As a sociologist and an anthropologist who study social control in the United States, we know that punishment can radicalize and further alienate people, while social policy and grassroots community building can defuse potential violence. The abolitionist philosophy is precisely what is missing from the current conversation.
…[A]bolitionists do seek to create a future world in which police and prisons are obsolete, but such long-range commitments do not preclude practical harm-reduction efforts or collaboration with less radical allies. Abolitionists work for incremental improvements, especially interventions that set the stage for more radical change.
…More generally, abolitionists would endorse a broad analytical scope for diagnosing the problem, and for designing interventions.
Addressing root causes of the attempted coup means actively working to transform the political and economic conditions that have allowed ethno-nationalist and scapegoating ideologies to fester… [Nonetheless p]assing Medicare for All will not keep insurrectionists from storming state capitols during the Biden administration.
…abolitionists have long been trying to design root-cause-informed immediate interventions. A wealth of research on gun violence, and the experience of grassroots organizations, shows that targeting those at risk of violence can stop retribution from flowing through entire social networks…