Publisher: AK Press
Released: October 20, 2015
The lines of oppression are already drawn. The only question is, Which side are you on in the struggle against the violence that is white supremacy and policing? Taking Sides supplies an ethical compass and militant map of the terrain, arguing not for reform of structurally brutal institutions but rather for their abolition. Its thirteen essays are sharp interventions that take particular aim at the role of nonprofits, “ally” politics, and “peace police” in demobilizing rebellions against hierarchical power. The authors offer tools to hone strategies and tactics of resistance, and hold out the promise of robust, tangible solidarity across racial and other lines, because in the battle for systemic transformation, there are no outside agitators.
Praise for Taking Sides
"Taking Sides is arriving right when we need it, a tool to infuse complex contemporary movement conversations with useful accounts of our movement histories and insightful analysis about how we practice solidarity. It brings deep thinking about recent flash points into ongoing dialogues about leadership, strategy, and infrastructure in ways that shed new light on difficult questions. Taking Sides is a sharp, brilliant tool for activists on the ground."
—Dean Spade, author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law
"From the arresting title through thirteen brilliant essays, this reader is a gem. Alliances and the problem with ally politics, decolonization demands, a defense of riots, exposing gender violence, fighting back against police violence, and contesting white supremacy are among the timely issues presented in militant terms. The diversity of the authors gives depth to First Nations, African American, and immigrant views of the North American reality. This promises to be a handbook for every social justice activist."
—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States
"Taking Sides hits a key nerve. It’s essential for all who are serious about building movements, and fighting for collective liberation and a just world. The day we connect our grievances and put ourselves on the line for each other as accomplices is when the system(s) of domination will start to crumble. This book contributes to bringing that day closer."
—Darius M., of rebellious hip-hop duo Test Their Logik
"These essays not only are timely, arresting, and full of heart; they encompass the voices of the millions who have struggled within the corrupt history of the United States. Taking Sides shows us the choir of angels singing the song of solidarity and justice. I can think of no better time for our collective voice to be heard. This book symbolizes the first perfect notes."
—RA Washington, director of Cleveland's Guide to Kulchur
"Taking Sides is more than a book; it’s a politic aimed at the heart of every radical struggling against a racist state. Its goal is simple: to challenge prevalent “ally politics,” and replace them with an accomplice model that seeks abolition, decolonization, and strong solidarity based on equal footing. Collectively, the writings serve as essential tools for those seeking to build a new world in the shell of the old."
—Luis A. Fernandez, author of Policing Dissent and Shutting Down the Streets
"Over the past fifteen years, radicals of many colors and political stripes
have resurrected the unfinished business of confronting white supremacy within and outside social movements. Their contributions have been many, and their hard work beyond question. This collection takes the conversation a step further—dispatches from a work in progress that stretches back
past Harper’s Ferry to the first Indian uprising on this continent. Anyone who has struggled with bridging the gap between “working for” and “working with” in their activism would be well served by these crucial contributions."
—James Tracy, coauthor of Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels, and Black Power
"This book gathers some of the most exciting analyses coming from today’s battles against state violence in North America. Here is a movement coming of age, battling white supremacy and settler colonialism with creativity and collectivity. Organizing produces both new ideas and the reminders we need to hear: not allies but accomplices, not complacency but resistance, not reform but abolition. The authors help us rethink how we organize ourselves to meet the urgent challenges of our era.Taking Sides is written from and for all those engaged in struggle against a racist state, with dreams of a better freedom."
—Dan Berger, author of Captive Nation: Black Prison Organizing in the Civil Rights Era
"Taking Sides compiles essential essays for street fighters, land defenders, and anticolonial accomplices. Its words challenge the current pacifist and NGO-led narratives that seek to manage and disarm people-powered rebellions on Turtle Island, while inspiring readers to go out and fight side by side."
—Franklin López, subMedia.tv
Cindy Milstein is author of Anarchism and Its Aspirations and editor of the anthologies Taking Sides: Revolutionary Solidarity and the Poverty of Liberalism; Rebellious Mourning: The Collective Work of Grief; and Deciding for Ourselves: The Promise of Direct Democracy.