Chicago DSA’s Defund CPD campaign has adopted the demands of Chicago’s city-wide DefundCPD campaign, steered by the Black Abolitionist Network (BAN). Here are those demands:
Divest from CPD.
- We must defund the Chicago Police Department (CPD) in order to reinvest that $1.8 billion into Chicago’s under-resourced communities.
Reinvest in our communities.
- We must use current police funds for investment in real public safety - giving support to the people and communities most affected by divestment and state violence.
Spend COVID relief dollars on public health and safety, not CPD.
- Mayor Lightfoot has already spent $281.5 million intended for COVID relief on CPD instead. Future relief dollars must go to resources and programs that promote public health and safety, not to CPD. For example, we should invest in #CareNotCops initiatives like Treatment Not Trauma, an ordinance to provide 24/7 mental health response to emergency calls, without the police, but funded and controlled by City Council.
Cancel the CPD contract with ShotSpotter and meaningfully address gun violence.
- Currently, the city spends $33 million on ShotSpotter, an ineffective gunshot detection tool that has incorrectly told CPD to show up to over 20,000 “instances of gun shots,” including the CPD deployments that led to the killing of 13-year old Adam Toledo. We should redirect these funds to the Peace Book and Community Restoration Ordinance to effectively address gun violence.
Renegotiate or abolish parts of the police union contract that spend on things like CPD overtime, tuition reimbursement, and police liability insurance.
- CPD currently abuses overtime allocations, resulting in $177.5 million in payments in 2020 alone. We must stop the police union from wasting these dollars and reinvest them in our communities. In addition, the city has spent more than $757 million on settlements, losses at trial, and other payouts in police cases. Requiring police officers to cover their own liability insurance would decrease taxpayer costs and bind officer employment to their liability risk.
Remove School Resource Officers (SROs) from our schools and reinvest in students.
- We must support the city’s young people by helping to remove all police from their school buildings and reinvesting police funds into community accountability and restorative justice initiatives, led by and for students. We must also ensure any COVID relief funds are spent on students’ wellness and accessibility needs, not policing.
Police are essential to capitalism, acting as the violent enforcers of the ruling class. They exist to protect property and reinforce white supremacy and racism, originally formed to violently dispossess indigenous people from land and resources, put down rebellions of enslaved people, and break workers’ strikes. Today, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) continues to operate with total impunity to harass, brutalize, arrest, and kill as armed agents of the State. We also know this organized, institutionalized violence comes down hardest on Black, brown, and indigenous communities. Years, decades, even centuries of attempted reform have made it clear that the fundamentally violent, racist nature of policing cannot be altered by further investment, reform, or an illusion of “community control”. As abolitionist organizer Mariame Kaba writes, “Enough. We can’t reform the police. The only way to diminish police violence is to reduce contact between the public and the police.” We are campaigning to defund CPD because it is imperative that we reduce contact with institutions of policing and protect the people of Chicago.
Defunding the police also gives us an opportunity to invest in actual and experimental solutions around public safety with an understanding that safety means well-resourced communities and meaningful control over institutions that claim to serve us and our communities. Policing and incarceration have become, as abolitionist scholar Ruth Wilson Gilmore states, “a catchall solution to social problems.” Currently, our tax dollars fund CPD’s brutality through city budgets that grow policing, while neglecting social services. The system also levies fees and fines to further ensnare residents. The 2020 budget allocated about $1.8 billion to the Chicago Police Department — that’s nearly 40%. That means Chicago spent close to $5 million on CPD every day. That wealth rightfully belongs in the hands of those who create it—the working class and our communities. By redistributing resources to the people most affected by divestment and state violence, we can begin to meaningfully address harm and work toward a Chicago that provides prosperity and dignity for all.
Our core demand is to immediately reduce the CPD budget as we struggle for and toward full abolition. Divestment is the most direct way to remove police from our neighborhoods and free up funds to reinvest in real safety for our communities. The safest communities do not have more cops, they have more life-affirming institutions and resources. As an endorser of the citywide #DefundCPD campaign, Chicago DSA joins the demand to divest from the Chicago Police Department and reinivest that $1.8 billion in Chicago’s under-resourced communities, in order to build and expand life affirming institutions.
Get Involved with #DefundCPD
Want to join us? The best first steps for getting involved are to sign the Defund CPD petition and sign up for our #DefundCPD project committee. In that project committee meeting we’ll share opportunities for political education and direct action to #DefundCPD.
For more upcoming events, please check out the Chicago DSA Calendar.
What are CDSA’s Campaign Priorities?
Building on the citywide demands, Chicago DSA’s Defund CPD campaign developed its own list of priorities. These priorities are divided into two lists—internal priorities that organize and grow CDSA and external priorities aimed at changing conditions in Chicago. These lists were crafted in early 2021, and thus, some of them are already outdated. We’ve preserved them as written to give a snapshot of our campaign in its early days:
Internal campaign priorities
- Spark member engagement
- Increase campaign presence in South and West Sides (e.g. Southside Mutual Aid, AfroSOC collab)
- Share resources and support the work of youth-led abolitionist and socialist organizations (also an external priority)
- Encourage new organizers to lead our campaign and champion abolition
- Confront white supremacy and anti-Blackness inflicted by police, politicians, and organizations, including CDSA
External campaign priorities
- Defund CPD (by 75%)
- Statewide Defund measures (e.g. BREATHE Act)
- Winning a CPAC that defunds CPD
- Remove police from Chicago Public Schools (CPS)
- Support and increase the capacity for community resilience by identifying and redistributing resources to the people most affected by divestment and state violence (e.g. needle exchanges, mutual aid, Treatment Not Trauma)
- Decriminalize things that shouldn’t be crimes (e.g. narcotics, sex work, loitering)
- Support rank-and-file agitation (actions taken by ordinary workers and union members from the bottom up) in workplaces and industries where worker demands can be tied to abolition, and force the labor world to disavow and discredit police unions (FOP)
- Political education that promotes, explains, and imagines abolition
Find Related Resources for…
|Abolition 101||Defund CPD Campaign|
| Our Abolition 101 Toolkit features overview resources on the movement to end police and prisons, everywhere, including:
|| Our Defund CPD Toolkit gathers resources specific to the Chicago campaign to defund the police, including:
Have other questions about the campaign? Contact us at [email protected]