So You’re Thinking About Becoming an Abolitionist | by Mariame Kaba | Oct, 2020 | LEVEL

Prison industrial complex (PIC) abolition is a political vision, a structural analysis of oppression, and a practical organizing strategy. While some people might think of abolition as primarily a negative project — “Let’s tear everything down tomorrow and hope for the best” — PIC abolition is a vision of a restructured society in a world where we have everything we need: food, shelter, education, health, art, beauty, clean water, and more. Things that are foundational to our personal and community safety.

Every vision is also a map. As freedom fighter Kwame Ture taught us, “When you see people call themselves revolutionary always talking about destroying, destroying, destroying but never talking about building or creating, they’re not revolutionary. They do not understand the first thing about revolution. It’s creating.” PIC abolition is a positive project that focuses, in part, on building a society where it is possible to address harm without relying on structural forms of oppression or the violent systems that increase it.

Some people may ask, “Does this mean that I can never call the cops if my life is in serious danger?” Abolition does not center that question. Instead, abolition challenges us to ask, “Why do we have no other well-resourced options?” and pushes us to creatively consider how we can grow, build, and try other avenues to reduce harm. Repeated attempts to improve the sole option offered by the state, despite how consistently corrupt and injurious it has proven itself, will neither reduce nor address the harm that actually required the call. We need more and effective options for the greatest number of people.

MEDIUM So You’re Thinking About Becoming an Abolitionist | by Mariame Kaba | Oct, 2020 | LEVEL