Filed under: Analysis, Featured, Repression, The State, US
As resistance grows in the streets, the State and the far-Right becomes more unstable and afraid, pushing for more and more violence in return.
As of writing, the totality of the American state’s highest echelon has rejected calls to meaningfully change the carceral system and its interactions with the public. Having witnessed another string of lynchings, an outbreak of political violence, the inhuman behavior of its law enforcement, and an outcry for justice, our representatives agreed among themselves that fundamental changes were dangerous and unnecessary. Pelosi, Biden, and Trump have uniformly condemned the demands of a spontaneous mass movement, ignited by the incompetence and malice of the very offices they occupy. Our government, seeing its people cut to ribbons in the streets, sided with the police outright. We will now see them co-opt, sanitize, and redeploy the message of police abolition to shield the officers who, for days and years, have committed atrocities against the public.
We have been unmistakably confronted by the true nature of our government’s power: state propaganda, police riots, extrajudicial punishment of protesters and dissidents, police threatening their governors into silence, the use of secret police tactics like infiltrating protests, targeting journalists and medics, imposing curfews to make protest functionally illegal and abusing the limits of their authority therein. The contradictions in the structure of neoliberalism – and the exceptions in basic rights made to resolve them – are burning in the street. We are not governed by consent, but by the decree of corporatism. We are not afforded a basic set of rights by nature, but are rather temporarily granted legal protections with a poisonous system of citizenship and taxation, rights which can be nullified when the need arises. From our leadership, to our parties, to the corporate media, to the American police state and its enforcers, scarcely can be found the notion that a system which treats its people in this fashion is facially inexcusable and must be unmade in the name of justice.
Spent some time in the CHAZ tonight. It’s seriously so funny how people not in Seattle have characterized it. It’s art, community, and, yes, STILL activism. Chants of Black Lives Matter, talks by black and indigenous speakers, open planning for more protests/marches#chazseattle pic.twitter.com/qU6EZw1fg0
— soma (@FinalBossFemme) June 12, 2020
Trump gasses civilians for a brazenly soulless propaganda picture and contemplates our military occupation; Pelosi wraps kente cloth around an utterly hollow moment of faux-resistance Instagramming; outside, journalists are being rounded up by masked thugs wearing no identification. Citizens are being maimed, poisoned, brutalized, and butchered; our so-called opposition party show no willingness to restrain and disarm these maniacs, submissive and overpowered by their own employees – employees whose salaries are inflated by participating in the occupation of our neighborhoods, and whose payment is derived from our labor. We languish in precarity, poverty, sickness, and unsafe labor conditions, simply to afford the cost of their being preyed upon.
The chaos of this moment is the fault of the entire governing body of America, an ossified corpse, obsolete and draconian, populated by vampires utterly without reason, compassion, or justice in their decision making processes, though endlessly generous with their friends. We live below a visible aristocracy, a nation where only a select few even have the potential to govern at all: from the Guardian:
In nationwide surveys of people campaigning for state legislatures in 2012 and 2014, candidates from working-class jobs made up just 4% of both Republican and Democratic candidates. In California – the one state that offers detailed data on the occupational backgrounds of candidates at the local level – between 1995 and 2011, workers made up just 4% of candidates for county and local office.
Their ignorance, their infantile sensibilities, their thin-skinned bullfrog croaks about “civility,” are the result of living lives based on interests entirely alien to those of their constituents. They only know, and only care, about their own ecosystem, and now seem dumbfounded to see us yelling in their faces.
A riot is the state of a public body which has been pushed to a breaking point; some riots take the form of lynch mobs and police assaults, others are righteous in their fury, and not even the most virtuously motivated is free from sin. Rather, a George Floyd riot, or a Breonna Taylor, or a Rodney King, is what happens when a people’s ability to live under the boot-heel, their capacity to turn the other cheek to avoid being punished, the compassion they might know for individual officers – in a word, their generosity towards the police – has been extinguished. There comes a day when a nation suffers in a way which can no longer be expressed in letters to congress, appeals to social media, in interviews and sprawling think-pieces from tangentially related parties. The fortunate will never know the pain of a person losing so much for so little, a person robbed of part of their heart, a parent who must bury a child over an officer’s incomprehensible violence, a white supremacist’s sport, or a botched home invasion by rabid cops.
There is a reason these protests must be stopped, and it is evident in the response of America’s law enforcement apparatus. They, too, have been driven to a breaking point. Blubbing on television, they bemoaned their petty station and indignantly sobbed at us for respect, incensed by the mere suggestion that they be prevented from inflicting maximal violence against every person they meet in the course of their daily patrols. Threatened, entitled, brutish, disconnected; it is the reaction of a spoiled child and a serial killer, performative and erratic, divorced from humanity in their thinking. It is the fear of a state organ populated by piggish bruisers, the lowest rung of a mafia family, insecure and drunk with rage. We have finally called their bluff; we are more peaceful without them, we are more organized than they are, we are more loyal to one another than we are to any cop. Police made their first move, and it failed, and the whole world can see them failing. They’re having the worst nights of their lives, getting pummeled after talking a big game for decades, in front of a live audience of billions.
— Tyler Reinhard 📐 (@abolishme) June 13, 2020
As one might find with any generic dope, the mindset of the cop has been shaped by their experience as bullies. Give them guns, bodyarmor, night vision goggles, they’re still a bunch of rubes who have leveraged their amorality for profit, protected by a system which coddles their every choice and protects them from every legitimate consequence. They crawl into people’s houses at night and shoot them in their beds, drive tanks across our streets to enforce parking violations, and demand apologies and tributes when they murder our children. Now, suddenly, their precinct is being devoured by flames which cannot be put out. Their barbarity has been captured in film reels and played before the entire country. Their lies have been documented in real time, their propaganda neutralized within hours. The reason the police have responded with such wanton destruction is this: if they lose this time, they might lose again in the future.
If we sit together in vigils, fend off attacks from saboteurs and would-be killers, remain united under pressure and refuse to condemn the movement’s stated objectives, and the buffoonish cutthroat tactics of the police don’t stop the protests from pressuring the government, it would mean lots of these freaks are out of a job. Not content to mutilate journalists and prevent the truth of their actions being revealed, police have spread misinformation to entrap protesters, baited demonstrators with crates of bricks, lied to the media, and leaned on Democratic governors to assist in their campaign of violence. They need this movement to either disappear, or be suckered into surrender with repulsive PR stunts. If that involves killing citizens, gaslighting the media, visiting random violence of perceived political enemies, partnering with white nationalists, or even coordinating with the military and making protests functionally illegal – whatever it takes to make us afraid of standing up to them. Under the Thin Blue Line mythology is a bunch of cartoonish marauders shaking down the peasantry and crying foul if they get smoked in a fight they started.
If they lose, it’s a cataclysm. We would question why representatives who allow us to be killed in the streets deserve legitimacy. Why should it take this much rage to get the attention of the public? How can a government that unilaterally suppressed any political will but its own call itself a functional representation of their constituents? People would wonder why the TSA is a necessary body if they fail most of their own internal tests; why we still live under a more massive and invasive surveillance apparatus than did the people of the USSR or Nazi Germany; why our nation’s labor-funded disaster-preparedness agenda is anemic to the point of uselessness, yet the nation’s wealthiest are earning billions during a pandemic. If we reject the curfew and yet remain bonded in solidarity, while the police ride down on us with horses and batter our skulls with clubs while “keeping the peace,” we might realize we can break the law, yet remain righteous. We live under a government which denies our votes, kills our loved ones, tortures our children, neglects its citizens to enrich its aristocracy, wages war on the world, and tells us it’s part of a peacekeeping natural order that shouldn’t be disturbed. The only way to stop this new wave of unrest is to buy it, crush it, or make it vanish, and few representatives seem compelled to act on our behalf in any way. They will try literally anything to end this movement tomorrow.
The agony of the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, is a wound piled atop countless others. Yet there stand the police, wounded wolves bested by their prey, the humiliated drunk who can think no more complex a thought than “punch them again.” They inflict more loss and pain on the people, but realize day by day that their grip on us is loosening.
When they find that even cooperating with white nationalists and vigilantes, attempting to kill protesters, and appeals to the military aren’t blunting our demands, what then? When the aristocrats fail to pacify us with smokescreen policies and bullshit public gestures, what then? When they realize the whole world wants them to lose – what ugly, staggering outburst can we expect from these jackasses next?