A Critical Resistance Donor Call, September 2015
While the roots of policing in the United States are closely linked the capture of escaped slaves, and the enforcement of Black Codes, the militarization of policing is a phenomenon has accelerated in the last 50 years. The militarization of US police has its origins in the 1960s when urban police forces were first able to buy new equipment and technology thanks for funding from the 1968Safe Streets Act.
Rebellions and community programs led by black people and organizations such as the Black Panther
Party, Brown Berets and Young Lords and others standing up for self-defense and self-determination provided license for the police to turn these weapons on communities of color and poor communities in the urban US
Today, SWAT teams are deployed for an increased number of activities and through federal programs, local police forces can amass the tools of war, weapons, tanks, training and other gear.
The connections of the military industrial complex, the prison industrial complex and continued US colonialism both at home and abroad are unmistakable as the US trains side by side with Israeli soldiers and police and the same tear gas being used against Palestinians is the tear gas being used against protestors in Ferguson.
Speakers on the Call:
Ali Issa is the field organizer at War Resister’s League in New York City. He is originally from Iowa – among other places – and is co-coordinator of WRL’s campaign to end police militarization, Demilitarize Health and Security. He holds a Master’s in Arabic Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and is the author of Against All Odds: Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq (2015). Ali is also a member of the community funding committee of the North Star Fund, a foundation that provides grants to grassroots community groups. He likes playing the trumpet and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Hamid Khan is an organizer with Stop LAPD Spying, a broad coalition raising public awareness, participation, mobilization, action, and building a movement to resist police spying and surveillance. Hamid will discuss predictive policing and community strategies for resisting spying by law enforcement.
Mohamed Shehk is the Media and Communications Director at Critical Resistance.
Check out more Critical Resistance Donor Calls & Webinars here.