On Defunding the Police

I read an excellent article this week — ‘The working-class road forward in tackling crime and cop violence‘ — that discussed the call for defunding the police. This demand has been heard frequently since George Floyd’s killing, raised by assorted leftists, liberals and even some public officials like AOC and “the squad.” I’ve always thought the idea is absurd on its face, despite the fact that police obviously haven’t been exactly friends and allies of the Black community. I also remember well the days when police routinely victimized the LGBT community. That’s what triggered the Compton’s Cafeteria and Stonewall riots.

It’s not enough to simply reject the idea and declare it absurd because the problem of police violence against the Black community is a daily reality, a deadly reality. This needs to be stopped! And frankly the Black community and working people actually need the police in many situations. Many communities and neighborhoods are plagued by violence, and mass shootings seem an almost hourly event these days. If someone breaks into our house, we want the police to do something.

It’s not that we don’t need police, the question is whose police are they? As the article explains in depth, “the police exist to protect the profit-driven system that breeds crime” — meaning to protect the system from us. The “protection” we get back from the police is essentially a residual benefit. We need these police until “workers have taken political power and have forged experienced class-conscious combatants to replace them. This is precisely what workers have done every time they have taken power and set up their own government — from the Paris Commune of 1871 to the 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro in Cuba…”

The next obvious question is this: What to do? This quote from David Rosenfeld, candidate for City Council in Ward 12 of Minneapolis, answers the question. “We have to fight for social solidarity and draw the broadest numbers of people into supporting the strikes and social struggles that exist today and will grow. This may not seem realistic to some, yet it is the only realistic solution.”

All comments are welcome. I only ask that we remain civil and respectful of one another. If you clicked over from Facebook, please comment here rather than back there.

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