FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Lawyers Guild (NLG) membership voted to pass a resolution supporting police abolition following its #Law4thePeople Convention last fall, acknowledging that the institution of policing is incompatible with the NLG’s mission to use law in defense of human rights and ecosystems over property interests. Taking leadership from community demands reiterated during last summer’s uprisings against racist police violence catalyzed by the murder of George Floyd, the resolution calls for the “defunding, dismantling and abolition” of policing in all its forms.
The resolution cites the various ways anti-Blackness, other forms of white supremacy, and additional systems of oppression are inherent within the institution of policing. It traces its origins to slave patrols in the South and the repression of organized labor and social movements, especially those for Black liberation. In addition, it recognizes that the incremental, liberal reforms have consistently failed to stop police murder and other abuse, and have only served to further legitimize an institution built to perpetrate racialized, gendered, colonialist, and class violence. Furthermore, it reaffirms commitments made by past NLG resolutions that also implicate policing, such as those in support of prison abolition, the decriminalization of sex work, and liberation for Palestine, among others. The resolution also aligns with other areas of NLG work, such as the Mass Defense Committee and the International Commission of Inquiry on Systemic Racist Police Violence against People of African Descent in the US.
The NLG National Office, in collaboration with the proponents of the resolution, will be implementing the resolution by presenting the forthcoming programming and resources:
- The Case for Abolition, for Skeptics, written by Anti-Racism Committee Co-Chair Kira Kelley, as part of a four-part NLG blog series on Alternatives to Policing in the US
- An FAQ document on police abolition
- A webinar discussion about police abolition, featuring resources by Critical Resistance
- Additional programming about police abolition during the WAMI (Week Against Mass Incarceration) March 1-6, led by NLG law students and local chapters
This resolution is a reiteration of the NLG’s commitment to peoples’ liberation, and a small but important step towards dismantling the state-funded institutions that impede it.
The National Lawyers Guild, whose membership includes lawyers, legal workers, jailhouse lawyers, and law students, was formed in 1937 as the United States’ first racially-integrated bar association to advocate for the protection of constitutional, human and civil rights.
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