The production of freedom and liberation from within collective rebellion, insurgency, and community: Dylan Rodríguez on Abolition

Let us not sever abolition from the people who inhabit and constantly remake it, over the course of an apocalypse that remains uncontained. Abolitionists are the people who imagine, practice, wage, and thrill in the radical and irrevocable destruction of things for sake of something/anything else, whether it’s the end of things as we know them or some kind of revolutionary possibility.  In this sense, they are ordinary people who produce the extraordinary, creating the long precedent for a way of being-in-the-world that we only periodically name as “abolition.” Abolition is possibility, creativity, radical and humble generosity that at times feels like violence.  It is refusal to presume alliance and unity, while deploying both to do what is necessary—knowing that, in the end, this is not about rescuing Humanism from the deadly-killing trap of the world-form that’s created it. It is the production of freedom and liberation practices from within collective rebellion, insurgency, and community—however fleeting and endangered all of the above might be. It is a willingness to be caught up in contradiction, not settling with it, understanding that the process may feel even dirtier and uglier than the easy sellout.  It is talking, teaching, learning, arguing, refusing to just agree for the sake of agreeing. It is to confront the most morbid shit while holding onto a sense of humor. It is knowing that this thing, abolition, is a perpetual practice, not a definitive end.

—Dylan Rodríguez

[This post is part of a series of “Abolition Statements” from members of the Abolition Journal Collective and Editorial Review Board. See here for a brief introduction to these posts.]

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