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.
Definition of Policing:
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 people escaping slavery, 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.
Critical Resistance Resources on Policing:
On the Road With Abolition:
Assessing Our Steps Along the Way
What: An anti-policing webinar to discuss steps toward abolition featuring
- Dean Spade of Big Door Brigade & No New Women’s Prison Campaign
- K Agbebiyi from Survived and Punished NY
- Kamau Walton & Woods Ervin from Critical Resistance
- Mariame Kaba from Project NIA and Survived & Punished
Hosted on Haymarket Book’s youtube page: https://bit.ly/3cVuTz5
To guide us in this moment, we need to hold central that Abolition is both a vision and a political strategy. Part of this strategy is recognizing and actualizing that we cannot call for reforms that further entrench and legitimize policing in any form as a solution to social, economic or political problems. As prison industrial complex abolitionists, the reforms we call for in our demands must be aimed at diminishing the political power of policing. How can we assess which proposals to support or to oppose in our organizing? What are some abolitionist proposals?
We encourage you to study the webinar, rewatch it and share it with your communities, networks, organizations, collectives and coalitions.
PRESENTATION SLIDES: Mariame Kaba’s introductory presentation slides are available for you to study. Click on image (right) to view or use this link here.
Toolkits, Organizing Tools & Political Education Resources for Fighting Policing and the Prison Industrial Complex:
This 55 page toolkit includes CR’s definitions of policing and abolition, notes on key terms from a PIC abolitionist perspective, sample talking points on defunding policing, as well as multiple campaign tools for organizers to develop strong grassroots campaigns to resist and ultimately abolish policing.
Included in the workshop is a facilitator’s guide, definitions, our “Origins of Policing Timeline,” and resources that we hand out at the end of our workshop. Contact us if you have any questions or would like more information on the workshop.
#DefundPolice Toolkit (Released: 6/15/2020): https://bit.ly/InterruptingToolkit
8 to Abolition Framework: https://www.8toabolition.com/
the designers of this framework identified more anti-policing resources here
Critical Resistance’s chart Reformist Reforms vs Abolitionist Steps to Policing
Fighting the Militarization of Policing & Emergency Training: Stop Urban Shield Coalition
For Fighting Gang Injunctions & Gang Criminalization:
Betraying the Model City: Stop the Injunctions Coalition Report for an example of integrating a people’s budgeting strategy into an anti-policing campaign
Other Resources for fighting gang injunctions and gang criminalization efforts: https://stoptheinjunction.wordpress.com/research/
Connecting Policing to Imprisonment:
Critical Resistance’s Chart on Abolitionist Responses to Jail Expansion & Reform
Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB)’s Manual on How to Stop a Jail in Your Town
No New San Francisco Jail Coalition’s resources on:
For Addressing Interpersonal Conflict and Harm:
Critical Resistance and INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence statement, view here.
Creative Interventions extensive Toolkit (over 500 pages!) of how to stop interpersonal violence without relying on the prison industrial complex (including the use of policing, imprisonment, surveillance, criminalization or Child Protective Services): http://www.creative-interventions.org/tools/toolkit/
Listen to Stories about Community Responses to Harm and Interpersonal Violence with the StoryTelling & Organizing Project
CR page of resources for Addressing Harm, Accountability & Healing: http://criticalresistance.org/resources/addressing-harm-accountability-and-healing/
All Our Trials: Prisons, Policing, and the Feminist Fight to End Violence: A grassroots history of resistance to gender violence and the carceral state by Em Thuma. Great read to understand why domestic violence crisis centers are entangled with police.
Articles & Reports for Analysis & Study for Abolishing Policing:
Problems with Community Control of Police & Proposals for Alternatives, by CR Members, Community Advisors, and friends (PDF): https://bit.ly/CRBProblems
Truthout Article on Abolitionist developments in Minneapolis: “Minneapolis Organizers Are Already Building the Tools for Safety Without Police”
A Book Chapter on the fight to Stop Gang Injunctions in Oakland– Our Oakland, Our Solutions: Stop the Injunctions Coalition
“From BART to SWAT: Reflections on Anti-Policing Organizing in Oakland” by former Critical Resistance members Rachel Herzing and Isaac Ontiveros on the Oscar Grant Movement and origins of today’s anti-policing movement (in Left Turn, July 1, 2009): http://www.leftturn.org/BART-to-SWAT
“Resisting the Bratton Brand: Lessons from the US” by Rachel Herzing (in Institute of Race Relations, August 24, 2011)
“Unraveling the Fraying Edges of Zero Tolerance” by Rachel Herzing (in Counterpunch, January 14, 2013)
“Abolish the Police, Now!” interview with Mohamed Shehk (in OkayAfrica, November 17, 2017)
For Educators, Healthworkers, Emergency Service Providers, Social Workers, and more…
College and University Educators Guide to Grow Abolition On Your Campus (PDF): https://bit.ly/campusabolition
Oakland Power Projects: Anti-Policing Resources for Healthcare Workers:
Excerpts below, see tools.
Website here: https://oaklandpowerprojects.org/healthcare
Oakland Power Projects: Emergency Preparedness without Policing:
“Law Enforcement is a Public Health Issue” Policy Statement and Recommendations from the American Public Health Association.
Health Rights Are Civil Rights: Peace and Justice Activism in Los Angeles, 1963–1978 by CR member Jenna Loyd. Great read on history of women of color led-health rights and anti-militarism campaigns.
Repurposing Our Pedagogies: Abolitionist Teaching in a Global Pandemic
What: webinar for educators hosted by CR and Education for Liberation’s K12 Abolitionist Educator’s Network
Facilitated by: Farima Pour-Khorshid and Chrissy A. Z. Hernandez
Hosted on Education for Liberation’s youtube page here.
Breaking Down the Prison Industrial Complex video project
What is Policing? How Does Criminalization Work?
Kamau Walton—Black Liberation & White Anti-Racism in the Time of Ferguson (Kamau starts at 36:32)
Jesse Strauss—Displacing Gentrification: People’s Forum hosted by Economic Development without Displacement Coalition (Jesse starts at 39:09)
Rachel Herzing on policing militarism (excerpts from panel): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9zDkeSZXwE
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
WORKSHEETS, BOOKLETS, and things in print...
“Policing is a Public Health Issue” Organizer Pamphlet + Worksheet
In November 2018, Critical Resistance (CR) was proud to be amongst health workers and anti-policing organizers as we achieved a huge victory at the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual conference. Voting representatives of the APHA, a body of over 25,000 public health professionals, overwhelmingly adopted a policy statement that identifies the violence of policing as a public health issue, and consequently advocates for decriminalization measures, divestment from law enforcement, and alternatives to policing.
This pamphlet shares ideas about the action steps, organizing talking points, and a worksheet for implementing the APHA statement where you are. Check out and share media coverage on the Ending Police Violence website (see sidebar)!
Bring this worksheet to your community groups and organizations to learn about this win and to put it to use in your campaigns!
View the PDF online or email us for a print version. You can also print this one on 8.5×11 paper yourself.
Know Your Options: Healthcare
A toolkit that shares basic health skills and emergency response practices, geared towards reducing reliance on policing and to buffer against the harms of law enforcement arriving with other 911 emergency response teams. Based on workshops and materials developed by the Anti-Policing Healthworkers Cohort of The Oakland Power Projects.
Organizers, community members, or health workers who want to skill up and reduce the harms of law enforcement. Also a great primer on policing!
View the PDF online or email us for a print version. You can also print this one on 8.5×11 paper yourself.
Want to Know Your Options and understand the connections between healthcare and the prison industrial complex? See more news and resources about uncoupling health and mental health care from policing and prisons on this Oakland Power Projects resource list
Abolitionist Reforms Chart
A chart that discusses reforms that expand policing vs reforms that reduce the role of policing in our lives and its violence.
Organizers, community members, & anyone grappling with ways to demand practical steps towards ending the violence of policing.
View the PDF online or email email@example.com for a print version. You can also print this one on 11×17 paper yourself.
Decoupling Policing from Emergency Preparedness
A report that explores the real emergencies that communities of color in the Bay area face and recommendations for people-centered emergency preparedness programs.
Organizers, community folks, anyone grappling who wants to think about skilling folks up without relying on miltiarization and policing.
View the PDF online. You can print this one on 8.5×11 paper yourself.