Responding to Breakdown of Trust in Police: Capitalism, Racism, and Creative Compassion

“Laws, by their nature, create a threat of what would happen to a person who doesn’t follow the law. In our modern nation-states, laws are enforced by the police.” (Photo: The state and the law. Image source:

Capitalism and the Police

“[Max Weber] defined the state as the entity that has a monopoly over the use of violence. I want to repeat what this means in plain terms: It’s OK for states to have weapons, to kill and to threaten: internally with police, and externally with an army. States can do it. No one else. That is what defines states.” (Photo: The reign of state. Image source:
“This is the ultimate power of states: the capacity to mobilize people and weapons to subdue people, within and outside the specific state.” (Photo: Ready to subdue. Image source:
“From the perspective of those in power, there is a fundamental tension between the desire for maintaining power and increasing wealth and the clarity that there is a level of misery beyond which the masses will stop complying.” (Photo: Wealth and power. Image source:
“When the ruling classes are able to create a story that justifies the social order and is powerful enough that the masses buy into it, this is another source of stability for those in power.” (Photo: Buying into the story of success. Image source:

The Contemporary Legitimation Story

“Based upon my reading, markets were created by states… And the reason why states created markets was primarily so that there would be some way, through taxation, to siphon resources to those who rule the state.” (Photo: States, economic markets and the ruling class. Image source:

Capitalism and Systemic Violence

“In order to justify slavery, they had to rely on some form of othering that made it OK to enslave certain people. Initially, the othering was based on Christianity… My mother specialized in medieval history of Christianity in her graduate work, and she said to me something I have remembered for 45 years: there is no way to understand Christian Europe without the presence of the Jews as other.” (Photo: Christianity. Image source:
“…the wealth of the United States of America is inextricably connected to slavery and genocide.” (Photo: Slavery and the prision industrial complex. Image source:
“My current perspective is that the police in the US are trained in the ways that they are because physical force is becoming more and more what is being used to sustain the basic social order. This is documented, in various ways, by Michelle Alexander in The New Jim Crow, where she focuses on the racial dimension of mass incarceration and legal and police violence. It is also documented by Radley Balko in The Rise of the Warrior Cop, about the militarization of police starting in the late 1960s.” (Photo: Police force. Image source:

Pausing to Feel

“I use [this painful information], these days, to open my heart more and more. I use it to strengthen myself in my resolve. My heart is exploding in grief, and the only remedy I know is companionship in holding it. I am asking you, the reader, to also pause and be with where your heart is. Tenderness, both towards self and towards others, is essential if we are going to survive…” (Photo: Tenderness. Image source:

Systemic Understanding, Compassion, and the Police

“…primary role of the police is to protect propertied white males against the possible uprising of everyone else… one of the things that is intense to grasp is that police protect the propertied people. But they are not, themselves, those people.” (Photo: Law protection. Image source:
“…[Dave Grossman created research-based] training that is specifically designed to support police officers in being more able and willing to shoot and kill… his organization is called “Killology Research Group” and an article about his methods was simply chilling to read.” (Photo: Inclined to kill. Image source:
“…if police departments around the US are receiving growing numbers of military equipment and combat weapons to complement the training and prepare them for war zone behavior rather than protective behavior, why would we expect them to suddenly be open to training in methods like Nonviolent Communication that are based on dialogue, de-escalation, and caring for the humanity and dignity of all?” (Photo: Police militarization. Image source:

Leveraging Privilege with Creative Compassion

(Photo: Leverage Privilege with Creative Compassion. Image source:
(Photo: The importance of addressing root issues. Image source:
“I keep wondering what the connection is between the social distress, the political and psychological distress, with environmental distress. I know there’s a connection… I think that we are, on some level, however unconscious, connected to the body of the world. And the distress of the body of the world is intense right now. It’s like, ‘Our Mom is getting sicker’. We all feel it, because we’re the blood vessels, we’re like the cells in the body.” ~ Lindsay. (Photo: Care for our planet. Image source:

Final comments

(Photo: Unite, empower, love. Image source:



Miki Kashtan is a practical visionary pursuing a world that works for all, based on principles and practices rooted in feminist nonviolence.

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