The recent protests in the USA brought into the mainstream the demands to reform, defund or even abolish the police. Let’s read a some articles on the topic, present the main ideas in a way similar to our book readings and discuss them!
The dismayal state of overpolicing in the United States is well analyzed and described. In short, the origins of police in slave patrols, strike-breaking gangs, or watchmen tasked to discipline european immigrants into obedient waged workers never disappeared. After the neoliberal revolution (hand in hand with austerity measures in health or education), police units have been given more responsibilities, increased funding and weapons from military surplus — the symbol of this era being school police equipped with grenade launchers. Numerous efforts to reform policing failed and therefore more radical solutions are proposed now. These include defunding (while redirecting the resources to the social sector), demilitarization and reduction of domains responded to with policing.
In Europe however, the origins of policing are different as are the modes in which police operates. Many countries in the Eastern Europe for example have public health systems and free education and the idea of for-profit jails or police in school corridors sounds ridiculous. The goals set by the American debate might then resemble our status quo, which is however far from ideal (not only) for us on the left.
Can we imagine a future where the police (and the repressive apparatus more broadly) is actually abolished? Let’s educate ourselves and meet for a discussion!
The event will be held in a non-hierarchic way smilar to D-Zona’s reading groups:
- A list of articles related to the current debate is published in advance. It is helpful but not strictly necessary to read them before the event.
- The main ideas in the articles are shortly summarized at the beginning of the event.
- Many perspectives (anarchist, marxist, feminist etc.) have something to say to the topic. Feel free to read more articles and bring them to the debate.
- A discussion will follow.
Proposed questions for the discussion (open to changes based on what we collectively decide) are:
- How to bring the debate across Atlantic to our local context?
- How to present the issue to people outside of our “bubble” and to those who are not the primary subjects of policing? It is hard to push for changes without general support after all.
- How a world without police (and other elements of the repressive aparatus) would look like in practice and how to get there? Can it be (at least partially) implemented in the current economical system?