An exploration of how emergent strategies can help us meet this moment, survive what is to come, and shape safer and more just futures.
Practicing New Worlds explores how principles of emergence, adaptation, iteration, resilience, transformation, interdependence, decentralization and fractalization can shape organizing toward a world without the violence of surveillance, police, prisons, jails, or cages of any kind, in which we collectively have everything we need to survive and thrive.
Drawing on decades of experience as an abolitionist organizer, policy advocate, and litigator in movements for racial, gender, economic, and environmental justice and the principles articulated by adrienne maree brown in Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds, Ritchie invites us to think beyond traditional legislative and policy change to create more possibilities for survival and resistance in the midst of the ongoing catastrophes of racial capitalism—and the cataclysms to come. Rooted in analysis of current abolitionist practices and interviews with on-the-ground organizers resisting state violence, building networks to support people in need of abortion care, and nurturing organizations and convergences that can grow transformative cities and movements, Practicing New Worlds takes readers on a journey of learning, unlearning, experimentation, and imagination to dream the worlds we long for into being.
"Ritchie convinces the reader as she convinces herself that leaning into emergent principles is the key to shaping a more equitable future. Old-school organizers and newly inspired activists would do well to consider what Ritchie has learned." — Publisher's Weekly
“In Practicing New Worlds, Ritchie brings her wisdom—drawn from decades of researching, theorizing, organizing, and convening movement spaces—into an altogether new kind of dream work. In a feat of originality, Ritchie stretches the conceptual paradigms of emergent strategy into entirely new places, grounding it deeply in struggle: specifically, Black feminist, abolitionist movement work. In doing so, she accomplishes a rare feat, gifting us a text that is expansively visionary and pragmatic.” —Robyn Maynard, author of Policing Black Lives
“Practicing New Worlds is essential reading for all who don’t merely dream of a better world but who have embraced the daunting task of bringing one into being. Ritchie draws insights from organizing victories, setbacks, and especially the tireless groundwork—behind the scenes and out of the spotlight—required for all advances in social justice. She emboldens us to address the burning questions Grace Lee Boggs posed to movement builders, ‘How can we make the ideal more real? How can we make the real more ideal?’” —Scott Kurashige, coauthor of Grace Lee Boggs’s The Next American Revolution
“Practicing New Worlds is right on time. As organizers look for different ways to navigate multiple crises, Andrea Ritchie offers generative ideas at the intersection of emergent strategy and PIC abolition. She suggests this is the time for creativity, experimentation, and imagination, and calls on us to be braver. Let this book be a life raft for you as you swim a little farther from shore. By the end of the book, I promise that you’ll be inspired to try the deep end of the organizing ocean. Andrea’s invitation is to come on in, the water will hold you.” —Mariame Kaba, author of We Do This ’Til We Free Us
“Andrea Ritchie demonstrates her brilliance and generosity through her broad and deep respect for a vast expanse of teachers and comrades, woven intricately and intimately throughout this book.” —Mimi E. Kim, founder of Creative Interventions and cofounder of INCITE!
“I thought I understood emergent strategies, and then I read Practicing New Worlds. With equal parts rigor and vulnerability, Andrea shares a breathtaking theoretical exploration of the principles of emergent strategies alongside examples grounded in the everyday practice of creating abolition. Practicing New Worlds left me hopeful, curious, and eager. I will turn to it, again and again, in the years to come.” —Angélica Cházaro, Seattle Solidarity Budget and Mijente
“While words and phrases related to abolition and emergent strategy circulate widely these days, their meanings have become elusive. Andrea firmly grounds Practicing New Worlds in the collaborative practices that people are engaging in right now to dismantle state violence, showing us why making our work local, decentralized, interdependent, nimble, responsive, relational, and adaptive is the way forward for survival and liberation.” —Dean Spade, author of Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (And The Next)
“This is a necessary book, and I can’t think of a better person to take us on this journey than Andrea. For decades, her organizing and scholarship have been foundational in creating the conditions for liberation and abolition to feel possible and tangible. I’m honored to have my ideas in conversation with Andrea’s abolitionist brilliance. In this book, Andrea puts hands in dirt to collectively grow more liberation for us all.” —Walidah Imarisha, author of Angels with Dirty Faces and coeditor of Octavia’s Brood
Paperback / 336 pages