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Rebellious Mourning by Cindy Milstein


Rebellious Mourning, The Collective Work of Grief by Cindy Milstein

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“This intimate, moving, and timely collection of essays points the way to a world in which the burden of grief is shared, and pain is reconfigured into a powerful force for social change and collective healing.”—Astra Taylor, author of The People’s Platform

“A primary message here is that from tears comes the resolve for the struggle ahead.”—Ron Jacobs, author of Daydream Sunset

Rebellious Mourning uncovers the destruction of life that capitalist development leaves in its trail. But it is also witness to the power of grief as a catalyst to collective resistance.”—Silvia Federici, author of Caliban and the Witch

We can bear almost anything when it is worked through collectively. Grief is generally thought of as something personal and insular, but when we publicly share loss and pain, we lessen the power of the forces that debilitate us, while at the same time building the humane social practices that alleviate suffering and improve quality of life for everyone. Addressing tragedies from Fukushima to Palestine, incarceration to eviction, AIDS crises to border crossings, and racism to rape, the intimate yet tenacious writing in this volume shows that mourning can pry open spaces of contestation and reconstruction, empathy and solidarity. With contributions from Claudia Rankine, Sarah Schulman, David Wojnarowicz, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, David Gilbert, and thirty-two others. Also includes a 32-page color insert featuring artists like Jet Chalk, Oree Originol, Melanie Cervantes and Jesus Barraza, and more.

Cindy Milstein is the author of Anarchism and Its Aspirations, co-author of Paths toward Utopia: Graphic Explorations of Everyday Anarchism, and editor of the anthology Taking Sides: Revolutionary Solidarity and the Poverty of Liberalism.


More Praise for Rebellious Mourning

“In a time when so many lives are considered ungrievable (as coined by Judith Butler), grieving is a politically necessary act. This evocative collection reminds us that vulnerability and tenderness for each other and public grievability for life itself are some of the most profound acts of community resistance.” Harsha Walia, author of Undoing Border Imperialism 

“Our current political era is filled with mourning and loss. This powerful, intimate, beautiful book offers a transformative path toward healing and resurgence.” Jordan Flaherty, author of No More Heroes: Grassroots Challenges to the Savior Mentality 

“The great Wobbly agitator, Joe Hill, famously told us, “Don’t mourn, organize!” But he was talking about the loss of hope and confidence that we can contribute to the struggles for justice, that it is a way of life, a culture of resistance. These essays by some of the most dedicated organizers among us today show that honoring and remembering—yes, mourning—actually strengthens our solidarity and vision. Cindy Mil- stein has created an essential and dynamic work.” Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States 

“Grief is often regarded as one of those ‘negative emotions’ we simply have to ‘get through.’ But can it also be a process of sharing and learning, motivating us to make the world a better place? This book’s answer is a resounding yes!” Gabriel Kuhn, author of Playing as If the World Mattered: An Illustrated History of Activism in Sports 

“Political organizers, whose lives are devoted to ending the injustice that causes inordinate grief in others, too often dismiss our own grief as shameful or self-indulgent. But this beautiful collection of essays is a clarion call to turn and face the truth of our own sorrow—and its power, as editor Cindy Milstein writes, to “open up cracks in the wall of the system.” Here, thinkers, organizers, and artists, from Ferguson to Appalachia to Fukushima to Oaxaca to maximum-security prisons, share their lives, their work, and the various ways in which acknowledging grief—that unavoidable leveler of souls—can allow despairing, isolated peoples to rise together as one.” Susie Day, author of Snidelines: Talking Trash to Power 

“This groundbreaking anthology offers access to diverse experiences of what it feels like to grieve for those we’ve lost, within the context of all-too-often-deadly systems of global hegemonic control…. Rebellious Mourning represents an indispensable road map by which those of us grieving many kinds of losses might find our way back to generative struggle, during a time when the Left so urgently needs new sites for building connection.” Kathleen McIntyre, editor of The Worst 

“Like songs of sorrow sung together, or laughing in pain and survival around a campfire, this book leaves us whole, grounded, ready for movement, as grief shared in connection should.” Cindy Crabb, author of Learning Good Consent: On Healthy Relationships and Survivor Support 

Additional information

Weight 0.440000 kg