The first installment of the (ongoing) research since this fund began in August 2020 was published in the print issue of The Progressive magazine (Dec. 2020/Jan. 2021) under the title, "Rebel Cops: "A Look at the Conscientious Objectors of Law Enforcement" (link below):
Read here: https://progressive.org/magazine/rebel-cops-schivone/
The next stories in this installment are coming soon (in Scalawag Magazine and The New York Times). The project is steadily proceeding toward the funding goal with your help!
Please enjoy the following perks for donating:
*Any donation of any price will get a digital copy of the printed article from the magazine.
*Donations of $5+ will get a print issue of a radical zine/pamphlet featuring an expanded version of the above debut in The Progressive, as well as a personal note prefacing the article about how I came to write on the issue, and why.
*Donations of $30+ will get a print issue of the magazine.
*Donations of $100+ will get a free one-year subscription to the magazine! You can also review a detailed copy of my book proposal for this project: ABOLITION IN BLUE: The Rebel Officers Working to Upend U.S. Policing as We Know it and Replace it with New Models of Community Safety.
Thanks so much for the support, please keep spreading word, and read below for more details about this research. ~GS.
Why I am Writing Investigative Journalism About Rebel Cops:
An in-depth narrative investigation into cops who turned abolitionist on the job -- aligning them with Black Lives Matter and Indigenous, People of Color liberation -- can contribute to the kind of political imagination and creative social organizing needed to build a safer, more just society.
With a reporting plan grounded in BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) perspectives and class-based analysis, my project seeks to provide critical examination of, and potential answers to, the overarching question of whether (and how) there might be groups of rebellious officers with whom protesters and dissident politicians can work to create radical social change. The story will also explore radical police alternatives for US society.
It all started with an investigative report I began , titled: "ANARCHIST COP: How an Officer from the Rural South Decided to Abolish the Police." Quickly I discovered that a book project would also be necessary to assay the broader issues raised by the initial story of my central human source who engaged in radical resistance on the job to undermine the US policing system, from his precinct in the Deep South.
Like those rebelling in the streets across America this summer, from one of my sources' perspective, the arc to a safer society bends toward abolishing the police. Echoing 19th-century anarchist theory, he told me from his home in the rural Deep South in August 2020, "Authority and the imposition of authority produces a lot of hardship for human beings." His prescription is simple. "Maybe rather than calling the police, you should call your neighbor," he said, citing a 1902 essay on “Mutual Aid” by Russian anarchist philosopher Peter Kropotkin.
This source of mine underwent a profound transformation while on the job as a Southern police officer. After witnessing that every policing action he took, however slight or insignificant and with good intentions, was only harming low-income people and people of color, he reached a breaking point that led him to start using his discretionary powers to secretly undermine his profession and ideology.
My task for this book is to build a narrative around his story but also find others like him in law-enforcement.
What You Will Be Funding:
I am seeking funding to research and write the investigative report, which will expand into the first chapter (3000 words) of the book. The expenses include a $1/word writing fee for labor, a small living stipend $1000 for the time necessary to create the initial work, plus a modest expense budget ($1000) to fund research costs such as document fees, media equipment rentals, editorial/reporting assistance, and very limited social-distance travel when/if necessary.
Using the chapter as a sample for the book, I will create a comprehensive book proposal with intentions to place the work at the best publisher home where it can get the widest distribution possible for a general audience.
When Funds are Needed
I have completed pre-reporting (i.e. I found the initial sources and conducted background interviews) and I wish to start reporting, research, and writing as soon as funds start coming in.
Other Ways You Can Help
Send story tips and sources my way: via Signal: 520_302_6006 and gabriel [dot] schivone [at] protonmail [dot] com.
If you're part of a progressive or abolitionist study group, I'm also willing to join for a presentation and/or discussion of my research.
To all these ends, please share this link widely to your social networks via email, social media, and word-of-mouth.
Who Am I to Write This Project?
I was an organizing member of Dry River Radical Resource Center from 2006 until it closed its doors several years later. This beloved anarchist collective represents a fond and formative period in my political consciousness and developing sense of community as a young person.
I am a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), the National Association of LGBTQ Journalists (NLGJA), and Study Hall, a magnificent resource for freelance journalists.
Indeed, I am an independent journalist but I am also writing from a certain point of view. I start from the supposition that the US policing system is fundamentally coercive and unjust -- incorrigible beyond reform.
But what are my credentials to say or think this, you might ask? I am a high school drop out with zero higher education degrees -- and proud of it! I survive in the world as a working-class writer, navigating through a jagged socio-economic terrain of vicious class war that leaves very few of us unscathed.
Here is what my lack of training and dearth of credentials is worth:
I was bestowed a "Change Maker" award by the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice (under chairperson and resident anarchist Noam Chomsky) at the University of Arizona, where I've been a visiting scholar since 2018. In 2019, I received an inaugural Robert B. Silvers Foundation Work in Progress grant, established by the late co-founder of The New York Review of Books. This year, I crossed over to screenwriting where some of the biggest Hollywood contests -- The International PAGE Awards, Screencraft, and The Script Lab -- each ranked my debut script about an anti-Nazi resistance fighter, in their quarter finals categories, beating out some 24,000+ scripts entered, cumulatively. The Sundance Film Institute, meanwhile, scored a feature script that I and a co-author to advance to final consideration (out of 4000 scripts entered) for their esteemed 2021 Screenwriters Lab that cultivated such scripts as Boots Riley's "Sorry to Bother You," Quentin Tarantino's "Reservoir Dogs," Ryan Coogler's "Fruitvale Station," and many others.
My writing has been published (or is forthcoming) in The New York Review of Books, Slate, Columbia Journalism Review, Medium.com, Electronic Intifada, Food Not Bombs/Tucson Food Share radical zine (summer 2020), The Florida Review, Thriller Magazine, Electric Literature, Yes! Magazine, The Guardian, and elsewhere.
But I do not come from a vantage point of "neutrality" to write on policing and criminal justice issues. I grew up in a household whose members suffered deportation and separated families. For carrying out migrant advocacy, I have a criminal record that returns red flags to employers when they do background checks on me. Rather than compromising my commitment to honest reporting, these personal details, in fact, assist my effort to critically address the issues of my research and treat all sources fairly, whether I agree with what they say or not.
Thanking My Donors!
Every (consenting) donor, no matter how small or big the donation, will get a special acknowledgement in the book, to represent the collectivist nature of the support that will make this project possible and allow it to contribute to one of the most important social struggles of our time.
Check more of me at:
My Website: www.gabrielschivone.info
On Twitter: @GSchivone
On Instagram: @Gabriel.Schivone
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