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GAF Lockdown Reading Group discusses: Police Abolition

13 August, 2020 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

Our aim with these meetings is to discuss different subjects each time so it is not necessary to have joined a previous session to participate. Before each meeting we will share a variety of readings of different lengths and types to give some background information on the subject to be discussed. Participants are invited to pick and choose what they would like to read in preparation. No prior knowledge of any of the subjects is necessary as our aim is to make these events as inclusive and broad as possible.

Just like a lot of people we have been in favour of police abolition for a long time, but the renewed public interest in the subject has made us want to read up more about it.

Join us as we discuss the questions:

  • What issues do you think are the most prominent in modern policing and what motivates you personally and politically to be an abolitionist?
  • How can leftists aid the police abolition movement on a wider scale?
  • What are the most common arguments that abolitionists will face, and what answers do we have to those arguments?
  • What’s the police abolition answer to extreme ‘criminal’ violence such as murder, and the archetypal ‘psychopath’? How would incidents of domestic/sexual/misogynist violence be dealt with without the police?
  • What behaviours can we adopt on a day to day basis to tackle police injustice?

We would like to remind you that you don’t need to do all the readings, just pick and choose the ones you want to do. We would highly recommend doing as much of the reading as you are up to in preparation.


Basic Readings:

  • TEXT Are Prisons Obsolete – Chapter 1, Introduction: Prison Reform or Prison Abolition? (p. 9-22) – Angela Y. Davis.
    • An introduction to prison abolition examining how prisons have become a normalised part of society and how this happened. Asks the fundamental question: why do we take prison for granted?
  • TEXT The Lockdown: the End of Policing – Podcast interview – Novara
    • Podcast with Alex S. Vitale, author of The End of Policing, discussing how the police exacerbate social problems and what alternatives might look like.
  • TEXT Alternatives to Police – 27 pages, but not a difficult read – Rose City Copwatch
    • Report by Rose City Copwatch on alternatives to policing. Quite long but does not use academic language, and goes through a good number of solid, practical, currently operating alternatives to the police.
  • TEXT Abolish the police? Organisers say it’s less crazy than it sounds. – Medium length article – Maya Dukmasova
    • Medium length article with a hopeful tone which points out how many behaviours are already abolitionist and addresses skepticism towards the movement. An excellent starting point.
  • VIDEO What’s Wrong with Community Control of Police? – Short video, 5 minutes – Kamau Walton
    • A short video addressing in a succinct way the issues with policing, and why community policing is needed. Also addresses abolition as a necessity for community control of systems other than the justice system.
  • TEXT Filthbusters! A zine on alternatives to calling the police – short zine, very easy to read – Filthbusters Collective
    • Short and colourful zine with practical ideas on alternatives to calling the police. Resources like links to groups are tailored to Hackney (London) but the ideas can be applied in many places.

Further Readings:

  • TEXT Prison Solidarity Network Intro Pack – 10 pages – Prison Solidarity Network.
    • Excellent digestible introduction to ideas around prison solidarity, and the abolition of the criminal ‘justice’ system and the carceral state. Also a good introduction to the Prison Solidarity Network.
  • TEXT Police “Reforms” You Should Always Oppose – 1 short page – Mariame Kaba.
    • A very short and readable list of police reforms that must always be opposed and why, with an alternative list of reforms that should be supported in the interim.
  • TEXT Building a police free future: frequently asked questions – short read zine, 8 pages with big text – MPD150
    • An easily digestible zine answering in simple language some frequently asked questions about police abolition.
  • TEXT What would abolishing police powers in the UK look like? – Short newspaper article – Metro
    • Obviously the Metro sucks, but this article is a solid, recently penned introduction to the arguments around police abolition in the UK specifically.
  • TEXT Police Abolition and other revolutionary lessons from Rojava – Fairly short article – Hawzhin Azeez
    • Recent article exploring the alternatives to policing that are practiced in the Kurdish autonomous region of Rojava.
  • TEXT Zapatistas – Lessons in community self-organisation in Mexico – medium-short article – Anya Briy
    • Article looking at Zapatista self-organisation in Chiapas, Mexico. Examines how the Zapatistas self-organise in the realms of justice, education, health and more. Written recently with the context of police abolition in mind.
  • VIDEO Prison Abolition 101: Online panel discussion – 2 hour panel discussion – Community Action on Prison Expansion
    • UK focused panel discussion on prison abolition, bringing together a broad range of activists and academics.

Join Meeting

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Event times are set at BST (British Summer Time), the time zone being UTC+1.


13 August, 2020
8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
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Green Anticapitalist Front London

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