Becoming Abolitionists


The case for abolishing the police.

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Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom

By Derecka Purnell
Astra House

“With deep insight and moral clarity, Purnell shares her compelling journey of political education and personal transformation, inviting us not only to imagine a world without police, but to muster the courage to fight for the more just world we know is possible. Becoming Abolitionists is essential reading for our times.”—Michelle Alexander, bestselling author of The New Jim Crow

“One of the most perceptive and passionate thinkers of any generation, Derecka Purnell, has written a genuinely revolutionary text for our times—one that resists easy answers or solutions and never shies from the hard questions. She proves that abolition is not an event or a utopian dream-state, but rather a journey of assembly struggling to create new worlds of freedom as we fight the unfree world we inhabit. Beautifully written, passionate, honest, Becoming Abolitionists charts a journey we all must take if we plan to survive, let alone live together.”—Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Hammer and Hoe

“At once specific and sweeping, practical and visionary, Becoming Abolitionists is a triumph of political imagination and a tremendous gift to all movements struggling towards liberation. Do not miss its brilliance!”—Naomi Klein, author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine

Becoming Abolitionists is part memoir & part manifesto for our times. Beautifully written, the book takes the reader on a personal journey from the Midwest to South Africa with a pit stop in New England. As a member of the ‘Trayvon Generation,’ Derecka offers us invaluable insights into how young activists are navigating and challenging current injustices. If you’ve been curious about the modern abolitionist movement, this book is a must read!”—Mariame Kaba, bestselling author of We Do This ’til We Free Us

Becoming Abolitionists brilliantly lays out the connections between policing and other forms of oppression and shows why even well-meaning ‘reforms’ won’t get us where we need to go. This profound, urgent, beautiful, and necessary book is an invitation to imagine and organize for a less violent and more liberatory world. Everyone should read it.”—Astra Taylor, author of Democracy May Not Exist but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone

Additional information

Weight 18.6 oz
Dimensions 9.25 × 6.25 × 1 in


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