This October, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) will hold their annual conference in Philadelphia. This is a call for an ambitious mobilization to directly disrupt the conference, to publicly spread an explicitly anti-police position, and to attempt to open up space that is hostile to state control. We hope to do so using both coordinated and decentralized, autonomous actions in the area immediately surrounding the conference in Center City and throughout Philly.
The IACP brings together law enforcement agencies from throughout the world to “advance the science and art of police services” through international coordination, training, and policy work. Their 2017 conference will take place at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, with four days of workshops, an exhibition hall with corporate vendors, and a number of secondary events at other locations. Also, a “general assembly.”
This call for opposition comes from the perspective that policing is inherently a colonial, white supremacist project. From their inception, the police have had as their primary function the maintenance of a social order based on violent domination along lines of race, gender, class & ability; from slave patrols to strike-breakers and from vice squads to gang units. Opposition to the IACP presents a unique opportunity to advance a position that is absolutely against all policing, as a large part of the organization’s agenda mirrors that of those who would reform the institution. Body cameras, diversity in hiring, “trust and accountability,” and above all, “community policing” are all central themes of the conference and to recommendations for “21st Century Policing.”
As the Trump administration (universally endorsed by law enforcement unions during the election) bombastically seeks to reinvigorate the militarization of police, it is a crucial time to aggressively put forward an analysis that recognizes militarization and community policing not as divergent, but as complementary parts of a coherent strategy of domination.
Meanwhile, the hundreds of participating agencies and workshops starkly demonstrate the severe intersectionality of the violence the police have always carried out. Interlocking movements for black liberation, indigenous struggle against colonization, sex workers’ self-determination, resistance to ableist police violence, radical political movements resisting repression, queer rebellion, global anti-imperialism, migrant and refugee justice and no borders movements, housing justice, environmental struggles, and more, all have a stake in opposing the strategies and tactics that will be promoted at this conference.
The IACP conference puts on display what we know from our daily participation in diverse forms of resistance: that every struggle is a struggle against the police.
While all the departments involved have histories of (and foundations in) violence, many have also seen fierce resistance to that violence in the recent past. Participating departments from Albuquerque, Chicago, Milwaukee, Seattle, the Bay Area, and more have seen rebellions against them in the last several years. We hope to use this opportunity to build connections with those who carry these memories of antagonism towards the police and contribute to lived experiences of uncontrollable revolt.
A complete list of presenters, vendors, and workshops is available on the conference website, www.theiacpconference.org, but here is a small sampling of some notable participants:
• Peter Newsham, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (who gave orders to kettle protestors on J20)
• Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office (speaking on their experience sending officers to repress resistance at Standing Rock)
• Robert Metzger, Chief of Pasco (WA) Police Dept. (presenting “Public Trust After a Police Use of Deadly Force Incident,” based on lessons on maintaining stability after the police murder of Antonio Zambrano-Montes)
• Local departments from Philadelphia, New York, Albuquerque, Seattle, New Orleans, Edmonton, Chicago, Las Vegas, El Salvador, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Tempe, AZ, Tucson, AZ, Dubai, Portland, OR, San Diego, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Vancouver, Australia, Raleigh, NC, Dallas, and many more.
• Federal agencies, including FBI, Border Patrol, ATF and USCIS.
Expect more information and specific calls soon. In the meantime, save the date, make plans, study some maps, learn the terrain and spread the word throughout the region and beyond. Here are some more detailed resources to get started:
Against White Supremacy // Against the Police
For a world without cops, prisons, or borders.