US: An Abolitionist* Call to Defund the Police and Mobilize Community Control

Black internationalist unions

Republished from Abolition Journal

Black Internationalist Unions have existed for centuries in opposition to the exploitation and captivity— genocide—of African and African diasporic people. Anti-lynching crusader and investigative reporter Ida Wells (1862-1931), who advocated various forms of black communal self-defense, embodies the legacy of BIUs. Our BIU is making a call to defund the police and mobilize community control over attorneys general and grand juries.

Contemporary BIUs address:

BIUs build upon the 1951 document, We Charge Genocide, utilizing international legal codes such as the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide to demand our rights and freedoms. As we approach the 70th anniversary of We Charge Genocide, we support all unions of laborers, workers, educators, legal and medical defenders and healers—in and outside of prisons and detention sites—as they create and expand strategic maps, supply chains, parallel political bodies to protect communities under siege. We repurpose trauma and direct political will to build analyzes that engineer:

  • defund police budgets, district attorneys, and grand juries
  • popular community control over policing and education
  • supply lines of food, medicine and housing
  • quality universal health care
  • education relevant to an age of crises and dispossession that threaten the globe
  • abolition of prisons/detention sites
  • enforcement of rights and autonomy for indigenous peoples, including Africans-as-indigenous, to preserve and protect our lands, water, and minerals, culture and religious rights
  • the right of the natural world to be free of pillage, slaughter, rapacious consumption
  • release of political prisoners with dignity and acknowledgment of political repression
  • security, social and economic inclusion for LGBTQ+ peoples
  • the end to sexual abuse of children and the differently abled and
  • the dismantling of platforms that leverage managerial elites for the racially/economically/gendered oppressed
  • the cessation of wars, militarism, and arms trafficking

*We understand that the definition of “abolitionism” is contested by ideologies that range from liberal and hegemonic progressivism to radical resistance and revolutionary movements.