Some in Black America say they don’t want to defund the police, but would rather weed out the bad cops to overcome bad policing.
Not possible, says NFL player-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick. Bad policing doesn’t merely involve a few “bad” apples — the problem is the system and that entire system is rotten, Kaepernick wrote in an article for Level.
Kaepernick is calling for policing and punishment in the U.S. to be reexamined, dismantled and rebuilt.
His article is entitled “The Demand for Abolition.”
It’s part of a project produced by Kaepernick Publishing in partnership with Level, a publication for Black and Brown men offering commentary on race, identity and culture.
The project, “Abolition for the People,” plans to publish 30 stories from organizers, political prisoners, scholars and advocates examining the issues of policing and prisons.
“It’s been four years since I first protested during ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’” he wrote. “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.”
The only way to make a significant change is to change the system from top to bottom, according to Kaepernick.
“Systemic problems demand systemic solutions. Predictably, the political mainstream has responded to recent uprisings by shifting the demands to ‘defund the police’ to reformist interventions centered on ‘acceptable’ modes of enacting death and violence upon oppressed peoples…To understand the necessity and urgency of abolition, we must first understand the genesis and histories of the institutions and practices we must abolish.”
For Kaepernick, that means starting from scratch.
“Abolition is a means to create a future in which justice and liberation are fundamental to realizing the full humanity of communities,” he wrote. “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.”
On social media, some don’t agree with Kaepernick.
“Ever study the Wild West when there was no law and order?” @RichardBensonD1 tweeted. “Rapings, murders, and lynchings. If we don’t study history, we are bound to repeat it. No law and order means more crime. If you want change, be the change. Change the system from within.”
Ryan Hawthorne @ryhaw12 tweeted, “You have officially lost it my man! Your just reaching for publicity on this non-sense.There are always ways to improve the current system’s we have but abolishment is as radical you can get and 0% chance of working.”
Other see Kaepernick’s approach as revolutionary.
“Thank you Kap! Keep your head up brother, for you are a national treasure, history will show this to be true, this Marine salutes you for your courage, keep up the good fight, it’s always worth it!” Joseph Micheal Maher @JosephMichealM2 tweeted.
“You are changing our culture! Trailblazing!!! I am so excited to see this shift toward embracing a kinder and more peaceful society! We can do this!” Connie DeBenedet @CdebenedetCo tweeted.
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 73: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin makes the case for why this is a multi-factor rebellion vs. just protests about George Floyd. He discusses the Democratic Party’s sneaky relationship with the police in cities and states under Dem control, and why Joe Biden is a cop and the Steve Jobs of mass incarceration.
Kaepernick’s bottom line is that policing and punishment must be reexamined and rebuilt.
“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,” he wrote. “This is a future that centers the needs of the people, a future that will make us safer, healthier, and truly free.”