Law Enforcement is Organized Violence

Ezinne, I want to challenge your sense that “[L]aw enforcement [is] the most seedy and criminalized organization that ever was, in fact the bloody mafia has nothing on the griminess of badged officers — who patrol the streets in search of blood and the Black bodies that sport rewards for monthly quotas.”

I want to challenge this from the perspective of social science: From the perspective of social science… you are understating the case. The state — called colloquially “government;” and in International Law “the state” and “country” are identical terms — is organized violence. The state emerged with social classes. In indigenous societies which are horizontal structures, there is no state because there are no classes, there is no private property. The state’s first reason-to-be in all of its iterations since slave society emerged in ancient Greece and Rome, has been to protect the private property of the ruling class. The state is organized violence, and the police department is an integral part of a system of organized violence.

The state is an organ of class rule (Lenin, the State and Revolution). “The police department is like a crew. They do whatever they want to do. You were put here to protect us. But, who protects us from you?” Yes, KRS One stated the case very starkly, as have you Ezinne. But, like you, he has understated the case. The bottom line case is that the reason to be of all police departments is to protect the property of those in power. A “corrupt” police (or as you say “criminalized”) would be one that is breaking from its mission. KRS One says that police were put here to protect us. That is manifestly not the case. They were put here to protect property of the rich. Early in United States history, Black people were the property of rich White Americans. So, the police job at that time was to protect Black bodies so that we could continue to slave. If someone tried to steal a Black body, the police were on the scene to return this property to its owner.

Today, as the slave system morphs, the police job is to capture Black bodies and bring them to prison, where we labor producing articles for the market without remuneration for our labor. This is called slavery. The mass incarceration system is a core element of the state, and it is organized violence.

This is not about personalities. Some individual police think their job is to protect the public. I do not personalize social science. I do not assume that each police I come into contact with wants to shoot me in the head. There are undoubtedly some police who do not want to shoot me in the head. However, via social science I have been made aware that the job of the police department is to protect the wealth of the wealthy. Sometimes that means shooting me or my kind in the head. Other times it means capturing me, incarcerating me, and forcing me to produce wealth, which the police then protect for rich White Americans.

Yes, it appears that the police are corrupt. But, corrupt means something that is deviating from an otherwise healthy body. When has law enforcement ever been a healthy body? Remember, when Ava Duverney was questioned about the corruption of the DA in the case of the Central Park Five (“the Exonerated Five”), she was unequivocal. She said, “No they are not corrupt. They are part of a system, and they are doing exactly what the system has designed them to do.” Duvernay was using the tools of social science when she drew this conclusion.

No, corruption is an understatement. The police are doing what they are supposed to do.

“Amber Guyger… discarded all the shit she was taught at the Police Academy, because she was scared to death of the Black body in front of her.” Amber Guyer utilized everything she was taught in the Police Academy. Europeans did not travel to Africa with their guns (the principle tool of the state) because they were “scared to death” of Africans.

And it is our job as human beings to participate in a mass peoples’ liberation movement, to bring into existence a humane social system that is absent the organized violence that the police department represents.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.