Resolution #54 Criminal Justice and Decarceration

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Affected Items & Short Rationale

  • R54 Criminal Justice and Decarceration

    • The police and the prison system are tools of capitalists to segregate and weaken the working class, and have a huge role in making life miserable, especially for people of color. This system must be dismantled before we can unite and win.

Why Is Build Endorsing R54 Criminal Justice and Decarceration?

  • Mass incarceration effectively fractures entire communities of the working class.

    • Black people are twice as likely to be pulled over by police in traffic stops, and four times as likely to be searched. Furthermore, police killed 1,147 people in 2017 and 1,164 people in 2018. Black people were 25% of those killed despite being only 13% of the population.

    • This is only the tip of the iceberg of discrimination in America’s criminal justice system. Thankfully, due to the work of other (mostly black and brown-led)  organizations working in this field, public support for incarceration is at an all time low.

  • DSA must join this fight, to help lift the boot from the necks of some of our most oppressed comrades and unite the working class.

    • This resolution will create the framework to elevate what locals are already doing in organizing around criminal justice and police and prison abolition.

    • We can use this framework to spread our experience and knowledge to new locals looking to engage in this work and build coalitions with other organizations already fighting for criminal justice.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Concern: What specific programs do you anticipate coming out of this resolution?

Answer: The main goal of this resolution is to promote, elevate, and expand the work that many locals are already doing around criminal justice work and to help spread those tools across the country. This could include issue primers and trainings on power mapping and deep canvassing, tailored to issues such as abolishing cash bail, police use of force analysis, and protection from incarceration and eviction. Ultimately, this resolution does not intend to prescribe any specific tactics to locals organizing for decarceration and criminal justice. Rather, it intends to support whatever work locals are already doing, based on what is most needed for their own contexts.

Concern: Does this resolution conflict with other similar ones that are also being proposed? 

Answer: No, R54 does not conflict with other similar resolutions. R54 emphasizes creating tools for power mapping specific to criminal justice, and R76 other emphasizes coalition work, both of which will be critically important for criminal justice organizing.