Two Years Since the Creation of 8 to Abolition

8 to Abolition

Two years ago I wrote a response to DeRay Mckesson, Brittany Packnett Cunningham, and Samuel Sinyangwe’s police reform proposal 8 Can’t Wait. Although their organization gained traction with many a political and social elite (I’m not even going to get into how many celebrities praised the campaign), abolitionists rightfully criticized 8 Can’t Wait for its rejection of decades-built abolitionist policies in favor of carceral expansion and continued police reliance. In a thorough and informative response, a selection of young abolitionists bound together to develop and release 8 to Abolition: a campaign built on the foundations of abolition and applicable praxis one year ago today. 8 to Abolition was established by Mon Mohapatra, Leila Raven, Nnennaya Amuchie, Reina Sultan, K Agbebiyi, Sarah T. Hamid, Micah Herskind, Derecka Purnell, Eli Dru, and Rachel Kuo. The young abolitionists described 8 to Abolition on their website as a direct response to Mckesson, Packnett Cunningham, and Sinyangwe’s plan, saying “we believe that this campaign [8 Can’t Wait] is dangerous and irresponsible, offering a slate of reforms that have already been tried and failed, that mislead a public newly invigorated to the possibilities of police and prison abolition, and that do not reflect the needs of criminalized communities.” 8 to Abolition is a fantastic eight step plan that includes the following policies:

  1. Defund the police
  2. Demilitarize communities
  3. Remove police from schools
  4. Free people from prisons & jails
  5. Repeal laws criminalizing survival
  6. Invest in community self-governance (extremely different from community policing)
  7. Provide safe housing for everyone
  8. Invest in care, not cops

The campaign went viral so quickly that popular organizations like Critical Resistance and the National Lawyers Guild proudly shared and supported the 8 to Abolition steps. Each of the policies are based on decades of abolition organizing work from icons like Ruthie Wilson Gilmore, Angela Y. Davis, and Mariame Kaba, and feature concrete steps we all can take within each point. For example, in the “Defund the police” section, the organizers shared this direct action: “Demand the highest budget cuts per year, until they slash police budget to zero.” These points are incredibly important as we move forward, especially as abolition is being co-opted by liberals, academics, and elites who have never considered or cared about eliminating the Prison Industrial Complex until the mass protests in 2020. The website also features an invaluable collection of resources to further one’s abolition knowledge. From abolition guides to action plans, anyone remotely interested in abolition is provided with more than enough tools to continue expanding their reeducation. Please take a look at the 8 to Abolition website, read their resource guide, and share the plan with everyone you interact with! Before the campaign’s creation two years ago there weren’t many simple and concise resources for people to learn more about PIC abolition, which is why the team’s work has been shared, translated in different languages, and incorporated into organizing all over the world. The future is wide open and we must demand a world we want to live in—one without any prisons, policing, military, capitalism, and imperialism.