While I agree with 99% of this article, I’m a bit suspicious as to why the New York Times (“Voice of the Ruling Class”-Abbie Hoffman) was willing to publish it. It seems like some kind of co-optation scheme is in the works. The left-wing of the ruling class (the tech-oligarch/financier/new clerisy alliance) seems to envision a future American empire that is organized domestically more like the European Union, complete with the social worker cops of Scandinavia, and which continues to rule the world under the cover of the UN. I’ve been saying that this is the end-game of the “left-wing of capital” for 20 years as opposed to the neoconservatives and traditional hawks (the John Bolton types) who simply want a Pax Americana.
The main disagreement I have with this is that the author appears to be a social democrat/welfare statist. I am critical of social democracy even as it’s practiced in relatively benign states like the Scandinavian countries, which strike me as totalitarian humanist theocracies even if they lack military power or the massive police states of the US. Their small size and geographic constraints prevent them from becoming imperialistic. However, they are basically the “blue states” of the European Union, which is a rising totalitarian humanist empire. North Korea is the Stalinist/fascist dystopia of Orwell’s 1984, while the European Union (particular England and Scandinavia) are Huxley’s Brave New World, with America being more like byzantine bureaucracy depicted in Kafka novels.
As a decentralist and an anti-imperialist, I am willing to tolerate the occasional totalitarian humanist microstate (like Iceland), the occasional fascist city-state (like Singapore), or the occasional Stalinist island (like Cuba). But I can’t really see promoting any of those as ends unto themselves.
Another problem with this article is that, like most liberal and leftist writing on the police state, it tends toward racial reductionism. Historically, African-Americans were the Dalits of the Western hemisphere, with Native Americans being more like the Palestinians of the Western hemisphere.
Racial/ethnic subjugation has been a central component of policing in US history and still today in large cities controlled by local corporate, commercial, and real estate oligarchs. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Few Americans are descended from Anglo-Saxon Brahmins. Most Americans are the descendants of Irish, Scottish, and Cockney indentured servants, pressed laborers, transported convicts, and pirates, Southern European peasants, and Eastern European serfs, Latin American and Asian migrant laborers, and African, Caribbean, and Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian refugees.
Additionally, even people who are considered statistically “upper class” can be attacked by the police state and neo-star chamber. The problem with “left” analysis is that it is too oriented towards race reductionism, class reductionism, gender reductionism, cultural reductionism or some combination of these while ignoring the elephant in the room, which is the state itself. And even many “anarchists” fall into this trap and essentially function as anarcho-liberals, anarcho-progressives, anarcho-social democrats, anarcho-Blue Tribe loyalists, anarcho-Democrats, or anarcho-Bolsheviks.
By Mariame Kaba
New York Times
Congressional Democrats want to make it easier to identify and prosecute police misconduct; Joe Biden wants to give police departments $300 million. But efforts to solve police violence through liberal reforms like these have failed for nearly a century.
Enough. We can’t reform the police. The only way to diminish police violence is to reduce contact between the public and the police.
There is not a single era in United States history in which the police were not a force of violence against black people. Policing in the South emerged from the slave patrols in the 1700 and 1800s that caught and returned runaway slaves. In the North, the first municipal police departments in the mid-1800s helped quash labor strikes and riots against the rich. Everywhere, they have suppressed marginalized populations to protect the status quo.