After Ferguson: Breaking the Power of the Police – A Few Thoughts

A few quick thoughts in the aftermath of the Ferguson grand jury decision about how to effectively deal with police violence against civilians in the United States:

1. Any actions to deal with police violence have to take aim squarely at breaking the power of the police to act with impunity. Furthermore, there have to be serious consequences as punishment for them doing do. Police cannot be “reformed”; they exist to enforce will of the ruling class and ideology in any state. Until such time as the current socio-economic system is overthrown or superseded, the freedom of police to repress the civilian population must be curtailed as much as possible.

2. The militarization of police over the last few decades is a sign that the US empire, as its hegemony decays, has been preparing to deal with growing unrest at home. In addition, militarization of the police has been part of the financialization of US capitalism since the early 1970s; dealing with police violence means taking on this military-police-industrial complex. Any attempt to break police power must also attack this militarization/commodification of law enforcement as well.

3. Left strategy against the police must – in the short-term – take the form of stringent legislation against police power as well as demilitarization of the police both by cutting off the supply of military-grade hardware (and making it illegal to use the weaponry). Shutting down or nationalizing the companies that make the hardware, or turning them to peaceful use can and should be another demand. Besides electoral action there should be a union of left forces to guard against the police – a national, united CopWatch program. A combination of tactics is likely to be successful, on the street and in government.

4. Finally, alliances should be made with civil libertarians at all levels who are opposed to the growing police state. In the long run this is likely to yield fruit on issues of consequence and help draw the white, rural working class together with the urban working class.

We need conversation, debate, and discussion about the proper strategy to deal with police violence. A coherent strategy to do so will help galvanize a new left in the United States.




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