Pan-African Community Action Archives - accuracy.org

Is the Solution Defunding the Police, Or Community Control?

MAX RAMEAU, afrimax at niainteractive.com
NETFA FREEMAN, netfa at ips-dc.org, @Netfafree
Rameau and Freeman are writing a book, Community Control Over Police, and just wrote the piece “Community Control vs. Defunding the Police: A Critical Analysis” which was published by Black Agenda Report.

They write that it is “undeniable that policing in the U.S. is out of control and outrageously overfunded. Since 1977 crime has continued to fall, but police budgets have almost tripled to a staggering $115 billion per year.”

But, they argue, “Defunding the police will not abolish the police. Far from purging classism, racism and patriarchy from its ranks, defunding the police is likely to bring them back in their purest form and with a vengeance.”

They note that historically, “the shift from private security to public utility created the contradiction that allowed civil rights organizations to fight for equal protection under the law, public transparency and other reforms. Of course, this did not end police brutality or alter the fundamental function of police as protectors of wealth and enforcers of the will of the ruling class, but turning the police into a public utility did provide some important tools necessary for the reduction of harm and heightening contradictions when those harms came.”

They point to other examples around the world to illustrate their argument: “South Africa is a modern capitalist country that is mostly post-industrial and features pockets of development that mirror the wealthiest western nations. Yet, the government there does not spend anywhere near the amount of resources on police as the United States. So how do upscale malls, financial districts, wealthy white neighborhoods and other configurations of the ruling class protect themselves from the majority of residents living in poverty? They hire private security firms to enforce the rules of the establishment — not the laws of the province or country.”

Rameau is a Haitian-born Pan-African author and organizer with Pan-African Community Action. Freeman is on the Coordinating Committee of the Black Alliance for Peace and an organizer in Pan-African Community Action which published a longer version of their new piece.

Police Should be Under Community Control

NETFA FREEMAN, netfa at ips-dc.org, @Netfafree
Freeman is a policy analyst with the Institute for Policy Studies and an organizer with Pan-African Community Action. He was interviewed late last year on FAIR’s program CounterSpin: “Community Control Over Police Should Be a Democratic Right.”

He said today: “People most impacted by police repression have a legacy of struggle that should inform what demands any allies support. Black radical tradition of the 60s and 70s has conceived of and fought for Community Control Over Police (CCOP) as a solution and this was readopted by the more contemporary Movement for Black Lives policy platform released in August 2017.

“CCOP would make other demands, like ending qualified immunity or defunding the police redundant and unnecessary. These sorts of reforms are a deterrent away from the more grassroots and power shifting demand for CCOP. With CCOP, communities would be empowered to hire, fire, set priorities and duties of the police, as well as establish the consequences for misconduct. CCOP is actually a democratic human right to self-determination and a recommendation to the U.S. by the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent in 2016.”The other reforms can be won without achieving any power shift at all, but will invariably compel proponents to claim a relatively easy victory [rather than] shifting power to the people most impacted.

“As an institution with origins in the slave patrols and, at the turn of the century, private security agencies hired by owners, policing is about enforcing the laws of white supremacy and capitalism.

“All U.S. armed forces — whether police, National Guard, active-duty military — serve the same essential purpose, to protect the settler colonial and imperialist paradigm. The distinction between them is like that between the FBI and CIA; one enforces domestic domination and the other foreign.”

Freeman is also on the coordinating committee of the Black Alliance for Peace, which works on a host of issues, including calling for shutting down AFRICOM.