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GRIID Class – The Function of Policing in the US and how we can work towards a world Without Police: Part VI

February 24, 2022

For week #6, we finished our conversation on the vision document that was created by the Movement for Black Lives in 2015.

The conversation on the 2015 vision document centered mostly around how these demands would be beneficial to most people, except for those with the most political and economic power, since they would have to give up that power and influence. In addition, there was discussion and exploration around what real community control would look like, as well as a shift from representative democracy, to full participatory democracy. 

We also read and discussed the Movement for Black Lives Defund the Police Toolkit, which was created in 2020, while millions across the country and the world were engaged in an uprising against more police murders of Black people and the carceral state in general.

The toolkit provides not only some clear and concrete steps on how to Defund your local Police Department, it provides a clear narrative and framework upfront about what the Movement for Black Lives means when they say Defund the Police. Here is one powerful sentence from that introduction:

It is a demand to #DefendBlackLives by shutting off resources to institutions that harm Black people and redirecting them to meeting Black communities’ needs and increasing our collective safety.

Such a statement clearly defines what is meant by Defund the Police, along with dismantling all the liberal “re-interpretations” of what Defunding the Police means to those who have by en large refused to listen to Black-led movements and haven’t even bothered to read the toolkit on Defunding the Police. Last year, we posted one of the “this is what defunding the police really means” memes, then dissected it to demonstrate that what they think it means is not at all what the Movement for Black Lives is calling for.

We also discussed the useful way that the creators of the toolkit provided language around ways to discuss what defunding the police means, which often means talking about things like how to police department even generate funding, as can be seen on this graphic from page 6 of the toolkit. 

We ended the class with discussion of page 7 from the toolkit, which has 10 clear things we can do to Defund the Police. As always, there was great conversation, lots of questions and the benefits of collective learning, where people felt challenged to expand their thinking without being judged.

For week #7, we will continued to discuss the DeFund the Police Toolkit, along with some other documents that deconstruct how Police don’t actually prevent crime, along with an example from Los Angeles of a People’s Budget.

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