Abolish Policing

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:

Critical Resistance’s Abolish Policing Organizer Toolkit

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. 

Download, read, share and use today! 

Critical Resistance’s Abolition of Policing Workshop

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.

View the digital “History of Policing and Resistance” timeline HERE

Quick Links:

For Addressing Interpersonal Conflict and Harm:

Articles & Reports for Analysis & Study for Abolishing Policing:

For Educators, Healthworkers, Emergency Service Providers, Social Workers, and more…

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
  • Stephanie Cariaga
  • Bettina Love
  • Sagnicthe Salazar
  • Carla Shalaby
  • Marylin Zuniga
  • 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?

More videos:
Gang Injunction Videos

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)!

For Who
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.

For Who
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.

For Who
Organizers, community members, & anyone grappling with ways to demand practical steps towards ending the violence of policing.

View the PDF online or email crnational@criticalresistance.org 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.

For Who
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.