The IWW does not allow membership for law enforcement officers or prison guards. These roles serve to harm our fellow workers and to fight against the gains of labor. Policing has always been a tool of those in power to oppress marginalized groups and to defend the power of capital. Modern policing draws its lineage back to the slave patrols, Indian constables, hired strike-breakers, and private security forces of capitalists. They uphold laws and policies designed to keep the workers of the world under the boots of capital, and to supply capital with near (or literal) slave-workers through the partnership between the state and the private companies that use their labor for profit.
The police serve to punish and divide us, with a particular eye towards the most marginalized among us. Most clearly they target Black people among us, but also immigrants, women, the houseless, LGBT folks, and the poor. We can not hope to build a better world without at some point abolishing the police. Any marginal benefits that come from the wide range of responsibilities left to police could be better handled by workers who do not serve to punish and terrorize our communities. To this end we also oppose punitive policing in the abstract and will fight against any new forms it may attempt to take on. We need a new world. A world with transformative and restorative justice as our solutions to conflict. Our Black fellow workers have known this for a long time, and it is up to the rest of us to catch up to them and stand beside them as we claim the world that we want. A world where an injury to one is an injury to all. A world where Black Lives Matter.
Here we will be adding some resources for folks who do not have the lived experiences to tell them that these things are true. We will stick to what we have read, seen, or listened to ourselves. But above all, talk to and believe your fellow workers when they tell you the world they experience.
Police opposition to labor?
- ‘Defund the Police’ Actually Means Defunding the Police
- Telling Cops to Get Criminal Justice Degrees Won’t End Police Violence
- Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police
What comes next?