Anarchy and the Police

BART Cops Hassling Mohawk

BART Cops Hassling Mohawk (Photo credit: dumbeast)

This is National Police Week. I have some….issues with law enforcement.

This is only natural, I suppose. I’m an Anarchist. Anarchists and cops rarely get along. Rarely do you hear an Anarchist say, “You know, those cops? They’re all right.” Even more rarely do you hear from a cops, “Man, am I glad those Anarchists were there.”

CopBlock1-300x223More and more people are waking up to the fact that there is something deeply, seriously wrong with the police. Some groups that have been doing a rather good job of this are Photography is not a Crime, Cop Block, and Copwatch.

15famousbadcops_5There is a tendency among some people to dismiss reports of police brutality, corruption, and general insanity as overblown, or to think that it’s a recent phenomenon (perhaps due to the drug war.) If you think there is no problem with the police, or that it’s only a recent problem, I can only suggest that you belong to a group that has not had a problem with the police in the past. Other groups know different.

64.2.rodriguez_fig01fThe problem is not the people who become cops. Yes, you may have a (unsubstantiated) feeling that cops are just the bullies from high school with a gun. Yes, sometimes you can be too smart to be a cop. But most cops are just like everyone else. Even the cops who do horrible things- they are just like anyone else. That doesn’t excuse or absolve them. It just means the problem is more difficult than just getting rid of the bad apples.

We want to blame the people, because it’s easier to think about changing people than it is about changing institutions. Because that is the problem with the police- an institutional problem. To solve the problem, you have to change, radically change, reshape beyond all recognition, the institution.

cf1714fa9c75ce41a9d9999ab822f090Anarchists and libertarians are often accused of wanting to get rid of something without having a replacement ready. That’s usually because any solution, any replacement, would have to be customized to a thousand factors that you just can’t predict beforehand. Anarchists prioritize methodology over forcing a result. Follow the correct process, and you will get a correct(ish) result. That being said, there are some Anarchist and/or Libertarian solutions (models, speculations, whatever) to what to replace the police with. I’ve divided them up into ‘social’ Anarchist and ‘market’ Anarchist camps. Diversity of tactics, and all that.

Social Anarchy

Market Anarchy

Obviously this is a lot to go through. If you’re interested, here it is. If you don’t have the time right now, just bookmark this post. Eventually, you’re going to hear someone talk about Anarchism. You’re going to ask youself, ‘But how does this person expect to handle crime?’

Here’s your answer.

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3 comments for “Anarchy and the Police

  1. KG
    May 12, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Quite a very interesting topic to say the least.
    I will definitely bookmark and leave for later so i can learn more about social anarchists!

    Keep in Touch(ed),
    KG
    www,kgstyleinc.com

    • May 12, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      Not exactly the result I was hoping for (I favor the Market Anarchy side myself) but I’m glad you were interested. :)

  2. May 12, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    I have less of an issue with local law enforcement than I do with the NSA/etc. taking away our civil liberties.

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