We believe that City policy should support the civil rights of all, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, citizen status, disability, and all other Madison protected classes. City agencies, including law enforcement, should consistently reflect the goal of protecting and serving the public. We consider the right to housing, access to healthy, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food, education, safe drinking water, and health care to be human rights.
- The protection and exercise of First Amendment rights in public spaces and parks, including the right to assemble, protest, record police and city officials (including legal observers), provide political and civic information, and use amplified sound within reasonable guidelines.
- The right of all to enjoy public spaces, art, libraries, parks, and other non-commercial public meeting spaces. We oppose over-policing and profiling of various populations in these spaces, including people experiencing homelessness. We support improvements to ensure access by the physically disabled.
- We oppose punitive ordinances, such as the criminalization of loitering and/or panhandling, that have the potential to target low income and Black, Indigenous, and other people of color.
- Banning the use of drones and public surveillance equipment in public, City-owned spaces.
- Protecting the human rights and civil rights of all immigrants, regardless of status, and supporting the use of City resources to provide services to immigrants, including but not limited to legal services, public benefits, and municipal identification cards.
The pernicious effects of racism are present in every aspect of American life. Particularly in Wisconsin, Dane County, and Madison, our community has produced some of the worst racial disparities in the country. Black, Southeast Asian, Latinx, and Indigenous Americans have all endured unique and traumatic oppressions under white-imposed capitalism. We need systematic solutions that give power to communities of color.
- No F-35s at Truax Airfield: The current F-16 fighter wing and proposed F-35s will make many neighborhoods of color uninhabitable due to deafening noise and water pollution. While the United States Air Force has committed to placing F-35s at Truax Field, our state and local governments need to take immediate action to protect our communities from the harmful environmental consequences of these weapons, including PFAS water contamination.
- Restorative justice as a community practice. Punitive and carceral practices reproduce trauma and isolation, and ultimately the harms they claim to eliminate. Instead, we need to restructure our systems of justice to center transformative and restorative justice. We call on the City of Madison and County of Dane to divest money from the Police and Sheriff’s office and invest this money in black-led organizations to practice restorative and transformative justice in our community.
- Reparations are often deferred as being an issue for national consideration, but they are fundamentally about creating justice within a community. Our community has instigated and perpetuated many varieties of racial injustice over decades and centuries. It is therefore our responsibility to create the conditions for equity and justice. This work could start with a truth and reconciliation commission to make public the history of racial oppression in Wisconsin and Dane County. Further, reparations could be made through the transfer of wealth directly to communities of color, particularly through housing and land.
- Decolonize education: We join the efforts of Ananda Mirilli and Ali Muldrow to decolonize public education. School curriculums should be revised to teach accurate history and inclusive cultural studies, while also creating classrooms that support children of color.
Socialists strive toward a world absent of oppression. The American carceral system is among the most expansive and violent to have ever existed, and it is crucial for our collective survival that it be abolished. We must imagine and build a world without prisons or police while transforming the social and psychological processes that fuel our country’s drive to incarcerate.
- Demilitarize the police. There must be an immediate ban on police use of chemical weapons and “less lethal” weapons, leading to a progressive disarmament of police forces. Disarming our police force, denying and withdrawing any and all funds meant for instruments of violence, is only the first step toward safety for our community. Mountains of evidence show that police do not create safety, it is time for us to invest in our communities and defund police.
- Abolish cash bail, which burdens the poor, and in Dane County particularly, Black and Brown people. Dane County’s court system must move to end cash bail and eliminate opaque, racist AI and “evidence-based” safety programs.
- End prison labor, which is modern slave labor. Remove the Walker-era requirement for the UW system to purchase all furniture through a contract with Badger State Industries, which relies on prison labor.
- Defund the police, refund the community. Just as Dane County dedicates a disproportionate amount of resources to carceral space, the City of Madison directs over $80 million a year to its police force while it spends drastically less on other essential areas of civic life. We support the call of Freedom, Inc. for the 5% municipal budget reduction to be taken entirely out of the Madison Police Department budget.
- Terminate the Dane County Jail Consolidation project by refusing to approve any contracts to build the facility. The county should solve the “unsafe conditions” of the jail facilities in the City/County Building by closing that facility with the eventual goal of jail abolition.
- Establishing meaningful community oversight and public reporting practices that prevent over-policing of neighborhoods with more Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) residents which contributes to our arrest disparity rates.
- Transitioning funding away from law enforcement and towards community development, public health, early childhood education, and human services, thereby ensuring that police are performing policing duties while other professionals are hired to do social work, mental health and other services.
- Ending the criminalization of poverty and homelessness.
- Restorative and transformative justice programs instead of punitive models.
Immigration status is yet another way that people are segregated by class and race in our society, allowing for the separation of families, exploitation of workers, and horrible trauma to be inflicted upon people seeking a better life. Immigration detentions and deportations are inhumane and must end immediately.
- State citizenship for undocumented immigrants and “resident aliens.” The State of Wisconsin, and any municipal or county polity, should take steps to extend voting rights to any person who meets residency requirements of the state, including and especially undocumented immigrants.
- Driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants: Undocumented immigrants cannot legally obtain a valid driver license because the DMV requires proof of legal residence. Anyone who lives and/or works regardless of their “legal” residency should be allowed to obtain a valid driver’s license, allowing them to operate a motor vehicle and carry on with daily life, wherever they may live. The only way this can happen is if the above two requirements are removed, and local governments should begin applying pressure to the state to make this possible.
Boycott Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) contractors: Dane County and the City of Madison should revoke or decline to renew contracts with ICE or with companies that contract with ICE. Any companies with contracts with the City of Madison that either cooperate with ICE’s employment compliance program (IMAGE) or have direct contracts supplying ICE with products or services should have these contracts terminated.