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Militarized policing has been central to holding back social movements in this country and, whether or not we’ve been taking to the streets, many are concerned about the dangers presented by an increase in military hardware in our communities. This presentation focuses on the problem of militarized policing and how we can better foster transformative movements by demilitarizing police.
This presentation attempts to recapture the revolutionary anti-militarist strain in Dr. King’s work that is often ignored by those who would reduce his politics to those of racial justice. Instead, as his 1967 speech “The Three Evils” demonstrated, the intertwining of white supremacy, capitalist exploitation, and global militarism created the conditions of injustice that he labored against. King was, of course, beaten and arrested by police who used unconscionable tactics, but were significantly less militarized than the forces today’s Black Lives Matter movement faces on the streets of America.
This presentation may outrage some participants in revealing the militarization of our communities but it uses that outrage productively to point people towards action. The ultimate hopes I envision building from this presentation are to first abolish the SWAT team and then eventually disarm the police entirely. I will provide background, resources, and tools to get others started on the path of supporting such campaigns.
Josh Cerretti is an organizer and educator against state violence. He is the co-founder of Imagine No Kages, a board member of the Whatcom Peace and Justice Center, a delegate on the Northwest Washington Central Labor Council, and an Associate Professor of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and History at Western Washington University.
Audience: Community, Educators, Human Rights / Social Justice Professionals