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(en) Buffalo Class Action - The Free Times #3 - Police Abuse and Preserving an Unjust Status Quo by Colin O'Malley

Date Sat, 22 Dec 2012 12:33:44 +0200

Fuck the police! There I said it. But let’s not react too harshly now. Why would I, or anyone else, say something like that? More often than not, I would imagine that it was because they have witnessed or been the victim of some form of police abuse. Anyone who has ever been to Thursday at the Square knows about it. Every week police roam the street there threatening people that have the audacity to sit on a city bench! Anyone who questions the demands of an officer becomes the immediate target of threats and often violence. This can be clearly seen in the massive amounts of abuse reports coming out of the Erie County Holding Center. ---- Of course, this sort of abuse is regularly excused as the action of a couple of bad apples. Anarchists know better. The historic role of the police has been to pre­ serve an unjust status quo; in fact this is their primary role. This is why huge numbers of police are always seen attacking mass protests.

The fact that people had the absurd notion that they could dissent in a powerful way in this country is quickly destroyed when police lines charge, attack, and arrest protes­tors voicing their dissent.

These attacks have the added effect of intimidating spectators from participating. When people see the police appear in a full­s­cale militarized armor shooting protestors with pepper spray, tear gas, and water cannons, most people think twice about being involved in such things. This same sort of intimidation to keep people in line can be seen in the more daily reaction of police. The absurd over­reactions to people sitting on benches at Thurs­ day at the Square begin to make more sense under this view. The arbitrary shows of force and demands to submit to authority become a clear tool to shape the consciousness of people.

With a more submissive mentality built into our psyche’s we become much less likely to attend a protest of a cause we support – against the war for instance, where at some points more than 70% of the population was against the invasion of Iraq, but where very few actually attended protests. We begin to self­censor our activities. We shy away from unionizing or striking at our workplaces. We don’t organize as students to demand better education. We don’t question the unfair eviction notices that our neighbor’s receive.

So, when I say fuck the police, I mean that we should oppose an institution that is rooted in maintaining an unjust status quo. We should oppose an institution that is steeped in abuse and authoritarianism. The only way that we can protect any concept of democracy is to limit the power of police and put them under community control. The institution of policing needs to be one that is either abolished or put under strict community control, where individual police officers can be fired for abuse and where large­scale repression of dissent can’t even be organized.


Who we are
Buffalo Class Action is a revolutionary organization of Anarchist Communists in Buffalo.
We strive to further our ideas of social revolution while participating directly in the day to day struggles of the working class.
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