The Police Are the Armed Forces of the Corporate State and Should be Abolished
The police exist to protect and serve our oppressors.
The first organized civilian police forces were created at the beginning of the 19th century. Before that time, there were no public servants to watch over the populous and enforce "the law." Governments were generally interested in ensuring the payment of taxes, punishing acts of sedition, and the prevention of theft of feudal holdings. Short of another civilian placing a demand before the courts, personal grievances were usually handled privately.
In our pre-policing existence, which extends through most of human history, politeness, personal honor, and the willingness to exact justice with one's own hands were generally sufficient to maintain civil order. People chose to be polite because there was nothing to stop retaliation for rudeness. A person's honor was valuable because that alone ensured that a promise would be kept. Acts of violence or theft were generally avoided because one could expect the same in return. Yes, there were still acts that we would call criminal. The system was not perfect, just as our system is not perfect, but it functioned at a much lower expense of personal liberty and collective wealth.
In Europe, it is no coincidence that the advent of civil policing coincides with the rise of capitalism. As private corporations rose to power, these corporations became more concerned with protecting their private property. They needed a mechanism to ensure the sanctity of their property, force workers to comply with the needs of corporations, break strikes, and keep order so that commerce could take place without challenge. As capitalism spread, civilian policing spread.
Nevertheless, early civilian police departments were generally more benign than those we have today. Most were not armed. Police officers saw themselves as "peace officers." Their role was to ensure that commerce and society functioned smoothly. They often attempted to break up and/or resolve conflicts rather than haul people to jail. Their role was completely separate from the of the armed forces and thus they did not need arms. When civil unrest broke out, it was the military and not the police that restored the state's control.
In America, however, things were somewhat different. For the very same reasons that Europeans adopted civilian police forces - capitalism - Americans adopted civilian police forces. Without much of what one would call a standing army, the police took on a more militant role and were generally armed. Since the police were armed, those wishing to break the law often found it convenient to be armed in order to protect themselves from the police, resulting in an arms race between the criminal elements and the civilian police. We are all familiar with the notion of the "wild west," and the role that weapons played in the struggle between the freelance criminals and the state criminals with badges.
As the United States grew more industrialized, the police worked hand in hand with the corporations to keep workers in line. The police became the armed forces of the corporatist state. They evolved not to serve and protect the people, but to serve and protect the corporations and the wealthy. This role of the police is clearly seen in the many instances were strikers were shot down by police thugs, where protesters have been arrested for speaking out against corporate crimes, and where wealthy citizens are not prosecuted for crimes for which ordinary citizens are prosecuted.
In parallel with this evolution of the police into the armed forces of the corporate state, a similar dynamic can be seen in the American media which has evolved to become the public relations machine for the corporate state. In its role as the public relations machine for the corporate state, the American media plays interference for the police, obfuscating their crimes and reporting, verbatim, the police version of actions against the people. Likewise, the American media has brainwashed the American people, through movies and other forms of fiction, to believe that the police are heroes, here to serve us and that existence is not possible without their ubiquitous presence.
Ironically, it is we the people that pay for the police forces which exist only to keep us in line and protect the corporate state's ability to exploit our labor. We are forced to pay for our own slavery. This is an irony that must end.
Let us consider a Vermont without police. Tell me, if no one were looking, would you steal from your neighbor? Clearly, given the number of people in Vermont that do not lock the doors to their homes, most of us know that our neighbors would not steal from us and that we would not steal from them. Conjure up the various crimes you have read about in the newspaper and ask yourself whether you would commit such crimes. I am sure that nearly all of us would not commit such crimes against one another. Sure, some of us would smoke marijuana or grow it in our back yard, but that is something we should be able to do anyway. When it comes to harming one another, few of us would do so. Clearly, most of us do not need policing. Despite this fact, we are policed and, quite frankly, we are harassed by the police on a nearly daily basis.
Let us now consider those who do steal, rob, rape, defraud, and so on. I ask you, how many times have you been the victim of a crime and felt helpless because you were afraid of what would happen if you took it upon yourself to exact justice or to right a wrong? Chances are, if you are like me, the only thing holding you back is fear of the police. You fear that by righting a wrong you will be jailed. In fact, you fear that even if you confront, peacefully, the perpetrator of a wrongdoing, you might find yourself arrested and jailed just for walking up to that person and giving him or her a piece of your mind. You cannot engage in the normal human behaviors that deter crime because your actions might be misconstrued, often intentionally, by a police officer, as a crime. In short, you are prevented from creating a civil society because the police will arrest you for it.
What does this lead to? Well, the few bad apples amongst us are free to be rude, abusive, and even criminal because they know that the good people amongst them are afraid to take action. The first person that will go to the police is the person that provoked the response. The police, therefore, in addition to being tools of the corporations and the wealthy, are the tools of those who victimize us.
If we remove the police, we are free to confront such people and stop their behavior before it grows into a crime, without the fear of being arrested. If we remove the police, uncivil and dishonorable people will get what is coming to them.
There will remain some who believe that, despite what I have explained above, there are those too weak or too timid to live in a system without police. For them I propose this: let us abolish the institution of policing as we know it and replace it with a system similar to that of the jury system. Let each and every adult serve a rotating period of "peace duty," during which it is the responsibility of such a person to assist those unable to overcome the injustices of those around them. The peace officer de jour will be responsible for breaking up disputes and/or laying charges against those committing crimes against others and/or their property. By rotating through the citizenry and taking turns are being peace officer, no citizen will assume that he or she is above the law for at some point his or her victim would be the peace officer de jour.
Think of how much more harmonious such a society would be. Think of how much we would save by not financing useless police toys, useless police salaries, and useless prosecutions. More importantly, think of the liberty we would regain.
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