Divesting and Investing
- What actually gets us closer to freedom? What helps us along the path to justice & abolition and what keeps the pigs in power?
Page 2 - What do we mean when we say Divest and Invest?
- There are many different proposals, put forward by lots of different people & groups, for how to address the violence of policing & incarceration.
- Since we know we won’t get to abolition overnight, we have to push for concrete measures right now to lessen the hurt, the pain, and the violence the pigs inflict on our communities.
- But what measures will actually lessen that pain?
- The powerful people and the ones who wanna see police continue are proposing things that they say will help. But their proposed measures - things like body cameras, de-escalation training for the pigs, etc - continue to operate from the assumption that police can be reformed. So they continue the trend of investing in police & prisons instead of in our communities.
- So what does it mean to actually divest from the police and other oppressive state structures?
- And what does it mean to invest in things that will actually keep us safe?
Page 3 - What Divestment Doesn’t Look Like
- Proposed measures like body camera requirements and de-escalation training for the pigs are NOT helpful.
- These measures often increase police budgets and, as a result, power.
- Measures like these rely on the idea that the violence of policing is due to “a few bad apples,” or a lack of training, or any number of other things that can be taught / fixed / legislated away. But the entire function of police is to uphold the unjust status quo. So their job will always be violent.
- Measures that are actually helpful are measures that take us closer to abolition.
Page 4 - What Meaningful Divestment Is
- Measures to address this violence in a meaningful way attack the funding, power, scope, and place of policing & incarceration in our society. They challenge the idea that police & prisons are necessary for public safety. And they reflect a re-prioritization of budget dollars AWAY from armed enforcers of the state or locking people in cages to addressing the root causes of harm. They divest our society from the carceral system.
- Meaningful divestment looks like disarming police, removing police from schools, reducing the size of police forces, rejecting proposed expansions to police budgets, decriminalizing survival crimes like drug & sex work, ending pre-trial detention (making sure nobody’s locked up just because they can’t pay bail), and severing ties between police/prisons and institutions that serve the public (such as social services & mental health responders).
- Again, these measures must be combined with meaningful investment in our communities. We don’t need the pigs, we need education, healthcare, childcare, access to basic needs, and other forms of community support / resources.
Page 5 - What We Mean When We Say Investment
- Our society knows divestment all too well when it comes to things that actually serve & protect us. They’ve been defunding our schools, our job creation programs, our affordable housing programs, etc etc etc… for decades now. We must reject this trend.
- Especially in the time of COVID-19, when public budgets are taking a huge hit, there is NO excuse to prioritize spending on the pigs & on cages over spending on the people.
- There is also no excuse for more privatization, more pushing public spending to nonprofits, and more relying on the free market (look up “neoliberalism” & how Ronald Regan was the devil) to take care of what should be publicly handled for the public good.
We need structures that will actually provide community support. We need:
- Free mental & physical healthcare
- Free childcare
- Free & accessible education from preschool to university
- Survivor-centered structures of accountability for harm
- Rent, mortgage, and utility relief during COVID-19
- The recognition of housing as a human right
- Budgets show our priorities. We need to demand — not ask, demand — that the politicians & the powerful spend our tax dollars on us. Not the ones that target, surveil, harass, and arrest predominantly Black, Native, low-income brown, and trans* communities.
- We need to say to the Heidi Harmons of the world: Have Some Fucking Shame!!!! Money for jobs & education, NOT police & incarceration!!!!
Page 6 - Closeout
- We invite everyone to think critically about the measures we are asked to support, the petitions we are asked to sign, and the calls to action we receive.
- What future are these measures prioritizing? Will they get us closer to freedom? Or are they a way for the pigs to re-legitimize themselves, e.g. by signing up for “trainings” that can go in one ear & right out the other? That they can then pretend will make them “kinder,” “nicer” pigs?
- Fuck that. There can never be a kinder, nicer pig. A pig is a pig is a pig.
- We must always have clarity about that fact.
- And we must always push for measures that will get us closer to freedom. Not farther away.