Police: For White, Black or Working Class People?

police
Unless you lick my boot of course.
Artwork by Sheperd Fairey

The correct answer is police control ALL of the above. Policing in the United States wasn’t designed to befriend the local citizenry. Colin Kapernick attempted to address the issue. Now the powers that be rub their grubby hands in glee, reveling in the divisive, patriotic uproar of the NFL anthem protests. Meanwhile, TPTB benefit from the gaping schism and resultant animosity of pitting working and middle class Americans against each other. We’re blind to the epidemic of officer misconduct and brutality in our country. We’re too preoccupied being played like easy marks in a three-card Monte game. Meanwhile, obscured in the hysterical slurping of the flag sucking, apoplectic masses, the malevolent origins of law enforcement remain unknown. The original reason for the protest was to stimulate a conversation about equality. Sadly the true intent has now gone silent. Perhaps if we realize law enforcement manifested to specifically preserve inequality, we can begin to restore freedom and justice for all.

 

Origins of the police

In England and the United States, the police were invented within the space of just a few decades—roughly from 1825 to 1855.

The new institution was not a response to an increase in crime, and it really didn’t lead to new methods for dealing with crime. The most common way for authorities to solve a crime, before and since the invention of police, has been for someone to tell them who did it.

Besides, crime has to do with the acts of individuals, and the ruling elites who invented the police were responding to challenges posed by collective action. To put it in a nutshell: The authorities created the police in response to large, defiant crowds. That’s

— strikes in England,
— riots in the Northern US,
— and the threat of slave insurrections in the South.

So the police are a response to crowds, not to crime.

I will be focusing a lot on who these crowds were, how they became such a challenge. We’ll see that one difficulty for the rulers, besides the growth of social polarization in the cities, was the breakdown of old methods of personal supervision of the working population. In these decades, the state stepped in to fill the social breach.

We’ll see that, in the North, the invention of the police was just one part of a state effort to manage and shape the workforce on a day-to-day basis. Governments also expanded their systems of poor relief in order to regulate the labor market, and they developed the system of public education to regulate workers’ minds. I will connect those points to police work later on, but mostly I’ll be focusing on how the police developed in London, New York, Charleston (South Carolina), and Philadelphia.”

Continue reading the Origins of the Police…