Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Criminal-Justice Reformers Chose the Wrong Slogan

By Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

After George Floyd’s murder, when sweeping criminal-justice reforms seemed more possible than ever, many Black Lives Matter activists and their allies settled on a rallying cry: “Defund the Police.”

That choice was a disaster. The slogan—shorthand for cutting spending on law enforcement and redirecting it toward social services, or, for more radical proponents, moving toward eventual police abolition—is a political liability, largely due to justified fears that, if implemented, it would lead to many more murders, assaults, and other violent crimes, disproportionately harming victims in America’s most marginalized communities. Yet even as the Democratic Party abandons the slogan, the activist left still clings to it, as if oblivious to its opportunity cost: Namely, the public is open to any number of potential improvements to American policing, but no politically viable reform is getting anywhere near the attention of “defunding.”


2 replies »

  1. Hey, Keith, what exactly do you think should be done about crime? What is the anarchist view of it? Do you agree with those two sister whose name I don’t recall who wrote that book about private police? Do you think that it should be decided by each community separately? I don’t really know that much about anarchism solutions for crime.

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