Abolition Spring 2022: (Re)Building Community
This year’s Abolition Spring continues and expands the work of Abolition May 2021. Abolition Spring is a series of actions on campuses across Turtle Island to demand the removal of ALL police and a real investment in the communities universities sit within.
Historically and in the present, campus police departments have brutalized students and surveilled and assaulted activists while enforcing racialized campus borders. Colleges and universities, both public and private, have also played a violent and continuous role in global U.S. policing projects. You can learn more about the Cops Off Campus campaign by reading our statement of solidarity or visiting our comrades’ linktree. Despite what administrators tell us, students/staff/faculty know that a campus is not a bubble, but a constellation of relationships: universities employ us, universities criminalize and condemn people whose very lives conflict with their real estate investments, and universities are founded on settler colonialism in Turtle Island and fund imperial violence across the globe.
Our hope this year is to focus on the still “to come” of abolition (Davis, 2005, p. 14), that is the creation and availability of new networks and resources to eliminate prisons. This Abolition Spring we’re focusing on the violence perpetrated by universities upon their surrounding communities: the hyper-policing, displacement, underfunding, and exploitation. We are asking ourselves: how can we redistribute the university’s resources towards the community it’s situated within? What new networks and resources can we build on and beyond our campuses? How can we begin to imagine a police-free world where everyone’s needs are met and everyone feels safe?
Transnational Day of Refusal
On April 11th, a coalition of campaigns across Turtle Island, from the east coast to the west and in between, ask you to honor a picket line by absenting yourself from class and otherwise withholding your labor in support of the demand to abolish all campus police and reinvest in campus and community life-giving institutions.
Honoring the picket line could mean:
- Canceling or refusing to attend a synchronous class (irl or url)
- Joining a local picket line either on or off campus
- Refusing to engage in other forms of university-based labor, including email response
- Refusing to pre-record a class or prepare other materials for later asynchronous use
- Refusing to watch asynchronous lectures
- Supporting any students, colleagues, and workers who may face retaliation
(Re)Building Community Through Action
In addition to our Transnational Day of Refusal, campus abolition organizations across Turtle Island are participating in local direct actions of their choosing. We have put some suggestions as to possible actions below, but are also happy to meet with interested campuses to talk through what action makes the most sense for them:
- Advocacy and policy:
- Host a letter-writing session aimed at admin/alumni/donors/local politicians
- Host a student and community speak-out/forum/town hall
- Publish an op-ed in campus/local newspaper amplifying community issues → we recommend pairing this with a more visible action
- Direct Action:
- Create a memorial for victims of police violence, local and/or national
- Paint a banner and culminate in banner drop from highly visible buildings
- Put photos and art on/around physical barriers of campus e.g. via wheat pasting
- Repurpose your campus police station
- Mutual Aid:
- Create or support of a transformative justice/restorative justice/conflict mediation group
- Host a mutual aid drive or link up with a local mutual aid organization on a weekly/monthly basis
- Repurpose your school’s cafeteria & serve the food to people in need
- Squat your school’s residences & house folks in need of housing
- Skill-sharing opportunities:
- Host a series of educational clinics from music-making to gardening, to tax-filing, whatever your community needs
- Host an anti-overdose clinic
- Host/co-host a de-escalation training
- Social events and outreach:
- Distribute abolitionist zines → we recommend pairing this with a more visible action
- Host an abolitionist organization fair (perhaps like the Abolitionist Zine Fair at People’s Forum last year)
- Host coffee not cops conversations
If you need support organizing one of these activities, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org We also recommend checking out our Abolition Spring toolkit (or the text-only version of the Abolition Spring toolkit), and signup for a date and action with our Abolition Spring signup form (once per campus)!
As with last year, we have followed up with sample messaging to send to your friends and colleagues, your instructors and your students, to coworkers and administrators. Please follow the COCC campaign on social media (Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok) and see suggestions below for circulating this announcement as well as additional links.
We are stronger together. Honoring this picket line supports both a long history and a present moment of necessary action toward a safer, freer world. Join us!