Cop-ocalypse in Ferguson

There is a shocking display of police state violence occurring in Ferguson Missouri that is still ongoing. The National Guard has been called out to back up the local police. The original anger exploded over the execution style murder of the African American youth Michael Brown. While most media have covered the events, when they aren't being arrested or having rubber bullets shot at them, they haven't gone into the reasons behind them or their larger ramifications. The pernicious role of Democratic Party functionaries and hired moralizers decrying any and all “violence” is evident. As is the failure of the Democratic Party functionaries to contain anger. Years of propaganda wars with official names like the “War on Drugs”, or the “War on Terror”, have compounded the already psychopathically punitive and racist law and order mindset typically present among the police.

Urban gentrification of Saint Louis has forced the poorest workers out of the city and into far-flung suburbs. Here populations of workers live and, through economic compulsion, are forced go to work everyday in a city they can't afford to live in. This has caused poverty in the suburbs to increase dramatically. Typically such suburban communities have less in the way of resources to deal with poverty than do larger cities.

A white police force[1], attacking the local subject population of African Americans, again shows how class relations here are color coded. However, police regularly murder the homeless, the mentally ill, veterans, blacks, whites and just about every sector of the population that is proletarian. Police are also deeply misogynistic. They are more likely to beat and murder their spouses, rape their children than are the general public. For nationalist and reformist demagogues the one thing that could change this situation, the one thing you will never hear them propose, is a revolution.

The clear display of systemic racism is used as a distraction by the Democratic Party that somehow the only legitimate action is to wait until the next election and vote. It colors the problem of police state violence black so that it goes from being a problem for every worker to being a problem only for African Americans. That way cops assassinating people in the street becomes an African American problem, worthy of academic discussion and a get out the vote campaign but not worthy of any unified action and never seriously addressing the capitalist roots of racism or why a capitalist state requires police repression in the first place. Even the most militant organizations on the left, when you scratch the surface of their rhetoric will come up with a list of reforms that will never ever happen.

The state consists of “bodies of armed men” and the US state, its police, its military and its spy apparatus represent the most well armed state in history. Since the even before withdrawal from the Iraq War the military has sold its surplus hardware and weaponry to police departments all around the country, to the point where even the smallest cities have armored vehicles mounted with artillery pieces. But the militarization of the police in the US has been ongoing for a very long time now. The Federal Emergency Management Agency was created to have contingency plans where martial law could be enacted nationwide in 12 hours. Special Weapons and Tactical teams, have existed in police departments since 1964, basically paramilitary functions have been a part of policing in the US for decades. The main notable difference today is the openness with which state violence is employed. The purpose of the display of state power is aimed at intimidation to keep the struggle from spreading.

The bourgeoisie themselves are the criminal class and their foot-soldiers in the US are so crooked they have to screw their pants on. Police in the US are allowed to entrap people. They can sell drugs in order to arrest people for buying drugs. Police departments are allowed to confiscate people's property and then take the proceeds at auction effectively giving police a motive to benefit from selling drugs and stealing people's property. No-knock search warrants allow the police to bust into people's homes and accidentally shoot the wrong people because they had the wrong address. Since the September 11 attacks, every single terrorist incident has been the product of an FBI agent, or informer's doing. The state carries out attempted terrorist plots in order to bust the gullible and weak-minded and bury them with charges of “terrorism”. Even the first plot to blow up the World Trade Center in the 1990s was the brainchild of an FBI agent. For two decades the most wanted criminal in the US was the FBI informant, and South Boston mob boss, Whitey Bulger.

Reformists typically propose measures to limit or regulate police state violence such as “community policing” and police civilian review boards or hiring more black police officers. The trouble is that none of these types of measures have ever managed to change anything in the past. Black police officers are just as brutal at enforcing the laws of the white capitalist class and police civilian review boards are largely meaningless rubber stamp bodies that will sign off on just about anything law enforcement does.

In this situation the capitalist class has tried to send in its political operatives, Jesse Jackson and Al (FBI informant) Sharpton to try to appeal for calm and convince people to get out the vote. This is the true sign of a political crisis in the US, when the Democratic Party sends its functionaries out to talk an angry populace into calming down and voting. Even President “we tortured some folks” Obama was forced to acknowledge that something was actually happening in Missouri. The problem for the capitalists and their order is that these sorts of appeals haven't quite worked in this case, and the Democratic Party machine rarely ever fails to contain a social movement and drain it of its life. Protests have subsequently been portrayed as being fomented by old time-worn police clichés of “outside agitators” and “communists” and the Missouri Governor thus called out the National Guard to assist the the police in policing the community of Ferguson. So far at least 155 people have been arrested for just for standing too long in one place and not running away fast enough.

What is happening here isn't wholly different from the militarized response to the riots in Benton Harbor, Michigan in 2003. That was also in response to a police killing. One thing is clear that despite the massive police presence the police couldn't manage to stop a handful of looters from looting a few stores, but they are very capable of shooting unarmed protesters with rubber bullets, firing stun grenades at them. This isn't an accident, they want to portray the protesters as looters, so that the public outside Ferguson will turn against them and conversely that black workers in Ferguson will be cut off from support from the outside.

Parallels have been drawn between the Iraq War and the military hardware now being used by Ferguson police. There is even a “no-fly zone” over the town to keep media helicopters out. At least three journalists so far have been arrested. By controlling the narrative the capitalists attempt to paint everyone protesting against police brutality as rioters and looters, when what is really happening is that peaceful protests are being broken up with rubber bullets and tear gas and at night the street fighting breaks out triggered once again by police aggression. The video footage clearly shows that the real violence in this situation is coming entirely from the state. Products of imperialist war, racism and capitalist power have come home in Missouri. An anger is building that the capitalists won’t be able to contain.

AS

[1] It was only after the provocative behaviour of the local police that Democratic Governor Jay Nixon drafted in the head of the traffic police (Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson) to try to calm things down. As the only senior black officer around he was expected to repair the racist damage that had already been inflicted.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Comments

I like this article so much I want to take it to bed. It hits the mark in so many ways.

The bourgeoisie themselves are the criminal class and their foot-soldiers in the US are so crooked they have to screw their pants on. Police in the US are allowed to entrap people. They can sell drugs in order to arrest people for buying drugs. Police departments are allowed to confiscate people's property and then take the proceeds at auction effectively giving police a motive to benefit from selling drugs and stealing from people. No-knock search warrants allow the police to bust into people's homes and accidentally shoot the wrong people because they had the wrong address. Since the September 11 attacks, every single terrorist incident in the US has been the product of an FBI agent, or informer's doing. The state carries out attempted terrorist plots in order to bust the gullible and weak-minded and bury them with charges of “terrorism”. Even the first plot to blow up the World Trade Center in the 1990s was the brainchild of an FBI agent. For two decades the most wanted criminal in the US was the FBI informant, and South Boston mob boss, Whitey Bulger.

As the writer goes on to say: the products of imperialism, like war and racism, have come home to roost in Missouri, and it is the capitalist state itself which is at the root of the violence there. It is of course capitalism and its"states", including the Caliphate state, which are at the root of the tidal wave of violence which is sweeping the Middle East too. If the bourgeoisie get their crazy way this tsunami will be allowed, nay encouraged to pour out everywhere. Only the working class can stop it by struggling against the system itself. "An anger is building the capitalists won't be able to contain."