When I say “defund the police” I mean completely. And by police I mean the specific organizations overseeing “law enforcement” tasks out on the streets. I mean, I don’t expect the horrors of the world to vanish in turn. But, let’s not kid ourselves either, a real security plan for a healthy society includes very few parts militarized police. Because militarized police are useless at the most foundational levels of security, in areas like housing, food and health care. That’s where we lack security, that’s where the need is now. So why not confront the possibility that good security policy may look like meeting basic human needs without a necessary expectation of reciprocity? Why not try a public safety strategy guided by that view?
First, to head some things off. Obviously, no public safety strategy that’s worth a shit can overlook the inevitability of scary crime, it’s there, and society will have to deal it one way or another. And healthy market economies are not incompatible with policies of care and sound design, for anyone who wants to take my pitch like that. So let’s cut past the crap and put apples to apples. The question is whether or not society can protect itself from scary crime without unaccountable police brutalizing women and beating protesters as opportunity affords, while, day-to-day, ruthlessly enforcing a system of racist violence. I think we can do without all of that. No brainer, right? Except the police aren’t getting it. And they need our help getting straightened out.
To serve our police the best we can, we need to disband their vocation and scrub its institutional memory. Clearly, they need us to serve as their moral guardians, because their hearts are hard and their minds are twisted. But not to worry. We’ll still have the judicial branch. The judiciary’s got it’s own problems, for sure, but I just mean to say that we don’t need to abandon the possibility of civil redress to disband police. I’m not naive, I understand we’ll always need something like the police, but we surely don’t need these police or the vast prison system they serve – we can do away with all of that and replace it with something more humane. How’d we even get to a place where a bloated criminal punishment system steeped in militarism is defensible at all? It’s not even a question, it’s gotta go.
Truly, what would we lose if we defunded and disbanded the police? Without perfect crime-clearance-rates police haven’t freed us from crime. And when I think about it, rampant crime sounds better than perfect enforcement. I’ll take mayhem over dystopia any day, but that’s a false dilemma. So why are we allowing ourselves to be bullied into hyperbolic fear for what we’d do without psycho pigs beating women for kicks with impunity? For real, FUCK THE POLICE!
It’s not like the case linked above was an isolated incident of inappropriately enthusiastic force. This is nationwide. Doesn’t matter where, US police are guided by a particular vocational wisdom, an ideological subscription, some say. They’ve become a threat to our democracy. I made that point here. Their vocational wisdom, this ideology, whatever, is postured in opposition to the constitution yet the police don riot gear to fight for position over our rights. They must be defunded and disbanded.
A day before that woman was bludgeoned in Portland, by that piece of shit cop, a different Portland cop gave an interview. When asked point blank, about 25 minutes into the interview, if he’d disavow documented uses of force against local press he said, “no.” As articulate as he was, and as grounded as he appeared at times, that cop cannot be trusted to “uphold the law,” to borrow a phrase from the interview, because he’s lost his moral reasoning to a vocational dogma. But it’s not just him. They all risk a sadistic mental condition by carrying that vocational wisdom. It’s heavy and it takes a toll. It’s gotta go. We need to scrub that institutional memory, for their sake and ours.
If you haven’t done so yet, put two things next to each other and see how it reads. The interview with that Portland cop and that woman getting her face smashed. With those things together, police have made a stronger case for defunding and disbanding than I ever could. FUCK THE POLICE!