Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Serpas Petition: Meet The New Chief, Same As The Old Chief

Here we go again! Liberals, forgetting the entire history of how institutional structures function, seem to believe that an online petition proclaiming "no confidence" in NOPD Chief Ronal Serpas will make the police force any less of a menace to society.

Even if this online petition was capable of accomplishing it's goal, which it's not (unless we are underestimating the political power of local liberal elites), we have no illusions that changing the man in charge will change what his job requires him to do. When we work our jobs as bartenders, dishwashers, or construction workers, we know that we can't decide what our job will entail. We have to do what the job demands of us or we'll be fired. Being a police chief is no different. The policeman's job requires him to uphold the privileges of race, class, and gender our nation is built on.

We refuse to be sucked into the fantasies of bourgeois reform, hoping that this time the man in charge will be different. This perspective, that if we can just get a good police chief things will be better, is highly convenient for those who rely on the "good cops" to maintain their privileges as the system's reformers. We know from our daily interactions with police, the prison system, and all oppressive systems that it is not the man that makes the system from within, it is the system that molds the man to it's ends.
Local graffito mentioned in a Nation magazine column (linked)
Even in cities with reputations for progressive policing, the cops are still a menace. In Seattle last fall, police murdered a homeless, deaf, Native American woodcarver in broad daylight for not hearing their orders to put down his tiny carving knife. In New York, two police were acquitted last week of raping a woman despite overwhelming evidence of their guilt. And in every city, even the most progressive police regularly attack and intimidate anarchists who dare to challenge the state and capital.

No matter how many cops are replaced, no matter who the police chief is, as long as anyone in our society wears a gun and a badge and demands our obedience, that person is an oppressor and enforcer of privilege. Obfuscating that reality behind calls for the "bad apples" to be fired makes one an accomplice to the continuation of the police as an institution of domination. We need less cops, not better cops!


  1. thank god you wrote this

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  3. Yes! Police in liberal cities I have been to still uphold the privileges afforded to white, heterosexual, wealthy, and male people. They don't arrest white liberals for smoking pot, and give out tickets for littering, but they still harass black and immigrant youths, beat Native Americans, extort prostitutes, and harass poor, queer youth.
    A movement for LESS police it the only thing worth being a part of. A movement for better police means they will still uphold all those privileges with just as much power, because those are the privileges that maintain America, even if you win and get more progressive cops.

  4. This petition was created by the extremely misguided Silence Is Violence people, the same people who after my friend Helen was murdered, exploited her death for their own pro-police, pro-crimestoppers, pro-prison agenda.
    They put up crimestoppers flyers, oblivious to the fact that to end crime in the long term we must end poverty. They want short cuts and easy answers and policemen to be their saviors. Unfortunately, as with most easy answers, they are only creating more problems with their lack of understanding of how to REALLY solve crime.