This session is available in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
The Black Lives Matter movement has galvanized a generation of anti-racist activists who have taken up slogans calling for the defunding and abolition of the police. Police violence and racism has led to a sharpening of left debates about the nature of the police as an institution of capitalist repression. From breaking strikes, harassing homeless people, murdering people of colour and suppressing protests, the police are a central pillar propping up the status quo. Can the police be reformed or do they need to be abolished? Is this institution of social control one that can be challenged within the framework of capitalism or does the struggle to abolish the police require the abolition of capitalism? Are all cops bastards or are they part of the working class? This session will explore the historical roots and social function of the police today while offering a revolutionary Marxist perspective on the struggle for police abolition.