Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Alternatives and Abolition Panel at the International Copwatching Conference

Alternatives and Abolition

presented by Joaquin Cienfuegos, Greg Robson, and Garth Hardy


Joaquin Cienfuegos will question what our goals are in CopWatching as a tactic, organization, or network. He will discuss the goals of Cop Watch LA, which is to create a safe community which is liberated from oppressive institutions like the police, the armed enforcers of the state, as well as the abolition of the state as a whole, which includes the Prison Industrial Complex and all oppressive social relations: White Supremacy, Patriarchy, Colonialism, Heterosexism, Capitalism-Imperialism. This panel can be used as a dialogue for all people who organize against police terrorism and “law enforcement” agencies (who communicate with and support each other worldwide, and so should we), so we can begin to build a popular movement and a better world as a whole.

Greg Robson will talk about the work he does that provides alternatives to prisons. He will talk about why prisons don't work, why calling the police is not always the best option, and strategies for ways we can hold each other accountable outside of these systems.

Garth Hardy will talk about the efforts of Winnipeg Anarchist Black Cross towards abolitionism and prisoner support — our successes, our failures, and the line between abolition and reform.

Presenter bio

Joaquin Cienfuegos is a member of Cop Watch Los Angeles and the Piece Cooperative. He is from South Central Los Angeles. He started organizing when he was 17 years old. What politicized him were his life experiences, dealing with the police in South Central, and the racist anti-immigration laws that were passed when he was young. He began to focus on community organizing, because he felt the most potential was in empowering the people and building the institutions that will replace the oppressive power structures of capitalism, imperialism, colonialism, patriarchy, and white supremacy. He began organizing and helped create the Southern California Anarchist Federation — Los Angeles Chapter. They built Cop Watch LA.

Greg Robson is originally from the Brokenhead Ojibway Nation. He is turtle clan and his spirit name is Medicine Horse Man. Greg is the proud father of three sons, Chase, Caleb, and Andreas, who he raises with his wife Christin Harris.

Greg uses his personal experience with homelessness and gang involvement combined with Western academia and his culture and spirituality as a foundation in the work he does with youth and the Criminal Justice System. His expertise allows him to be effective at reaching youth and adults who are actively involved in gang culture.

Greg credits breaking the cycles of poverty, generational effects of gangs, and violence to being involved in Aboriginal spirituality and attending ceremonies. Greg takes his responsibilities as a community member, justice worker, and Sundancer very seriously and uses the teachings he has gained throughout his lifetime to help him in the work he does. His greatest teachings have been the value of sacrifice, commitment, and dedication to self, family, and community.

Garth Hardy is a member of the Winnipeg Anarchist Black Cross, a delegate with the Winnipeg General Membership Branch of the Industrial Workers of the World, and a member of the IWW General Defence Committee.

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