Many people are more afraid of imagining a world without police than one without prisons. This seems especially true for people who consider themselves to be progressive. I don’t have the time, energy or inclination to write in depth about abolishing the police right now. But I’ve been asked a lot for ‘resources’ on the topic. To be honest, I’m crabby about offering those too. This is because what people usually mean by “resources” is a step-by-step guide or program. Well, that doesn’t exist because building a world without police is actually a collective project that will also mean that many, many other things will need to change too. That’s not a satisfying answer for people who don’t actually want to think and most importantly who think it’s “other people’s” responsibility to come up with “alternatives.”
Rinaldo Walcott offers a start for those looking for the right questions to ask about abolishing the police:
“We need broad based discussions about the future of modern policing and what it is really for.
We need to imagine a time when police are not needed. In the interim we need to disarm the police.
We must require police to work in communities they live in and make them accountable to communities they police.
We need to work towards forms of being in community where conflict is resolved within communities and where resolution is not necessarily oriented towards punishment.
These ways of being are not beyond us, indeed these ways of being are shared by many among us.
We need only recognize and acknowledge that such knowledge exists and the practice is doable.
In essence, any moral and ethical society willing to confront the deeper reasons why policing exist at all would be working towards its abolition.”
On another day when I am feeling less tired and more generous, I might write something that summarizes my ideas and thoughts on the matter. But not today…
So for now, here are a very few readings to help those who are interested in abolishing the police to think more deeply about the possibilities…
Alternatives to Police (PDF) by Rose City Copwatch (2008)
Alternatives to the Police by Evan Dent, Molly Korab, and Farid Rener
The Avant-garde of White Supremacy by Steve Martinot and Jared Sexton
Can We Build an Anti-Policing Movement that Isn’t Anti-Police? by Radical Faggot
Citizens, Cops, and Power: Recognizing the Limits of Community by Steve Herbert
A New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Call the Police by Mike Ludwig
Not Calling the Police by Prison Culture
Origins of the Police by David Whitehouse
The Other Side of the COIN (PDF) by Kristian Williams.
Policing Slaves Since the 1600s by Auandaru Nirhan
We Don’t Just Need Nicer Cops. We Need Fewer Cops by Alex S. Vitale
What Does It Mean to Be Anti-Police? by Alex S. Vitale
Where abolition meets action: women organizing against gender violence (PDF) by Vikki Law