Police and the prison industrial complex exist to enforce colonial, capitalist, oppressive systems. In Canada, the police force was born out of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (or RCMP), established in 1873 largely for the purpose of forcibly clearing Indigenous peoples from their land and onto reserves to make space for European settlement and development. They continue to serve this role today, coming to the defense of oil and resource extraction companies that desecrate the land and climate and suppress Indigenous lives and voices. Police serve and protect the “status quo” and push racialized persons farther to the margins, as is reflected by the disproportionate Black and Indigenous population in our prisons. Instead of investing in expensive systems that criminalize members of our society we want to see better support for all, through improved mental health services and access, community care, accessible sustainable public transport, low income housing, and robust childcare programs.
A few sources for more reading:
- Enforcers of the colonizers’: Wet’suwet’en crisis casts spotlight on long, difficult history between RCMP and Indigenous peoples (Toronto Star)
- What is abolition, and why do we need it? (Reina Sultan and Micah Herskind)
- What is Abolition? (Critical Resistance)