Books for changing the world
Abolishing State Violence
A World Beyond Bombs, Borders, and Cages

ABOLISHING STATE VIOLENCE is an urgent and accessible analysis of the key structures of state violence in our world today, and a clarion call to action for their abolition.

Connecting movements for social justice with ideas for how activists can support and build on this analysis and strategy, this book shows that there are many mutually supportive abolition movements, each enhanced by a shared understanding of the relationship between structures of violence and a shared framework for challenging them on the basis of their roots in patriarchy, racism, militarism, settler colonialism, and capitalism.

This book argues that abolition is transformative. It is about defunding, demilitarizing, disbanding, and divesting from current structures of violence, but also about imagining new ways to organize and care for each other and our planet, and about building new systems and cultures to sustain ourselves in a more equitable, free, and peaceful way. It shows that change is possible.

  • "In Abolishing State Violence, Ray Acheson makes the case that the work for liberation must - fundamentally - be rooted in the legacy of transformative politics that only abolition movements can bring.  The book insists on this radical position through a clear recessitation of how various forms of state violence are constitutive of one another, and how the various sites of institutional abuse and misery work together to create violence and death. The analysis is so clear and the demand to build a different world is so compelling that readers will turn the last pages of this book and be ready to get to work for freedom." —Beth E. Richie

    "Ray Acheson is a determined feminist realist. She shows us in Abolishing State Violence that we can abolish the instruments of state violence if we muster the collective stamina to, step-by-conscious-step, build genuinely trusting, vibrant communities. Reading each chapter here stretched me, energized me." —Cynthia Enloe,  The Big Push: Exposing and Challenging Persistent Patriarchy

    "In this book, Acheson provides a helpful primer on current abolitionist arguments and strategies and applies the framework in new directions and to a range of issues beyond its common usage." —Silky Shah,  Executive Director, Detention Watch Network

    "Abolishing State Violence is an excellent, inspiring, and extremely important book for anyone who cares about helping transform our world. Beyond any book I've read, Abolishing State Violence brilliantly shows the interconnected nature of police and prisons, war and borders, capitalism and climate change, as well as related forces including racism, colonialism, patriarchy, heteronormativity, and class domination. Ray Acheson provides a roadmap for a desperately needed cross-issue movement working simultaneously to abolish these intertwined forms of violence while replacing them with structures founded in justice, equality, and care. Everyone should read this book." —David Vine, author of The United States of War: A Global History of America’s Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State

    Praise for Banning the Bomb, Smashing the Patriarchy

    “This is a powerful and encouraging approach to an often overlooked concern, an informative work that will inspire readers to pay close attention to and even consider participating in the nuclear weapons disarmament movement.” Booklist

    “Hooray for the peacemakers, who prevail in the end! They—and Acheson—have gifted us with a deliciously relevant organizing model for challenging any status quo.” —CODEPINK: Women for Peace

    “Ray Acheson tells a profoundly important and timely story of movements and resistance, of protest and vision, of diplomats and activists who have committed to banning the bomb. This book will make you understand the urgent need to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.” —Katrina vanden Heuvel, Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation

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