The surest way for people to give up their power is to believe they don’t have any. Far too many people believe they cannot make real change. San Diegans for Justice is a political action committee committed to laying bare the ability of grassroots individuals to reclaim and feel comfortable owning their political power. Once individuals recognize this strength, San Diegans for Justice gives them the tools to use it to bring about structural and systemic change, particularly in the areas of criminal, electoral, and economic justice.
San Diegans for Justice is an organization committed to strengthening criminal, electoral, and economic justice throughout San Diego and beyond. A brief walk-through shows how these three types of justices are related and why San Diegans for Justice has decided to tackle these three systems.
During the 19th century, brutal working conditions in the North led to political unrest, riots, and worker strikes. In order to prosper, business owners sought to create a submissive and orderly workforce. As a result, early police departments were formed to protect the financial interests of those business owners, masquerading as a “collective good.”
Similarly, police departments in the South were established to deter revolts by capturing and returning enslaved individuals who had run away. After the Civil War, these police departments controlled formerly enslaved people by enforcing systems designed to deny them equal rights and access to the political system.
The hallmarks of early American police departments are that of brutality and corruption -- violently arresting individuals for public disorder during worker strikes, fixing elections, serving the interests of the financial elites, and preventing people of color from participating in elections. This history continues to influence today’s police practices.
The most negative and violent actions of law enforcement and the criminal justice system are still focused on those outside of the upper classes, including workers and people of color. The economic impact of these actions serves to continue the imbalance of wealth and power that pervades our society. The rigid structure of our electoral system keeps us from correcting this imbalance.
With this background in mind, it is easy to see how criminal, electoral, and economic justice intersect and the importance of this intersection.
AREAS OF FOCUS
With respect to criminal justice, San Diegans for Justice has worked to create a system that moves law enforcement further away from its original purposes. San Diegans for Justice will continue to work to create structures that hold law enforcement accountable through community oversight entities, the dismantling of qualified immunity, and the dismantling of laws that give greater rights to police officers than those accorded to other professionals and the rest of society.
Every system is perfectly designed to achieve the results that it gets. This is particularly true of our electoral system. Our system produces lackluster candidates who, when elected, do little to enact the reforms that we know are needed. San Diegans for Justice is invested in taking on issues that will restructure our elections systems in such a way that they will produce officials capable of making fundamental reforms.
Most forms of injustice are either in direct support of, or a byproduct of, economic injustice. In other words, economic injustice is the underpinning of nearly all other injustices. Thus, addressing economic injustice is crucial. Extreme wealth inequality is not simply the natural order of things. Rather, it is a result of laws and systems that have the effect of funneling vast sums of money into the hands of a very, very few. San Diegans for Justice will promote those reforms that work to correct the economic injustice wrought by so many of our laws and systems.
By tackling these three interconnected systems, we hope the work we do at San Diegans for Justice will fundamentally change our society and unravel systems of injustice.