SummaryWhat defunding the police truly means, and what that could look like, with this week’s guest Ría Thompson-Washington.
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Melanie: Hey, y'all it is
Sunday, February 13th, 2022.
I'm your moderator, Melanie Dione.
And this is Resist bot live.
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So let's talk about our topic today.
Defunding, the police it's a
topic that we hear very often.
And usually we get stuck in whether
we should or should not without
getting into what it actually entails.
What are proponents of defunding
the police actually talking
about what are the objectives?
And, you know, we love struggling in
public and we love getting answers
to these questions from people who
are smarter than us, which is once
again what we are doing today.
And speaking of folks who are
smarter than us, I am going to
start bringing up my all-girl band.
Once again, we will
start with Athena Fulay.
Good morning, afternoon, evening.
Wherever you may be.
Resist bot world.
How's it going?
Melanie: Hey Athena it's it's
even me, Batman and Robin today.
Athena: All right.
Melanie: I like it.
I like it.
Athena: Dynamic duo.
Melanie: we're going to do it.
We're going to, I think all of us have
had a two-sies now because I think
one week it was me and Christine and
now finally me and you so welcome.
I don't play favorites, but you
know, we always have a good time.
So we're going to have you once
again on the comments with us.
Athena: I am in the comment box.
So please go ahead and throw
your thoughts, concerns, any
questions you might have for us
and our special guest speaker.
And thanks for plugging that earlier,
Mel, if you're following us on Twitter
or you just want us to see you across
media, use the hashtag live botters and
we will be sure to plug in with you there.
Melanie: And I would really
love to see a lot of people.
I know people have questions on
this so I would really love to see
comments and questions because this
is something that's really important.
When we start talking about,
police interaction, police
violence, police budgets.
there's a conversation on if they don't
have these budgets, will they protect us?
Will they save us?
What happens when they are defunded?
So rather than you and I just playing
guessing games, we're going to
talk to somebody who does the work.
I think we're both very
excited for this guest.
We have Ría Thompson,-Washington with us.
Ría: How y'all doing?
Melanie: Doing great.
How are you?
Ría: I'm peachy keen!
Thanks so much for having me today.
I look forward to this conversation.
Melanie: Thank you so much for being here.
We were both, when I told the
Athena you were coming, she
said, "How you know Ría??"
when I saw that you were
coming, I was excited.
I was to be like, Athena is going like
this, and I'm just going to surprise her.
of all, thank you.
I, Athena and I know you, but some of
our audience may still have to meet you.
So can you tell us a little bit
about you and your work with the
United People of Color Caucus
and the National Lawyers Guild?
So, my name is Ría I use
she, her ella pronouns.
I have been an organizer and
an activist for over 20 years
across various industries.
And I've mostly worked in with
unions on electoral campaigns
doing election protection work.
And then I also, am the, co-chair
currently of The United People of Color
Caucus for the National Lawyers Guild
as well as legal worker of the year.
And so all of that means is that I do a
lot of free work for, folks and teaching
folks how to resist state oppression,
how to fight back and organize their
community members to be able to, educate
each other and have these conversations
about the difficult things that we need
to get through as community members and
the national lawyers Guild is, uh, one
of the oldest bar associations in the
country and it's the oldest, racially
integrated bar association in the country.
So, they've been doing this for over 80
years now and I'm happy to be a member.
Melanie: When we talk about
resisting our state oppression,
one of those arms is the police.
I think the arm that we're
most familiar with and our
day-to-day lives are the police.
Cause you know, no matter where you are.
You see them.
so can we talk a bit about your
history, how you got to the point
because you are an abolitionist
so can we talk about how you, what
planted the seed for abolition work?
I want to talk about, I want
to hear about two things.
What planted the seed and what
really lit the fire in galvanized
you into doing this work?
Ría: I didn't realize that I was an
abolitionist for a really long time.
I knew that police were harmful.
I know that every time I've had an
interaction with police, they were
incredibly harmful to me, but I also
knew that, Like I'd been, sexually
assaulted by police in police custody.
I have had them not listen to me or
other people when I see harm happening
or we're trying to diffuse situations
that are happening in community.
And so I think that was one of the first
things that helped me get activated
was experiencing police violence.
But for myself and my friends
experiencing it as well.
And then as I got older, I had been, like
I said, organizing for a really long time.
So I interacted with police in many
ways, mostly at like picket lines or,
at direct actions where police officers
are, you know,harming protestors
who are getting into the streets
exercising their first amendment rights.
And so, when I went to law school
in 2014, I wasn't an abolitionist.
I thought that I was going to use the
law and learn the law to be able to, get
inside of this, process and help, You
know, change from the inside and in law
school, I realized that the law works
exactly the way that it's supposed to.
And because it works the way that it's
supposed to, there's actually no solve
for what this system that we have now.
The only thing that we can do now,
Is kind of scrap what we have and,
start over is what I would recommend.
I realize that's scary for some folks,
but we need to start thinking about ways
that we fix a system that is working
the way that it's designed, but it
meeting the needs that we need to have.
It's not helping keep us safe.
It doesn't, it's not a justice system.
It's an unjustice system.
And so, I got to start by starting with
labor union organizing with being in
the streets as a queer black woman.
you know, my personal, my life led me
to this space because, I've interacted
with police, in a lot of different ways
and none of them have been helpful.
None of them have been safe.
And, I think we can do better than that.
Melanie: One of the things, cause
I've seen a lot of like videos
because you're, you're deep in this
work and seeing, not just you out
there protesting, but dealing with.
People who want to get physical.
I would like to talk very specifically
about your experience as a protester.
And what's that what that's like
when you are protesting, when you are
exercising your first amendment, right.
And dealing with counter protesters.
Can you talk a bit about how the
police have, been a hindrance to
safety in situations like that?
Ría: I think the most recent, I was
going to say the most recent case
of that would have been like what
happened in Charlottesville, right?
Where we saw police officers literally
allow white supremacists to form police
lines in front of them, you know,
take positions on top of buildings.
Like they were actually acting as a police
force, but then I thought about like,
January 6th last year also just happened.
And so the thing is, is that, in
my experience as a police officer,
police are not there to deescalate
that they're not there to keep safe.
they're there to, You know, exercise
law and order, to them, which really
ends up being like violence and harm to
the people who are out in the streets.
And so, I have found that, it's
best to have someone who is
designated to be a police liaison.
If you're going to have someone, if
you're going to be protesting, the
national lawyers Guild has a model of a
mass defense that uses legal observers.
You should reach out to your local
chapter and find out if you can get
legal observers to observe the actions
of the police at protests, because that
role then helps put the eyes back of
the community on the police to say, Hey,
we see what you're doing and we're not
okay with the way that you're treating
our, community members are each of us.
And we're going to do something to
take steps, to try to remedy that
me it's my favorite pastime.
this makes me want to go up.
Go back just even a little bit more
when we start talking about the origin
of policing and how almost at its
foundation, this was this sort of,
combination of the old Watchman and,
people who were going on slave patrols.
So from the beginning, the
purpose of policing was to keep
black people under control.
And it's at this point very
much baked in the cake.
When we first started talking, I talked
a bit about a failure of imagination to
not conceive of a world without police.
And you countered that and you
kind of pushed back on that.
and you mentioned that it's not
exactly a personal failure when
imagine this world without.
Without police we're, we're geared for a
world that there's crime and punishment
that's the society that we live in.
So when we start talking about defunding
the police, can you talk about some
of the biggest misconception or
misconceived pushback that you get as
an abolitionists that you want to make
sure you say that loud and clear for
our audience anyone who can hear it?
Ría: We have an hour.
So I'll try to narrow it down.
so yeah, w it was interesting.
Cause when we talked and you said that
you had a failure of imagination to
envision a world without police, I just
remember being struck and I'm still
struck and still ruminating over that
concept because I think that's part
of what people are resistant to that.
They haven't considered what it would
be like to have a world without police.
they haven't considered what it would be
like to, create a different, , safety,
set up like a safety agreement.
And so, People are always like, whenever
I have this conversation, oftentimes
with friends, you know, at like,
before pandemic at dinner parties or,
post pandemic on zoom, gatherings and
like people are asking about, well,
how are we going to defend, you know,
how are we going to abolish police?
Or how are we going to defund police?
And then they say, you
know, what about rapists?
And it's like, oh, cool.
Talk to me about how police are actually
keeping you safe from rapists now.
And the answer is they're not.
Police aren't keeping
our neighborhoods safe.
They're not keeping us safe.
They're not protecting anything.
If anything, police protect property.
And most of the crime that happens in the
country is an even, like violent assault
crime.It's property theft or theft and
things having to relate to property.
And so that makes me think about,
well, why are people, you know,
taking and stealing things?
Like why are people stealing food?
Why are people stealing,
resources that they need?
And it's because there's a lapse
in our community elsewhere about.
What people need as resources
to be able to survive.
So it's always, you know,
what about the violent crime?
What about the rapist?
What about the murderers?
What about the killers?
And it's like, I just like to know
what world you're living in, where the
police are protecting us from that now.
And I haven't seen that.
and then the other thing is, because we
know how harmful policing is like most
victims of violence don't even call them.
' cause then they have to prove, why
they were harmed or how they were
harmed or that they were harmed,
or it becomes, a game of like, what
the, the victim was wearing or what,
they were doing or who they were
with and all of these other things.
So the reality of the situation is, is
that we don't live in a society now where
police keep us safe and we don't live in
a society now where police prevents crime.
Even if a crime happened literally
in front of a police officer, they
would, there's nothing that they could
really do or would do about that.
And so, Yeah, we need to rethink
what this punitive state of
like punishment assessment is.
And like, figure out how we, harness
some of the compassion, that we should
have towards each other to figure out
what we do to solve the problem, the
problems of our community and society that
don't involve putting people in cages.
Melanie: When we, talk about
alternatives to defunding, can you
give a glimpse on what type of, uh,
social services would be in place?
Because as we th there's still a need,
when we look at crime, et cetera,
there is a societal need for change.
Where would some of those, funds
that were going to the police?
Where would those go instead?
did you want to weigh on this, or
dig a little deeper on this Athena?
Just this idea that I think.
You're absolutely right.
who are they here to protect them, serve
they're here to protect and serve property
and a large majority of these cases.
And, and when you're talking about law
and order, we've seen that the law has
failed a lot of citizens in this country.
the law and order protects
a particular status quo.
So in the end, if you're talking
about if you're defining policing,
or if you're defining the police
force as a means to protect a
community and to support a community.
That's clearly this model isn't working.
So if we were to abolish this and if we
were to explore what exactly a future
without the police could look like,
I understand you're absolutely right.
Any kind of, I'm an abolitionist as well.
And when I hear people talk, everybody
just gets a little nervous about this.
What could this look like?
What will the sound like?
Who will I call when something happens?
So then what can we as a community do to.
Build a foundation with which that gap
is less of a jump for people to realize,
what can we start to implement now to,
to build these structures before we burn
down the house, what can we build in the
meantime to help us do this transition
to a better world where everybody feels
supported and has the resources that
they need and where we're not under the
illusion that the police are here to
do anything other than to protect and
serve property and to sustained law and
order for a select segment of society.
So for me, it's, I think that people
want, abolitionists to have the answers.
And I think I shared this
on Mel the other day.
You know, as an abolitionist, I don't
think of myself as the answer person.
I think of myself as the option
person, as the Lex try as a scientist,
like let's hypothesize about what a
solution could look like, and then
let's play that out either in, a
select sample or by trying it right.
And so I think that.
Like people, we, we haven't ever been
told that we could have something else.
We only have been shown that
there was this one option, right.
That is not good.
and then there's this other option?
There's this option that's
not good or nothing.
That's the only two
things we've been told.
But we know that there's so
much space in the middle between
those, you know, nothing.
And this really terrible option.
the goal is to like get together and
figure out what works for our community,
what works for us to keep each other safe.
Because the thing is, is that
in places where police, are
over-policing, it's not safer to the
people who live in that community.
It's not that things don't get stolen.
and the police aren't like bringing
back TVs that are stolen or laptops.
They're just like, they
don't, Care about that enough.
I think we need to invest more
money and like some of the social
services, We need to invest money in
like mental health care for people.
Um, we need to invest in
like, Just regular, plain old.
Like why don't people have healthcare?
Like everyone should have that.
I'm ensuring that people have
food and clothing and housing.
And there are countries, other countries
who, who have these models, and there's
being they're successful at them.
Like now the only difference is
that they're largely countries with.
know, overwhelmingly white populations
and that's why, or even to bring it,
more narrow, like in Portland, like
people are always like, oh, Portland
is like this, you know, liberal
utopia where everything is good.
Except when I went to Portland, I saw the.
black people, um, and the people of
color being harassed by the police,
even though there was, you know, much
fewer of them than there were, you
know, all of the white people around.
And so what are we going to be
able to have these conversations
about the truth, about why policing
is harmful to our community?
And so we don't do anything.
We don't have enough conversations
about this, but it's, it's really,
that's where I would say the failure
of imagination is, is that when
you're a little kid you're asked what
do you want to be when you grow up?
Because you're being, you know,
your brain is being formed.
Part of this like
capitalist structure, right.
It doesn't ask you, like, we're not
asked, like what kind of world do
you want to live in when you grow up?
Do you want to live in a world where
there's no police, do you want to live
in a world where you can walk down the
street and it doesn't matter what you're
wearing and you know, like, People
respect each other's like bodily autonomy.
Like we have no concept of that because
we don't teach children about that.
We teach them a lie and we're socialized
into the lie that police are, there
for us very early from McGruff, the
crime dog, to dare, you know, on drugs.
none of that has kept us
any safer than anything.
Melanie: So I'm an eighties kid,
so, full-scale cop-paganda, right?
I think we all like close full-scale
propaganda, you name it, like everything.
Even the cartoons where, like
police academy was one of the big
movie franchises of the eighties.
So, so I completely understand that.
where this is just kind of like spoonfed
to us where the reality is different.
I did a little digging.
I went to this I don't know if
calling it lovely is appropriate,
but it's very handy and informative.
I went to police scorecard.org, which
just had, they analyze data on, it's over
13,000 police departments across the U S.
And so I looked, I checked.
First of all I looked at, the city
that's always on people's lips.
When they start talking about violence,
I looked specifically at Chicago.
One of the reasons I looked at
Chicago is because of the gift that
keeps on giving Lori Lightfoot.
She was it last February.
She was in the hot seat because she
diverted $281 million in COVID-19
funding and discretionary funding.
She diverted that to the police.
Now for the timeframe we're talking
February, this is before we even
have widely available vaccines.
So before we even know what's before
there was an idea of what came
next with COVID over half of the
money was gone to the police force.
When I started looking at the scorecard
There's a hundred percent that you
can, you can possibly get and they way
you they have a specific, they have an
algorithm where they analyze four major
things and those things are, let me
get it right, because I do not want to,
they focus on funding, police, violence,
accountability, and enforcement and
enforcement, and specifically, are they,
prosecuting people for low-level crimes.
This is not for violent crimes.
This is for low level offenses.
Non-violent offenses, things like that.
So for a place like Chicago, where the
population is majority black and brown,
even if you just look at black people,
29% of the population in Chicago is black.
They account for 72% of her.
74% of the people who are
killed by the police are black.
This is for a 29% population, but 74% of
the people killed by the police are black.
Their funding is 1.7 billion
and their fines and forfeitures
$3.06 billion a year.
So twice their funding so
this is, this is Chicago.
This is what we're dealing
with in a city that's primarily
predominantly black and brown.
So I went to the city that
had the best rating Blaine,
Minnesota, which is 78% white.
Uh, sorry, let me backtrack on Chicago.
Their, funding averages out
to $653 per resident just to
their, their police funding.
$653 per resident in their budget.
Blaine, Minnesota is only 167.
Dollars per resident.
And from 2003 to 2020, there
were zero police killings.
But then when you start looking, when
you dig deeper into some, a place with
these great stats, you look at the
fact that even though the percentage
of black people is only 7%, they
still make up 21% of the arrests.
It's not subtle the purpose of
policing, it was born of racism and
they don't have to say it anymore.
Like once you, if I bake a chocolate cake,
I don't have to keep putting chocolate
on top of it and telling you, the cake
is chocolate, you know, it's chocolate.
And this is what we're dealing with
when we're dealing with, policing
in communities, when the communities
are white, as opposed to when the
communities are black and it has to be.
I can also talk about my city
of new Orleans, which I love.
I've been back here for a year.
Our police budget this year
is going up $16 million.
It's going to be 193 million, $822.
I'm sorry, sorry.
193 million, $822,403 for a population
of just under 400,000 people.
I live in new Orleans, east,
which is predominantly black.
Before hurricane Katrina.
There were two hospitals after
hurricane Katrina from 2005 to 2014.
We had none.
Now we just have one, one of the two
hospitals was changed to a site for a
Walmart, which is one of only three.
Grocery stores, three full service
grocery stores in an area that
services 20% of the city's population.
So when you start looking at what
the funding, the police means, there
are all these places that are just
obviously neglected while they're
throwing money in, in the police's purse.
So I want to ask, what is it, what is
it that we can do from our standpoint
to, to start envisioning a world where
policing is more under control, where
we're not living in a carceral state, what
are some of the steps that we can take?
Ría: so yeah, so that's exactly it.
The history of policing, recognizing
that policing started out as a
means of maintaining property and
that property being black bodies.
And that's this, the statistics
that you were talking about.
Are, you know, those are microcosms of
what is happening all over the country,
that it doesn't matter how little the
number of black people are in the area.
they're always going to be overpoliced,
they're always going to be arrested more.
They're always going to
have more interactions.
And for that reason that's
why we have to start thinking
about what is it look like now?
What does it look like?
It looks like again, the, the amount
of money that we spend on policing,
And the word defund, I think is so
charged that what if we don't talk
about like defunding the police?
What if we just talk about
funding other things, right.
Like instead of defunding the police
lit if we funded mental health, because
in the, in new Orleans east what you're
talking about is I heard a food desert.
I heard a lack of
resources for healthcare.
And that means that people are
going to have more wants and needs
and other places that have more
resources in their community.
It just that's just how it works.
And so that means that when people
need health care, they're going to
go to the emergency room instead of
like maybe an urgent care or another
hospital or a doctor's office, because
they don't have those resources.
And so we start thinking about,
well, what do we want to do?
Like, what do we want to
offer, to their communities?
Like, do we need police
officers in schools?
And like K through 12 education, is that
helping protect the students in any way?
What if instead of like police officers,
we had more resources being put to,
education programs, afterschool care,
Food, just like basic food and income
for the families to be able to live.
Like, there's this idea of a
universal, basic income that, you
know, municipalities could, offer
to residents and pay residents
to help out with resources.
And I think the studies have
shown and places, for example,
in the twin cities of St.
Paul and Minneapolis St.
Your universal, basic income,
they have more resources.
They have, more.
Access to programming for folks who need
it and in Minneapolis they don't right.
And so they have more money that goes to
their police department which recently
just underwent, the, the community was
voting about whether to defund the police
department or divest resources from the
police department to a public safety
department, a public safety department.
Could be whatever we want it to be.
It can be a place where
there is mediation.
It could be a place where people go
to solve disputes using restorative
justice or transformative justice or
alternate alternative dispute resolution.
It could be a place where
instead of, you know, we go to.
Find out ways to be harmful to people or
accused people who we think have wrong
this, but like go to find media, media,
and ground and like, understand okay.
Ended, like, why did you do this thing?
Maybe it wasn't meant to hurt me.
Intentionally, maybe you
didn't have resources.
Maybe you didn't have food, maybe you
needed to sell, you know, whatever so that
you can try to take care of your family.
All of the things that keep
us at odds with each other and
figuring out why that is happening.
I think that that is what we can do.
To do that.
It's, it's, it's caring
about your neighbors.
It's about, if you live in an apartment
community and you know, that, there is
someone who might be experiencing, harm
intimate partner violence is asking
if you can, help that person asking
if there's anything that you can do.
Pretending that it doesn't
happen or turning a blind eye.
It's actually putting yourself in the
way of harm, which may seem scary.
But at some point, if we all take the
step to stand up for someone else,
eventually we're going to be, everybody
will be standing up for each other.
Like if we continue to think about and
plot out what do I want, what do I want?
I don't want to live
in a world with police.
So what does that mean?
That I need to be safe.
And how does that happen?
Melanie: When we start talking about
this type of care for people there
gets, there's a lot of pushback.
This is an uphill conversation.
When we start talking about the simple
matter of caring for people, you start
hearing that it is left, this propaganda,
you hear that it's quixotic and, and
that there's this fantasy world, but
what horror, what horror show do you
want to live in when you, are completely
fine with a system that does not work?
Police departments by and
large have not been defunded.
And yet crime continues.
This is probably among the most
violent times that I remember.
Like once again, going back being,
being an eighties kid, like we know what
that was like when people were without,
when people were financially desperate.
When, when crack originally was, was
flooding our streets, I live in the house
where I grew up and I remember there was
a certain time of day where I'd be doing
my homework and I would hear gunshot.
I'm 45 back in this house.
And there's still a certain time of day.
And I'm hearing gunshots.
I'm hearing actually more
gunshots than I did before.
And this is just having a car.
For example, in new
Orleans is a crap shoot.
You might see it when you come
back out, they will get in
your car at the gas station.
And part of it is because there
is a lack of anything else.
Everyone flips out.
When we say you fund the police
education has been getting defunded for
decades, absolute decades, and there
is a direct relation to the decline of
society and the increase in crime and
the decrease in educational budgets.
And yet when we say, Hey, maybe
we don't just throw guns at this.
You're looked at like, You have
a five-year-old outlook on the
world, as opposed to us being
taxpayers, us being citizens, and
deserving a certain quality of life.
We've and this is not something
this isn't a left or right issue.
This is an uphill, this is an uphill
battle on both sides of the aisle.
This is not something that's partisan.
This is, uh, this is a minority group
that sport's still a minority group for.
That is, that is pushing against even
good people with, who tend to have liberal
ideas who are just like, yeah, I get that,
but I still need people to go to jail.
So we look at there's a Cory Bush, who
is getting a lot of flack because she
will not abandon saying defund the police
when there are politicians like that.
When there are organizations like
that, Where do you find your, space
to help them to dig into the work?
How do you, how do you address
fitting into, to become part of
the change that you want to see
in this world without policing?
As we know it currently.
So, for me, that is why I do a
lot of the trainings that I do
a lot of the political education
and community education that I do.
and some of those include, Teaching,
like everyday people about their first
amendment rights and how to exercise them.
It's like basically a know
your rights class or how not
to get arrested in the class.
And it taught like that class
kind of talks about, all levels
of interaction with police.
I think that the other thing is that.
People just don't know, like we're not
doing the abolitionist community is
we're kind of, insular at this moment.
Like, you know, you know, and so I
think that we have like the language
of defend the police, has actually
muddied the waters of exactly what.
Is needed right now and that's
political education and conversation.
And I think that when we present
to people, the idea of something
else and like, having an honest
conversation where it's not littered
again with what if the murderer is,
what if all of these people what if,
but what if we didn't have police?
What would that mean for your
community or our ask people?
Like, tell me about your personal
interactions with police or about people
that you know, who interacts with police.
It's about changing the mind
frame from thinking that this is
the only way to recognize that
there are so many other things.
That we could live.
We just never even thought about it
because no one told us that one gave
us permission, but we have to recognize
that we have permission, right.
To go ahead and, and make a change.
Like I don't want to.
Any, neighborhood I've ever lived in.
I'm always like if I have, you
know, an issue with a neighbor,
I'm not going to call the police,
we're going to talk about it.
Like, humans who got to figure out how
to live in this world with each other.
that's what we have to get back to.
It's like when you were young, and
you were, you should have been taught
about how to solve problems and
then resolve conflicts with people.
Like, I don't think we had enough,
resources around that and thinking
about just because somebody has
harmed, you does not mean that they
deserve to then also be harmed, right.
Or just because somebody has taken from
you doesn't mean that they deserve.
So we put in, you know, a facility that,
where again, supervised by another type of
police force, like the average I think the
average, like incident of a sexual assault
by a, someone who works at a prison to
someone who's like currently incarcerated
in the prison is like every five days.
That's a guard or a police guard,
harming someone every five days.
That means that.
That even when you're going to be,
penitent, when you're going to be
held accountable for your actions,
you're going into a whole other
system where you're then being harmed.
And other trauma is being put upon you.
So then when you come back
to the space where no, as a
rehabilitated person, you're selling.
Fit back into the system.
How can you do that?
When we have not addressed the harms that
have happened to you, we have an address.
Like what caused you to get there in the
first place, the food desert that you
lived in, which means there's no grocery
stores around you or in the case, you
know what, like you were talking about
like a Walmart where there's no like.
Union to be able to make sure that there's
like really good healthcare and make
sure that, folks have what they need.
And we're, divesting from schools.
And instead replacing teachers
with police officers, right.
I, saw, on the Twitter verse last week,
In Oklahoma, there is a school where
there are so many teachers who have been
out from like COVID that they've been
having local police force come in and
teach, substitute, teach for the students.
And I'm just thinking like my God
they'll shelter and like, what,
what could they be learning?
From someone who is coming into a
space just to keep order not to love
them, not to teach them not to nurture
them, not to say, Hey, you're safe
or to do anything, but to keep order.
And we saw like the spate of like,
what happens when police officers
are put in situations with children
and they become abusive to that.
We've seen, we've seen this.
And so it's we.
Recycling bad information.
We keep like we're in a hamster wheel
of bad ideas that we refuse to get
off of because it's what we know.
And so instead of like deciding, you
know what this doesn't feel right.
It doesn't feel good for,
you know, children to be at
harm at the hands of police.
It doesn't feel good.
for, you know, like people who are
survivors of rape, feel uncomfortable
to report it to police, right?
These things don't happen because
the police are keeping us safe.
This is because they're
not keeping us safe.
And one of the things that we
can't ignore is that it's no
more unrealistic to expect.
To be able to remove resources from the
neighborhood to remove things like food,
certain moves, quality education, and
expect the quality of life to remain.
If you have not given when the tools
are taken from neighborhoods and then
extensively thrown into police budgets,
it's, there's no more factual basis
for that being, being a realistic
solution, then crafting something else.
This is why this has been in place
for years and it does not work.
It has gotten progressively worse.
We may have very small lulls in
crime, but those things are just
as they're as, as strong and.
Continuing as the people who are
going to uphold these, institutions,
one of my favorite tweeters.
It says that all the time, I won't
say her name because she'll kill me.
But she says that all the time, our
institutions are as strong as the people
who are charged with upholding them.
And so there's this issue where
there's no oversight because that's
another, that's another major issue.
There's not an allocation for oversight.
If there were a balance in funding,
then that would be different.
But when there's, when teachers have
to buy notebooks and police have tanks,
It doesn't add up and you cannot,
you can call me whatever you want.
You can call me a Marxist, but I'm a
person who's actually using common sense.
This, that it's imbalanced
and it doesn't work.
And this is a very big conversation
that, will not just in this week,
we're actually going to be back.
Athena: If I can, I wanted to just
talk on two points that both of you had
brought up this idea that, Accountability.
I feel as at the heart of like a lot of
these conversations are about, we are
accountable to one another as neighbors
and as a community, and yet accountability
does not apply to this, to the police.
I, I feel they are in
many ways above the law.
They know that they're above law, which
is why a lot of these aggressions happen.
I posted both links to the, mapping
police violence, as well as the
police scorecard into the chat.
And I encourage you to.
Visit these sites and take a good look.
If you use the keyword police on resist
bot texts, police the 5 0 4 0 9, and
you'll get to see some statistics
relevant to your specific districts.
yeah, you're you're right, Mel.
These, these facts exists outside of
our belief system or not, but it's also
this idea that when, what other systems.
Or what other government entity,
or I guess defense you could say,
or what other business, if you just
want to make it about capitalist
terms, do they completely, and
abjectly fail at doing something.
And yet we continue to think, oh,
we'll give them more money so they can
continue to do it better when we're in.
They're not doing it
better in the first place.
So just there's this common
sense of this idea that like,
you're not good at protecting.
Society or community yet, if for some
reason, if we continue to fund you or, and
even increased our funding for you, you
will somehow miraculously turn around your
ability to protect and serve a community.
So that doesn't really exist
outside of this police model.
Yet, for whatever reason, we
have this jingoistic compelled
state or, or tradition in this
country to continue to support.
Something that is clearly
broken and not working.
just lastly, just this idea that
like, I think we need to look at
ourselves and what exactly about that.
Are we trying to uphold and
maintain as a status quo?
What about that policing of one another?
What about that?
And funding things that do not work.
I mean, this is how.
Bankrupt business people
running the government.
When you somehow think you can
weave this narrative of success
and, and security with things that
are completely failing society.
So that's all I wanted to say
Melanie: And when you look at
infrastructure crumbling around it, we
just had, we just had in Pittsburgh, my
other home, we just had in Pittsburgh,
a bridge collapsed, a bridge collapsed.
That was, I believe reported in
2019 and recorded as, as being
reported to 3, 1, 1 in 2019 or 2018.
And it collapsed with a bus
on it with people on it.
Athena: Before the president
Melanie: The day of the president's visit.
This is what we're dealing with.
We're dealing with cities,
major cities, the infrastructure
crumbling and police have tanks.
And that's the argument.
And we can't it's just, it's
very similar to when we were
talking about abortion last week.
We're so stuck on, should we
shouldn't we, is it right?
Is it wrong?
We don't get into the meat and potatoes of
the actual, execution and dealing with the
issues within, there are a lot of issues.
There are a lot of fine points
that would have to be worked out in
defunding the police you fund the
police does not mean that your police
department is going to be gone tomorrow.
There's a sense of realism.
I'm a realist.
I do know that there are certain
things that need a different amount
of care, different type of oversight.
That needs to be developed.
We need to look into that.
That needs to be explored because
if I were to come on this job and
be harmful and wrong week after
week, I will have resisted my
last, but I'm gonna be out of here.
So the fact that the police can continue
to be ineffective and have people argue
for the sake of this broken model is
just beyond the pale of ridiculous.
And it's something that, before we,
before we forget, I'm going to let you
talk Athena, but I want to make sure that
we mentioned our petitions that we have.
We have two petitions.
One of those petitions is
defund police fun communities.
So if you want to support that
so far, it has 117 signers
right now, our goal is to fix.
So you can text 50409 text, I'm sorry.
M as in Mary, G as in George, S
as in Sam, and as in Nancy, J as
in Jason, F as in Frank, to 50409.
And you can also, once you
sign it, you can promote it.
So you can also text promote
to drive more assigners.
the other petition is defined and
demilitarize the police, which
is one of my favorites, because
I still think it's absolutely
ridiculous that police have tanks.
This one, we have nine signers.
Our goal is 10.
So are you that somebody, you
can text F as in Frank, E as in
elephant, P as in penny, Q as in
quick, G as in George to 50409.
And again, you can also text promoted.
That's U F as in Frank, E as in
elephant, P as in penny, Q as in quick,
G as in George, 5040 9 to drive more.
Signers I'm sorry.
I think you had something
that you wanted to comment on.
Athena: Just to build on.
' cause you know, this is
we're, this is part education.
This is part amplifying voices.
But this idea that an appeal to people
who are freaking out when they hear
abolition and freaking out, when they hear
defund, like what an appeal for people.
And this affects everybody, regardless
of where you might be on that political
spectrum and appeal to think about
what is that uncomfort seated.
I think there is a sense that, well,
if I get my Amazon package stolen
from my porch, who do I call, or
who will I, who, who will fix that?
There's an, in my exploration of
that, I think it comes down to
this account countability issue.
It's this idea that as a society,
if I can say it's a police
person's job to protect me.
If it's a police person's job
to keep everybody in line.
If it's a police officer's
role to take care of that, that
relinquishes any responsibility or
accountability that you have for your
neighborhood, for your cities, for
your communities and for your people.
So for people who might be experiencing
that, which is something that I feel might
be a case where I'm a large majority of
folks that might be listening here today,
I would encourage you to find ways to
engage with the community, whether that
be through mutual aid, whether that means
reading about people, doing the work.
Whether that means finding organizations
to dream a better future together
and find out what that gap could look
like between where we are now and
what we need to really talk about.
It has to be a conversation, right?
No abolitionists do not have the answers.
Nobody has the answers.
And if they tell you they have the
answers, you should be especially
suspicious of them too, but it needs to
be grounded and fostered in communication
and open dialogue with people.
And we can't even get to that yet.
So this is going to be a problem.
And I'm thankful for community and
for leadership from folks who have
their heart in the right place.
We want people to be fed.
We want them to be housed.
We want folks to have the resources
necessary to get proper health care
and mental health, uh, resources too.
So if that is our adjust and happy
society is what we're trying to work for.
It's going to take all of us doing
our part to make that happen.
And again, this.
Police just doesn't seem to be a part
of this from what the last centuries
of this country's existence, this
model, this chocolate cake, if you
will, that doesn't need any more
chocolate to tell us that chocolate cake
Ría: And also we have diabetes,
Melanie: And we,
we I, there's this great
article that I read.
It was, uh, from Brookings seven
myths about defunding, the police.
And one of the things that I appreciated
most, because since we've been hearing it
more often, in recent years, it, people
think of this as some fly by night.
This is just the new thing.
No, there's 60 years.
There's there's 60 years.
According to this article, there's 60
years of data that back up, how increases
in spending do nothing to reduce crime.
So you have to ask, why do
I want money thrown at this?
When there are other things that
I know you see that need repair,
that need funding, why aren't
you pushing for those things?
We're going to talk more next week.
And I'm very excited.
Cause Ray is going to be back with us.
I'm very excited about that.
We're going to talk more about
this, and we're also going to
talk about prison abolition.
I wanted to give both of those, their
own space because they both need,
last week that has what polls say.
It's like 59% of people agree
a little extra care and this
isn't something like abortion.
We have the conversation about abortion
that that rose should be upheld.
When we start talking about
defunding the police abolition,
we surrogate in the teens.
So this isn't one of our more popular
conversations, but it is a necessary
conversation because policing, as
we know it is not working and we
need to have the facts to understand
what the conversation actually is.
I want to thank you before we go.
Can you tell the people where to find.
I'm on Twitter.
Like most people you
can find me on Twitter.
W in DC, MrsDubyainDC.
And then other than that, you
can find me on the streets coming
to a protest near you, probably.
Melanie: I love it.
Thank you for joining us.
Thanks for keeping this
I think we have a lot to learn.
We have a lot to work on both
inner cities and in ourselves.
So I look forward to continuing
to have the space, to explore what
some of these questions are and find
solutions and just keep moving forward.
As they say, I will see you next.
Thank you so much.
this is one of those
conversations that will be.
More difficult than some of the
others that we've had to deal with.
that's just, I think the name of the game
when we start dealing with violent crime,
when we start dealing with, people who
have offended us, we're dealing, when
we look at right now in Canada, there's
a, uh, their protest and we're dealing
with people who are not black or brown,
and we can see the difference in how,
how the police are dealing with them.
And it's palpable.
It's so there's more than,
than enough work to go around.
And I want to thank all of
you for joining us this week.
I also want to give a little shout
out to our new monthly donors.
We have a few, uh, we have
Alex from Tacoma, Washington.
Elizabeth from north Las Vegas, Elizabeth
from Toluca lake, California, Jacquelyn
from Cary, North Carolina, Mack from
Seattle Washington, Phyllis from
Stanford, Connecticut, Krista from Fargo,
North Dakota, even from Gainesville,
Florida, Ellen from Roselle, New Jersey
and Walter from Chicago, Illinois.
Thank you all for supporting us.
This is how we're able to
do what we do every week.
If you would like to donate, you
can go to resist dot bot and donate.
and also if you want to learn more,
if you would like to start a petition
of your own text, resist to 50409.
we also have our blog that goes up every
week and there'll be in the show notes.
Susan Stutz wrote some amazing
articles like she does every week
that really talk about the origin of
policing and what defunding looks like.
Whenever we have a conversation,
you can always count on
Susan having a great article.
So we appreciate her and hopefully
she'll be back with us soon.
And until next time you can follow
us, you can find us next week.
We'll be talking prison
abolition at 1:00 PM.
You can also subscribe to our
podcast at Resist bot.live.
And again, don't forget to use
the hashtag live botters to
be part of the conversation.
So I want to thank you all for
joining and we'll see you next week.
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