USA - How a Republic Enforces its Order

The murder of Kelly Thomas and the acquittal of the officers involved, indeed any open act of police violence, is a direct attack on all of us. They want us to fear their power thus the forces of order allow this violence because it is they themselves that are afraid. This is why the state allows this ferocious and violent demonstration of its order. Because they are aware of how widely they are hated and this causes the capitalist class to seek to maintain this ongoing demonstration of violence and impunity.

The police are, before all else, the guardians of the property of the capitalists. Remember the reaction of the regime and its media when New Orleans police allowed people loot stores, often for needed items. In the case of Kelly Thomas, he was asked to vacate the premises of a local business, which he did, but not until the owner called the police. The police arrived and began by questioning him and ended by beating him to death. All to help a business sell more coffee without any homeless mentally ill people inconveniencing the customers. In as far as police are guardians of capitalist property, the six Fullerton police were fulfilling their exact function. Another explicit purpose of the function of police to make everyone else fear their power, to instill the message that resistance is futile.

Los Angeles police chief Darryl Gates, at the time of the Rodney King Riots in 1991, had been in his position for decades. He is credited for creating the one the first para-militarized police units, so called special weapons and tactics or SWAT teams. These units were official units, there were other sorts of units such as the “Legion of Justice” Red Squad in Chicago, or the “Secret Army Organization” in San Diego (from 1968 to 1972) which functioned extrajudicially with the specific purpose of political repression. In the eighties these same Red Squads have began to see their metamorphosis into “anti-terrorism” focused units largely carrying out the same functions against the same people. This is the other side of the police function of protecting and serving the capitalist class.


One month later Kelly Thomas' blood still stains the pavement

Saturday, January 18th, a protest against the verdict and against police brutality was attacked, after riot police arrived and issued an order to disperse, declaring that the protest was an unlawful assembly. One protester was arrested for writing a slogan in chalk, another for spray painting the “anarchy is the mother of order symbol” on the wall of the police department. A shoplifter was arrested at a nearby grocer and was falsely counted by the police as being a protest related arrest. Ten of the protesters were arrested for remaining at the protest and refusing to recognize the dispersal order from the Fullerton police. The protest against police brutality itself became a victim of police brutality, an all too common occurrence.

According to the Cato Institute's National Police Misconduct Reporting Project [1], which compiles statistics only on those actions that were reported on in the press, police are more likely to commit assault, rape and murder than the general population. They are more likely to abuse family members. They are more likely to commit child sexual assault. Making the citizens of the grand republic “safer” isn't a primary task of the police.

The question is how to fight this brutality, this expression of the violence perpetrated by the servants of the oppressor class. Protests against police brutality usually call for reforms, better training or community policing or civilian revue boards but you can't just reform away a blood stained system.


[1] Cato Institute. National Police Misconduct Reporting Project.

Monday, February 3, 2014