The Atlantic

Can Abolition Work in an Age of Right-Wing Extremism?

Punishment can radicalize and further alienate people, while social policy and grassroots community building can defuse potential violence.
Source: Shay Horse / NurPhoto / Getty

In response to law enforcement’s hands-off approach to the storming of the Capitol on January 6, some on the left have demanded harsher policing of right-wing extremism to match the often-brutal treatment of Black Lives Matter and leftist protest. That is, the very people who supported police reform or outright defunding over the summer seemed to want a crackdown. Skeptics of defunding were quick to point out the apparent contradiction, and they took the opportunity to dismiss the abolitionist position altogether. As the writer Matthew Yglesias mockingly tweeted, “Clearly the answer to yesterday’s failures is to defund the Capitol Police and instead hire a squad of social service providers to

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