Reading Revolution

Göran Olsson, The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975 (2011), 16 mm, color and black-and-white, sound, 100 minutes. Kathleen Cleaver.

ARTFORUM SUPPORTS the nationwide protests against police brutality and the killing of George Floyd and countless other Black people and denounces the escalation of violence by police and those who profit from the carceral state. Racial capitalism and settler colonialism are foundational to the United States. Below is an incomplete and developing list of intellectual resources for organizers and participants in the ongoing work of prison abolition and a future without police, incarceration, or deportation.

We encourage feedback in the work ahead and wish safety for all the protestors in the streets.


Online Resources

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Beyond Vietnam,” 1967

The Combahee River Collective, “The Combahee River Collective Statement,” 1977 

Ruth Wilson Gilmore on Covid-19, Decarceration, and Abolition, Haymarket, April 2020

Do Black Lives Matter? Robin D.G. Kelley and Fred Moten in Conversation, December 13, 2014

John Akomfrah, Handsworth Songs, 1986

Robin D. G. Kelley, “What Did Cedric Robinson Mean by Racial Capitalism?,” Boston Review, January 12, 2017

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, “Of Course There Are Protests. The State Is Failing Black People,” New York Times, May 29, 2020

Elizabeth Hinton, “The Minneapolis Uprising in Context,” Boston Review, May 29, 2020

Darby English, excerpt from To Describe a Life: Notes from the Intersection of Art and Race Terror (2019), Artnet 

Jackie Wang, “Against Innocence: Race, Gender, and the Politics of Safety,” LIES, 2012

Vicky Osterweil, “In Defense of Looting,” The New Inquiry, August 21 2014

Glenn Houlihan, “Don’t Fall for the Myth of the ‘Outside Agitator’ in Racial Justice Protests,” Jacobin, May 31, 2020

David Sirota, “Who Exactly Is Doing the Looting, and Who’s Being Looted?,” Jacobin, May 29, 2020

Policing for the Market with Brenden Beck, The Dig Radio, November 23, 2017

Masha Gessen, “A Long Night with the Jail Support Crew Outside One Police Plaza,” New Yorker, May 30, 2020. 

Alex S. Vitale, The End of Policing (Verso, 2019)

James Baldwin, “Letter from a Region in My Mind,” New Yorker, November 17, 1962

John Berger, The Nature of Mass Demonstrations, International Socialism, Autumn 1968

Alicia Garza, “A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement,” Feminist Wire, October 7, 2014

Sylvia Wynter, “No Humans Involved: An Open Letter to My Colleagues,” May 1992

“A Class Rebellion: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor on How Racism & Racial Terrorism Fueled Nationwide Anger,”  Democracy Now! June 1, 2020

Guy Debord, “The Decline and Fall of the Spectacle-Commodity Economy,” Internationale Situationniste, March 1966

Communist Research Center, Black Revolutionaries in the United States, Communist Interventions, Vol II (2016).

Nikhil Pal Singh, “The Whiteness of Police,” American Quarterly, 2014

Steve Martinot and Jared Sexton, “The Avant-garde of White Supremacy,” Social Identities, 2003

Linton Kwesi Johnson (Poet And The Roots), All Wi Doin Is Defendin' (1978) 

Göran Olsson, The Black Power Mixtape 1965–1975 (2011)

April Martin and Paul Hill, Cincinnati Goddamn, 2015

Nina Simone, “Mississippi Goddam,” 1964

Thomas Sankara: The Upright Man (2006)

“Gil Scott-Heron, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” 1971

We Insist! Max Roach's Freedom Now Suite,” 1960

Hannah Black, Ciarán Finlayson, and Tobi Haslett, “The Tear Gas Biennial,”, July 17, 2019

Stuart Schrader on police, Artforum, May/June 2020

Hannah Black and Philippe van Parijs on Universal Basic Income,, April 17, 2020.

Recommended Books

Barbara J. Fields and Karen Elise Fields, Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life  (Verso, 2014)

Angela Davis, Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement (Haymarket, 2016)

Angela Davis, Are Prisons Obsolete? (Seven Stories, 2003)

Angela Davis, Abolition Democracy: Beyond Empire, Prisons, and Torture (Seven Stories, 2005)

Cedric J. Robinson, Black Marxism: The Making of the Black Radical Tradition (University of North Carolina, 1983)

Stuart Hall, Chas Critcher, Tony Jefferson, John Clarke and Brian Roberts, Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State, and Law and Order (Macmillan, 1978)

Michele Wallace, Invisibility Blues (Verso, 1990)

Saidiya Hartman, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Social Upheaval (W.W. Norton, 2019)

Joshua Clover, Riot, Strike, Riot: The New Era of Uprisings (Verso, 2019)

Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter, ed. Jordan T. Camp and Christina Heatherton (Verso, 2016)

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation (Haymarket, 2016)

Nikhil Pal Singh, Black Is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy (Harvard University Press, 2005)

Robert O. Self, American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland (Princeton University Press,  2003)

John H. Bracey Jr., Sonia Sanchez, and James Smethurst, SOS—Calling All Black People: A Black Arts Movement Reader (University of Massachusettes Press, 2014)

Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography (Lawrence Hill, 1988)

Erik S. McDuffie, Sojourning for Freedom Black Women, American Communism, and the Making of Black Left Feminism (Duke University Press, 2011)


Further Resources 

Essential Reading list from from Mariame Kaba, Prison Culture

Institutionalized Racism: Understanding George Floyd's Death in Context, JSTOR Syllabus

Black Revolutionary Texts Google Drive

Digital Resources for a Movement Against Police Violence, Rhizome