Filed under: Action, Incarceration, Police, White Supremacy
Report back from recent abolitionist action in Providence, Rhode Island.
Around 9:30 PM on Friday July 17, Making Abolition Through Collective Humanity (MATCH) and other autonomous affinity groups surprised the Mayor with a spectacle of noise, fireworks, small barricades, smoke grenades and chants – completely undisrupted – until the police arrived approximately ten minutes into the demonstration. Neighbors smiled and showed us signs of support.
Once the police arrived, we began reading off the (at least) 367 names of people killed by police since March 12th, the day Breonna Taylor was murdered in her home. We read off approximately 30 names before police forced us out of the public sidewalk through intimidation tactics including their refusal to wear masks. We did not have the numbers to hold the space.
Some may question why we are targeting Mayor Elorza, the son of Guatemalan immigrants. Recently, the Mayor announced a “reparations process.” This framing seems promising, but as usual, the devil is in the details. When asked whether Elorza is considering criminal justice reform as part of the reparation process he replied: “In all truth, that’s not the spirit that we’ve been pursuing up until this point.” The “reparations process” as outlined is toothless at best and at worst intentionally devised to divert attention away from calls for defunding the police. The Mayor had expressed some interest in defunding the police previously, but he has not committed. In some ways this is unsurprising: politicians recognize that without police as their foot soldiers they are just people randomly telling other people what to do. Police violence is needed to enforce their rule over us.
Black brown and indigenous people immersed in bourgeois offices cannot and will not enrich the lives of their constituents, only their donors. Elorza’s allegiances do not align with colonized peoples, but rather with the class he represents: that of the bourgeoise. He has been anti-labor and Black and brown people are often low-wage laborers in settler States. Elorza has proven time and time again he is the enemy of the colonized working class. He betrayed the firefighters, attempted to privatize the water to transform Providence into another Flint, increased surveillance with $80,000 cameras in majority underfunded Black, Latinx, and Asian neighborhoods, and hesitated for years before turning Providece into a sancuary city (as a Guatemalan!). We cannot rely on him to make eanest decisions out of beneficience. Justice must be seized.
Politicians rarely feel the tragic effects of their policies. They lounge comfortably in their homes, while millions of disproportionately Black, brown, indigenous people–who often have disabilities–are locked in cages and are harassed by police on the streets.
No Justice No Sleep actions aim to disrupt their comfort.
Making Abolition Through Collective Humanity