"Without police, wouldn't there be chaos?" "What about the bad people?"  We get asked these legit questions all the time. It's time we began to wrestle with some possible answers. This workgroup is an attempt to put together a replicable process for communities to build security and safety beyond the societally proscribed police state and institutional apparatus.

This is a structured workshop to plan ways to keep our communities safe at all levels. Here are just some of the challenges we are attempting to tackle: accountability, education and public perception, community crisis response, cops and alternatives,  defense of communities, domestic & sexual violence, isolation and alienation, mutual support and solidarity, and making the police obsolete.

Here we jumpstart an ongoing Community Safety Workgroup intended to grow beyond an intial series of Free Skool workshops.

Early on we agreed on bottomline premises of the workgroup.  We share the premise that everyone desires safety and security (even if we disagree about strategy and threats to it). You have a basic familiarity and comfort with the philosophy of anarchism which will serve you well here. We want to work collaboratively. We are looking for solutions outside of institutional ones. We solve problems ourselves. We are not a service or an institution; we enable people and communities to provide for their own safety.  We are committed to transparency.  We document everything we do so others may learn from our process and replicate our work. We are here to listen to each other.  We give each other space for people to talk and participate. We are here to act, not just talk. We are committed to this effort. What we are wanting is possible and desirable.  

We work in small groups committed to aspects of community safety.  These small groups are focused on strategy and action.  By breaking the almost overwhelming goals of the larger workgroup into smaller pieces we attempt to make incremental efforts toward having safer more secure communities. There is natural crossover with many of the goals and strategies of the small groups echoing the interconnected nature of our communities. Here is the current list of small working groups: 
  • New Accountability Process
  • Crisis Response Team
  • Education and Public Perception
  • Defense of Communities – legal, physical, etc
  • Community and Individual Health
  • Community Connectedness
  • Anti-Police – police accountability, know your rights, copwatch
  • Alternatives to Violence
  • Physical Spaces – availability of public, private, and autonomous spaces
  • Food Security

There are several ways to get involved:
  1. Stay informed.  Subscribe and read the notes from the workgroups.
  2. Go to a Community Safety Workgroup.  Every other week in Santa Cruz.  Details here.
  3. Bring a friend to one of the workgroups.  This is a big and important task.  Many hands make light work.
  4. Take these ideas into your communities.  Start talking to people in your neighborhood, in your projects and collectives.
  5. Form your own Community Safety Workgroup and start creating new ways of relating to others around the idea of safety and security outside of institutional control.
We are open to your comments and suggestions. 

Santa Cruz Community Safety Workgroup