The blatant irony of people protesting peacefully against police violence being met by violence (police violence) should not escape anyone. The violence is winked at by the system, though concessions are being made and police are being suspended and fired and even charged because of the pressure of the protests.
But much of the violence comes from the fact that the police as a group are hostile to what most of us want, a society free of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia. In fact, they are adamantly opposed to justice and equal opportunity for all. They are the original “haters!”
While the mainstream press has sought to distract from the protests by claiming it’s being orchestrated by outside agitators, they fail to reveal that much of the mayhem that came with the overwhelmingly peaceful protests was created by the police operating as undercover operatives.
Consequently, that media is only partly right except the real outside agitators, the real provocateurs, the real troublemakers are the system’s armed bodies of men and women: the police.
The term “outside agitator” harks back to slavery and more recently the Civil Rights Movement. During that time the overseers of Jim Crow segregation would tell the world that folks taking to the street to oppose it and demand equal rights and equal treatment were outsiders, outside agitators. According to their logic, anyone with a problem with conditions as they exist had to be from the outside because “our Negroes are happy” they claimed. As if Black folks didn’t have sense enough to know they were oppressed.
Incidentally, the cops’ outside agitation provokes us to action. As the shock troops of the political/economic/ social system under which we live, they are a kind of double-edged sword for the rulers. Because while the cops perform well their task of intimidation, humiliation, harassment, brutalization, and even murder of working people especially Black folks, their violence also serves to raise the consciousness of the oppressed and working class, exposing their system. Because ultimately those who push back are eventually going to have to ask the question, “Why does the system need an armed body of thugs?’
And as the smoke clears from the fires of the uprising, the youth and the community in South Minneapolis has strong evidence those who initiated and provoked the crowd to riot were cops. In fact, there is much speculation that “umbrella man,” the guy in the viral video dressed in all black holding an umbrella in his left hand while breaking the windows of Auto Zone with a hammer, is a St. Paul cop. Much of the damage and fires set in South Minneapolis has been attributed by many in the community to undercover outside agitators (cops) and White supremacists for whom the police provided cover.
The police are outsiders in every sense of the word. In most urban areas the cops do their dirt in the city and sleep comfortably in the suburbs, on the salary drawn from the people they abuse, harass and racially profile.
And while the mainstream press continues to refer to the cops’ organization as a union, they are in fact anti-union. They come from the working class, they come from us, but make no mistake they are no longer us. They have chosen a side and it is not yours.
A union is an organization of workers seeking better working conditions and decent pay from their bosses. The police serve those bosses. The police have historically served as union busters and have been called on to attack, brutalize and sometimes kill striking workers. Most don’t know this because it is not taught in schools and few are motivated to learn the true history of their country.
No such thing as good and bad strike breakers!
Furthermore, close examination of the cops reveals that one of their primary roles is to reinforce all the negative stereotypes and prejudices of society, which is why White supremacists and self-hating, self-loathing People of Color (POC) are welcomed with open arms. This why they beat, assault, harass and sometimes kill Black, Brown and Native people, immigrants, Muslims and members of the LGBTQ community.
Consequently, most police departments recruit those who come fully equipped with the requisite and fully internalized racism, misogyny, xenophobia and homophobia and all the prejudices and biases needed to carry out their job. While some may not hold these biases, they reinforce and support the system that does, by enforcing a legal double standard upon Black and POC communities, which is why people from those communities are imprisoned more often than Whites.
And cops are exceptional because they are drawn from outside the social norm; many are criminals, sociopaths and psychopaths. If this appears to be hyperbole then how do we explain two cops pushing to the ground a peacefully protesting 74-year-old man, nearly killing him? How else to explain that when one of them attempted to check on the old man he was forced to move along by a colleague?
How does one explain the calm murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin? Chauvin is a psychopath and the institution that recruited him knew it. And the other cops who held Floyd down are nearly as sick as Chauvin.
Theirs was the behavior of criminals, sociopaths.
Moreover, the police also serve to reinforce the rulers’ definition of crime, but no system is more criminal than U.S. capitalism, the social/political/economic institution they serve.
How else to explain the hundreds of attacks by police on young people merely standing around peacefully? How else to explain cops shooting rubber bullets at the faces of protesters injuring dozens, even putting out a few young people’s eyes and sending many others to the hospital. In every case the person attacked was merely peacefully protesting.
I have heard several young people screaming, “What did I do?” or “We weren’t doing anything to you!” But they have it wrong; the cops understand their job. By protesting you are indeed doing something wrong in the eyes of the system—you are challenging the status quo and from their perspective that is a crime. It is why the hired hoodlums of White supremacy and capitalism are breaking bones and hitting people with their sticks. It is to remind folks who is boss. They hit you with their sticks to remind you of your place in this society.
Fortunately, in this moment, it’s not having the desired effect, but rather revealing that the cops are the real thugs.
Oddly, the rulers talk to workers and Black folks quite a bit about “law and order,” but the outside agitators operate outside of the law with regularity. The law, in fact, covers for and protects their lawlessness, which is why they continue to harass and brutalize. None other than the highest court in the land, the U.S. Supreme Court, has enforced rulings giving the governments hired armed bullies carte blanche. As a result, the police operate outside of the law with impunity, which exposes the hypocrisy of this supposed democracy.
They also operate outside the natural laws and rules of plain old human decency.
The protests are right. If we are to survive, we have to get rid of these thugs, these killers, these brutes, these outside agitators once and for all.
Ultimately, we will have to get rid of the system that requires the use of this human scourge, this band of human refuse, this armed body of sell outs, sociopaths, xenophobes, homophobes, misogynists, and racists.
Justice, then peace.