A serious discussion about abolishing the police and prison requires an understanding of the way power operates. NWA recorded their infamous “Fuck the Police” anthem – a song we should all have as our ringtones. But policing involves more than just uniforms, badges, and buildings with cages that function as human garbage disposals. Every institution – the school, the workplace, the family – is designed to patrol our movements and control our motives to be in compliance with the dominant order. The ideology of the police is everywhere; the prison is the nucleus of society. We need to move beyond mere criticisms of police departments to grasp the existence of a police state.
There are many people who advocate for abolition while simultaneously harboring Christian beliefs. The general idea is that Jesus Christ was a revolutionary and can emancipate us. But we need to re-examine the way power is distributed in this belief system. According to the Holy Bible, God is in the ultimate position of power to influence the lives of everyone – but He was never elected. We never gave Him consent to rule us – this authority was simply assumed in The Beginning. He is not subject to recall by popular vote, and He does not have term limits. He rules indefinitely. Anyone who questions this authority is demonized and may suffer the fate of a fiery hell. This is textbook totalitarianism.
Abolition advocates for the end of a surveillance state. Like a two-way mirror in an interrogation room, God can see us, but we cannot see Him. He is an invisible guy in the sky who sees everyone and everything. He demands alibis and confessions from us, but does not explain Himself to anyone. This is the normalization of surveillance.
It should come as no surprise that the average American is caught on security footage 75 times a day: the police strive to be God because God is the ultimate police officer. We cannot abolish the police state by channeling a belief system where God is a police officer and warden who maintains a fiery prison in the afterlife.