Hello, Mr. Gestapo Man!

Surely, little doubt can remain as to the role of police in our society as illustrated in numerous incidents at the Republican National Convention. There have been at least two raids against anarchists at locations well away from the convention center, and Amy Goodman, the Democracy Now! anchor, has been arrested while seeking the release of two other journalists. From a Democracy Now! action alert:

Democracy Now! is calling on all journalists and concerned citizens to call the office of Mayor Chris Coleman and the Ramsey County Jail and demand the immediate release of Goodman, Kouddous and Salazar. These calls can be directed to: Chris Rider from Mayor Coleman’s office at 651-266-8535 and the Ramsey County Jail at 651-266-9350 (press extension 0).

I can’t make these calls. I am too furious. Phone calls are not enough and I have no way to Minneapolis-St. Paul.

I have said it before and I will say it again:

  • Police are the only people in our society authorized to use even lethal force against others.
  • They have only force, the explicit threat of force, or the implicit threat of force as tools for dealing with any given situation.
  • They function in a system that confuses “law and order” for justice.
  • They act with near impunity in a social system that generally prefers their accounts to those of others.

It doesn’t take a psychologist to recognize this as an extremely dangerous combination, and the results appear again and again, today, where labor union activists were prevented from exiting a light rail vehicle to reach their places of employment, and where Modesto police used excessive force against uninvited young people at a party.

One also need not accept the veracity of all these accounts at face value. I hear more of these stories from students at CSU East Bay and I simply cannot imagine that all of these stories are mere fancy.

Nazi Germany may have been defeated in World War II, but it sure seems like we have a lot of Gestapo driving around in those “black and whites.”

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