Colin Kaepernick said he wants to completely abolish police and prisons in a new essay, arguing that such institutions are rooted in White supremacy and cannot be reformed.
As part of his new publishing series, “Abolition For The People” on Medium, the former NFL quarterback and Black Lives Matter activist wrote Wednesday that “systemic problems demand systemic solutions.”
“Those who have been terrorized by law enforcement, those who have had enough of their very existence being criminalized, and those who have dedicated their lives to the cause of liberation by any means necessary are demanding the abolition of the carceral state — the institutions, structures, and practices of anti-Black state-sanctioned violence that violates the fundamental humanity of Black and Indigenous people and people of color,” Mr. Kaepernick wrote.
He criticized the political mainstream for “reactionary justice” in the wake of the George Floyd unrest and for shifting the focus from “defund the police” to a reform approach “centered on ‘acceptable’ modes of enacting death and violence upon oppressed peoples.
“As such, conventional paths and strategies for achieving ‘justice’ for anti-Black police terror and violence are all too often couched in campaigns and desires for convictions, punishment, and incarceration,” he argued.
“The central intent of policing is to surveil, terrorize, capture, and kill marginalized populations, specifically Black folks,” he wrote. “In order to eradicate anti-Blackness, we must also abolish the police. The abolition of one without the other is impossible.”
In a section titled, “F—K Reform,” Mr. Kaepernick argued that police reforms like adding body cameras and more training “will never alter the outcome of a system rooted in Black death,” and that defunding the police is the first step to complete abolition.
Similarly, he wrote that prison reforms such as addressing overcrowding and dehumanizing living conditions “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,” he said. “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.
“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,” he continued. “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.”
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