Abolition: Our terrifying hope for a brighter future

Jake Cruz, Writer

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “Abolition of the police force?”


Was it something along the lines of a nation ruled by anarchy? Burning flags?


Sure the idea of uprooting a system that has been in place for decades upon decades can be unnerving. 


Although, that’s just the thing isn’t it?


There is no avoiding the withering hand of time. 


No matter what, everything decays and erodes.


The very first U.S. police force was established in 1844. 


This indicates the police force was established twenty-one years before the 13th Amendment officially abolished slavery in 1865.


The police force was established over a century before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed. 


The police force was crafted in a time of hate and discrimination, yet a hundred and seventy-seven years of supposed progress later and we are still clutching to this archaic system.


Is this because these victories were mere distractions? Were they few insignificant inches that feign meaningful change; while ensuring the preservation of biased systems that load the dice in the favor of the majority?


That is why abolition is an absolute necessity. 


Abolition is not about the desire to wreak havoc without fear of legal consequence. 


It is about the hope of something new. It is the removal of a rotting system and the opportunity to fill the hole with something new, something radically beneficial for humanity as a whole. 


If we continue to do nothing but patch a system that was born out in a time ruled by racism and inequality;  then we can expect nothing but racism and inequality to govern our country. 


Harvard law school graduate and abolition activist Derecka Purnell stated the following in the book Abolition: For The People; “The Criminal Legal system is like the master’s house. Reforms are the master’s tools. Sometimes, Black public defenders will be able to use a tool or two to get their client free, or a Black prosecutor or judge will even appear to be in charge of the house. Nevertheless this will never bring about genuine change.” She continues a few lines down to say,  “The master’s house is on fire, and the more that we try to reform, diversify, and resource it, the more people will suffer as it collapses.”


The Events of the last year and a half, from the tragic murder of George Floyd, to the recent verdict of the landmark Kyle Rittenhouse case, prove without a doubt, that the house is collapsing around us. Our fellow human beings are being struck down by flaming debris all around us, while the systems that claim to protect all, apply bandages to some, and bullets to others.


I implore you, come to your own conclusions on abolition. Do not parade my words as an end all be all perspective. Craft your own thoughts, through books, through lectures, through whatever means you can, and then spread it. We will never see a better tomorrow if we do not talk about it today.