A reminder for Anarchists
Now is NOT the time to back off from explaining our position as anarchists.
I just want to remind all of the good folks getting out into the streets (especially in response to the latest "officer involved shooting") that because there will no doubt be a lot of confusion over why anyone would protest this latest death, if anything we need to ramp up our effort at explaining the nuances of our anti-police position to the public at large.
Essentially, plenty of folks were confused about why anyone would protest the shooting of Jack Dale Collins because "he had an exacto blade, what was the officer supposed to do?"
As such we can assume that even more will be dumbfounded at the thought of anyone protesting the shooting death of an individual who had actually gone so far as to open fire on the police.
The media is already doing a good job of painting the dead man as "probably" a gang member, and quoting unnamed witnesses who's statements are at this time unverified making it seem like the individual in question "started" the hostilities.
Of course both of these things might well be true, but regardless of whether they are or aren't we need to show people that our anger is not so much to be found in the specific details of this one particular shooting, but in the larger exploitative system that keeps us trapped in this unnecessary pattern of extreme violence. This flare up simply reminds us in particularly clear terms of the system of unnecessary violence that we are fighting against.
I'll assume that we all have slightly (or even fairly) different ways of explaining our various positions to people regarding our stance on the police.
If anyone feels particularly tongue-tied when trying to talk about this issue, however, I'll offer up a few points to be adopted or ignored at your convenience.
- We are working to build a world without police, not one where we simply have more legal regulations and restrictions tightly controlling what the police can and can't do. This is at least partly because the police break or ignore their own laws all the time so reform of this sort isn't particularly effective. Also, and more importantly, legal reform is only a band-aid, it doesn't actually address the root causes (economic, political, social, etc) of all of this constant violence. We need massive surgery, not band-aids; we need to uproot this noxious weed, not just trim it.
- We aren't saying that we want a society exactly like ours except without the police. That's what people tend to think anarchists want, while in actuality we recognize that this scenario probably wouldn't be much of an improvement over what we have now.
Rather, when we aren't out in the streets making noise or doing direct-action, we are organizing for fundamental social change, building systems that allow communities to more easily and effectively control their own economic/political/educational/etc systems and institutions. When communities have complete collective control over all of their own institutions then social tension and conflict caused by things like unequal political access, unequal economic power, and unequal social safety will be greatly alleviated and violence will be much less of an issue. Restorative, community based justice practices are more than able to deal with those small instances of violence or wrongdoing that do tend to inevitably pop up in human society.
- We aren't just making this crap up. We didn't just randomly and arbitrarily decide that humans can not only live, but live better without the police. Humanity has lived most of it's existence without capitalism, without the state and without the police. And contrary to the racist beliefs of earlier centuries, life without the state is not usually "nasty, brutish and short." Rather, many MANY societies have made a much better go of living contented and comfortable lives WITHOUT all of the things that "modern, western man" believes to be necessary. It is not only within our capability to live happy, secure lives without things like police, it would appear that we humans have a tendency, even a propensity to do so, given the sheer amount of time that this anarchistic existence has been the norm.
Humans have not recently physically evolved in such a way that would make life without the state an impossibility. As such, it follows that there are specific institutions using coercion and force to keep us in this state of dependence on inherently violent hierarchical systems. This makes sense, because they profit from our dependence on them.
We have not only the ability, but really we also have the obligation to abolish these statist institutions, because when we recognize that they are not in fact a necessary evil, we see clearly that they are destroying most of the life on this planet, including us, for absolutely no good reason.
Ok if you can shorten these points down then bravo to you. Hope this can be helpful to someone!
Also, link to a relevant flier titled "but wasn't the latest killing justified?": print as many copies as you like and distribute freely!
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