On the Equitable Distribution of State Violence
This is a polemic. It is an intentionally controversial point of discussion that is composed using combative language and contentious ideas and which exists in an attempt to spur conversation and debate on the topic of police and state violence and the distribution of thereof. With that said this polemic will wade neck deep into a topic of great importance for our culture and civilization as it exists today in an attempt to provide an alternative view to one of the great injustices of our time — the disparate racialized impact of state sponsored police violence.
Consider yourself warned.
Before we begin there is one point to make: Civilization is violence. That’s right. Civilization is violence. Government is violence. Culture is violence. Violence is an indispensable part of these social constructions as these constructs create laws and these laws require enforcement and enforcement will always and inevitably culminate in violence. At some point everything gets physical. This polemic does not take the perspective of the libertarian, objectivist, anarcho-syndicalist, neo-Marxist, or even the perspective of the modern bourgeois leftist as valid in that it is does not view violence, force, or coercion as an unacceptable tool of civil management and it accepts that violence is an essential ingredient of the goulash we have cleverly named civilization.
It is simply suggesting a more equitable distribution for the beatings.
Erik Garner was choked to death in broad daylight for the crime of selling untaxed cigarettes. He did it. He had been convicted of it before. That he was committing this crime is not in question. He was participating in the evasion of taxes. What adds to the perception of injustice in this particular case is that it is a well-known fact that other far more harmful, richer, and whiter tax evaders are never accosted by local police for their criminal offense and are certainly never strangled to death on the street for it. As a democratic society we could work together to change this. We can find a way to empower law enforcement to strangle corporations as well as individuals, regardless of their level of class, race, creed, or gender identity. At our insistence the police could begin pulling over anyone for driving too nice of a car or for living in too nice of a neighborhood. Demand to see their long form, then interrogate them as to the working conditions at the company that they own, manage, or are invested in. Consider a world where wealth, not just black wealth, but all wealth and all conspicuous displays of wealth are viewed as a signal of criminal activity. In such a world I imagine that anyone with the audacity to put their name on a chain of hotels or a brand of steaks would be investigated, rightly, openly, and forcefully, for their ties to organized crime.
And struck down for the least sign of non-compliance.
Rodney King took 33 shots from four batons while speeding and resisting arrest and while he suspected to be wet on PCP — he wasn’t — he did test positive for marijuana and alcohol. Rodney didn’t deserve that beating he took, which the courts ruled lawful, but I’m pretty sure Brock Turner and Dylan Rooff both do. As a democracy we could redistribute the beatings to ensure that convicted rapists and accused mass murderers get their fair share of them. Such a distributive ordinance could work within the confines of our modern constitutional interpretation of the 8th amendment and the scholarship surrounding it and could empower our law enforcement to deliver beatings to everyone caught in the act of law-breaking, regardless of race, creed, nationality, gender, disability of veteran status. For a law to be viewed as valid it must be enforced equally. For law enforcement to be viewed as valid the beatings must be distributed along the same lines. The Legitimacy of the system itself is at stake. It will be neither cruel nor unusual if everyone gets a beating. Such a distribution could ensure that we all get along.
This proposed utopia of law and order is possible once the spectacle of state violence is smoothed out, flattened across all of society’s transgressors. We won’t have justice until our fund-manager banker stockbrokers are shot, broadcast live for all to see, under the auspices that they were coming right at us, and that we couldn’t see their hands. We do live in the nation of Wells Fargo and Citibank — In the United States of America the bank robs you.
When the full force of state violence and surveillance is applied to those who have couched their criminality under the auspices of presupposed impunity those previously untouchable offenders will wither away to back alleys of the criminal underworld. These criminals have no actual experience with real world hands on violence, all their criminal expertise at email deleting robo-signing mortgage foreclosure corporate inversion polluting has left them woefully unprepared for the physicality of a nightstick to the kidneys, pepper spray to the face, or an early morning no knock raid where their eardrums are burst with concussive devices, their pets are shot, and they themselves are overwhelmed by dozens of state-actors, gun drawn ready to kill for the slightest movement — nervous system response to fear. The cops could roll up in Langley and beat the heck out of the CIA types, who think it’s totally okay to drop bombs on people in countries we are not in a legal state of war with.
We might just need a heavily armed militarized police apparatus to effectively deal with our nation’s highest level of lawbreaker. A climate of impunity cannot be tolerated.
On any level.
We must spread this comforting cloak of state violence across the country, equally and fairly, from college campus boys being boys criminality to corporate boardroom to kindergarten classes. No lawbreaker can go unpunished. All must know the comforting brutality of civilization. It is the only force that ensures I respect you and you respect me and we keep our damn hands to ourselves.
And now for the cynical part:
I can see some of you out there groaning, rolling your eyes, and making that face. This is crazy. Violence is wrong. We can do better than that. We don’t want a violent government. We don’t want to live in a world like that. We want people to love each other. And come together. And Beatles Lyric Beatles Lyric Beatle Lyric.
Hey, I’m pretty sure that this hip-pacifism thing going around these days is either an expression of privilege or ignorance or both. It must be nice to come from a place insulated, isolated, and prosperous enough that you never have to see or experience what it takes to grind up this sausage we call civilization and serve it to you grilled. It must be nice to come from a place where you never have to learn this.
That’s the cynical part. All that theoretical pacifist bullshit is just ideological free riding. They are getting all the benefit of civilization without adding any contribution themselves. It doesn’t work that way. Either you are doing it or having it done to you. The best we can do is distribute our violence in such a manner that none are left wanting and none receive more than their share…