We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Alternatives to the police

Click here to access article by Evan Dent, Molly Korab, and Farid Rener from McGill Daily (Canada).

The student authors at McGill Univerity in Montreal, Canada talk to Prof. Luis Fernandez of Arizona State University and examine some local experiments in Canada. Because conventional police forces have been created to serve capitalist interests, community based policing show promise of serving communities much better until such time as societies can be thoroughly transformed. 
Imagining a world without police, however, is daunting – without police, who would respond to emergencies? Who would we call when we see a crime being committed? Despite this, Fernandez doesn’t see a society without police to be that far off.

“Most of our communities already exist without policing. Most of our human interactions are already outside of the purview of police officers,” he said. “Most of the social relationships between people do not require police intervention,” he added.

While a complete abolition of the police system would require a change in social order, some alternatives to the current police system set out to empower people to keep their communities safe, while encouraging everyone to live lives that are free of violence and oppression. A society with little or no policing requires strong community organizations to mediate and react to conflict when it does occur.