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Showing posts from May 31, 2020

the dystopia of police unions

The question of the police and policing is confused at the outset by the terminology of the tool, the instrument. Even those criticizing the police – such as myself – have a tendency to portray them as the tool of the upper class. In a sense, the tool image is ingrained deeply into the discourse the police have woven about themselves, the discourse of serving the public, or protecting the public. This misses the crucial political agency and power of the police. It is not simply the selectivity of enforcing the law, the choice made to, say, arrest the black consumers and sellers of illicit drugs and to let white prosperous neighborhoods slide, although it is easy to imagine the police pulling no knock searches on penthouses and mansions in Beverly Hills or NYC’s West side and finding hella cocaine to rock those people to pleas in court. It is also the pressure put by police and their unions to pass certain laws, to create certain immunities, to imagine the community according to

another desperate spring

Broken at the waist by revolution or vandal, a figure in excelsius deo waits a stony resurrection flanking the portal of the priory. The church trembles in its long malaria of ghosts and smog. Late spring. Already summer’s heat. I walk up narrow Rue Gravilliers past where a tagged mirror salutes propped upright against a mildewed wall waiting for collection, too. A beggar mumbles bien bien - this is the poetry of presque rien channeling the oral tumult of my brain which like yours is all worries and sex. I pass the goddess in her natural human size at the street crossing where the shadow of a sparrow pursues presque rien and its me mumbling bien, bien. - Karen Chamisso

The birth of the police union out of the destruction of American apartheid

Robert Sobel’s biography of Calvin Coolidge contains background on the event that catapulted Coolidge into celebrity: his attempt to bust the Boston Police Union. Coolidge was the governor of Massachusetts in 1919, and Boston was a hotbed of political activity – two anarchists from the region, Sacco and Vanzetti, would later impress themselves – their trial for armed robbery and murder, their execution - on the whole decade, creating a cause that brought hundreds of thousands out into the streets throughout the globe. In 1919, the AFL had been busy unionizing police departments. ”… thirty seven cities, including Washington D.C., Los Angeles, St. Paul,   and Vicksburg had police unions, most of them affiliated with the AFL.” Coolidge, to tell a long story short, busted the Boston police union when they staged a walkout. It was a thorough victory. The AFL stopped trying to unionize police departments. Various Senators, Democratic and Republic, indicated that the threat of imminent

a rainbow Armageddon

Our riot comparisons – Newark, Detroit, D.C. Watts the Rodney King riots – reference years when the U.S. economy was booming. This aint one. Roosevelt was elected, in part, because Hoover reacted to the Veterans march – the Bonus Army – which had camped on government grounds in D.C. by calling out the army, which, under MacArthur, simply overwhelmed the camp with tanks and soldiers, driving the families there away. That was July 28, 1932. Supposedly this was the last straw for Roosevelt, who decided, finally, that Hoover was not just an opponent but the real shit that he so abundantly was. ( for Hoover’s chillingidea that we shoulda allied with Hitler in World War II, see Brad Delong’spost, here : ). The US is facing a gaping hole where the economy used to be, but in White America, at least, until recently, the thought was that we’d puddle-jump it. So we sort of turned to more important topics in the great lockdown, like Animal Crossing, looking away from the two trillion that the