Tag Archives: mutual aid

Don’t Call the Pigs: An Informal Guide to Alternative Policing Within an Anarchist Justice System

This post was written by  and originally published at the Center For a Stateless Society (C4SS) under the title “Don’t Call the Pigs: An Informal Guide to Creating an Anarchist Justice System.” Posts and other content you think are worth sharing with the CopBlock Network can be sent in to us via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page. Some tips to make it more likely that your submission will get posted to the CopBlock Network can be found here.

(Note: This has been posted in its original form and no edits to the original text were made. Some links may have been added within the text and images have been added. In addition, the conclusions expressed within this initial introductory summary represent my own interpretation of what is being stated within Logan’s own writings.)

In the post below, Logan discusses some alternative options for policing and specifically options which might arise within an Anarchist society. Initially, he also addresses the many issues with the current police, court, and prison systems and ways to counteract or avoid them. One of the most obvious and frequent questions asked of those who advocate replacing the current “justice” systems, is what would replace them and how regular people would defend themselves against criminals.

Don’t Call the Pigs: An Informal Guide to Creating an Anarchist Justice System

Anti-police sentiment is on the rise in America and around the world. In the wake of the death’s of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, and countless others (Rest In Power), even the DoJ admits that at least some police departments are highly racist in practice and the Black Lives Matter movement has sprung up in response. Those from all sides of the political aisle have come out against police militarization. Pigs have been routinely denied service at various business establishments across the nation. On the inside, prisoners around the country have been on strike since September 9th, the 45th anniversary of the Attica uprising, with guards having recently gone on a solidarity work strike in support of the prisoners at Holman in Atmore, Alabama. So how do we, as anarchists, help provide tactics in the here and now for dealing with the state’s armed injustice system? But more importantly in the long run, how do we build alternative defense and justice systems?

How to Deal With the Pigs

It’s almost inevitable, especially if you’re working class, queer, a person of color, or an activist, that you will have to interact with the pigs at some point in your lifetime. This is why it’s important to hold community “Know Your Rights” workshops such as those offered by the ACLU or the National Lawyers Guild. Hold these workshops at your local infoshop, library, church, community center, or anywhere else where people, activists and non-activists alike, can learn how to hopefully more safely interact with the police. The ACLU also has an app which allows you to film police interactions and upload them automatically to the ACLU’s database for protection in case you phone is confiscated or broken. Groups like Copwatch and Cop Block also encourage people to film the police and hold them accountable for injustice and police brutality.

Movements like Black Lives Matter are currently fighting to curb police brutality by calling for police demilitarization, body cameras, community review boards, community election of police officers, disarming the police, actual punishment for pigs who break the rules, and the end of policies such as Stop and Frisk and Stand Your Ground. These demands hope to curb the worst violence on the way towards abolition.

Unarresting” people can be very risky, especially when you don’t have much support, but has been used as a tactic to free people who are being kidnapped by the pigs both at protests and elsewhere. If you’re up for the challenge then go for it! We need more people like you.

And don’t believe any of that sovereign citizen crap. Some of it sounds good in theory, but none of it has ever really held up in court.

How to Deal With Statist Courts

If you are arrested and/or have to go to court, finding a lawyer is usually key. Sometimes you can luck out and find a more radical public defender who took the job to truly help poor people but chances are you’re better off crowdfunding or throwing other fundraisers or looking for a lawyer who will work pro bono. Some groups, such as the Industrial Workers of the World’s General Defense Committee, are also set up to help pay for bail and legal fees for activists victimized by the state. If you’re looking for a good radical lawyer, depending on your case you could look towards the National Lawyers Guild, the Institute for Justice, or the American Civil Liberties Union. You could also ask you other radical friends for their local recommendations.

The now defunct nonviolent agorist defense agency Shield Mutual offered anarchists and libertarians protections against the state. Instead of armed protection, they promised services attuned to the needs of the individual. They could help with obtaining lawyers, crowdfunding for legal fees, setting up a public freedom campaign website, public relations, media promotion, and networking. They’ve even paid for a woman’s new plane ticket after she was detained by the TSA and missed her flight. The group operated as a friendly society where members paid monthly or yearly dues which went to the cost of helping its membership. They also had a peer-to-peer mutual aid network where members could request funds from other members for emergencies, business ideas, or other projects. Sadly this group has since disbanded (although their website is still up) but it still serves as a model for other agorist defense services.

If you ever happen to be summoned for jury duty, don’t try and skip out. Instead try and use the practice of jury nullification to keep people from being thrown in the state’s cages. The Fully Informed Jury Association has plenty of materials to read and learn from and regularly canvases outside courthouses where they’re active. Join or form a chapter, spread the knowledge. We can decide their laws are not worth enforcing.

How to Deal With the State’s Prisons

If you get locked up, it can seem like the end of the battle but that is far from true. Groups like Books for Prisoners supply reading materials, both radical and non-radical alike, to inmates for entertainment and education. Black and Pink and other letter writing groups provide companionship through becoming pen pals with those held hostage by the state.

In order to help change prison conditions and aid their eventual abolition, groups like Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the Free Alabama Movement, the Free Virginia Movement, the Prison Ecology Project, the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee, and the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty are essential. While some of these groups are inherently reformist, groups like FAMM and NCADP help fight against specific issues which will roll back the power of the state. Groups like the Prison Ecology Project focus on the high environmental costs of prisons. While on the inside, groups like the Black Guerrilla Family, IWOC, and other prison gangs, organizations, and unions offer a way for inmates to collectively organize against the pigs holding them hostage. IWOC, as a project of the Industrial Workers of the World, helps prisoners set up IWW branches inside prisons to organize against prison slavery and unfair living conditions.

The Anarchist Black Cross is dedicated to fighting for political prisoners and prisoners of war within the radical movement. They collect dues from its membership which are used to help prisoners with little to no resources obtain them, usually in the form of a monthly donation to an inmate’s commissary fund. They also help fundraise and advocate for POWs as well as doing letter writing and in person visitation. The Black Cross is organized by both allies and inmates who control the organization through directly democratic means.

For those trying to obtain freedom, having an outside network fighting for your freedom with online promotion, political pressure, phone blasts, demonstrations, etc. is a huge help. Nobody is going to pay attention to your case unless there’s enough pressure, such pressure works better in numbers, and such support comes through public awareness and media campaigns.

Failing that, there’s always escape.

Don’t Call the Pigs

One of the biggest things we can do in the here and now is stop relying on the police for protection. Don’t call them, don’t report crimes, don’t allow them in your businesses, don’t snitch. There are better ways of dealing with crime then turning to state violence.

Instead of calling the police, set up your own emergency networks. Have a network of friends, family, or neighbors who are willing and able to respond to emergencies and call them instead. Apps such as Peacekeeper and Cell411 make this process simpler allowing multiple people to be contacted at once with GPS directions and everything. Choosing the right network could lead to a faster response time and more adaptive tactics ranging from arbitration and conflict resolution to armed defense.

Essential to living in a society without pigs is learning self-defense. Martial arts, kickboxing, women’s self-defense courses, and firearms training allow individuals to help protect themselves and others from violence. Groups like the Sylvia Rivera Gun Club for Self Defense, Pink Pistols, and the Huey P. Newton Gun Club offer community firearms training to those in their community. The Huey P. Newton Gun Club actually promotes the idea of arming every black and brown citizen that can legally be armed in order to effectively protect themselves from police and white supremacist violence.

The Huey P. Newton Gun Club also advocates Black Panther style community patrols where they both protect the community from internal crime and violence in their communities and track police activity, filming them and yelling legal advice to those being harassed by the pigs while making it known that they are fully armed just in case the pig has any violent inclinations. Other anti-statist directly democratic community watch groups have also sprung up throughout history to protect communities without the need for the pigs.

In some places, especially in those where war or violence is more prevalent such as Rojava, these community watch groups take the form of voluntary militias. From the Zapatista Army to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, community regulated militias have proven an effective response to statist military and police forces. Currently the militia movement in america is of a decidedly more right-wing viewpoint, with groups like the 3%ers, and tend to carry with them underlying statist messages of patriotism and nationalism, but one can hope that a leftist militia movement will grow into a reality.

Grassroots rape crisis centers offer support geared towards the needs of the survivor and most will not go to the pigs unless asked. Some already offer restorative and transformative programs to help deal with the perpetrator as well while others should be so encouraged by their communities. And as communities look towards other institutional alternatives, the creation of private detective, forensics, and arbitration services can offer attempts at filling those needs.

Dispute resolution organizations (DROs) have been proposed as an alternative to police, insurance, and alternative dispute services. According to wikipedia, “The firms would be voluntarily contracted to provide, or coordinate with other firms to provide, services such as mediation, reimbursement for damages, personal protection, and credit reporting.”

Don’t Use Their Courts

Instead of relying on the state’s court system to solve disputes, turning to arbitration services, trained mediators, direct negotiation between either the two parties, or non-statist alternative dispute resolution between the parties’ lawyers or DRO(s) can offer solutions that are more adapted to the specific needs of the victims and the perpetrators. Community tribunals or courts could also be established in smaller communities to deal with situations directly as a community. Retribution for damaged property can be negotiated in such ways as could the establishment of a restorative and/or transformative justice process which normally takes the form of an accountability process negotiated by the victim and voluntarily fulfilled by the perpetrator. Indemnity services can also help pay for property damages in certain situations especially if no victim is caught.

Don’t Fill Their Cages

Establishing accountability processes for perpetrators of violent crimes helps address the needs of both the victim and perpetrator, helps to repair the damages made, and transform the perpetrator’s behavior in hopes that they do not continue to harm others. Un-cooperative perps are subject to social ostracization and denial of community services or support until they are cooperative. Repeatedly violent criminals are likely to eventually see the wrong end of a barrel of a gun in an armed anarchist community as self-defense is encouraged but in the here and now it’s best to familiarize yourself and your community with the local gun laws so as to know your rights when being attacked. Hold workshops to spread the knowledge you discover in your research or find a radical lawyer who will help you put together a workshop. Sometimes there are laws that make shooting to kill is legal while warning shots are illegal and that is just one example of such strange and backwards laws. Very rarely is shooting someone worth going to prison yourself so know the laws and weigh the options.

Freely available mental health resources such as medication and counseling or even support groups such as the Icarus Project would help alleviate the crime rate as those who suffer from mental health issues won’t be left untreated. This will not only allow for a way to deal with criminals who are mentally unstable in becoming stable but will help prevent crimes before they happen. Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and other addiction and rehabilitation programs offer a way to deal with drug and alcohol addiction without turning to punishment as the answer.

Creating a Less Violent Society

Moving forward we must continue the fight to demilitarize and disarm the police, to train in self-defense, and to set up our alternative justice systems but we must also get at the root of most crime in this country. Excessive laws and regulation, racism, sexism (including heterosexism and cissexism), and poverty are at the heart of most crime in this country. Repealing prohibitions on guns, drugs, prostitution, squatting, conducting business without a license, and the myriad of other prohibitions the state enacts will empty their prisons of a majority inmates who are locked up for victimless crimes. Taking care of their economic needs by making sure folks have food, shelter, medical care, and their other needs met either through better job opportunities in a freed market (or the agora as it stands today) or through mutual aid such as through groups like Food Not Bombs, free clinics, community lending programs, and grassroots labor unions will help combat economic crimes. As it stands most of those caught for theft, embezzlement, identity theft, robbery, and other economic crimes more often than not did so out of desperation to escape poverty. Taking care of the basic needs of your local community helps relieve such desperation and offers them the resources of survival so that they do not have to steal to obtain resources.

Nonviolent parenting, education, nonviolent communication techniques, and conflict resolution training can help to lead us to a better future where we can solve our own problems instead of relying on the state’s goons to kidnap and throw our enemies – and friends – in cages. The Audre Lorde Project’s Safe OUTside the System campaign teaches people how to set up safe spaces where police are not needed or welcomed. All of these ideas and more are things we could establish and do in the here and now to create our own justice systems in the traditions of agorism, dual power, and “building a new world in the shell of the old.” And with people begging for solutions with both the current ongoing national prison strikes and the movements for black lives and against police militarization, now is as good a time as ever to begin building and put these ideas into practice.

Spread the Word, Break the Chains!

Help Contribute to the Impact Nevada Cop Block Makes

Cop Block Store

One way to support Cop Block is to buy some cool merchandise from their store: http://www.copblock.org/store/

Obviously, if you’re visiting this site then there’s a good chance that you understand the importance of holding police and other government employees accountable for their actions. You’re probably also aware of the impact Cop Block and its (ever increasing number of) local affiliates have had on bringing such accountability and raising awareness of options people have available to them when they’ve been victimized by the police or to prevent it from happening.

If you would like to help support the good things that Cop Block does and allow us to do even more in the future, this post which was originally published on the national Cop Block site and the accompanying video, outlines numerous ways in which you can do so. This includes simple, one time donations, recurrent donations of varying denominations, as well as through the purchase of some very cool Cop Block related merchandise.

Cop Block Press Pass

Help yourself and NVCopBlock.org by buying an official Cop Block Press Pass: http://nvcopblock.org/presspass/

As outlined in the video below, any donations received will go toward creating resources for active affiliate groups, basic operational costs, and a short promotional tour, consisting of a month of training and outreach to people involved in or wanting to become involved in Cop Block related activities in various locations along a four-thousand mile route.

And, of course, you shouldn’t forget that if you also want to contribute directly to Nevada Cop Block, you can do so by ordering an official Cop Block Press Pass.

From the Original Post by Pete Eyre on CopBlock.org:

Creating primer resources for active groups, ensuring a couple key components are covered, and funding for a month-long mini-tour are the three areas outlined in the video (script below) that I think will be good investments to increase Cop Block’s impact.

Interested and able to help? Please visit: CopBlock.org/Donate

Any coin is much-appreciated, though reoccurring donations will help provide us with a bit more stability so we can budget accordingly.

Setting-up reoccurring donations is easy. When at CopBlock.org/Donate, simply input the amount you want to donate (in this example I used 10FRNs) and click the green “Donate” button.

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Then, on the next screen, select the frequency desired (in this example I choose “monthly”).

copblock-donate-wepay

If you want to help fund one of the specific areas outlined in the video, just click the text “Include a message with your payment” and in the text field box that then appears, type the associated term(s). 

In this example I keyed “key components.” If you identify more than one area, your donation will be split equally among them.

wepay-donate-copblock-earmark

All donations received without a comment noting a desired earmark will be used to fulfill the asks given in the video (resources for groups, key components, short tour). If donations above that amount are received, they’ll be used in other ways to advance Cop Block’s mission.

When I get a better idea of the coin raised for the short tour I’ll post my intended route and will work to connect with Copblockers.

Also, keep your eyes open for a new innovative component spearheaded by Ademo Freeman that is sure to draw much attention and involvement – hopefully from yourself:)banner - CopBlock Donate - PowerPost

Script from Video

If you watch the mainstream news or listen only to those who claim the right to control your life, it’s very likely that you have a pretty bleak outlook on the world today.
But recognize that such a reality – the belief that you yourself, can’t possibly hope to address those problems, as they’re so overwhelming – is the very paradigm being pushed by those attempting to usurp your rights.
Uncertainty and fear are peddled to gain your acquiescence.
Their very existence and the scope of their actions are directly contingent on the authority you grant them.
Fortunately many individuals are thinking for themselves.
They realize that though they’re rightfully disillusioned, there must be a better alternative.
If you’re watching this video, it’s likely you’re already familiar with Cop Block.
If not, I encourage you to check out Cop Block’s About page, but briefly, Cop Block is a decentralized project supported by a diverse group of individuals united by their shared goal of police accountability.
We do not hate cops. We believe that no one – not even those with badges – has extra rights.
We live by that fact and seek to share it with others. Both to safeguard our rights and those of future generations.
We choose to focus on police, because they are quite literally, the teeth, or enforcers of the State.
In fact, police claim a “right” to initiate force.
It is that institutionalized violence that is the issue.
Cop Block was founded three years ago this month.
In that time, the project has grown from a Tumblr site, to a group blog, to its current iteration, as a heavily-trafficked resource.
It’s clear we’re having an impact. But I know we can do more.
That’s the purpose of this video. To help get from here to there.
Over the next few minutes I’m going to share some thoughts and ask for your help, so that we can make more likely a reality where the institutionalized violence we see today is replaced by peaceful coexistence.
My hope is for us to so thoroughly change the conversation about policing, that the need for Cop Block becomes obsolete.
I brainstormed components and tactics we could add or grow, and I incorporated feedback received from Copblockers.
What is certain is that a handful of folks can’t do it all.
Key is decentralization and a consistent message.
I identified three areas that I consider low-hanging fruit, and that I think would offer a good return-on-investment, should you have the interest and ability to help defray costs
Firstly, resources for local groups
We house at CopBlock.org/Groups all known contact info for offshoots as well as allies.
This graphic shows the increased number of local groups, from the fall of 2012, until now.
How did this happened?
We’ve created content, such as the /startagroup document, to help lessen the hurdle for proactive Copblockers, who then plant a flag and connect with those in their area to make a difference on the ground.
We’ve created print-ready flyers to help make it easier to share ideas, made available through our store an inexpensive 200-piece literature pack, and make ourselves available to brainstorm and work together where it makes sense.
Just imagine how different – for the better – things will be when the simple act of making transparent the actions of aggressors becomes the norm.
I’m asking for your help to provide active Copblockers with resources, so that they can do more.
Your reoccurring donation, or one-time donation, earmarked for resources, will be used to have created primer resources, like know your rights documents and videos, and crowdsourceable resources, like print-ready flyers, graphics, a better smartphone app, and to provide literature to active groups.
I hope and think a goal of getting 100FRNs donated per month for resources is obtainable.
And if it the coin is there and it makes sense, one idea is to solicit proposals from groups on how they’d utilize it to have an impact in their area, then put the proposals to a vote on CopBlock.org and allow Copblockers to decide which group to award the coin. Think of it as an X-Prize of sorts for police accountablity.
Secondly, compensation for key components
Cop Block is decentralized. We solicit submissions from those who’ve experienced, witnessed, or have commentary about, police interactions.
There’s not a lack of such content.
Thus far we’ve received over 2,000 submissions.
The editing and scheduling of these submissions has for most of Cop Blocks existence, been done by a volunteer, or a group of volunteers.
But more-recently I started compensating another Copblocker, to the tune of 150FRNs a month, or about five bucks a day, to tackle this integral task.
Ideally, it’d be great if this cost could be covered by folks who appreciate the work, and who have deeper pockets than do I.
In addition to the editor, another vital component I hope to have better-funded is our IT, which is quite literally the backbone of our operations.
Specifically, the hosting that’s provided by Liberty Web Alliance.
Last year CopBlock.org was taken offline by repeated DoS attacks.
A small team of tech-savvy friends hardened the site, and moved it, as well as local cop block offshoots also based on WordPress, to a dedicated server.
That provided much stability.
Yet recent site-related issues have again necessitated the need to step-up our IT, and with that, comes costs, about 200FRNs a month.
So, for these two key components – editing and scheduling submissions, and IT – I’m hoping we can get reoccurring donations earmarked for key components, at 350FRNs per month.
Thirdly, funding for more in-person collaboration
The Internet has undoubtedly been instrumental for the sharing of ideas that now seem so basic
It’s facilitated connections that ignore arbitrary political boundaries and underscore that we’re not alone, which can only empower others to get involved.
And it’s allowed us to bypass completely those who historically have censored the free flow of information.
Yet not to be discounted is in-person communication, which is unparalleled in its qualitative impact.
Prior to focusing on Cop Block, I spent time criss-crossing the states in MARV, the Mobile Authority Resistance Vehicle, with Motorhome Diaries and Liberty on Tour.
Ademo Freeman, who founded Cop Block, was involved in both as well.
When on the road we created hundreds of videos and interacted with thousands of people – including some who’ve since founded Cop Block offshoots.
This past summer I raffled-off MARV and reinvested the coin into my current vehicle – a 1996 turbo diesel Tahoe.
In mid-January I plan to leave the ‘shire and roll to North Carolina to pick-up my motorcycle.
Instead of just rolling down and back, over a couple of days, I plan to, over the course of a month, meet with Copblockers from the eastern seaboard, Midwest and Rust Belt, especially those who have founded groups, so that we can brainstorm, share ideas, hit the streets, and generate content.
This past August when traveling to visit family and friends, I was able to get-together with the founders of Ohio Cop Block and Minnesota Cop Block.
It was clear that our interaction was of much value, to all involved.
I’m hoping you can help defray my fuel costs, to make this short jaunt more realistic.
This one-month jaunt I’m proposing, which will end in late February in Nashua, NH at Liberty Forum, where I’m slated to speak about Cop Block, will be a good way to prove the effectiveness of this outreach tactic on a smaller scale, and make more realistic a future, longer tour, that could incorporate outreach at colleges, know your rights trainings, and Copblocking.
Coin donated and earmarked for “Tour” will be used to help make this possible.
Fuel costs, which I estimate will be about a grand, will be my biggest expense. Any additional monies received will be used to provide resources to Copblockers met.
So to summarize, if you find any of these three areas compelling – groups, key components, or a short tour – and can help make them happen, that’d be much appreciated.
Any other donations made to Cop Block will be used to do outreach to current law enforcement employees, to compensate Copblockers for creating graphics, for video contests, and much more.
CopBlock uses WePay and Bitcoin.
Thanks for your time. And if you’re not able to donate coin, it’s all good – we appreciate link love and even better, learning of your own peaceful, proactive efforts to cause those around you to think.
Remember, decentralizing is key, feel free to implement any ideas you have.
All content or graphics you see generated by Cop Block are free for you to use or modify.
And I’m always down to brainstorm – just shoot me an email at [email protected]