- Yes, ACAB.
- It’s not just a few bad apples. The carceral system* is rotten to its core.
- *carceral system = the entire policing, incarceration, & surveillance apparatus
- One of the most common responses abolitionists get is the idea that the violence of policing can be isolated to just a handful of police who engage in misconduct.
- This common misconception holds that the problem with policing is “just a few bad apples” and that police, prisons, jails, youth detention centers, immigrant detention centers, the probation & parole process, etc are otherwise necessary evils at worst, or helpful protectors of civil society at best. So the people that think like this think that the way to address the violence of policing and ensure that #BlackLivesMatter is to focus on these “bad apples” and enact measures to ensure that they are doing their job “the right way.”
- But this line of thought fundamentally misunderstands what their job is. Their brutality does not stem from doing their job the wrong way, it’s a feature of the job itself.
- The function of policing, incarceration, & surveillance is to uphold the law.
- And who makes the law in this country? In the settler colonial United states, which was founded on the (attempted, ongoing) genocide of Indigenous peoples & the (ongoing) enslavement of African peoples,
- whose “founding fathers” hated democracy and ensured that structures like the electoral college & 2 senators per state regardless of population & lifetime appointment of judges would make this republic as undemocratic as possible,
- where voter suppression & Citizens United mean that 45 can lose the popular vote by a landslide and still win the election,
- The people don’t control the law. Only the very richest of the settlers do.
- And it is the job of the carceral system to keep this status quo in place. The very function of policing, incarceration, & surveillance is to suppress the will of the people.
The police are bound by the law
- To harass unhoused folks
- To arrest people who couldn’t pay their fines & fees, e.g. people who couldn’t pay to renew their license and had to drive anyway (economic violence against low-income people)
- To lock people up for survival crimes like drug & sex work
- To disperse “unlawful assemblies” i.e. protests that actually leverage power
- Their history, stemming from the slave patrols / frontier posse / factory bosses’ enforcers, makes it clear that the safety they protect, is the safety of this country’s ruling class.
- ** **This country is occupied land. And we live under a government that was never meant to be the government of all of us, only of some of us. It is the job of the carceral system to enforce its will on the people.
- People have this idea of policing, incarceration, & surveillance as protecting our society from bad people - murderers, perpetrators of patriarchal violence, etc. But this idea is just not accurate. The pigs spend the vast majority of their time writing traffic tickets.
- And they were never intended to prevent crime, let alone harm. They only respond to crime after it happens. We covered their lack of effective response to harm in our previous post entitled “Abolition & Gendered Violence.”
- They may even sincerely believe that their job is helpful, and that they protect people. But the legacy of the drug war & “broken windows policing” & this undemocratic settler state mean that what they’re actually doing is just disappearing the problems of our society — problems stemming from the disenfranchisement & impoverishment & imposition of the colonizers’ cisheteropatriarchy on predominantly Black, brown, Indigenous, low-income, immigrant, and trans* communities — and making sure that the powerful people can go about their day without ever having to see these problems.
- And it is misguided to believe that there is a way to make that job kinder / nicer / less brutal. By its very nature it is against us, the people left out of these power structures.
- The proverbial “good cops” will never be able to fix the carceral system. Because even the “good cops” have taken an oath to uphold the law. And the law is not the law of the people. It is the law of the powerful.
- **** Changing this fact would require completely overturning the structures, systems, & form of government of these occupied United States.
- We ask everybody reading this post to exercise clarity about this fact. We hope it’s clear why we shouldn’t ever march or kneel with pigs, why we shouldn’t celebrate sitting at the same table the pigs sit at or make agreements with pigs on how to protest, why we can’t trust the pigs to hold themselves to use-of-force standards, etc.
- The problem is not a few bad apples. It’s the whole state apparatus, from pig to chief to mayor to Portland fed to President.
- Abolition is about reimagining our safety outside the confines of the settler state. And it is necessary. And it is inevitable.
- __ Our peoples WILL know freedom in these lands someday.