Comments

You must log in or register to comment.

Tequila_Wolf wrote

Does anybody know a succinct short argument for police abolition that would appeal to leftists generally?

I'm talking like two paragraphs of concise stuff.

If not, do you know anything good anyway - can be longer?

9

[deleted] wrote

8

Tequila_Wolf wrote

Best case scenario this would cause them to read more about police abolition or deeply challenge their beliefs further.

I'd be more than happy with that I think. I'm just used to writing things that I understand to be stronger so I'm trying to find the best language and rhetoric people have used.

5

bloodrose wrote

I find when I'm talking about police, the most important thing I can do is to try to convince people that police do not keep them safe and are not designed to. I like to point out that they are there to protect property, not human lives and as I'm in the US, I can point to a Supreme Court ruling where it was so-ruled that they had no obligation to protect people. The number one thing that keeps people clinging to police is fear for personal safety. Pointing out that before police, personal safety was still handled within communities helps.

8

Tequila_Wolf wrote

Yeah this is what I have been thinking so far, it seems the best way to go, the problem is it's not easy to be airtight with arguments in such a small space, which is what I usually try to go for.

6

cammie wrote (edited )

I think it is hard to find a really pan-leftist take on why the police should be abolished (as opposed to just reformed), because much of the left is not opposed to authority, and to me it seems like an important part of the problem is the position of authority that the police occupy. And many of the supposedly pro-abolition arguments just amount to abolishing the police and then simplistically replacing them with an institution of equal cause for concern, where they do all the same things as police, but they wear different hats or something.

For me the only really convincing arguments against the police are the anarchist ones, which is not to say that people from the non-anarchist parts of the left won't find them convincing, it's just that if they do then they might be considered anarchist-leaning lefties, and so it would still not be a truly general leftist argument.

Anyway, here's what I just threw together, more for my own entertainment. I'm not suggesting it's good, there are better pieces out there of course, and I'm sure it could be made more concise and there are a few bits i don't like, but I've got to put it down and sleep, so consider this a draft i guess. Feedback welcome.


The primary purpose of the police force of a state isn't to keep people safe, it's role is to safeguard state power (for which capital is a proxy of under capitalism.) The police force only keeps people safe insofar as doing so protects capital. An effect of this is that the people with more capital are the ones kept more safe, those with less are less safe, and those that are deemed to be a threat to capital are the primary opponent of the police force and as such are unsafe.

This forms a sort of calculus of safety in which someone with a lot of capital that does something seen as a minor threat to capital will retain a level of safety that someone without the same capital would not have. This, in combination with systemic racism, ableism, sexism, and homophobia, amongst a litany of other forms of discrimination, leaves us with a police force that only really provides safety to a subset of rich white people.

But even if it were possible to reform away the discrimination, including the discrimination inherent to the primary role of the police, then it would still leave the police force as a group of privileged individuals with special powers that give them the exclusive authority to use violence against the people of the state, and that authority needs to be guarded against corruption, but the state can only do so by further applying authoritarian means of control, which only moves the problem further up the chain of command. Every issue averted at a lower level is compounded and moved upwards. So by this process, eventually responsibility falls to the heads of state, and so the matter of policing becomes a matter of government accountability.

In addition to the problem of managing the authority of the police, there is the ethical question of what sort of things are considered unsafe enough that the police need to protect people from them.

So the matter of policing becomes a matter of government accountability and ethics. If there is some way for the people to hold the government accountable to their will, and some way for the people to define the ethics by which the police should operate, and some way for the people to all completely agree on what both their will and ethics are, then that is the way that the police can be made to keep the people safe. But it is demonstrably impossible for a large and diverse group of people to share a common will and ethics to the degree that is required to make the police safe. So it is better to have no police force than to have an unsafe police force. There are other solutions to the problem of community safety that do not involve providing special powers to privileged individuals in the hopes that they share a common will and ethics, and are incorruptible.

7

zoom_zip wrote

sorry for self promotion i guess, but this is about as condensed as i could get my thoughts on it: https://zoomzip.github.io/throw_all_cops.html

i pretty much wrote this for the same reason. i was having these discussions but couldn’t find a really concise resource that explained the position.

7

Tequila_Wolf wrote

I enjoyed thinking about ways of structuring it as I wrote it. Our contexts are different and one of my key things is going to need to be the genealogical argument, which there isn't a lot of information on here.

5

Raxalor wrote

I need to drop one of my 'friends'.

I don't have any positive interactions with them anymore. Anytime I bring up something I'm looking forward to, they shit on it. When I say that I am having doubts about something they're sure about, they call me ableist terms. Not to mention that they deep-throat boot regularly, often to the point of defending fascist sympathizers.

I don't want to deal with the shit show of telling them to fuck off (it will cause issues in other social circles) and I know that I can't get away with ghosting them.

6

zoom_zip wrote

don’t ghost them. just make a decision not to contact them. if they contact you, don’t make a deal about it. just let it fade out naturally. friendships end all the time. just embrace drifting apart.

8

Raxalor wrote

There's an unfortunate twist of events that's going to put me in further contact this person that I can't figure out how to avoid :(

Hopefully I can figure something out

5

bloodrose wrote

Can you be in contact while minimizing interaction? Like, just not talk about things you care about in front of them during that further contact?

6

bloodrose wrote (edited )

I have a question for non-American raddlers. I was watching this show, United States of Al, which is one giant US military propoganda piece - it's disgusting. One of the things they brought up is Afghan interpreters: Afghans who worked with US military as interpreters during the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. It turns out there are thousands of them who want to come to America now and the US is dragging their heels on it. I'm watching this, and as an American, I'm like "oh look, another promise we didn't keep" and "we should do something to help them come here if they want." and some amount of bad feelings for them being in danger for being collaborators with us. I was wondering, for non-Americans, how do you view this situaion and this group of people?

6

cammie wrote

Just fyi, Afghani is the currency and Afghan is the demonym.

Where I'm from has a military with a bad history in Afghanistan too, so not sure I've got the disinterested point of view you're looking for, and I don't really know that much about the topic, but from what I do know I think it's a sad story for the poor interpreters.

They made a deal with the devil and they got left with a devastated country and a broken promise, and probably a bunch of neighbours who might not be too pleased with them for helping the yanks. So it's just shit all round it seems, but I do feel sorry for them. I remember stories from sympathetic USGIs years ago recounting how some of the interpreters where there to try and stop the soldiers from resorting to shooting for lack of ability to talk. The soldiers would get frustrated or scared when people wouldn't move the right way or follow the orders that they attempted to give in broken Farsi or Pashto, so they'd just start using violence. Apparently the interpreters felt obligated to be there to explain to people what the angry soldiers wanted so that less people would get hurt. I can't fault the interpreters for the call they made to help the USA, it's not like the USA was just going to leave, so if they wanted to try and mitigate any damage that's fair.

And of course if they believe they stand to benefit from a move away from a war-torn country to the USA, then they might want to take that offer even if the USA is part of the reason for the war in the first place.

I have a hard time faulting people for their stance on an ethical matter when they are just trying to survive. They were put in that position by the USA and Australia too, so the blame lies there foremost.

5

bloodrose wrote

Just fyi, Afghani is the currency and Afghan is the demonym.

Thanks, I didn't know. I've edited my comment to reflect the correct language.

I have the same level of sympathy you have. I was just wondering what other perspectives were out there. Maybe we're all kind-hearted and so have similar sympathies. :)

5

Vulgar_Soda wrote

I was watching this show, United States of Al

Oh GOD whyyyyyyy? I watched the trailer for the show it literally looked like a parody of all the bad sitcom tropes. I kept thinking, "no way this is real." Is the show at least so-bad-it's-good levels of fun? I watched the new Mortal Kombat over drinks with my cousin and that was a blast to make fun of. My rule for bad TV: if I'm not having fun, it's not worth my time.

5

bloodrose wrote

Oh GOD whyyyyyyy?

I watched the first episode because I recognized one of the actors as a good actor and thought it might be good because of that and also, it looked like it would focus on a person of color more than the white folks (it doesn't but i thought it might).

By the 2nd episode, i realized it was 100% military propoganda and now I'm just watching it to do the Leonardo DiCaprio meme of pointing at my TV at just, like, AALLL the propoganda.

Like one bit I keep seeing played over and over is how all these veterans are all friendly and totally always have each other's backs for like forever. And from what I've seen, that is 100% not reality. So, it's clearly trying to brainwash the young into believing the military gives them what their family doesn't. It's super gross.

4

Tequila_Wolf wrote

I don't know they details, but it sounds like they sold out their people to imperialists for a greencard?

4

bloodrose wrote

And then we didn't give them one because we're assholes.

7

loukanikos wrote

It's not the first time the military industrial complex did this either. A few years ago when I was in uni, I injured myself and was on crutches. I was living off campus and previously my means of transport was a bike. I was super behind in classes after and wanted to graduate in time so even though it was expensive I just started taking yellow cab to class every morning (this is before UberX). My cab driver 80% of time was this old afghan guy who after a while became really friendly with me. I think he basically knew I would be calling for rides and would hang out in the area.

After maybe six weeks of this we would talk about a lot of stuff, incl. my family, his family, etc. He told me he'd been living in the US since the Taliban first came to power, and that before 9/11, for over a decade he had a job doing translations for the government. But when 9/11 happened they audited all the Afghans' security clearances and many people lost them. Including my friend. So since then he'd been driving yellow cab. Anyways just sharing this story to confirm a long trend of American imperialists being assholes to people that helped them.

5

loukanikos wrote

I don't disagree with your analysis but morally speaking I am extending them some sympathy because seems like coming up in Afghanistan would be pretty shit. You are basically between a rock and a hard place. The powers that be are basically: corrupt/inept government, radical religious right, imperialists. If you look at photos from the conflicts, you see Afghans on all sides fighting in leather dress shoes and sandals. I know a few Afghans who managed to emigrate to like India but I can't fault anybody for deciding to help the storm troopers. At least they might give you a pair of boots.

3