As part of our long-term goal to continue supporting the Movement for Black Lives, POME is pleased to announce “Doing The Reading,” a collective political education group centered on abolitionist feminism.
Why “political education?”
Simply put, borrowing from the Movement Alliance Project, “To be effective, we must understand the situation we are in and the forces we are up against.” Politics must be about action—the actions we take, individually and collectively, to create the society we want to live in. For that reason, we want our politics to be informed by a deeper understanding of not just the present moment, but the structures producing it, and the history influencing it.
Why abolitionist feminism?
As Mariame Kaba, anti-criminalization organizer, recently wrote in her New York Times op-ed, “Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police”: “As a society, we have been so indoctrinated with the idea that we solve problems by policing and caging people that many cannot imagine anything other than prisons and the police as solutions to violence and harm. People like me, who want to abolish prisons and police, however, have a vision of a different society, built on cooperation instead of individualism, on mutual aid instead of self-preservation.”
As feminists, we also know we cannot ignore the safety of anyone of marginalized genders or sexualities, and the harms of rape, assault, and intimate partner violence that we face everywhere we turn. As Kaba later states: “What about rape? The current approach hasn’t ended it. In fact most rapists never see the inside of a courtroom. Two-thirds of people who experience sexual violence never report it to anyone. Those who file police reports are often dissatisfied with the response. Additionally, police officers themselves commit sexual assault alarmingly often. A study in 2010 found that sexual misconduct was the second most frequently reported form of police misconduct. In 2015, The Buffalo News found that an officer was caught for sexual misconduct every five days.”
We take these questions seriously, and with “Doing the Reading,” we will explore not only the principles of police and prison abolition with a feminist lens, we will also seek out abolitionist feminist visions of what it means to keep each other safe. This feels particularly vital for us at POME considering that, at the time of writing, the comics industry is going through a second week of outings of sexual predators and discussions on how the industry needs to change.
Long story short: this is a marathon, not a sprint. The work that abolitionist feminists have been putting in for over a century has seeded a mass movement that has the potential to blossom into something unlike the world has ever seen. We seek to be informed and able participants in that movement, and to take this information not only out on the streets, but back into our own communities.
How it works:
- At the start of each “cycle,” we will collect participant info and votes on which book to read (from a curated list) via Google Forms. For the first cycle, we’re starting with “Are Prisons Obsolete?” by Angela Davis. Angela Davis, a thinker and activist based in Oakland, has been leading the fight for police and prison abolition for decades. Below are some different ways you can get a hold of the book. We recommend eBook versions if you want to participate: physical copies will likely take longer to arrive.
- Participants will be invited to the #doing-the-reading channel on the POME Discord, where a set of questions will be posted each week to frame the book discussion, section by section. The questions and discussions will be aimed at both contextualizing our reading with our experiences of the current movement, and finding opportunities for further action.
- At the end of the book, we will reflect on what we’ve learned, if our questions have been answered, and where we want to direct our inquiry next.
Questions? Can’t participate but want to support in other ways? Want to participate but can’t cover the cost of purchasing books? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.