolition and a vision for collective liberation from organizer and educator Mariame Kaba.

“Organizing is both science and art. It is thinking through a vision, a strategy, and then figuring out who your targets are, always being concerned about power, always being concerned about how you’re going to actually build power in order to be able to push your issues, in order to be able to get the target to actually move in the way that you want to.”

What if social transformation and liberation isn’t about waiting for someone else to come along and save us? What if ordinary people have the power to collectively free ourselves? In this timely collection of essays and interviews, Mariame Kaba reflects on the deep work of abolition and transformative political struggle.

With a foreword by Naomi Murakawa and chapters on seeking justice beyond the punishment system, …

1 edition

a decade of essays and interviews

5 stars

Transformative justice, repairing relationships, redesigning society systemically, accountability for harms. Prisons had to be imagined; prisons were a reform, and like other reforms that leave in place the system of punitive surveillance, control, and violence they don't promote justice for so many harms, while harming more. We can imagine so many alternatives. We don't believe the world will change if we can just change enough minds to e.g. believe that black lives matter; we will define and practice and live a vision for a world where black lives matter.

Inspiring book that call us into action

5 stars

"We Do This 'Til We Free Us" is a collection of texts and interviews from Mariame Kaba from 2014 until 2020 about her activism, abolition of prisons, transformative and restorative justice. Through these easy to read texts, it brings a patchwork view of her life fight against prison in the US, addressing the main questions of prison abolition: what is prison abolitionism? How to think about a society without prison? How to fight against prisons today? While some texts can feel a bit disconnected and the format can create some repetitions, it also bring a very personal connection with the author, especially through many texts being reactions to judgement, lack of justice of more police killing of black people in her blog or interviews. I definitely recommend reading this text to better understand the fight against prisons in the US, and discover an important person in an important political struggle.

excellent texts on abolitionist organizing, and organizing generally

5 stars

really useful and varied collection of texts about organizing and abolition. I believe these texts are all available elsewhere, but it was really nice to have in one place, curated, and grouped by theme. I found the collection to be personally useful and inspiring, as well as a great entrypoint to talk about abolition in practice with coworkers and friends interested in the topic but without (yet!) experience with organizing around it.

here's a great reading & discussion guide for use with groups: www.haymarketbooks.org/pdfs/10

hope is a discipline

5 stars

This is a fantastic introduction to Kaba's work and is a masterfully selected set of essays that work together to present many different entry points into the ideas of abolition and transformative justice. I found the parts detailing the differences between punishment and accountability/consequences to be extremely helpful to my philosophy as a manager, and this book also helped me grasp the "long game" that is activism & organizing in a way I'm not sure I ever really did before. Very powerful stuff; be prepared to take a ton of notes.

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5 stars
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4 stars