DONATE NOW TO HELP UPGRADE LIBCOM.ORG

Why do socialists demonize the police?

125 posts / 0 new
Last post
yoda's walking stick
Offline
Joined: 6-04-11
Jul 17 2011 22:21
Ellar wrote:
Quote:
I'm not going to argue about it, because it's not worth it

lol well, that killed that discussion.

Since when did I say rules would be 'sensed' spontaneously rather than being decided by the community.

How is that different than a law than though? This is just a rhetorical game you're playing. Doesn't this graduate school-Starbucks-anarchism get tiresome?

Ellar's picture
Ellar
Offline
Joined: 1-11-09
Jul 17 2011 22:32

roll eyes fine, I give up

yoda's walking stick
Offline
Joined: 6-04-11
Jul 17 2011 22:42
Ellar wrote:
roll eyes fine, I give up

Oh come now. Your rolly-eyes emoticon and "lols" have gotten me intrigued.

How are rules decided by the community, as you say they should be, different than "laws," in more than a rhetorical manner? I smell bullshit. I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

Matt_efc
Offline
Joined: 13-02-07
Jul 17 2011 22:47

To be honest, if you cant understand the difference between a "law" as passed with the full coercive power of a state, and a rule which is enforced via the collective agreement and action of its adherents then Its not worth carrying on the decision, because there are plenty of previous points that need clarifying. You keep going on about semantics, but I honestly think your using different definitions of words to the majoirty on here, and regardles of whether thats semantics or not, its obviously going to destroy the discussion.

Most of us on here (although not all) probably think that there should be some behaviors that should simply be unacceptable in a collective society. Thats not up for question, which is where I think you're missing the point. Vvery few people on here think that the idea of collective social regulation is a bad thing, most of us however, do believe that at the moment, the institution of the state and its defenders (the police) enforce social regulation in both a discriminatory and problematic (if you dont think they are the same thing) mannor which inherrently is slanted towards the protection of capital.

yoda's walking stick
Offline
Joined: 6-04-11
Jul 17 2011 22:57
Matt_efc wrote:
Most of us on here (although not all) probably think that there should be some behaviors that should simply be unacceptable in a collective society. Thats not up for question, which is where I think you're missing the point. Vvery few people on here think that the idea of collective social regulation is a bad thing, most of us however, do believe that at the moment, the institution of the state and its defenders (the police) enforce social regulation in both a discriminatory and problematic (if you dont think they are the same thing) mannor which inherrently is slanted towards the protection of capital.

So, is it an inherent problem or one that can be overcome in a socialist future?

If it's an inherent problem, one that would remain when the means of production are socialized, I don't really understand the difference in the quote that follows. It does seem semantical to me.

Quote:
if you cant understand the difference between a "law" as passed with the full coercive power of a state, and a rule which is enforced via the collective agreement and action of its adherents

If it's a problem that can be overcome in the future, it sounds as if your problem is not with laws, but with bourgeois laws. That I can totally understand.

Reading it over, I wonder if by "collective agreement," you mean unanimous approval of a law. If this is the case, you really are a utopian joker.

RedEd's picture
RedEd
Offline
Joined: 27-11-10
Jul 17 2011 23:39

To be fair, I think in general use the term law is used to mean a rule made and enforced by a government. Rules made and enforced by, say, a trade union are usually not called laws. So the objection to laws is a necessary extension of objection to government. This of course gets onto the discussion of whether a federation of communes counts as a government. I think its sufficiently distant from what people generally use the term government to mean to make a distinction. A bit semantic, I'll grant you, but there's nothing wrong with trying to be careful in the way we chose to use language as long as the goal is to try and make ourselves better understood (and I realise this isn't always the case when 'semantic' matters crop up).

I imagine the term collective agreement means a decision made along the principles of free association and federalism, rather than through consensus.

Alexander Roxwell
Offline
Joined: 19-07-10
Jul 18 2011 00:29

The "police" are hired by the "state" to enforce the rules of "the state."

Some of the rules of the state do in fact protect little babies from kidnapping child molesters and those functions of the police are "legitimate" so far as they protect little babies.

In a "communist" society we would have "laws" against kidnapping little babies as well and we would probably have something like a "police" force to chase after those who kidnapped little babies.

The question is not the nature of the "police" but the nature of the "state" that hires them.

Police in a bourgeois society do many things - some beneficial and some decidedly not. The fundamental law of bourgeois society is the law of property. When the going gets rough and the police are spread thin they will protect the property of those who have it against those who do not have it. They will forgo the hunting down of child molesters for the protection of private property.

Most police in the United States, England, France, Russia, and the Netherlands were born into the working class. In a revolutionary situation that makes them vulnerable to being pulled by their friends and family toward the aims and aspirations of the workers. But in normal times the police are the armed agents of the ruling class, the enforcers of the rule of bourgeois property.

But if your child is kidnapped I would still call the police and ask them to fulfill their official function as protector of the innocent.

Alexander Roxwell
Offline
Joined: 19-07-10
Jul 18 2011 00:43
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
Police in a bourgeois society do many things - some beneficial and some decidedly not. The fundamental law of bourgeois society is the law of property. When the going gets rough and the police are spread thin they will protect the property of those who have it against those who do not have it. They will forgo the hunting down of child molesters for the protection of private property.

should read:

Alexander Roxwell wrote:
Police in a bourgeois society do many things - some beneficial and some decidedly not. The fundamental law of bourgeois society is the law of property. The top priority of the police is to protect the property of those who have it against those who do not have it.. When the going gets rough and the police are spread thin they will forgo the hunting down of child molesters and focus on their top priority.
yoda's walking stick
Offline
Joined: 6-04-11
Jul 18 2011 01:23
Alexander Roxwell wrote:
The "police" are hired by the "state" to enforce the rules of "the state."

Some of the rules of the state do in fact protect little babies from kidnapping child molesters and those functions of the police are "legitimate" so far as they protect little babies.

In a "communist" society we would have "laws" against kidnapping little babies as well and we would probably have something like a "police" force to chase after those who kidnapped little babies.

The question is not the nature of the "police" but the nature of the "state" that hires them.

Police in a bourgeois society do many things - some beneficial and some decidedly not. The fundamental law of bourgeois society is the law of property. When the going gets rough and the police are spread thin they will protect the property of those who have it against those who do not have it. They will forgo the hunting down of child molesters for the protection of private property.

Most police in the United States, England, France, Russia, and the Netherlands were born into the working class. In a revolutionary situation that makes them vulnerable to being pulled by their friends and family toward the aims and aspirations of the workers. But in normal times the police are the armed agents of the ruling class, the enforcers of the rule of bourgeois property.

But if your child is kidnapped I would still call the police and ask them to fulfill their official function as protector of the innocent.

Again, I agree with all of this, I think.

I don't think the problem is law, the state, or police. The problem is bourgeois law, the bourgeois state, and police who work in the interest of the bourgeoisie.

yourmum
Offline
Joined: 9-03-10
Jul 18 2011 07:51

When a police is installed that means there is a monopoly of violence installed. that means you are not allowed to take violent action against something that bothers you, you must go to the state and ask authorities to do it. so if simply a police exists your life is already out of your own hands and you are object of domination, a slave for other purposes then yours, namly the state and his subfunctions like capitalists.

Arbeiten's picture
Arbeiten
Offline
Joined: 28-01-11
Jul 18 2011 08:28

Yoda, I think there is a good chance your not an anarchist then wink. Putting proletarian in front of police, state and law does not make it thus. That really is a semantic game, and it's called Bolshevism

yoda's walking stick
Offline
Joined: 6-04-11
Jul 18 2011 08:53
yourmum wrote:
When a police is installed that means there is a monopoly of violence installed. that means you are not allowed to take violent action against something that bothers you, you must go to the state and ask authorities to do it. so if simply a police exists your life is already out of your own hands and you are object of domination, a slave for other purposes then yours, namly the state and his subfunctions like capitalists.

Vigilantism, then? That sounds fabulous. Let me know how that works in real life, will you?

yoda's walking stick
Offline
Joined: 6-04-11
Jul 18 2011 08:56
Arbeiten wrote:
Yoda, I think there is a good chance your not an anarchist then wink. Putting proletarian in front of police, state and law does not make it thus. That really is a semantic game, and it's called Bolshevism

I realized that a while ago, yeah. But this choice your presenting between impractical, pie-in-the-sky anarchism and soul-crushing totalitarian Bolshevism is such a false dichotomy. I just hope you realize that.

Arbeiten's picture
Arbeiten
Offline
Joined: 28-01-11
Jul 18 2011 09:07

look mate, your really hacking me off now. People have written very long posts to you in reply, have offered you links that you refuse to read and have generally been pretty generous. In return all you have done is troll people (telling someone to get off the hookah and out of the dorm is pretty below the belt IMO). If anybody tries to get out of this dichotomy (state/non-state) you tell them they are playing 'semantic games'.

radicalgraffiti
Offline
Joined: 4-11-07
Jul 18 2011 11:02

the idea of a state which acts in the interests of the people is what is really impractical and pie in the sky here.

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Jul 18 2011 11:10

Re. cops getting away with public murder in the States, see this better, more blatant, example (the cops tried to seize the cellphones of witnesses who'd filmed the murder).The cop got released after 6 months, just a few weeks ago.

And how come yoda - and everyone else as far as I can see - failed to respond to my very concrete example of how unutopian the abolition of the cops as a specialised force is - even immediately to a certain extent - possible? Is it because defining yourself solely through abstract ideas becomes a safe identity separate from a look at practical realities?
And how come yoda - and everyone else as far as I can see - failed to respond to how cops are just as bad as the non-cop speeders everyone seems to think cops do a wonderful job policing?

As for kidnapping - well, prison or the police station cells is a form of State kidnapping, just as capital punishement is State murder, though admittedly it's rare for the State to kidnap infants (though I think kettling for several hours has involved kettling of infants, no? or maybe I've got this wrong).

yoda and cantdo seem to take themselves as exemplary human beings, and so individually beyond reproach, who would be ready for this specialised law enforcement role (which should be the task of the community as a whole as in the concrete example in Tunisia, and be something beyond the abstraction of "law") . This is Leninist logic which ignores the simple truth that all (hierarchical) power corrupts; what's the difference between Leninist cops and anarcho-cops? Perhaps the latter will have an A in a circle on their helmet and the logo "Libertarian cop-outs", like the Bahgwhan cult whose muscular police had doves above the logo "peace police".

If you can't imagine a society (and struggle to produce such relations daily) that doesn't have specialists-in-order then you are as much part of this society as all the others spectators, and your pretensions to struggling for freedom, to create different social relations, are just that: ideological pretensions hiding your own complicity with the present social organisation.

Angelus Novus
Offline
Joined: 27-07-06
Jul 18 2011 11:28

Yeah, yoda, I think it's wrong to see communism as some sort of completely reconciled, harmonic organic community without the mediation of social institutions.

All that will be abolished is the mediation of two particular social entities: money (and the commodity) and the state.

People will still be people, with all sorts of petty conflicts, rivalries, psychological issues, inability to cope, etc. The disappearance of social classes does not equal the disappearance of social conflict.

Angelus Novus
Offline
Joined: 27-07-06
Jul 18 2011 11:30
revol68 wrote:
I imagine we will have specialist doctors and surgeons post capitalism, does that make me a slave to capitalist division of labour or simply someone who doesn't think it useful or necessary to give everyone a turn cutting open someones brain after a three week crash course.

Not only that, but I think many people will (and should) have the right to opt out of decision-making institutions. I don't want to be part of any council that decides upon technical specifications for sewage systems; that's what engineers are for.

yourmum
Offline
Joined: 9-03-10
Jul 18 2011 12:07

revol whats the difference between a bourgeois state and your communism? i cant see it. theres laws, theres enforcment troopers, there obviously has to be some people who make the laws too... so please, what huge difference did i oversee?

yourmum
Offline
Joined: 9-03-10
Jul 18 2011 12:25

the fact that the difference your mentioning is excluding a group of inhabitants suggests that i dont want to live in your communism.

yourmum
Offline
Joined: 9-03-10
Jul 18 2011 12:32

no its because you think a bourgeois state would be better without bourgeois, thats pretty funny and common at the same time. childish muppet fantasies nails it imho.

yourmum
Offline
Joined: 9-03-10
Jul 18 2011 12:47

"But oh no there will be laws passed by these organs and they might even enforce them from time to time"

but only if they are in a bad mood of course.

Ed's picture
Ed
Offline
Joined: 1-10-03
Jul 18 2011 13:03

Unpublished revol's post above. This is getting into a slanging match now: revol68 and yourmum, tone down your aggressiveness and insults. Consider this a first warning, any flaming after this will be deleted and if you continue you will receive a temporary ban.

Matt_efc
Offline
Joined: 13-02-07
Jul 18 2011 14:03
yoda's walking stick wrote:
Matt_efc wrote:
Most of us on here (although not all) probably think that there should be some behaviors that should simply be unacceptable in a collective society. Thats not up for question, which is where I think you're missing the point. Vvery few people on here think that the idea of collective social regulation is a bad thing, most of us however, do believe that at the moment, the institution of the state and its defenders (the police) enforce social regulation in both a discriminatory and problematic (if you dont think they are the same thing) mannor which inherrently is slanted towards the protection of capital.
Quote:
So, is it an inherent problem or one that can be overcome in a socialist future?

If it's an inherent problem, one that would remain when the means of production are socialized, I don't really understand the difference in the quote that follows. It does seem semantical to me.

I think you've misunderstood what I was saying, the Inherrent part was in relation to bourgeios society. As in I believe at the moment we live in a bourgeois society, and inherrent to "law" within that society is a protection of capital. I dont think "Law" and "Capital" are the same thing, and I have an analysis of law which is informed by my analysis of capital, but the 2 are not simply the same thing.

Quote:
Quote:
if you cant understand the difference between a "law" as passed with the full coercive power of a state, and a rule which is enforced via the collective agreement and action of its adherents

If it's a problem that can be overcome in the future, it sounds as if your problem is not with laws, but with bourgeois laws. That I can totally understand.

Reading it over, I wonder if by "collective agreement," you mean unanimous approval of a law. If this is the case, you really are a utopian joker.

Where have I ever suggested "uninanimous anything" we're on a libertarian communist site, generally we mostly believe in federalist organisation and direct democracy, and that generally doesnt mean consensus decision making.

This is the first discussion I've ever had with you, and you're first reply was to call me a utopian joker while attributing something to me I hadn't implied, either here or in any other thread on here.

I'm all up for debate on this, and as revol points out the fantasism of it all often clouds the debate, but then so does not actually reading what people post, ignoring links etc...

batswill
Offline
Joined: 8-07-11
Jul 18 2011 14:08

I'm just throwing this into the thread because the whole capitalist machine has servants that are so brainwashed that they do not even realize they are stooges for the state. Very obvious, we should all be critical of any institution that rides on the back of the exploited working-classes. The greatest deception is that this institution provides an indispensable service that cannot be performed by any other members of a community, thus reinforcing their control, power, and elitism. Thus, another hierarchical strata is constructed, which glorifies the exploits of the bourgeois property guards and any other 'brave and courageous'(sic) state employees.
What would any socialist or anarchist do if they saw an elderly frail person being beaten up by thugs? They would go to their assistance (the elderly person), not call the police, because collaborating would dis-empower the very beingness of the socialist or anarchist intent. In a way, law is the relevant sense of being the possessor of the power to create, embolden and realize the results of ones own actions, not to destroy, intimidate and deceive the autonomy of any individual.

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Jul 18 2011 14:33

revol68 quoting me:

Quote:
Quote:
If you can't imagine a society (and struggle to produce such relations daily) that doesn't have specialists-in-order then you are as much part of this society as all the others spectators, and your pretensions to struggling for freedom, to create different social relations, are just that: ideological pretensions hiding your own complicity with the present social organisation.

Quote:
Did anyone say the police would be a specialist role, I thought people simply said there would be the need for forensics etc

Well, cantdo said we would need:

Quote:
a very small number of professionals to deal with inestigations and forensics, and a larger force made up of volunteers who stayed in the job for a year or two then moved on so as to prvent the rise of barracks mentality which is one fo the worst aspects of contemporary policing.

Yet in Thala the rotation of tasks is constant. One or two years is certainly time to develop a hierarchical attitude to rule-enforcement.

revol again:

Quote:
I imagine we will have specialist doctors and surgeons post capitalism, does that make me a slave to capitalist division of labour or simply someone who doesn't think it useful or necessary to give everyone a turn cutting open someones brain after a three week crash course.

The history and function of surgery is obviously very different from the history and function of policing. Linebaugh's book 'The London Hanged' shows how the bourgeoisie first imposed the cops (and the hangman) on the docks (way before Peel's 'bobbies') as a way of suppressing the old moral economy where workers were allowed 'perks' to make up for miserable wages. Not quite the same as the history of medicine. Find this unthought out polemical debating society style of making equivalents of things not at all equivalent pointlessly irritating.

Quote:
also the elitism of your comment about being just as much part of this society as all the other spectators is telling, firstly cos of it's patronising attitude but secondly and most importantly because of the shitty idealist concept of revolution and social change barely concealed under its surface, as if it comes about through a simple rejection and removal from this society rather than being immanent, arising from the fissures, contradictions and competing tendencies of dynamic social processes.

If it's patronising, particularly in an epoch where increasingly proletarians are choosing to contest this futureless world, to distinguish between those who, for the most part, do not contest it and therefore support it and those who consider it essential to contest it and try to do so, then so be it. But for me, patronising is a word implying an over-tolerant attitude towards stupidity, merely looking down on it, rather than getting angry or disgusted with someone stupid. Of course, when I have behaved like a spectator for any length of time, I get angry and contemptuous of myself, so I wasn't merely projecting this onto others.
As for "the shitty idealist concept of revolution and social change barely concealed under its surface, as if it comes about through a simple rejection and removal from this society rather than being immanent, arising from the fissures, contradictions and competing tendencies of dynamic social processes.", surely the example of Thala in Tunisia shows that i don't think that at all. In Alexandria in South Africa in the mid-80s rapists, and girlfriend-batterers, were dealt with by general meetings of the population, and punished.

I didn't mean to sound as if I rejected all rules, but the term "law" implies a one-answer-fits all abstraction. Someone who kills another person can have very good or very bad reasons for doing so, and the consequences can be healthy or unhealthy. A meeting nowadays will have certain rules and,depending on what they are, these should be followed or broken.
If we're going into "aftertherevolutionland", I imagine some "rules" (eg whether to have nuclear power or not, where and how to grow food and distribute it, etc.) would have to be global since the implications are global.
Others would be local and would have to be made clear to anyone coming from outside what they are, as, on a very simple level, they are now (eg no-one smokes in this house, no meat to be cooked using these pans, it is forbidden to fuck on the dining table whilst a meal is in progress, etc.).

But let's get away from "after the revolution" idealism: people who don't want to contest this society aren't going to change because you've given them a vision of the future that they haven't worked out for themselves by their attempts to change their world; however boringly conventional you make this future society sound like, such people are either still going to call it utopian; or they're going to just remain a follower (which is why those who believe the question is firstly how to get others to rebel/revolt, ignore the fact that it is them themselves who have to firstly rebel/revolt, and in doing so discover who is on their side, who isn't, and who is equivocal).

As for the idea that "after the revolution" there are those who think there will no longer be nasty anti-social acts, this is a typical candocartwheels caricature: people have only said that in order to have this fundamental social transformation and in the process of this movement, the vast majority of people will have to be transformed and tranfsform themselves for it to be successful, so the question of the vast reduction in anti-social activity (which I imagine would continue more amongst those very deeply entrenched and implicated in the present reification of human beings) would, by logical necessity, be solved as part of this revolution and this would have to be solved by all those involved in this movement, not by specialists. As should be the case on a very small and necessarily limited scale in the present lives of all those who claim to want this transfromation.

Matt_efc
Offline
Joined: 13-02-07
Jul 18 2011 14:38

See if I'm being totally honest and I saw an old person getting kicked in by a group of "Thugs", I wouldnt go and offer myself as sacrifice, thats not my liberation. I'd do what I needed to do to preserve the life of the person getting attacked not to get 2 lives ended.

Idealistically, I'd convene a mass meeting of parties interested in defending the old person , allowing the no votes to leave the meeting before everything is unanimously agreed on, and then proceed to clean up the scene of a murder. While being full in the knowledge that at least we had made the deicision the right way, even if the old person died. But then thats why I'm not an idealist. I really would not have an issue with ringing the police If I saw someone being beaten up so badly I feared for thier life. I dont think that makes me any less of an anarchist

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Jul 18 2011 15:58

Well, then the difference between "law" and "rules" is purely semantic in this case, as we mean more or less the same thing. But it niggles for me, like saying there'll be prisons in the post-revolution fantasy. Boss-napping for instance, doesn't mean putting a boss in a prison. Same for the word "the State" - it has a precise historical meaning, and talking about a "libertarian State" sticks in my throat as much as talking about "communist law". But if we mean the same thing, then it's a quibble.

RedEd's picture
RedEd
Offline
Joined: 27-11-10
Jul 18 2011 16:19

The choice between executing and imprisoning counter-revolutionaries is a tactical choice, not a moral one. Do not fall prey to bourgeois sentimentality!

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Jul 18 2011 16:30

revol68:

Quote:
You don't put a boss in a prison because pre revolution you don't have one, hence it's a boss napping, however post revolution you wouldn't put counter revolutionaries and other elements in a broom cupboard, you'd put them in a prison of some form of other, regardless of whatever weird fetishistic phobia some daft muppets had about the word prison.
I mean there have actually been people on these boards arguing that they'd rather just shoot people than imprison them, fucking mental to my mind.

Always calling something that pisses you off 'mental' says fuck-all, other than the fact that you can't be bothered to unravel its irrationality. I have no problem shooting some people - in Hungary '56 some of the secret police were killed. In South Africa, collaborators were 'necklaced'.
Of course, in a situation where the counter-revolution is virtually defeated, cold-blooded killing would be self-defeating (but i think a recent post saying that such people should be shot was a joke). The intransigent anti-social elements will have to be dealt with in a more imaginative manner than premeditatedly calculatedly killing them on a precise date at a precise hour, or shoving them into a prison. Even the bourgeoisie (in their own interests), after the war de-nazified most German Nazis more imaginatively than killing them or simply putting them in prison.

I'll repeat what I said close to 2 years ago probably: prisons are not the same as incarceration any more than the State is the same as organisation and order; like the State, prison has a very definite historical meaning related to class society; concentrating all the anti-social elements into one building and locking them up etc. seems very irrational ("mental", if you prefer) and would be a continuation of sado-masochism and an encouragement of it in the relationship between the anarcho-communist guards and the inmates of this brave new system.