Saturday, March 12, 2016

The War On Workers

Why do the police in the US now dress in military gear? Can someone explain this to me? What's the rationale?


Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal


Imagine sitting at home, watching TV, doing the dishes, minding your own business, as many Albuquerque residents were this week, when what look like heavily armed military soldiers bang on your door and start shouting orders.

Imagine your little kid, sitting on the floor watching cartoons, when heavily armed soldiers order everyone in the family to get face down on the floor. How does this improve police work? Why didn't they do it before? Why hasn't it been explained?



Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal


Why has the federal government given millions of dollars in military hardware to local police departments around the country, from battlefield weaponry to army tanks? Why has this arming of the police been increased under a Democratic administration?



Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Albuquerque Journal


What effect does this recent conversion of the police into a domestic army, an occupying force, have on people? What is its intended purpose? Why have New Mexico politicians not asked any of these questions?






7 comments:

  1. Which cities have been thus armed? Might the answer be found there? Not saying we should sit still for this - -we should not and must not, for it is, in a time of more-or-less domestic peace, a preemptive invocation of martial law.

    What I'm asking, I guess, is whether we have intelligence that suggest these cities are the most likely targets of terrorism, either foreign or domestic? Does this militarization of community law-enforcement peace-keepers indicate hot spots of coming violence being hidden from the rest of us? Is there no recourse to this build-up? Is this a form of Federal posse comitatus, wherein the federal government conscripts local police forces to extend Federal reach, essentially setting aside laws and policies that would normally provide boundaries on Federal powers?

    I'm hearing Marvin Gaye's song, "What's Going On", in the back of my mind. I'd hope we would find out before the mili-po-po come a-knocking on our doors, because if they're walking up the sidewalk, it's already too late.

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  2. Sorry, I thought this program was more widely known about. Every police department able to fill out a one page form gets the military equipment.

    http://money.cnn.com/2014/08/15/news/economy/police-militarization/index.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/09/us/war-gear-flows-to-police-departments.html

    These two articles give more details about what's given out -- armored vehicles, M16 assault rifles, etc. -- and provide various and shifting government justifications (drug war, terrorism, we don't want to be out armed by today's criminals) but there was never any evidence given for any of those reasons and no one has kept track of how police use this stuff or what it's affects have been on the public, or on the police. The woman interviewed by CNN from the ACLU, which has studied it, says it makes police more violent.

    And yes, the posse comitatus scenario that occurred to you has also occurred to others. With my title I tried to suggest that it's part of the Neoliberal war on working peoples' living standards which I write about often here.

    Thanks for the comment! And you are correct. It will be too late.

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  3. Under normal circumstances, there is no need for such equipment on the streets of our cities and towns. I couldn't imagine such a scenario that would excuse it, hence all my questions. I was surprised to read this is happening - in any municipality. My endless questions reflect my alarm. My reaction answers, in this instance, what effect this policy might have on the public.

    Thank you for the URLs above.

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    1. Thanks for the updated comment, Ms C. I think we are on the same page on this issue, but I just wondered in writing the post if anyone knew of any good reason for this besides what's been being put forth by elements of the radical fringes, that we are seeing a creeping police state or at least the mechanisms for that are being put in place. And by extension I wonder why is no one concerned about this? Are people uninformed or just sitting by and letting it happen? Is it the same as with the universal wiretapping and the bloated military wreaking havoc all over the globe and the massive inequality and the declining living standards and the rest of it?

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  4. "Experts say there is a long history of militarization of the police, dating back to race riots that broke out in a handful of U.S. cities in the 1950s and 1960s. Some believe that the seeming success of SWAT teams deployed to curtail the 1965 Watts Riots -- a six-day race riot sparked by conflicts with the Los Angeles police that resulted in 34 deaths -- gave way to the trend of arming and equipping police forces with battlefield weapons."http://www.ibtimes.com/police-militarization-history-stretches-back-civil-rights-movement-photos-1926956

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    1. OK, and then it mushroomed. This article is very informative but still doesn't provide a rationale, or rather, it's not stated. When it was "just Black folks" one could attribute it to an innate, racist fear and dehumanization of Black people. Is this then still the reason? Has the ruling elite come to think of the population as a whole in the same way? As some kind of subhuman mass to be feared? In the absence of any stated reason for police militarization, that has to be the default rationale.

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