An esteemed activist invites us to consider the complex idea of abolition as much more than a strategy or a set of tactics—at a deeper level, abolition is an entire political framework, culture, and orientation

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Product Code: 9417
ISBN: 9780807020340
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Beacon Press
Pages: 168
Published Date: 09/10/2024
Availability: Not currently available.
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Price: $24.95

Blending history and political theory and weaving in examples from literature, social movements, and his personal life, this book is a useful resource and primer for those interested in fighting for social justice. Guided by questions like what is freedom?, how do we get free?, and what are the freedom dreams that encourage us and drive us forward?, esteemed activist Bill Ayers explores the concept of freedom in eight essays:

Freedom/Unfreedom takes off from the Black Freedom Movement in the 20th Century as a template for social justice movements that followed, and begins to illuminate the idea of freedom in light of what folks come together to oppose.

Freedom’s Paradox offers examples of a contradiction (from Frederick Douglass to the French Resistance to the Panthers) - even, or especially, in the most dire circumstances, people testify to “being free” at the moment they identify and unite to oppose unfreedom.

Social Freedom/Individual Liberty directly takes on the link between the individual and the social when freedom is the question.

Freedom, Anarchism, and Socialism takes off from the idea that freedom without socialism is predation and exploitation, and that socialism without freedom is bondage and subjugation.

Freedom, Truth, and Repair considers reparations as a necessary step in any honest attempt toward authentic reconciliation.

Organizing Freedom is a primer on organizing, strategy, and tactics for freedom fighters.

Teach Freedom considers what an education for free people entails.

Freedom and Abolition connects an enriched understanding of what freedom entails with an embrace of abolitionist politics.


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“In combining his decades-long experience as an activist with his impressive erudition, Bill Ayers’s most recent book offers us the best possible framework for formulating the central questions of our time and for seeking answers with the most transformative potential.” —Angela Davis

“As revolution embodied, Bill Ayers is proof that our historical task is never to be abandoned.” —Tongo Eisen-Martin, poet laureate of San Francisco

“For over fifty years, as an activist, an educator, a writer, and a mentor, Bill Ayers has been a freedom fighter determined to change the world for the better. In his newest book, When Freedom Is the Question . . . , his wit, wisdom, and passion for justice offer an eloquent illumination of the challenges and opportunities facing social movements today. In its pages, we find history lessons, hard truths, and poetic inspiration. Read it and resist!” —Barbara Ransby, historian, writer, activist, and author of Making All Black Lives Matter

“These essays are an ode to resistance and revolution, past and present, a celebration of generations resisting, failing, building, conversing, and acting, embodied in the determination and inspiration of ‘We Shall Overcome.’” —Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of Not “A Nation of Immigrants”: Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and Exclusion

“Bill Ayers is a lifelong freedom fighter, teacher, and truth teller. His decades of fearless advocacy for the downtrodden stem from a deep well of compassion and laser-sharp revolutionary analysis. His wisdom and insight are on full display here.” —Tom Morello, justice activist and guitarist for Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, and Prophets of Rage

“In the US, ‘freedom’ has become a dollar-store word—cheap, stripped of its real meaning. Not for Bill Ayers. He knows freedom is dear, precious, and always unfinished. These lively conversational essays take us on a journey through freedom struggles—past, present, and future—toward freedom’s destination: abolition.” —Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

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