The Third International after Lenin

Friday, September 30, 2011

On the "character and role of the police"

The current editorial in the new issue of The Militant deserves every reader's attention:
 
(editorial)
  
The September 21 police assault on members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Ladies' Auxiliary in Longview, Wash., highlights what the cops "protect and serve"—the property, profits and prerogatives of the capitalist class. Working people should condemn this attack on longshore workers, their supporters and their union, and demand charges against those defending the union be dropped.

In January 2000 hundreds of police attacked members of the International Longshoremen's Association in Charleston, S.C., when they picketed a shipping company using nonunion labor. Leaders of the union were then framed up on "riot" charges. But through a determined struggle—which included joining with thousands of others to demand removal of the Confederate flag from the state capitol—the shipping company was compelled to hire union workers and charges against the union leaders were dropped.

As Farrell Dobbs, a central leader of the Teamster strikes of the 1930s and of the Socialist Workers Party, explains in this week's Books of the Month selection: "Whenever conflicts of significant magnitude erupt within industry today, the government intervenes on the employers' side; and this interference is bound to intensify as capitalist decay gets worse." It's the bosses' government. The job of their cops and "justice" system is to keep working people "in line."

That's what's behind their death penalty, a weapon of terror aimed at working people, under which Troy Davis, framed up by cops, was executed in Georgia September 21. The same penalty is meted out to workers in the streets, as recently happened to John Collado in New York when he tried to help his neighbor who appeared to be under assault by what turned out to be an undercover cop.

A fuller picture of the brutal reality of capitalist rule for working people comes through when you consider the thousands killed and maimed each year in the coal mines, oil fields, factories, construction sites and other workplaces under the bosses' relentless drive for profit—a different form of violence reproduced by the same exploitive system.

As workers are increasingly forced to organize resistance to employer attacks, the bosses' government will seek to push them back with scabs, stool pigeons, legal red tape and an array of court tactics from injunctions against picketing to "conspiracy" charges to secret "evidence," and violence by armed bodies under the direction of the capitalists' state power.

As working people resist the employers' drive to foist the burden of the capitalist crisis on their backs, they increasingly gain firsthand experience that shines light on the character and role of the police. It also becomes easier to see that capitalism cannot be reformed. That the working class must wrest political power from the capitalist class, dismantling their state, their army and their cops. Replacing the dictatorship of capital with workers power will then lay the basis for the construction of a socialist world free of exploitation and class violence.

  
  
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