colin on abolition

colin kaepernick on abolition via

The Demand for Abolition by Colin Kaepernick

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links to 9 min medium read: a future worth building – the demand for abolition – by colin

Only by dismantling unjust systems can we imagine a future that is safe, healthy, and truly free

This article is part of Abolition for the People, a series brought to you by a partnership between Kaepernick Publishing and LEVEL, a Medium publication for and about the lives of Black and Brown men.

It’s been four years since I first protested during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” At the time, my protest was tethered to my understanding that something was not right. I saw the bodies of Black people left dead in the streets. I saw them left dead in their cars. I saw them left dead in their backyards. I saw Black death all around me at the hands of the police. I saw little to no accountability for police officers who had murdered them. It is not a matter of bad apples spoiling the bunch but interlocking systems that are rotten to their core.. And systemic problems demand systemic solutions..t

ie: cure ios city.. as a means to undo our hierarchical listening

to get to legit healing (roots of)

To understand the necessity and urgency of abolition, we must first understand the genesis and histories of the institutions and practices we must abolish.

yeah maybe (to understand necessity/urgency).. but i don’t think we need to understand the genesis and histories in order to actually abolish them.. make them irrelevant.. we just need to find a nother way to live.. that 8b people could leap to


1\ undisturbed ecosystem (common\ing) can happen

2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b free people

The more that I have learned about the history and evolution of policing in the United States, the more I understand its roots in white supremacy and anti-Blackness. Black Panther Party co-founder Huey P. Newton once said, “The police are in our community not to promote our welfare or for our security or our safety, but they are there to contain us, to brutalize us, and murder us.” The ever-present threat of premature death at the hands, knees, chokeholds, tasers, and guns of law enforcement has only further engrained its anti-Black foundation into the institutions of policing. *In order to eradicate anti-Blackness, we must also abolish the police. The abolition of one without the other is impossible..t

*even deeper – need to eradicate de humanizing.. any form of people telling other people what to do et al

mufleh humanity lawwe have seen advances in every aspect of our lives except our humanity– Luma Mufleh

As part of the reentry work I have done with Kevin Livingston from 100 Suits for 100 Men at Rikers Island, I have spent time with young Black men no older than 20. The young men there explained the dehumanizing conditions in the prison that range from denial of literature to physical assault. They have been criminalized and caged, in most cases, for being redlined into economic despair.


Kalief Browder

Marlon Peterson

Shaka Senghor – writing my wrongs

Bryan Stevenson

et al

Forever emblazoned in my memory are the words of one of the young Black men: “You love us when no one else does.” The young brother was seeking love. He was seeking care. He was seeking a space that valued his life

maté basic needs

let’s go that deep

for 8b people..


What he received was hate and what Ruth Wilson Gilmore would call “organized abandonment.”..t

‘organized abandonment’ aka: structural violence

As Angela Y. Davis has written, “prisons do not disappear problems, they disappear human beings.” .. t.. Prisons do not contain a “criminal population” running rampant but rather a population that society has repeatedly failed.

hari present in society law.. crazywise (doc).. .et al

In her book Are Prisons Obsolete?, Davis effectively analyzes the purpose of prisons. “These prisons represent the application of sophisticated, modern technology dedicated entirely to the task of social control,” she writes, “and they isolate, regulate, and surveil more effectively than anything that has preceded them.” An institution based on social control instead of social well-being is an institution that needs to be abolished..t


social control et al

any form of people telling people what to do

I recently revisited the 2016 postgame interview when I was first asked about not standing during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” One of the reporters inquired about the reasoning behind my dissent. “There’s a lot of things that need to change,” I replied. “One specifically is police brutality. There’s people being murdered unjustly and not being held accountable. Cops are getting paid leave for killing people. That’s not right. That’s not right by anyone’s standards.”

Unconsciously, my critique of police terrorism was fastened to a reformist framework. My want for accountability focused on the cops receiving convictions and punishment, not acquittals and paid vacations. But I had missed the larger picture. t. The focus on individual punishment will never alter the outcome of a system rooted in Black death. I wanted change. I wanted it to stop. I wanted to reform what I saw. Yet, the reforms often proposed — use-of-force policies, body cameras, more training, and police accountability — were the same recycled police reforms consistently proposed in the past. And in both the past and the present, these reforms have done nothing to stop the actions that force us to #SayTheirNames

need to go deeper.. otherwise.. just spinning our wheels.. same song ness

Similarly, suggested prison reforms — new jail construction to address crowding and dehumanizing living conditions and technological monitoring that essentially creates open-air prisons — have not and cannot eliminate the harm of the carceral state. The thread that ties all of these reforms together is the increased investment of capital into the carceral state. . t

I watched an interview with Ruth Wilson Gilmore on geographies of racial capitalism; in it, she said that “capitalism requires inequality, and racism enshrines it.” It made me think about the economies of exploitation, deprivation, and captivity that propel forward incarceration and the construction of prisons. These economies disproportionately target Black, Brown, and poor white people. It made me think about how the carceral state is central to the machinery of racial capitalism

I began to ask myself the question “What is being reformed or reformulated?”

Ultimately, I realized that seeking reform would make me an active participant in reforming, reshaping, and rebranding institutional white supremacy, oppression, and death.. This constant re-interrogation of my own analysis has been part of my political evolution.

wish we could talk

Reform, at its core, preserves, enhances, and further entrenches policing and prisons into the United States’ social order..t Abolition is the only way to secure a future beyond anti-Black institutions of social control, violence, and premature death.

Abolition is a means to create a future in which justice and liberation are fundamental to realizing the full humanity of communities. Practices of abolitionists are focused on harm reduction, public health, and the well-being of people. Demands to defund the police and prisons are one of the ways to first realize the goals of investing in people and divesting from punishment and, in time, progress to the complete abolition of the carceral state, including police and policing.

but still spinning our wheels.. when we have the means to go deeper.. now

To be clear, the abolition of these institutions is not the absence of accountability but rather the establishment of transformative and restorative processes that are not rooted in punitive practices. By abolishing policing and prisons, not only can we eliminate white supremacist establishments, but *we can create space for budgets to be reinvested directly into communities to address mental health needs, homelessness and houselessness, access to education, and job creation as well as community-based methods of accountability. This is a future that **centers the needs of the people, a future that will make us safer, healthier, and truly free.

*budgets, ed, jobs, accountability.. all red flags we’re doing it/life wrong.. need to go deeper.. need to let go of  money ..any form of measuring/accounting/telling people what to do

**has to center on deepest needs of people ie: maté basic needs.. or we’ll never be legit free

ie: cure ios city

Another world is possible, a world grounded in love, justice, and accountability, a world grounded in safety and good health, a world grounded in meeting the *needs of the people.

i think if we go deep enough.. justice and accountability will become irrelevant..

we have to undo our hierarchical listening.. so that people know what their actual needs are.. so that people know what enough ness is