This is a 'reference' post in which i'll post stuff to support the idea that the role of the police, the military and the law in Western 'democracies' is ultimately to support corporate/state interests, i.e. that their work in supporting the average person-in-the-street is ancillary to this. It's currently very rough! i decided to create it based on the following Twitter conversation of 2011.10.26 (AEST):
flexibeast: Reminder: Ultimately the job of the policy and military is to protect state/corporate interests, not the average person-in-the-street.
flexibeast: Yes, of course the police and military help the average person-in-the-street during accidents, disasters etc., but when the chips are down ....
flexibeast: & even if many police/military people didn't sign on to primarily protect state/corporate interests, they'll be asked to do so in a crisis.
masterslaves: Where did you come up with that statement?
flexibeast: Er. Through years of observations and concrete experience?
masterslaves: It seeps [sic] a rather sweeping statement lacking concrete evidence, but then I guess it is just your opinion, correct?
flexibeast: Sure, supposedly, in theory, their job is to "protect and serve" everyone, but history shows the reality is otherwise.
flexibeast: *laugh* "lacking concrete evidence"? a) This is Twitter. b) Look at the history of social justice movements, unions etc.
masterslaves: Twitter has little to do with how an opinion is being presented. And comparative history would probably end up making a point
masterslaves: for both sides of the story. Police is an institution of the democratic principle so of course they are not neutral
flexibeast: Yes, of course it's my opinion. But it's much better supported by events than the "police/military are neutral" theory.
flexibeast: i'm trying to summarise an evidence-based opinion in < 140 characters per tweet! There's not much room for citations.
flexibeast: If they're an institution of "the democratic principle", why do corporates get away with things the average person doesn't?
masterslaves: No people with money and connections have good lawyers which again comes down to a flawed judicial system.
flexibeast: Why are they brought into [sic] bust unions?
masterslaves: Every police force I know enforces the law. The judicial process is probably not perfect as such you will most
masterslaves: likely find the fault there. Ad [sic] as much as I despise what happened in those cities they were enforcing bylaws of those cities.
flexibeast: Why do they come in and drag off peaceful protestors as they just have in Melbourne, Sydney and other cities?
masterslaves: I do not agree with it, at all, but that is their job, period.
flexibeast: Why does the military overthrow "democratically elected" governments, such as Allende's in 1973?
flexibeast: The law is enforced selectively. People with money and power get away with things that unprivileged people don't.
flexibeast: So their job of enforcing democratic principles involves dragging away peaceful protestors?? How does that work?
masterslaves: I DO NOT like those types of enforcement, but instead of moaning about the police (not saying YOU do)
masterslaves: , go and pass a bill, defeat a bylaw etc. It is possible I did it, took 3 fucking years, but it happened.
flexibeast: The Allende government was overthrown by its /own/ military (albeit with US backing). So much for "protecting democracy".
masterslaves: They enforce the law, if the bylaw says you cannot gather there and you have been warned x times,
masterslaves: what do you think they are supposed to do?
flexibeast: The protestors in Melbourne and Sydney were taken by surprise. There are so many laws they can be selectively enforced.
flexibeast: So the question then becomes, assuming there is an applicable law - and there probably is - why this time and not others?
flexibeast: Why is it that when people gather to celebrate a sporting victory, the law isn't enforced, but during a protest, it is?
flexibeast: Of course it's possible. But not everyone has the resources to sustain such a campaign (which might not be successful).
masterslaves: All it takes is time and hard work. I had no resources. I just had resolve and passion.
flexibeast: And what sort of 'democracy' is it when nonviolent protests are cracked down upon?
flexibeast: Is "freedom of assembly", /particularly/ anti-government assembly, a fundamental part of 'democracy' or not?
masterslaves: NO idea how that is handled in US law. But in Canada you cannot assemble where a bylaw says you cannot assemble there.
flexibeast: i've been involved in activism for two decades now, i know what's involved.
flexibeast: i have resolve, i have passion - and i also have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and people to support and take care of.
flexibeast: But i'm still involved in all sorts of activism for social and political change, using a variety of methods.
flexibeast: And it's based on my decades of activism experience, and studying history, that i have the opinions i do.
flexibeast: Well, i'm not in the US myself; i'm in Melbourne, Australia.
flexibeast: Sure. But you still haven't answered why sometimes such bylaws get enforced, and other times don't.
masterslaves: Because that is not for me to answer. The decision is made by the Chief of Police I would guess? I am not a mind reader.
flexibeast: Plus, there are such things as unjust laws, that actively deny basic human rights on paper and in practice.
flexibeast: So it /just happens/ that bylaws get used against political protest but not against e.g. sports celebrations? Coincidence?
masterslaves: Your sports celebrations last longer than a week? Come on, be realistic when it comes to the application of the time period.
flexibeast: i feel we have to ask such questions, because if not, injustice in how the law gets applied just goes unchecked.
flexibeast: Heh, sometimes such celebrations do, yes. (Australians can be rather sports-obsessed.) But, [more]
flexibeast: i have /personally witnessed/ brief political protests get broken up by police in ways that non-political protests don't.
flexibeast: But the underlying issue is, laws aren't ends-in-themselves; they're intended to serve a purpose.
flexibeast: So we need to ask, What underlying purpose is served by enforcing laws at some times and not others?
flexibeast: Are people who make decisions re. enforcing the laws omniscient beings who are always right and don't have their own agendas?
flexibeast: There is /voluminous/ evidence out there demonstrating social differentials in access to, and persecution by, the law.
flexibeast: i should really get on with other work that i need to do .... thank you for engaging with me. :-)
- "Access to legal aid depends a lot on where you live, report says: Civil legal assistance based more on geography than need"
- "Food chemical regulations rely heavily on industry self-policing and lack transparency"
- "Judge 'amazed' Williams was locked up with killer"
- "American mining giant Freeport-McMoRan is paying the same local police who have used violence against mine workers asking for better wages"
- "Complaint made about alleged Queensland fraudster last year"
- "Canadian police agencies suppressing data on race, says criminology study"
- "Greek Prime Minister orders violent strike breaking in steel workers' dispute"
- "Laura Trott street party approved using 1847 law"
- "No Criminal Case Is Likely in Loss at MF Global"
- "Cop reportedly witnessed brutal Jerusalem beating"
- "'Racism the problem' - 20 years after Rostock"
- "Police 'zealots' accused of targeting Africans, Muslims"
- "'Ex-Stasi agent' heads aluminium giant Rusal"
- "Frankfurt cops in focus after 'racist attack'"
- "Polish and German police against antifascists"
- "Nike accused of using military to intimidate workers"
- "Greek government uses emergency powers to force striking seamen back to work"
Thoughts / questions / notes
- "Crackdowns Show What the State is Made Of"
- 'Missing white girl syndrome': Compare resources devoted to finding 'pretty' cis white girls versus anyone else.
- Why have anti-choice protestors not been 'moved on' from their permanent protest outside the abortion clinic in East Melbourne?
- Why do people camping out for iDevices or concert tickets not get 'moved on'?
- [Twitter, 2011.10.27] Steffi5461: Remember when the tea party had rallies where they openly carried guns. Remember when they were tear gassed? Oh, me either. #occupyoakland