Policing is a social relationship made up of a set of practices that are empowered by the state to enforce law and social control through the use of force. Reinforcing the oppressive social and economic relationships that have been central to the US throughout its history, the roots of policing in the United States are closely linked the capture of escaped slaves, and the enforcement of Black Codes. Similarly, police forces have been used to keep new immigrants “in line” and to prevent the poor and working classes from making demands. As social conditions change, how policing is used to target poor people, people of color, immigrants, and others who do not conform on the street or in their homes also shifts. The choices policing requires about which people to target, what to target them for, and when to arrest a book them play a major role in who ultimately gets imprisoned.
Download “Origins of Policing” Timeline – this timeline is used in conjunction with an Abolition of Policing workshop. Contact our office if you’d like to learn more about this workshop or additional resources.
As an abolitionist organization Critical Resistance supports abolitionist reforms to dismantle the systems of policing and works to create viable alternatives in our communities. Please check back for resources as we update this page.
Critical Resistance Resources on Policing:
Kamau Walton—Black Liberation & White Anti-Racism in the Time of Ferguson (Kamau starts at 36:32): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5kqRipSXLI
Jesse Strauss—Displacing Gentrification: People’s Forum hosted by Economic Development without Displacement Coalition(Jesse starts at 39:09): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaHnM63dd0Q
Gang Injunction Videos
Isaac Ontiveros on Gary King: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkBbhEddoHg
CR’s Vimeo Page has lots of videos from the Stop the Injunctions Coalition talking about the impacts of the injunctions and policing more generally by lots of members and allies: http://vimeo.com/user4903354/videos
Rachel Herzing and Isaac Ontiveros on Gang Injunctions/Policing at International Conference on Penal Abolition 2010, Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zZPuzvJP9iQ
Rachel Herzing on policing militarism (excerpts from panel): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9zDkeSZXwE
Articles by members
Isaac Ontiveros and Rachel Herzing—“From BART to SWAT: Reflections on Anti-Policing Organizing in Oakland” in Left Turn, July 1, 2009.
Rachel Herzing–“Resisting the Bratton Brand: Lessons from the US” Institute of Race Relations, August 24, 2011.
Rachel Herzing—“Unraveling the Fraying Edges of Zero Tolerance”, Counterpunch, January 14, 2013.