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Abolition for the People: The Movement for a Future Without Policing & Prisons offers a multi-faceted approach to broken systems with solutions and strategies.
In a newly released paperback book edited by Colin Kaepernick, prisons and policing practices are addressed by esteemed voices.
The book includes Angela Y. Davis, Bree Newsome Bass, and Kimberlé Crenshaw contribution to a discourse that bypasses superficial reforms in favor of foundational shifts in thought and practice.
“It is only logical that systemic problems demand systemic solutions,” Colin Kaepernick.
In the book, Kaepernick dreams of a “future that prioritizes harm reduction, redemption, and public well-being in order to create a more just and humane world.”
The book is a collection of essays from a variety of voices, including political prisoners, grassroots organizers, scholars, and relatives of those killed by police. Kaepernick edited the book, and also wrote the introduction.
Broken up into four page-turning quadrants, Abolition For The People addresses: 1) Police and Policing, 2) Prisons and Carcerality, 3) F**k Reform, 4) Abolition Now.
Abolition For The People confronts the carceral state without sanitization.
Kaepernick’s book is an enlightening, factual, and moving indictment of the carceral state in the U.S.
He argues that prisons and policing are not solutions to the problems they claim to address, but rather are tools of oppression and control. Based on the historically flowing of Black and Brown bodies in and out of America’s prison pipeline, the Super Bowl quarterback is as accurate as ever.
He writes that “the police are not here to protect us, they are here to protect the interests of the wealthy and powerful.”
Kaepernick’s book also presents a vision for a better future.
He adamantly affirms communities are safe and valued without the need for prisons or police. He writes that “we need to create a new system of justice that is based on restorative justice, not punishment.”
As Kimberlé Crenshaw states, “To bear witness to this buried history, we must equip ourselves with tools to excavate and recover.”
The carceral state is a product of white supremacy and capitalism.
Further, it’s argued that prisons and policing were created to maintain white supremacy and capitalist exploitation.
Morning Star Gali also contributes, arguing California and America at large have been excessively punitive toward its Indigenous peoples.
Star Gali states, “Indigenous communities continue to be impacted by historical and ongoing forms of settler colonialism — the violent uprooting, removal, and displacement of Indigenous peoples through criminalization and dispossession from our lands, communities, culture, and traditional lifeways.”
Abolition For The People argues prisons and policing do not make us safer.
Moreover, prisons are breeding grounds for violence and recidivism, the book argues. U.S. prisons are also often fatally unsafe, unsanitary, and unaccountable. However, the society in which these men and women come from are also examined.
Marlon Peterson states, “no baby is born wanting to kill another baby.” He argues, “At some point the child learns that harming another is a viable option. The conditions that made these lessons possible must be undone.”
We can create a world without prisons and policing.
The book argues that it’s possible to create a just and safe society without the need for prisons or police.
Proven examples of communities that are already doing this work and thriving by doing so are provided as well.
“The thing is, visibility is only the starting point, not the endgame.” Andrea J. Ritchie
Altogether, there are many ways to get involved:
- Educate yourself and others about the carceral state. The more people who know about the harms of prisons and policing, the more likely we are to be able to change them.
- Support organizations that are working to abolish prisons and policing. There are many great organizations doing this work, such as Critical Resistance, the Movement for Black Lives, and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.
- Get involved in local campaigns and invest in communities. This is one of the most important things we can do to build a world without prisons and policing.
- Stay informed and engaged about the abolition movement. Follow abolitionist organizations on social media, attend events, and read abolitionist literature.
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