From plantation rebellion to prison labour’s super-exploitation, Walcott examines the relationship between policing and property.
That a man can lose his life for passing a fake $20 bill when we know our economies are flush with fake money says something damning about the way we’ve organized society. Yet the intensity of the calls to abolish the police after George Floyd’s death surprised almost everyone. What, exactly, does abolition mean? How did we get here? And what does property have to do with it? In On Property, Rinaldo Walcott explores the long shadow cast by slavery’s afterlife and shows how present-day abolitionists continue the work of their forebears in service of an imaginative, creative philosophy that ensures freedom and equality for all. Thoughtful, wide-ranging, compassionate, and profound, On Property makes an urgent plea for a new ethics of care.
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Rinaldo Walcott is a Professor at Women and Gender Studies Institute and an Associate Professor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education both at the University of Toronto. His research is in the area of Black Diaspora Cultural Studies, gender and sexuality.
Published: October 2021
“A clear-eyed assessment of the links between property, policing, and the subjugation of Black people … Walcott’s analysis of the ways in which white supremacy is baked into the legal systems of Canada and the U.S. is stimulating. Progressives will embrace this well-conceived call for change.” — Publishers Weekly
“Rinaldo Walcott locates his contribution to the Field Notes series on current issues, On Property, in the present political moment, while using historical references and events to argue for the abolition of police and property … Walcott concludes his case by asking for a new ethics of care and economy that does not keep feeding into the incarceration system, a system rigged to continue Black suffering … It is a question we must ask ourselves after reflecting on the ways in which we, too, are complicit.” — Quill & Quire
“Rinaldo Walcott is one of the most renowned and dynamic articulators of the Black radical tradition. His writings are essential for anyone seeking deeper engagement with the social and political movements urgently afoot today.” — David Chariandy, author of Brother and I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You
“Running a brief but far-reaching and punchy 96 pages, On Property has an absolute certainty of purpose: calling for the abolition of private property ownership … [If] statements such as ‘the problem of property is resolved through its removal’ or calls to ‘abolish everything’ can make some people quake, when Walcott’s pamphlet argues for the human ability to reconsider and rebuild societal structures, the stances come across as sensible and, better yet, doable.” — Toronto Star
“Urgent, far-reaching and with a profound generosity of care, the wisdom in On Property is absolute. We cannot afford to ignore or defer its teachings. Now is the time for us-collectively-to take up the challenge in this undeniable gift of a book.” — Canisia Lubrin, author of The Dyzgraphxst and Voodoo Hypothesis