GDC: Anti-Police Terror Working Group Vision Statement
We believe in community self defense. We believe in a world where communities have the power to solve problems, address conflicts, and meet people’s needs on their own terms. We believe in organizing with families impacted by police terrorism and executions to fight back. We believe in abolition of the police, abolition of oppressive system of capitalism, and abolition of the white supremacy they enforce. We are the anti-police terror working group of the General Defense Committee Local 14 of the Industrial Workers of the World. These are the principles we have adopted to frame our organizing.
Community Self Defense
Community self defense means we take attacks against working class people seriously. Organizing/survival work that promotes solidarity, resilience, autonomy and self determination among the working class and takes a defensive posture against our shared enemies can take many forms. One example of community self defense is organizing against the police.
The police present a clear threat to working class people of all nationalities, particularly those impacted by white supremacy and colonialism. Our working group seeks to mobilize when law enforcement commit acts of terror and brutality in addition to executions. We embrace our call to defend our communities and build collective power to respond to, and fight back against future attacks. We see the police as a threat to all working class people’s safety. We encourage our fellow community members to not call the police, but rather, build alternative support networks to use in times of crisis. We must build our capacity to solve problems, meet people’s needs, and resolve conflicts without involving the police. We recognize tearing down the entire capitalist system will be necessary to address the material inequalities enforced by the police. Addressing the root causes of crime means recognizing how the system has so many fighting over crumbs to survive. Community self defense means we advocate for a working class revolution in the long term to end an exploitative system that keeps us divided. We do not have all the answers for how a world without police would work, but we do share concrete actions we can take today towards this future.
Organizing with Families
We believe it is of the utmost importance to tailor our organizing strategies of all actions that are in direct support of any victim of police terror around the requests of the family who has had their love one attacked. Throughout our history of organizing we have found strength in bringing families who have had their loved ones terrorized and stolen by police together to take action to prevent future attacks on our communities.
Orienting Ourselves within the Local Movement Against Police Brutality
We seek to coordinate our participation in the broader movement against police violence and by doing so encourage militant actions that threaten the power structure, raise political consciousness about the function police play in society, and fight against shallow reform or nonprofit/political party driven solutions that will fail to protect us. We are committed to having continual dialogue of how we can break down mental and physical barriers that prevent us from envisioning a world that does not include police, without limiting ourselves to the assumed systems that would replace police. We do not want to replace the institution of the police, we want to abolish it.
Abolish The Police
We recognize the role of the police is to enforce the unequal division of wealth and keep oppressed communities down. The origins of the police in the US lie in slave catchers in the US south and geared to repress immigrant communities and labor in the industrial north. Police continue to be class enemies as they break strikes, repress social movement activity, and terrorize working class neighborhoods on the daily, especially communities of color.
We know that the vast majority of crime is economic as people struggle to survive under the abuse and exploitation of capitalist society. The only way to get at the root cause of crime is by undoing class society. Being that the police are strongest on-the-ground enforcers of capitalist society, and have the most frequent contact with our communities, there is clear need to threaten the power structure in any way possible with the goal of fully dismantling it.
While envisioning a world without police, we must insist on building systems that are not merely reactionary, but preventative. The GDC first made its commitment to doing so by forming cop watch patrols throughout Minneapolis in 2015. The importance of forming patrols that inform community members of their rights while simultaneously providing transparency in the way the police are interacting with citizens is taking direct action against this institution of oppression. With the intention of deterring further violations of people’s rights, we are able to lessen the abuse of the working class, even if so slightly, which shows us a glimpse of the tremendous power the people can have against the system and encourages further opportunities to grow into a mass movement that is capable of defending ourselves against the state.
We believe the first step to dismantling this system of oppression is to continue to proactively struggle against the police and the capitalist system they protect by creating the abusive conditions and behaviors within our society. We are committed to finding alternative ways to protect ourselves that have nothing to do with the police that restore the justice. This is a clear break from the institution of police and capitalism that simultaneously created crime and inflicts the punishment on our community members. We refuse to adhere to the idea that we are responsible for any alternatives that hold any resemblance to the institution or the police as it counters our revolutionary intentions to overthrow the system that created said “crimes”. We are not of the impression that within a post revolutionary society that there will be no wrongdoing, but we know that people won’t be obligated to wrong others out of the necessity to survive.
How We Carry Out These Goals
This group adheres to the 5 Principles for the Anti-Police Brutality Movement which was put forth by Can’t Touch This NYC Anti-Repression Committee outlined below.
- We will respect a diversity of tactics in the streets, as they reflect a diversity of political perspectives within our movement. We will not physically prevent fellow demonstrators from taking actions they deem necessary.
- While we may debate and disagree, we will not denounce fellow protesters in public statements in a manner that exposes them to state repression. We will not denounce protesters for engaging in self-defense or property damage.
- We refuse to cooperate with politicians in legitimizing the repression of other parts of our movement. We will not accept this as a condition for dialogue with city officials.
- We refuse to help police repress our movement. We will not help police identify and prosecute protesters, nor hand protesters into police custody, nor provide general intelligence on our movement.
- We will avoid posting and circulating sensitive visual information on social media, as police use social media to collect incriminating evidence against protesters. We will not collaborate with the media to make such information publicly available.
An injury to one is an injury to all. We have an obligation to organize and defend our communities from the terror of police. Join us.