JR'S Free Thought Pages
                                                                       No Gods  ~ No Masters    ~ No Bullshit



What is the Purpose of a Cop?

Gangsters for Wealth, Power and the Capitalist State

By Johnny Reb, September, 2018 (Revision of 2017 version)

A good man is one whose opinions and actions are pleasing to the holders of power - Bertrand Russell

La propriété, c'est le vol! - Pierre Joseph Proudhon

There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

It's time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side

It's s time we stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away

We better stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, hey, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, now, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
Stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down

For what it’s Worth, Buffalo Springfield (written by Stephen Stills - 1967)

Let’s cut through the bullshit about cops. Why are they needed, why do they carry weapons and who do they really “serve and protect”? Similar questions need to be asked about the military and the barbaric cages called prisons. We're all conditioned from movies and television to think the police exist to serve and protect the general public, but the more you study bottom up history and examine the evidence, the more it becomes clear the sole purpose of police is to control the underclass in society. Cops exist to serve and protect wealth and power.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970), in his fascinating 2-volume autobiography (1967-68) wrote about many of his lifetime forays as a public intellectual and dissident for progressive causes. The first incident occurred in 1907 when he was campaigning as a member of parliament for Wimbledon and delivering a speech at a rally in support of a British women’s right to vote. As he began his speech, he was rudely interrupted by hecklers and bigoted goons who, armed with thick boards studded with rusty nails, disrupted and terrorized the audience, particularly targeting women. The police merely stood by and watched as people scattered to protect themselves. A similar incident occurred at another meeting ten years later as he spoke at a meeting celebrating the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. This time the reactionary thugs went after Russell while London cops simply watched, refusing to intervene. Many of his cohorts were aghast that a man of his reputation and stature as one of the greatest mathematicians, logicians and philosophers of the 20th s century would not be protected by the police.

Here is how he explained the incident in his autobiography. It is a testament to the notion that cops exist for the reason I supplied above:

“Two of the drunken viragos began to attack me with their boards full of nails. While I was wondering how one defended oneself against this type of attack, one of the ladies among us went up to the police and suggested that they should defend me. The police, however, merely shrugged their shoulders. ‘But he is an eminent philosopher’, said the lady, and the police still shrugged. ‘But he is famous all over the world as a man of learning’, she continued. The police remained unmoved. ‘But he is the brother of an earl’, she finally cried. At this, the police rushed to my assistance. They were, however, too late to be of any service, and I owe my life to a young woman whom I did not know, who interposed herself between me and the viragos long enough for me to make my escape. She, I am happy to say, was not attacked. But quite a number of people, including several women, had their clothes torn off their backs as they left the building.”

Incidentally, Russell went on to protest the barbarity of World War I, protesting the draft and imploring young men to not join the insanity and slaughter. He was arrested and sentenced to six months in prison but it would not be the last time. He ended up in jail at the age of 89 for demonstrating against nuclear weapons during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Let’s face a few facts. Most people don’t like cops (why are so many of them overweight arrogant assholes?) and there are good reasons for this. Notice when a cop radar crew is set up to catch people speeding, motorists who have seen them will flick their lights to warn other motorists. This is the sort of time wasting activity of these money grabbing dupes of the corporate financial oligarchs who are the real criminals of society, as the 2008 global financial meltdown has graphically revealed. Why are they not arresting the real crooks, the parasites in $3000 three piece suits walking out of a Bay or Wall Street banks and brokerage houses? It’s because these are the greedy bastards that the police are hired to “serve and protect”.


Slave patrol badge from 1858 for slave patrol cops to hunt down escaped slaves, the original police force in the US South.

It's no accident that those in positions of power rely not only on indoctrination and propaganda, but if necessary, brute force, to keep the "rabble" in line. Since 9/11 the violations into people's lives in the form of "sneak-n-peek searches", the TIPS program, spying into library records - and then threatening the librarians with prosecution if they inform anyone of this activity - is completely outrageous. The increasing number of unjustifiable searches and seizures, arrests and killings by the police in their "War on Drugs" fiasco has led to the biggest increases in prison populations and deaths. A greater increase in law enforcement does not mean a more protected populace; on the contrary, the more cops you have on the streets the more crime there is. Remember, police forces don't want to eliminate crime all together, because then there would be no reason for their pathetic existence and all the graft and corruption that exists within many police forces. Also, the culture of the police acts as a safe haven for those who have an authoritarian mentality. So, when the powers-that-be want your head clubbed by a cop, he won’t be that sympathetic towards your condition.

Writing for Gawker, David Graeber of the London School of Economics says:

The police spend very little of their time dealing with violent criminals—indeed, police sociologists report that only about 10% of the average police officer’s time is devoted to criminal matters of any kind. Most of the remaining 90% is spent dealing with infractions of various administrative codes and regulations: all those rules about how and where one can eat, drink, smoke, sell, sit, walk, and drive. If two people punch each other, or even draw a knife on each other, police are unlikely to get involved. Drive down the street in a car without license plates, on the other hand, and the authorities will show up instantly, threatening all sorts of dire consequences if you don’t do exactly what they tell you.

The police, then, are essentially just bureaucrats with weapons. Their main role in society is to bring the threat of physical force—even, death—into situations where it would never have been otherwise invoked, such as the enforcement of civic ordinances about the sale of untaxed cigarettes.

Ninety percent of a police officer’s time isn’t devoted to our safety, but rather to things we may often find annoying (or in the case of things like untaxed cigarettes, create a black market for goods that threaten the profits of businesses), inserting the potential for violence where there is cause for none. And when it comes to preventing heinous acts of violence (or holding the perpetrators accountable) that should be condemned by all, like domestic violence and sexual assault, the police are largely ineffectual. The police are not performing the function we assume they are, and there are real ways to achieve a world with less violence that don’t include the police. We simply haven’t tried. Until we invest in full employment, universal basic income and healthcare that includes mental health services, free education at every level, comprehensive sex education that teaches about consent and bodily autonomy, the decriminalization of drugs and erasure of the stigma around drug use, affordable and adequate housing, eliminating racism, homophobia and transgender phobia - things that actually reduce the amount of violence we witness – I’m not interested in hearing about how necessary the police are. They are only necessary because we are all too willing to hide behind our complacency and cowardice and not actually put forth the effort to create a better world.

It is the police who break up anti-war and environmentalist protests and the picket lines of strikers, often beating them with clubs and even murdering them by opening fire on them (with automatic weapons by the RCMP in Estevan Saskatchewan in 1931, to cite just one Canadian example witnessed by a young Tommy Douglas) - as history has repeatedly shown. It is the police who evict us from our homes. It is the police who deport undocumented people and terrorize immigrant communities. It is the police who brutalize and kill with impunityparticularly victimizing Indigenous and Black people, natives, gays, homeless people with mental disabilities and the poor.

It is the prison system which holds our political forebears like Leonard Peltier of the American Indian Movement (AIM), unjustly imprisoned since 1977. It is the prison system that uses a cash bail system which preys on the impoverished who cannot afford to pay, especially people of color, forcing them to remain in prison for months on end while awaiting trial. It is the U.S. prison system which incarcerates over two million people, more than 25% of the world’s total prison population. It is the prison system which super-exploits the imprisoned populations, allowing parasitic corporations to pay them pennies per hour without any possibility of challenging this grotesque exploitation.

We must be resolute in our conviction that the police and the prison system have no place in a truly democratic world of social and economic justice.

Strong, well-resourced communities don’t require repression to maintain order. There is nothing democratic or socialist about police and prisons. The abolition of the police and prison system may seem impossible, but if abolition is unworkable, then so too is real bottom-up social democracy.

Like many others, I'm appalled by the behaviour of our own police forces in Canada, particularly the racist, misogynist, violent and corrupt history of the bumbling dysfunctional RCMP. [1] The RCMP has a long appalling track record- but the racist brutality and impunity with which the militarized police in the United States regularly shoot unarmed citizens (over 1100 in 2015) is especially disturbing. According to a web site report, the Louisiana police who murdered Alton Sterling have also killed 38 mentally ill people since 2015. The Canadian punk band DOA had it right about the brutality of most cops; they get their rocks off sitting on their butts in donut shops and squad cars and most important of all, wielding power over the hoi polloi - and kicking ass. The real criminals however, the slime oozing out of mafia Wall Street and Bay Street banks and brokerage houses and the corrupt lap poodle politicians they buy, are systematically ignored. Why one should rightly ask? Let’s be totally honest: police forces are racist authoritarian militarized institutions that exist to serve and protect corporate oligarchs, bandit bankers and the power elite in an unjust unequal system of capitalist exploitation, class distinctions, hierarchy, racism and unmitigated greed. This ought to be patently obvious to anyone paying attention and privy to knowledge of bottom-up history, particularly histories of  civil rights and labour in which cops were always on the side of the state controlled by the minority owners of wealth, privilege and power. They love to intimidate and beat the shit out of members of their own class who they hold in contempt, not unlike the rich bastards and oligarchs who pay their wages, lucrative benefits and pensions after 20 years “service” breaking skulls. We don’t want better police and prisons or even to reform these undemocratic oppressive institutions; rather we want to abolish cops and prisons entirely and create a decent civil just egalitarian world in which they are not necessary. In state capitalist societies, as in all authoritarian socio-political orders of the past, justice is merely a privilege confined to ruling elites or a commodity for sale, like everything else in capitalist tyrannies. The police are merely hired goons to keep the rabble in line.


Indigenous societies in North America, for example, had no need for either cops or prisons. Why, one ought to ask.

Gratuitous police harassment and violence and the killing of unarmed citizens in Canada and particularly in the United States is beginning to appear like an epidemic with impoverished urban communities in the US  looking more like miniature police states. Perhaps, as a friend I spoke with said the other day said, “Cops killing innocent poor people has always been a common occurrence; we've just never heard of them.” “They were "swept under the rug" as he put it. For me, superfluous cell phones are a nuisance and an annoying distraction, but they've exposed some ugly police practises by recording them on video. But as we've seen, even this sort of seemingly obvious and incriminating evidence is insufficient to prosecute these killer rogue cops. [2]

Consider another not uncommon incident, home invasions. If you are ever to be a victim of home invasion, it's more likely to be a visit from your local police SWAT team with the wrong address than crazed drug addicted street thieves. Perhaps we should seriously entertain the idea of abolishing police forces and replacing them with community based "peace officers" who, by definition, will not carry guns. Another obvious problem rarely admitted - and why we have police forces at all - is the existence of a hyper-capitalist socio-economic ideology of greed (now a global dogma called neo-liberalism) which is immoral and coercive to the core, bereft of any notion of economic equality, egalitarianism, social justice or human decency. But do the cops ever investigate, harass or (gulp) shoot the criminal bastards emerging from corporate offices in their lavish three piece suits?

The practices of police these days, particularly in the US, evoke scenes of Hitler's Gestapo and other fascist police states of the 20th century. The United States has 5% of the world's population, but 25% of all people in prisons; this statistic alone informs us what the country has become. In addition to being a terrorist state and global bully, the United States is by far the most serious threat to world peace. If the police forces of the US were a foreign rogue state, the US government and their military would have long ago invaded and removed its regime.


The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest law enforcement labor organization in the United States, with more than 325,000 members. Yes, these are the same guys belonging to a union who in the past beat the shit out of strikers on the picket lines who were trying to form a union themselves and hoping to earn even a fraction of the wages and lucrative benefits (including a pension after 20 years) of a rookie cop. In many states and municipalities information related to complaints and discipline against officers typically are tightly controlled by police departments, and in many cases protected from public release by state or local laws. And keep in mind an obvious fact: Just because something is legal, it doesn’t make it right. Our laws, after all, are crafted by the ruling oligarchs and their hired gun corporate lawyers

There are those in positions of wealth and power who will always resist sweeping policy changes for the protection and benefit of their coveted entitlements and privileges but more transparency undeniably will create a stronger partnership based on trust between the community and police. Sadly, the police are a threat to anyone not wearing a business suit and exceptionally so if you are an anti-war activist or tree hugging eco-terrorist.

Apparently police officers are authorized to administer lethal force and are trained to deploy it by default. Let’s face an unpleasant reality; it’s easier than exerting the intellectual and physical effort to de-escalate a situation. The rationale for this cavalier approach to the lives of citizens is to “protect themselves” rather than making the safety of the community their top priority. Didn’t anyone inform these pampered morons of the risks involved in being a cop? When interacting with the public there are too many police officers that need to get off their authoritarian high-horse power trips and start behaving as partners with the people they are alleged to protect. Many of those who become cops or join the military desperately need “anger management” training. As an officer, just because you feel disrespected and angered by those you confront, whether it’s a traffic violator or suspected thief doesn’t provide you the right to humiliate, injure or kill an unarmed person in retaliation. Remember that cops are usually big and strong, trained in the martial arts, carry a utility belt, handcuffs, mace, night stick, pistol and often an automatic weapon. And yet they claim they “fear for their life” when confronting a small unarmed man. Take away their frigging guns! There are far too many police officers in North America who should not be cops.

The continued barbaric practices of police raise the obvious question of why cops exist at all and, more importantly, whose interests do they serve? Specifically, who or what do the police "serve and protect"? I don't think it's too presumptuous or facile to say that both the police and the military are, for the most part, merely hired guns for the state. And what is the state other than an immense authoritarian bureaucratic gorgon that serves wealth and corporate power? The unpleasant reality is that serving and protecting wealth and power has always been the raison d'être of police forces. But by triggering fear and using military-style tactics and weapons, the very essence of the relationship between police and the citizenry is more rapidly, completely and detrimentally transformed in accord with elite interests. It conflates law-enforcement with countering legitimate dissent and community safety with social control. Essentially this role plays its part in ensuring minimal effective resistance to the broader elite agenda to secure militarized control of the world’s populations and resources for the benefit of corporate and other elite benefits and privileges. The paranoia of many police seems to have been instilled by an understanding of dissent and civil disobedience as anti-democratic (even peace marches and environmental movement demonstrations are deemed criminal acts) which are, on the other hand, the cornerstones of a vibrant participatory democracy.  

Every day or two, especially in the United States, we hear of execution style killings of poor unarmed working class people by out-of-control police. So far (as of November, 2017), American police have killed 1,044 people. In contrast, from 1990 to 2016, police in England and Wales killed just 62 people. A disproportionate number of these killings, which can only be rightly described as murder, are African American and local Indigenous peoples. These routine killings have become a national crisis despite concerted efforts by the corporate media and politicians to conceal what is happening. Quite clearly, as history has shown, police forces are racist, authoritarian institutions that exist to protect the rich and powerful in a systemically unjust and oppressive political and socio-economic system.  Today that system is an oligarchy called neo-liberal global corporate capitalism.

Unlike some of my childhood friends, I've never had any desire to be a policeman or a soldier. [3] I can perhaps attribute this to an apparent innate aversion to violence, militarism, authoritarian organization and top-down hierarchical institutions. I avoided the church, army cadets and the boy scouts for essentially the same reasons. In addition to having an aversion to being told what to do, I have a deep dislike of imposing my will on others. People who covet or gravitate to power are the last ones who ought to have it. Power, after all, corrupts. But there is a sort of deviant cop who actually enjoys wielding power over others and kicking the shit out of some poor homeless bastard, peace nick or eco-terrorist demonstrating to save the planet’s dying ecosystems because they’re having a bad hair day. Having authority (99.9% of the time unjustified) over others is a solemn moral responsibility and not for those with psychopathic/sociopathic tendencies.

I personally do not like most cops, and in any decent just society there would be little need for them or the cages in which they lock (many innocent) people up, often for petty “crimes” like speeding or possession of drugs like marijuana. [3a] As the global financial collapse of 2008 has made perfectly clear, the real criminals are parasitic sociopaths working in the major banks and brokerage houses and their enabling careerist politicians in government. Many of these people, including the police themselves, clearly operate above the law. You can also include as criminals all those politicians who violate international law and launch or support imperialist wars for the profit of corporations and arms manufacturers. From this perspective, every American President since WW II, at the very least, has been a war criminal. Ironically, four Presidents since Theodore Roosevelt have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

Most laws are cleverly crafted by corporate lawyers, bankers and wealthy elites to satisfy their traditional entitlements, entrenched power, financial interests and insatiable greed (what politicians refer to as “the national interest”). Many of us assume that laws are implemented consistent with basic generally accepted moral principles (such as the Golden Rule), including personal freedoms such as the right to dissent. Why are drugs illegal you might ask? Decriminalization of all drugs, as has been accomplished in a few countries such as Portugal in 2001, will not only reduce crime, but enable the state to purge itself of perhaps half the overpaid and under-worked police forces. The same people (corporate leaders, bankers and their lackeys in parliament) who write the laws and those for whom those laws are written are the same people who benefit from police violence, the prison industrial complex and the farcical and atrophied conflict resolution called the courts. The name of the game is protecting haves from the have-nots. Remember the real and existing golden rule: “Those who have the gold make the rules.”

The most important laws are those that protect one capitalist from bilking another since nothing much happens when capitalists perpetrate a massive fraud as they did in 2008. On the contrary, they are rewarded with golden parachutes and business as usual. Equality is a mathematical concept and anyone promoting egalitarianism and justice for all that implies “equality” is delusional. But imposing limits on wealth accumulation would be a good start. How about any accumulation above $5 million is taxed at 99.9%? Does a sociopath such as the world’s richest man Jeff Bezos who, like most capitalists, behaves at the rock bottom stage of Lawrence Kohlberg’s hierarchy of moral development, “deserve” his $140 billion on the backs of his 300,000 minimum wage sweat shops Amazon employees?

In novels and films, police have often been depicted as either corrupt bullies or ignorant bumbling idiots and fools. Those who have read Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes series will recall Inspector Lestrade, the inept Scotland Yard investigator - and who can forget Inspector Jacques Clouseau starring Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther movies. More recently, the Police Academy movies were even less complimentary to cops. There have also been many satirical pokes at the equally farcical military; one I vividly recall from the 1950s called No Time for Sergeants has been featured on TCM recently. A movie that depicts the brutality, irrationality, incompetence and inanity of military life very well are Paths of Glory (1957) and The Hill (1965).

On a more solemn note, in the many popular violent cowboy and cop movies starring Hollywood alpha males and macho men like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson, they have also been portrayed as rednecks and intransigent reactionary vigilantes who take the law into their own hands to enforce their personal sense of "law and order" and justice. Many movie cops are disgustingly psychopathic, such as Detective Joe Cooper in the 2011 movie "Killer Joe" and the narcotics cop played by Denzel Washington in "Training Day" (2001). The comparable law and order protagonists portrayed in comic books, video games and movies are like Aryan gods and billionaire supermen who sail through the sky and swoop down to serve up justice by protecting political and economic hierarchies, military hegemonies and prevent terrorism from alien invaders real or imagined. They commit violence with impunity, are self-righteous in their Manichean world view and systematically enforce an elitist financial plutocratic hierarchy that is itself the greatest of crimes. So the real criminals such as the political and economic oligarchs who orchestrated the invasions of Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq and the financial gangsters and swindlers who brought down the global economy in 2008 are never punished or even prosecuted.

Later in life I've come to realize that my fears regarding authority were based on other issues as well. Monotheistic religion is surely the most dictatorial and tyrannical of all, but monarchies and the capitalist nation state run a close second. I've learned much about these important ideas regarding authority so crucial to our understanding about genuine democracy and freedom from my extensive reading of anarchist thinkers from Bakunin to Chomsky.

I propose that there are profound ideological and cultural foundations for the existence of police based on systems of class and the persistence of ever increasing economic disparities and widening gaps in wealth accumulation. Increasingly, militarized police forces and the tentacles of their surveillance goon squads such as CSIS, MI5 and the FBI have become more prevalent with the growth of the globalized ideology of neo-liberal capitalism and the amassing of wealth in fewer and fewer hands. The present phenomenon of what I call kamikaze capitalism would shock philosophers of the Enlightenment such as J. J. Rousseau and Adam Smith, considered one of the founding fathers of capitalism. Police are now required almost exclusively to protect primarily those interests of the state that serve private wealth and power, both religious and secular. This wealth and its attendant power have been entrenched throughout most of our recorded history and pretty much all of that wealth has been the direct result of exploitation, plunder and theft.

Without the support of self-serving laws and police forces, how else does a tiny minority of financial plutocrats protect itself from the vast majority of which are either in dire conditions of poverty or precipitously close to it. It is generally well-known that poverty is the root cause of most “crime” and since records have been kept, levels of global economic inequality today are unprecedented. Most of the mass of humanity have toiled as slaves which was the norm for both feudalism and the earlier stages of capitalism. More recently, with the abolition of slavery in much of the West at least, people are no longer regarded as chattel, but have instead become wage slaves. The latter differs only in degree from the former.

Anyone who is educated about bottom up people's history, not from the position of power, but the historical struggles by the masses against oppression, cannot avoid the conclusion that police forces are, and always have been, created to protect the capitalist class of wealth and power. The long and often violent history of the labour and civil rights movements confirms this over and over. During strikes and demonstrations, even peaceful ones, who do the "Masters of Mankind" call out to crack heads and open fire on picket lines? [4]  Can anyone conjure up a single incident in which the cops were called out to protect workers as against the tyranny and of their bosses, pleading for a decent living and safe working conditions from the owners of capital and the means of production? And, ironically, the cops (and the military if required) are almost exclusively recruited from the same class of people whose skulls they are cracking and killing on the picket lines. It differs only in scale from all the profitable wars that are instigated by the rich and fought by the working classes who are maimed and die on the battlefields.

I reiterate; the purpose of the police force for any state in the Western world to protect capitalist exploitation and power and to create the illusion of serving and protecting people, primarily those wage slaves within the capitalist world hierarchy. A police force in the USA or Canada for example, is just an extension of the military which, if necessary, will be called out to keep the oppressed masses in line. Cops have been increasingly militarized, quite clearly to deal with the growing dissatisfaction, impoverishment and civil disobedience of the masses to serve and protect the voracious neo-liberal empires of global corporate capitalism. The military has become a mere adjunct and tool of capitalist imperialism that has led to a permanent war economy in the United States for example. Those citizens who do not genuflect and totally submit to the big brother corporatist capitalist controlled state and its massive indoctrination propaganda machine of patriotic and nationalist pabulum will be subjected to the wrath of the serve and protect cops, military  or their hired goon mercenaries. The militarization of the police is nothing more than a deeper revelation of what the police have always been.Revolutions by the masses against oppression and tyranny have been regular occurrences throughout history but only successful when the cops, military and hired thugs have refused to beat and unload their weapons onto members of their own class. [5]

There have been all-too- brief periods and anomalous breakouts of democracy such as the post World War II era when cops were referred to as "peace officers". Police generally mingled with the public in the streets, were never threatening and rarely armed. Democracy of course has never really existed but I'm only employing the word "democracy" to describe rare and very short and transitory intervals of relative peace, justice and egalitarianism. During these times most people didn't need to be too angry about their economic conditions because there was a sense of progress and hope in improved conditions of social and political justice. But these gains were not simply handed out by our beneficent conservative masters; people had to fight for them. Business elites and financial gurus are always informing us about the economy and how it's performing.  Performing for whom is usually not specified and these business analyses are generally divorced from the general economic status of the working masses. "The economy is great" they'll tell us as the stock market heads skyward. The condition of the people, the 99%, most of whom don't even know what a "stock portfolio" means, is another matter; they are not necessarily doing so well. The direction of the market is generally not relevant to them. In fact, when the stock price of a company heads north it's often the result of a merger or takeover, resulting in layoffs or erosion of wages for workers, factors that improve corporate profit. Do the police intervene in injustices such as this - or tax evasion by the use of offshore tax havens? Of course not; it's not in their job description. Corporate elites live by their own rules backed up by the full force of the state; the "rule of law", on the other hand, is reserved for the bewildered herd.

In the United States for the past several decades, everything seems to be considered a war and police have become militarized accordingly. There are the endless wars of imperialism (touted as "bringing democracy and freedom" to the Third World), the phony war on drugs, the war on poverty, and so on. When will we have a war on the obscenely rich? Never; these entitled bastards who refer to themselves as "self-made men" write the laws to serve their interests and control the police, the massive tentacles of the government that exists as an organ of corporate welfare and, of course, the military that exists primarily to wage the brutal imperialist wars and regime changes in the Middle East, Latin America, South East Asia and elsewhere. As the late George Carlin once said about the rich plutocracy, "They own you; they've got you by the balls".

I have a simple solution to the failed "war on drugs"; decriminalize all drugs as has been done in countries like Portugal. First, the state will save billions not only in reduced petty crime and break-ins but by laying off huge swaths of police forces that spend much of their time busting people for possession and/or marketing of pot, crack, heroin and other illegal drugs. Many people are unaware that the most addictive drug is a legal drug, namely tobacco. The state would be able to dramatically reduce the prison populations. How many people are in jails serving time for drug dealing and mere possession? Drug gangs would no longer exist because the state would control the manufacture, quality and distribution and have the sufficient funds to wean people off their insane addictions. People are addicted to all sorts of state sanctioned irrationalities and toxic habits such as gambling, guns, cell phones and gorging on Big Macs. But our inconsistent and fickle governments have a problem with someone wanting to alter their consciousness, likely to escape the stark reality of a highly toxic, doctrinaire and morally depraved socio-economic capitalist order that's embraced and promoted by that same government.

Militarized SWAT teams resembling commandos were apparently created to deal with sporadic outbreaks of gang violence, but now all cops look like members of SWAT teams. Cops now typically carry high powered revolvers and menacing automatic weapons, a phenomenon once considered unique to fascist police states and other forms of dictatorship. Moreover, cops now regularly kill unarmed citizens with impunity, in particular the poor and vulnerable or those with the wrong class or skin colour. When was the last time a cop killed a real criminal? For instance, a Wall or Bay Street hedge fund manager, real estate swindler, slum lord or the CEO of a mafia outfit such as J P Morgan, HSBC, RBC or Goldman Sachs?

About twenty years ago Ralph Nader studied the main sources of criminal activity in the US, distinguishing between what he referred to as "crime in the streets" and "crime in the suites". Street crimes such as those of petty theft, citations for traffic violations and drug possession he calculated to be $4 billion.[6] However, the white collar crimes such as financial fraud, tax evasion, money laundering and other white collar swindles committed 24-7 in Wall Street penthouse suites, he estimated at $200 billion. The latter, the "suite criminals" such as greed-ridden parasitic bankers and financial con men who brought us the global financial crash of 2007-08 are rarely, if ever, prosecuted, let alone punished. In fact, in this case, not only were the crooks not prosecuted, the tax payers bailed them ("to big to fail" we are told) [7] out and were then subjected to years of imposed austerity in the form of job losses, lower wages, erosion of pension and other social benefits to pay for their ongoing debacles. This ruse continues unabated. For those who have ignored the relentless propaganda of "manufactured consent" by our corporate dominated news media and caught on to this global swindle, there's a lot of justifiable anger out there. Not only are people working for an economy serving the elite .1%. Not only are poor black people being murdered by their own police, but rapidly disappearing members of the middle class are wondering why they have lost their jobs and benefits and slipping into the serfdom of service sector minimum wage and part time mc-jobs. Meanwhile, those who still have liveable wage jobs are witnessing a steady erosion of their living standards, many of whom will never see retirement. As in the feudalistic Dark Ages, they will work until they drop dead. The wealthy elites and corporate oligarchs who control the coercive forms of faux-democracy surveillance state governments in the West know this (they may be psychopathic parasites, but are not stupid) and are preparing themselves with a militarized police and a massive prison system to deal with increasing dissent and civil disobedience. People who have lost all hope in the political process will eventually resort to violence. Many have come to the obvious realization that this toxic system cannot be reformed; it's been tried and has failed miserably. The appeal of phoney self-described socialists such as Bernie Sanders and neo-fascist demagogues such as the billionaire real estate tycoon Donald Trump reveal the deep frustration and dissatisfaction with the status quo.

Nader wrote an article on corporate crime during the rampant corruption of the Ronald Reagan years, concluding it with, "Corporations, like fish, rot from the head down. And if the forces of law and corporate order wish to protect the integrity of business institutions, they should start at the top." The crimes of banks and corporations are more pervasive and heinous than ever and continue to go unprosecuted and unpunished. In fact many of what were previously considered crimes has been legalized in our globalized new world order of plunder, exploitation and corporate dictatorship. In an age of casino capitalism for the rich and neo-feudalism for the rest of us, governments now exist exclusively as imperialist war machines and enablers of financial pillage. The police and the military exist, and have always existed, to preserve the status quo of oligarchy and its various incarnations. This is a truism in every state or other authoritarian social-political arrangement that has ever existed throughout history, regardless of ideology.

Notwithstanding the racial injustices suffered by African-Americans at the hands of the police - a serious systemic problem - the primary issue is not racism, but class. The one factor that virtually all of the victims of fatal police shootings in the US have in common, and more than half of them are white men, is that they are all drawn from the working class and the poor. One can be certain that if the opposite were true, and police were regularly gunning down Wall Street bankers, hedge fund managers and other financial con artists, the problem would be corrected in short order.

To reiterate what I have previously claimed; America’s police represent the class-based borderline protecting the interests of a very small minority of obscenely wealthy financial oligarchs from masses of working people living either in or on the brink of poverty and destitution. As social polarization and inequality have reached unprecedented levels, the police have been turned into a militarized neo-fascist army.

How do we solve these seemingly intractable problems and dilemmas before there is a total collapse of what's left of civil society? Justifiably angry people are in the streets; how many more are sitting in their homes or shelters steaming with rage at an undemocratic corporatist government of the rich that doesn't give a damn about their lives? For starters, both the police forces and the military need to be immediately purged of the macho gun culture obsessed whack jobs and neo-fascist loonies. If not, then the disgusting brutality and killing will continue ad infinitum. Prospective soldiers and police need to be screened for intelligence, critical thinking, compassion and empathy. There are quite obvious serious problems with the gruesome and mindless manner in which these people are trained. I would go so far as to suggest that abolishing police forces and their nefarious hydra headed tentacles of surveillance and spying on its citizens is an option we need to start taking seriously. The RCMP is a national disgrace and ridding Canada of this bungling and systemically corrupt force, a racist mmisogynist federal police founded in 1873 to purge the Canadian plains of Indigenous populations, would be a good start. [8]

To sum up, we don’t want to (and probably cannot) reform the police. On the contrary, we understand that the police work quite well for those they serve and protect but they simply do not work for most people and they never have. One positive step would be to stop portraying cops as heroes for doing their job, regardless of the thoughtless and brutal manner in which it is often carried out. What is desired is to abolish the police and vicious prison systems. We want to live in a world where police and prisons are not necessary. The key question is what kind of society needs police, prisons and makes intimidation, humiliation, beatings, torture, surveillance and legalized murder regular occurrences?  We can’t get rid of police brutality without getting rid of the police, and we can’t get rid of the police without getting rid of an entire hierarchical capitalist oligarchic global system based on injustice, exploitation, oppression, domination, bureaucracy and authoritarianism.

It seems to me that crime and police are two sides of the same slice of stale bread. They maintain each other, relying on a fragmented, disoriented, atomized, self-serving and precarious capitalist societal arrangement. Any healthy caring, sharing society would have no need for police, no more than it would lock people in cages in order to conceal its root systemic problems out of sight and out of mind rather than deal with the ingrained cultural conflicts and shortcomings that led to harms being committed in the first place. Before the 19th century, police forces simply did not exist, at least not ones that we would recognize as such anywhere in the world. In the northern United States for example, there was an organization of elected constables and sheriffs, much more responsible to the population in a very direct way than the state police are today. Then, as Northern industrial cities grew and became populated with mostly immigrant wage slaves who were physically, economically and socially separated from the ruling bourgeois classes and the wealthy big business elite who ran the various municipal governments hired hundreds and then thousands of armed men to impose order on the new working-class neighborhoods. [9] The police, from the time they were deemed necessary within capitalist states, were not created to serve and protect the vast majority of the population, to stop crime (at least not as most of us understand it) and were certainly not created to promote justice. Cops, like the military, are invariably political conservatives (and supported every fascist dictatorship in the 20th century), gleefully support war and vote accordingly, but they love their unions and lucrative social benefits, holidays, gold plated health care and pensions after 20 years service to the capitalist oligarchs.

It’s time to wake up, reject the indoctrination and massive mounds of bullshit we’ve been fed since children and realize not to expect the police to be something they clearly are not. As students of history, we ought to know about the origins and rationale for cops. Police were created by the ruling classes to control the working classes and the poor, keep the docile in a state of fear and certainly not serve and protect them (other than a few token gestures). They have continued to play that role ever since.

Cops have existed for one reason: To serve the interests of the capitalist “Masters of Mankind”; full stop.


[1] Rape arrests and conviction rates are a national disgrace. It should come as no surprise since rape is a long standing tradition not only with the military, but with cops as well, the most recent of which can be found here. A class action suit in which at least 380 women have alleged systemic workplace sexual harassment while working as RCMP officers sought certification last spring. The lead attorney, Sandy Zeitzeff, expects the number of plaintiffs to grow to 1,500. The RCMP tried to fire at least two of the women named in the class action. Recently the case was settled. The Canadian taxpayer is on the hook for $100 million. Will any RCMP heads roll? Like the psychopathic creeps and crooks who demolished the global economy and the lives of millions word wide in 2008, don’t hold your breath for prosecutions, let alone convictions.

[2] According to a database compiled by the UK newspaper, The Guardian, through July 9, 571 people had been killed so far this year by police in the US. The dead included 88 Hispanics and 138 African-Americans, but nearly half—281 people—were white. Last year 1,146 people were killed by the police, the majority of whom (586) were white men. The corporate controlled US media have desperately tried to peddle the narrative of racism as the exclusive root cause of police brutality and murder. Although a factor, it is grossly at odds with reality.  What is taking place in America is not a race war, but rather public protest against police violence in a social and politically dysfunctional country where people in economically deprived areas are executed without trial by police forces run amok. African Americans are targeted for police attack in numbers disproportionate to their percentage of the general population. But the facts themselves demonstrate that the scourge of police violence and murder is not limited to blacks or minorities, but extends to class, primarily working people and youth of all races and ethnicities, especially the poorest and most vulnerable sections of the working class. The police oppression and killings are taking place under conditions of deepening economic and social crisis of a venal capitalist world order controlled by a corporate oligarchy and financial aristocracy that is creating unprecedented global levels of economic inequality. This is being confronted by mounting signs of a resurgence of class struggle and a broad process of political radicalization within both the European and American working classes.

The images of police in military-style gear confronting demonstrators from Ferguson, Missouri two years ago to Baton Rouge, Louisiana today present the dispassionate observer with a very dark tale indeed, one of woeful societal and breakdown and political malfunction. The historical distinctions between police and military troops increasingly consist of little more than their insignias and badges. And with increasing regularity local police are shored up by military personnel to suppress protests. But this is not anything new; the same sort of threatening and violent scenes occurred regularly in dealing with labor disputes such as strikes, anti-war demonstrations and the civil rights movement.

[3] I can understand why many young men and women decide to become a cop. First, it's one the few remaining jobs in which one can have a life-long career with excellent remuneration, lucrative benefits and arguably the best pension plan anywhere. Second, cops get to drive about all day in a high tech super-powered vehicle and kick ass when they're having a bad hair day. But these are just two motivations; there are obviously many other motivational factors or impulses based on personality traits, as well as mythologies and misconceptions about what the job description fully entails. Like the military, being a member of a police force is the sort of vocation in which one is faced with some of the most unsavory and grotesque behaviors in people. That alone has the potential to turn an empathetic caring person into a hateful killing machine. It's too bad they couldn't see, as they do first-hand on the mean streets, the sordid behaviors and nefarious global crimes of the sociopathic folks in three piece suits and ties running the major banks, brokerage houses and other mafia organizations.

[3a] A freight train can race through a North American city or town US town at 3:00 AM, blowing its cacophonous whistle that will wake the town’s sleeping inhabitants for a three kilometre radius, and nothing is done. If an average drunk or homeless person made one-tenth that decibel level of noise, the cops would be all over the poor bastard like a swarm of wasps and throw him in jail for disturbing the peace. Mining and logging companies can contaminate rivers and soil and not one cop blinks an eye. Farmers can burn biodegradable refuse and not be held accountable for the pollution and contamination of the air. There’s a huge list of infractions such as these that would take a book to list. If a working man were to drive drunk after a few beers in the pub after a 12 hour shift and inflict a miniscule fraction of the damage caused by the Exxon Valdez or the Deepwater Horizon, he could spend years in prison.

[4] "Masters of Mankind" is the expression coined by Adam Smith to describe the feudalistic oligarchs of his own time, the emerging capitalist elites and others who control not only the wealth, but the organs of state power. What I personally find disturbing in our counterfeit democracies is the cultish worship of and deference to all things authoritarian from non-existent Gods and their earthly hucksters, to wealthy elites, right wing political demagogues and proto-fascist strong men to anyone wearing a uniform or badge. Like lemmings, emotionally and intellectually weak people of low self-esteem habitually follow behind the strong, dominant alpha male der Führer prototype. It's a disturbing primitive biological response which tends to predominate in the low knowledge types. Similar behaviour may be observed in primates and wolf packs. The myriad authoritarian systems have been the accepted model for pretty much all social, political and religious arrangements throughout history and, I hesitate to say, explains why we the sheeple have never ever had real democracy - and never will.

One of the biggest growth industries are our racist and class based prisons and surveillance systems which are being increasingly privatized as profit based corporations. Our militarized cops are now lawless vigilantes who shoot and ask questions later. Moreover, they supply a seemingly endless supply of customers for the prisons, often for drug violations. De-criminalizing all drugs would be one option to greatly reducing our prison populations and police forces. Both are expensive with the annual cost of a cop and a prisoner to taxpayers well above $100,000 per annum.

[5] Most revolutions, such as the Paris Commune, had been ruthlessly crushed. Others that survived such as the Russian Revolution of 1917 were subjected to vicious counter-revolution to re-instate the feudalistic tsarist monarchy. In this case of Russia, the Bolsheviks were forced to fight a three year civil war against the reactionary forces, funded and armed primarily by the USA, Canada and several other capitalist European countries, including Britain. Canada, in lock step with their master Great Britain, shamelessly sent 4000 troops from Victoria to Vladivostok. The effort to create a democratic workers socialist state was destined to fail from the start - and, thanks to Western interference, it did. The revolution never really recovered from the dreadful devastation, descending into the abyss of Stalinism. In the Spanish Revolution and the civil war that followed in 1936-39 , the newly formed government of the republicans was abandoned by the so-called Western democracies who stood idly by as the various conservative forces of the monarchy, Catholic Church and the land owning aristocracy were supported by Hitler and Mussolini who used the Spanish Civil War to great advantage as a testing ground for their military forces, forces that were later deployed in World War II against those same Western "democracies".

[6] Anthropology professor and anarchist David Graeber has written in his most recent book calledThe Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy that only 10 per cent of the average American police officer's day is spent pursuing criminal matters "of any kind." The rest is annoyance: ticketing, infractions, bureaucracy, regulations. "The police," he writes, "are essentially just bureaucrats with weapons."

[7] This bullshit makes no more sense than "too small to fail". Capitalists endlessly attack big government, without whose corporate welfare and largesse they would not survive, while at the same time embrace laissez faire dog-eat-dog competition and "flourish or die" in the marketplace. But the latter is only reserved for the labor market. When they lose on the betting tables of capitalism, they demand the golden parachute and massive multi-billion dollar government bailouts and "stimulus" such as the scandalous QE (printing money for our criminal banks to play with and buy back their own stock) and negative interest rates, courtesy of workers and taxpayers. The capitalist system itself is the biggest fraud of all.

[8] The RCMP precursor, the NWMP, was formed primarily to clear the plains of inconvenient native people who were in the way of the railway, parasitic land speculators and future good Christian white man white settlements. Alternatives to cops do exist (as there are alternatives to an intrinsically undemocratic capitalism) and are only limited by our intellects and imaginations.  Consider this:


[9] Of course, the ruling class did not get everything it wanted. It had to yield on many points to the immigrant workers it sought to control — this is why, for instance, municipal governments backed away from trying to stop Sunday drinking and why they hired so many immigrant police officers, especially the Irish. But despite these concessions, businessmen organized themselves to make sure the police were increasingly isolated from democratic control. The police, meanwhile, increasingly set themselves off from the population by donning uniforms; establishing their own rules for hiring, promotion and firing; working to build a unique esprit de corps; and identifying themselves with order. And despite complaints about corruption and inefficiency, they gained more and more support from the ruling class, to the extent that in Chicago, for instance, businessmen donated money to buy the police rifles, artillery, Gatling guns and buildings and to establish a police pension out of their own pockets. There was a never a time when the big city police neutrally enforced “the law” - nor, for that matter, a time when the law itself was neutral. Throughout the 19th century in the North, the police mostly arrested people for the vaguely defined “crimes” of disorderly conduct and vagrancy, which meant that they could target anyone they saw as a threat to “order.” In the post-bellum American South, they enforced white supremacy and largely arrested black people on trumped-up charges in order to feed them into convict labour systems.



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