By: Orisanmi Burton
Following the uprisings in Minneapolis, which resulted in the incineration of the Third Police Precinct, the City Council’s vote to disband the police department, and the school board’s decision to terminate its contract with the police, I was asked by Charmaine Chua, an Abolition Collective member who is on the ground in Minneapolis to give a introductory workshop on prison and police abolition. The idea was to offer a shared analytical framework and political vocabulary for folx who were coming into the struggle with various levels of experience and from various walks of life. We thought it was important to go against the grain of the mounting attempts to co-opt the call to “defund the police” and turn it into a demand for reform and instead to connect that call to a long history of abolitionist labor, including organizing, intellectual production, and institution building. I focused on defining and briefly elaborating some of the debates around abolition, policing, crime, harm, and reform from an abolitionist, marxist, and Black radical perspective. This 30 minute webinar was recorded live and is by no means perfect or comprehensive but hopefully folx find it useful. Unity & Struggle!