The REDSTAR2000 Papers

Listen to the worm of doubt, for it speaks truth. - Leftist Discussion

The Social Role of the Police May 28, 2003 by RedStar2000

These are some rather "harsh" posts, at least in the opinions of some people. I maintain that there is no such thing as a "good cop" under capitalism...much to the dismay of those who have not yet understood the nature of class society.

One can only hope that they will learn better without having a nightstick broken over their skulls.


The question ought to be "what kind of security forces" would be useful under communism and what kind would be dangerous or even catastrophic?

"Professionalization" is the hallmark of "security" under capitalism. People make careers out of being cops, military personnel, internal security "experts", etc. The "professional" under capitalism does not concern himself with the social consequences of his daily work; he's just doing his job within whatever constraints might exist at any given moment. He "carries out his orders" no matter what they might be.

So, if he is ordered to apprehend a random sniper on a killing spree, he works as hard as he can to do that. If he is ordered to round up the jews to be executed, he works as hard as he can to do that, too. To him, it's all in a day's work.

This strongly suggests that we communists should advocate and implement the de-professionalization of all state functions involving violence or potential violence against the citizenry. Yes, you can, if you wish, do this kind of work for a few years...but you are not allowed to make a career out of it; you are not allowed to develop any kind of "professional detachment" from the social consequences of your work.

Violence or the threat of violence is dynamite in every social order. We should handle with care.
First posted at Che-Lives on November 22, 2002

It bothers me when people say "there are good cops." I don't understand what they mean by "good".

When we had a cop trolling our board a few months ago, I suggested a possible definition of a "good cop"...essentially one who had the eyes of an eagle when it came to tracking down murderers, rapists, etc. but who was blind as a bat when it came to persecuting hookers, junkies, drug dealers, the homeless, demonstrators, etc.

Naturally, I got the predictable response: "we don't make the law, we just enforce it."

Now consider what that really implies: if a cop is ordered to track down a murder, he does it. If he's ordered to beat the shit out of demonstrators, he does it. If he's ordered to round up the Jews for "special treatment" (execution), he DOES IT!

He's a professional who "carries out his orders" no matter what.

I suggest that such an "individual" is beyond good or evil; he has voluntarily surrendered his humanity and become a machine. Machines are not "good" or "bad"; machines either "work" or "don't work." That's all.

No one disputes the tautology that our enemy is the capitalist class. But it is the enemy's machines that directly confront is this thing that looks like a human but acts like a machine that will kill us if it is ordered to do so (and may do that anyway, like any other potentially deadly malfunctioning machine.)

Please do not suggest that I am "dehumanizing" cops. No one makes you take up a career in "law enforcement" (real name: professional killer). They have dehumanized themselves.

Perhaps it will sound "harsh" to many ears...but there's no ethical difference between killing a cop and burning a cop car. They're both tools of our class enemy.
First Posted at Che-Lives on February 23, 2003

It seems to me that any social role that reduces people to the level of machines is, on its face, unacceptable.

I am quite sure that we will have social roles that fulfill some of the functions that police and judges fulfill under capitalism.

But this quasi-deification of the "Law" as a cover for known injustice cannot be permitted...otherwise, what's the difference between us and the old regime?

We've had some threads on this before and it would do no harm to have a new one...the details of the criminal justice system under socialism and communism are necessarily rather fuzzy at this point.

But any suggestion that all we have to do is run a red flag up outside the courthouse and otherwise proceed as normal is hopelessly naive and would simply re-create the outrages that characterize the present system.

Our goal as revolutionaries is not "Law" but justice. And while I would concede that "perfect justice" may be unattainable, it should be easy to surpass the wretched levels of the present society.
First posted at Che-Lives on February 27, 2003

The "blue culture" of the police is essentially a fascist culture.

What are the "virtues" of the police, the measure of human "merit"?

1. Physical courage.

2. Solidarity even unto death with other police in the face of any external threat.

3. Sadistic brutality towards women, children, and anyone physically weaker or incapable of resistance.

4. Racism.

5. Official Homophobia.

6. Total contempt for all who are not police.

7. Rampant corruption.

8. And most important of all: obedience to authority.

This is the "blue culture" in general. It's not to say that every single cop is a rabid fascist least not in the beginning. A new cop may be, and most likely is predisposed to be comfortable in this environment...but he still has to learn the details of expected behavior and opinion.

There are always naive people who join the police force to "help people" (stop laughing, I'm serious). Within two or three years they quit...often getting a transfer to the fire department.

It's always difficult to predict how things will "play out" in revolutionary circumstances. Most likely, cops will be a large part of the initial wave of exiles/refugees from any country with a socialist revolution...this was the case with Cuba, for example. The ones that fail to escape immediately will probably be tried for crimes against humanity and, if convicted, executed.

Under no circumstances should an ex-cop be allowed to become involved in "law enforcement" in a post-revolutionary era. That would just be asking for grief.

As to class origins, most police have traditionally been recruited from "upwardly mobile" working class families. In Marxist terms, they are conscious traitors to the working class.

It's interesting to note that when Hitler took power in Germany, fully one-third of the Berlin Police Department was fired/retired. That means, of course, that two-thirds of that city's cops had no problems with Nazism at all.

It's probably even worse in America now.
First posted at Che-Lives on April 19, 2003


Only a complete fool would say that [the police] are just a tool of the bourgeoisie.

What else would they be in a bourgeois society?

We're not talking about "police" in the abstract but police as they exist, here and now, in capitalist society.

What "police" would be like under communism is a different topic.

As to Iraq, I think it's quite revealing that the ex-cops under the infamous Hussein are eager to serve the new colonial rulers...they know better than you, how little things are going to change.
First posted at Che-Lives on April 20, 2003
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