A Case for Police Abolition

written by aga


CW: discussion of racist police brutality and murder

Police as part of kyriarchal oppression

The justice system in democratic capitalist countries – and with it the police and the prison industrial complex – are inherently white supremacist institutions enabling kyriarchy. Abolishing the police would mean chipping away a very potent piece of this imperialist and racist system that makes deviant bodies (non-white but also non-male, non-heterosexual, non-property-owning, non-human etc.) imperceptible and non-existent.

Kyriarchy makes sure to symbolically erase black production of meaning – in media and everyday conversations, in school curriculums, through marketing and consumer products, etc. The extent of this becomes obvious every time racist murders occur, globally or locally: The only way white allies seem to know how to express their outrage in these cases is by sharing footage of the acts, including the brutalised and dead bodies of black people. In doing so however, we only help kyriarchy perpetuate the image of the removed or dead black body. Further, by sharing these images, as white people, we traumatise communities of colour and so inflict additional pain (head over to Aphro-ism to delve deeper into this subject).

The police and prison system, as part of the white supremacist structure that is kyriarchy, is then responsible for upholding the prohibition of black expression and production of knowledge and meaning in this world through practically and literally removing and murdering black bodies merely for their existence in a white-dominated world, such as most recently Alton Sterling and the countless others who were killed by US police (click here for a video visualisation of names of the victims and the things they were doing when shot, indicating that white production of meaning constructs the black body as inherently suspicious and dangerous as well as worthless).

Abolish the police because Black Lives Matter

Amongst most white activists the fear of and hatred towards police begins with showing up to a demo or an action and ends by leaving it and returning to the safety of our homes. Yes, the cops terrorise some of us in our homes and they try to ruin our lives by criminalising us, but generally speaking they don’t brutalise us nor do they kill us and get away with it.

And yes, most of the police in the UK do not carry fire arms which statistically lowers the rate of murder victims killed by UK cops but this does not mean that the police here don’t discriminate against and brutalise black people (the MacPherson enquiry comes to mind, deeming the Metropolitan Police as ‘institutionally racist’).

So the fact remains that the police is an inherently racist institution established to protect the white rich status quo. To practice anti-racism then, as a logical consequence, we have to start rejecting and abolishing the police.

So instead of derailing the conversation from ‘Black Lives Matter’ to ‘All Lives Matter’ or comparing your white activist arrest to what is happening to the Baton Rouge protestors for example, white activists, including me, should shut up and listen. Inform yourself, get involved and remember that it is your job to dismantle white supremacy.

Police abolition – but how?

If you are new to the topic of prison/police abolition, a good start would be to read ‘Are Prisons Obsolete’ by Angela Davis, where she sketches a history of the prison industrial complex that shows exactly how prisons have been established as a means to remove black bodies from the city and uphold the white status quo. Davis takes her knowledge about the history and applies it to today’s white supremacist politics. By doing so she automatically invites the reader to question and reject the perceived connection between prisons and  protection, safety and justice.

As a next step head over to Imagine Alternatives where you can access one of the most thought provoking essays including a set of exercises that will help you navigate life with as little reliance on police as possible.

Googling ‘police abolition’, ‘restorative justice’, ‘community accountability’ will give you an additional flood of ideas on how to stop relying on police and how to start actively dismantling this dangerous, racist and classist arm of kyriarchy.

 

5 Womxn Who (don’t) Give a Shit

This is a spread from our first zine putting 5 womxn into the spotlight who are doing extraordinary animal work (a content warning that is not given in the spread, the ‘Friends on four legs’ story on the last page includes mention of violence towards women’):

5 womxn 15 womxn 2

 

Page 1:

A hand in front of an ALF Banner (Animal Liberation Front) showing the world the middle finger.

Page 2:

Title: 5 Womxn who (don’t) give a shit.

Text: 5 womxn who, just by being, tell kyriarchy’s animal oppressors to fuck off.

In solidarity with all animals and the ALF.

in small letters curated by aga.

Left bottom side: A picture of Maddie, the dog.

On the right side next to Maddie’s picture, text reads:

‘Defeating Stereotypes with Every Lick.

Maddie is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Boxer mix, the kind of dog who is either seen as a status symbol or someone to be scared of. That’s why shelters are full of her brothers and sisters. Agata, the human whole lives with her, says that many people are interested in Maddie asa fashionable dog. Everybody who spends one minute with her, realises what a unique person she really is. So long breed discrimination!’

Page 3:

The top left shows a picture of Miss Lady, the pig and her human, Emily. On the right side next ti the picture a text reads:

‘Fatshaming, a cross-species issue:

Miss Lady and Emily (from the left) et on a meat farm. Miss Lady, as the pet pic, was not destined to be killed. She’s seen hundreds of piglets being born, who she built friendships and a family with, only to endure the pain of watching them being abducted by humans. Considered ugly by most of them, due to her size, Miss Lady endured much hateful neglect. Until she met EMily! Who is now giving her and the other pigs she rescued all the love and dignity they deserve.

facebook.com/thefellashipsanctuary

Under the picture of Miss Lady and Emily, there is the ALF logo. Underneath that we find a picture of Natalie, the human, behind the rooks Rocky and Mario. The text next to their picture reads:

‘Of Birds and Vets:

Natalie met Rocky and Mario as the two rooks fell out of their tree whilst strengthening their wings. Natalie, superwoman of wildlife, nurtured them, but Mario’s state didn’t improve. Whilst at the vet’s Natalie explained to another patient’s humans how easily young rooks perish, to which  the receptionist butted in: “well it’s not such a bad thing, they are vermin”/ It tok the receptionist one conversation with Natalie to change. She stroked Mario during his examination, whispering “aren’t you a beautiful bird” to him. A little less speciesism in her heart.’

Page 4:

The top left shows the facebook URL for the ‘Friends on 4 Legs Sanctuary’: facebook.com/friends.on.4.legs and underneath it is a picture of two sheep cuddling under a tree.

The text next to the picture on the right reads as follows:

‘Violence is Violence

Showing love and compassion in a violent world will inevitably be met by aggression and hate. Vera, who rescued these two kind souls (referring to the sheep in the picture), survived being severely beaten by a butcher and his neighbour, who criminalised the sheep for grazing on the wrong side of their sanctuary’s fence. As Vera says: Everything that happens at the sanctuary is all that the butcher is not.’

Under the picture of the sheep bold letters read: ’empty cages, NOW!’

Then the left bottom left side shows a picture of the human Sophie giving Brenda, the chicken, a wing massage. The text on the right next to it reads:

‘Nobody Should Be Referred to as a Good Meal

Sophie is giving Brenda her daily wing massage. They met when Brenda and her sisters were rescued from a farm, where she’d lived in crowded sheds with 250.00 others, orphaned and lost. Brenda was discriminated against for laying too few eggs as well as her weight. On the farm, Brenda would have gone unnoticed until the day of her murder. Through Sophie, Brenda was considered and loved. Affectionate, charming and defiant, as Sophie says, Brenda was a real friend.’

 

until all are free.

 

~aga

 

 

 

 

Support the Blackmail 3

We are in the process of uploading digital versions of our zine double issue (including an overhaul of the first issue on ‘Feminism and Speciesism’ and an additional second issue on ‘Human Impacts’. Before we post the whole zine that you are invited to read, print and distribute, we are first uploading some select pieces from both zines to make sure they are as accessible as possible. So here we go. The first entry is an info sheet on the black mail three.

Share the image, make it your profile picture, print it out, use it as a poster or as leaflets and make sure everyone shows their solidarity with Debbie, Natasha and Sven! Most importantly, write to them or draw them something.

blackmail 3 support

The above image is from our double issue zine and it has the ‘Support the Blackmail 3’ logo with a beagle behind bars on it. The text reads:

Natasha and Sven are accused of ‘conspiracy to blackmail’ in relation to Huntingdon Life Sciences (now Envigo). In April 2014, Debbie Vincent was sentenced to six years in prison for the same charge. Natasha and Sven are awaiting extradition   to the UK for their trial and face up to 14 years   in prison.

Messages of support, as well as letters about yourself, your day, your job, your hobbies, the weather, etc. can be sent this way:

info@freesvenandnatasha.org

Free Sven and Natasha

c/o Kebele

14 Robertson Road

Easton

Bristol

BS5 6JZ

 

Debbie Vincent #A5819DE

HMP Send

Ripley Road

Woking, Surrey GU23 7LJ

UNITED KINGDOM

 

Repression  is very isolating. Please consider writing to criminalised activists. Their addresses can be found here:

http://www.directaction.info/prisoners.htm

http://www.alfsg.org.uk/current_prisoners.html

 

 

Solidarity with Natasha and Sven

Free Sven and Natasha: ‘In July 2012 Sven and Natasha were raided and arrested in Amsterdam under a European arrest warrant. They were accused of ‘conspiracy to blackmail’ in relation to Huntingdon Life Sciences (recently rebranded as Envigo). HLS is Europe’s largest animal testing laboratory and is the most notorious and protested lab in history. The UK government has gone to extraordinary lengths to stop people protesting against HLS, with increasing targeting and repression of campaigners. Sven and Natasha are awaiting extradition to the UK for their trial and face up to 14 years in prison’

As Anti-Speciesist Womxm we stand in solidarity with Natasha and Sven. We are in full support of them and other criminalised activists. We stand firmly against the global prison industrial complex and we condemn the limitations on the emotional and physical freedom HLS/Envigo, the police and the states involved have imposed upon them. The criminalisation of people who work towards the end of torture on animals is a travesty of justice.

We are grateful for all you do, Natasha and Sven. We really hope you know that everything you do is worthwhile. We wish you nothing but patience, happiness and a lot of strength. Our thoughts are with you every day. We are spreading the word about your case, and of course, about the victims you (and we all) are fighting for. We do so continuously in our everyday conversations, at meetings, protests and online and we will never cease to continue. Until all are free.

_______________________________________

To be a victim of political repression is emotionally, physically and financially draining. More often than not it is either purposefully, or as a side-effect, very isolating even when not imprisoned. None of us can imagine the suffering victims of vivisection go through but, as humans, we can begin to envision the effects police/state violence have upon our comrades. We must never forget to stand in solidarity with each other.

Please write to Natasha and Sven here (even one sentence, a short ‘Hi, wishing you well’ can be reassuring):

You can either email:
info@freesvenandnatasha.org

Or write to:

Free Sven and Natasha
c/o Kebele
14 Robertson Road
Easton
Bristol
BS5 6JZ

To find out more about the case and about how to support Natasha and Sven you can visit the official FreeSvenAndNatasha website or the supporters’ facebook page.