Former National Football League (NFL) quarterback Colin Kaepernick led the charge against police brutality, ultimately paving the way for the Black Lives Matter movement and the anti-law enforcement sentiment that's plaguing our nation. Apparently that wasn't enough for the former football star. He is now leading a movement called "Abolition for the People," which has the ultimate goal of eliminating police departments and prisons across the United States.
Kaepernick partnered with LEVEL and Medium to produce a series of articles about ending the debate over policing in our country.
From the announcement:
Over the next four weeks, the project will publish 30 stories from organizers, political prisoners, scholars, and advocates — all of which point to the crucial conclusion that policing and prisons do not serve as catch-all solutions for the issues and people the state deems social problems.
Not only do police and prisons fail to make us safer, but reform has only strengthened their most toxic ingrained practices. The only answer is abolition, a full dismantling of the carceral state and the institutions that support it. Instead, we need to invest in a future that puts justice and the needs of the community first. A future that, as Colin Kaepernick himself says in his introductory essay, makes us safer, healthier, and truly free.
The need for abolition is rooted in the anti-Blackness intrinsic to policing and incarceration — phenomena which will be amply proven over the coming days — but the realization of it offers justice for all people in all communities and global liberation from systemic oppression. We invite you to read and learn along with us.
Thread/— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) October 6, 2020
ABOLITION FOR THE PEOPLE: The Movement For a Future Without Policing & Prisons
The collection of 30 essays will be posted below over the course of the next 4 weeks. #AbolitionForThePeople https://t.co/jccRsxqLhT
Kaepernick also published his own article detailing why he feels the need for the movement.
Predictably, the political mainstream has responded to recent uprisings by shifting the demands to “defund the police” to reformist interventions centered on “acceptable” modes of enacting death and violence upon oppressed peoples. As such, conventional paths and strategies for achieving “justice” for anti-Black police terror and violence are all too often couched in campaigns and desires for convictions, punishment, and incarceration. These modes of reactionary “justice” fail to remedy the uninterrupted death caused by policing and prisons and frequently leave us disheartened, disjointed, and disillusioned. Despite the steady cascade of anti-Black violence across this country, I am hopeful we can build a future that imagines justice differently. A future without the terror of policing and prisons. A future that prioritizes harm reduction, redemption, and public well-being in order to create a more just and humane world.
According to the former NFL player, policing was designed specifically to target black people with the "central intent of policing is to surveil, terrorize, capture, and kill" that population. He also stated that our nation has "roots in white supremacy and anti-Blackness."
The stance of the movement, however, can be summed up with one of his article's headlines: "f**k reform."
...I wanted change. I wanted it to stop. I wanted to reform what I saw. Yet, the reforms often proposed — use-of-force policies, body cameras, more training, and police accountability — were the same recycled police reforms consistently proposed in the past. And in both the past and the present, these reforms have done nothing to stop the actions that force us to #SayTheirNames.
Similarly, suggested prison reforms — new jail construction to address crowding and dehumanizing living conditions and technological monitoring that essentially creates open-air prisons — have not and cannot eliminate the harm of the carceral state. The thread that ties all of these reforms together is the increased investment of capital into the carceral state. I watched an interview with Ruth Wilson Gilmore on geographies of racial capitalism; in it, she said that “capitalism requires inequality, and racism enshrines it.” It made me think about the economies of exploitation, deprivation, and captivity that propel forward incarceration and the construction of prisons. These economies disproportionately target Black, Brown, and poor white people. It made me think about how the carceral state is central to the machinery of racial capitalism.
I began to ask myself the question “What is being reformed or reformulated?”
Ultimately, I realized that seeking reform would make me an active participant in reforming, reshaping, and rebranding institutional white supremacy, oppression, and death. This constant re-interrogation of my own analysis has been part of my political evolution.
When the left talks about "defunding the police" or "reimagining the police" what they really want is to abolish capitalism. That's the "systemic change" and the "systemic racism" that they're always referring to.
Their logic is this: someone is poor so they commit crimes to survive. They commit crimes to survive which lands them in jail. They get out of jail and have no education or place to fall back on so the cycle continues.
Instead of focusing on how to help provide opportunities to people in the black communities, leftists want us to completely demolish what makes America unique (and the land of hope), the place where everyone around the world wants to end up.
Instead of providing hand ups, the left wants to give hand outs.
The problems that are plaguing our nation aren't "systemic" or based on white supremacy. The issues we have is a lack of respect and morality. People, especially Millennials, demand respect but refuse to give it. They want to have nice cars and things but they don't want to work for it. The sense of entitlement in combination with the lack of respect fuels this hate.
Police are not the enemy here. They are enforcing laws. A society cannot exist and maintain functional without laws that are followed and someone to enforce those laws.