We on this blog have sought to generate discussion on the issue of police unions. They are usually called the Fraternal Order of Police. (Do they not realize that there are women in the police now). Fraternal!. But to this specific development I wish to speak to today: That is should cops be allowed to have unions? I see that a police man in Delaware is now being sued for kicking a man in the face when he was being arrested. The man arrested was African American and the policeman was European American. In spite of this being caught on video a grand jury refused to indict the police man. The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the police on behalf of the victim and now the video has been released. But back to the police union.
Its president Fred Calhoun has been whining about the video being released and the criminal charges which have now been instigated against the police man. His whine is this: "It's not fair. This was done because of what is taking place in society today." Precisely. It is because of what is taking place in society. And precisely it is not fair. (Is it fair the mass and discriminatory incarceration of African American men?) But to return to Calhoun's whine. What is it that is going on in society? What is it that is not fair? And what role to the police and police union play in all this?
The crazed super rich who rule this country, the 1 %, and who loot and invade and occupy country after country abroad have got a problem. They increasingly cannot afford to fund its wars and occupations abroad and keep the US working class at the living standards they are accustomed. Something has to give. They cannot afford guns and butter. So we have the militarization of the US cops and their increased racist and repressive and violent indoctrination with the objective of attacking the working class at home. This is what is going on in society and it is what the cops are allowing themselves to be part of and enthusiastically part of. This is what is not fair, but it is to the US working class that it is not fair. The police unions allow themselves to be part of this part of what is not fair. The US police unions should stop doing the dirty work for the super rich and stop whining about being taken up when they are caught attacking working people.
In the forefront of the assault of the cops are the African American working class and youth. This helps the US ruling class to keep the European American working class in its corner for the time being. The racist oppression is part of the divide and rule strategy. Make the European American worker think it is only a problem for the African American and so keep the European American passive until it comes his or her turn to have the body armored cops and military vehicles in the European American neighborhoods. The police are the armed bodies which carry out the divide and rule strategy of the super rich, the 1%, on the streets. They are indoctrinated with racist ideology, whether they are African American, European American or whatever. So Calhoun is right in one sense. What is happening with the cops and the to the cops is because of what is happening in society. But the issue is what does the so called Fraternal Order of Police do about this? They go along with it. They cover up for it. They enthusiastically are part of this. With this in mind the so called Fraternal Order of Police has to be confronted. Should the cops have a union at all?
I think they should but with certain limitations. These unions should have built in internal rules which would include the following: these unions would never allow their members to be used to break strikes, they could never be used to enforce curfews and martial law, all military vehicles and all chemical weapons (pepper spray etc.) be removed from all police forces, cop unions would have an open stated policy against racism and sexism, they would have an elected leadership which could be recalled at any time and which would be on the same wage as the rank and file members of the cops, that all cops have to live in the areas in which they work, that when police brutality is shown to exist the tax payer does not pay compensation, the cops themselves pay compensation, that all cops wear body cameras at all times. There are other limitations that I am sure should be put on cop unions. I would be interested in hearing about and discussing these.
In the last analysis the police will remain to be armed bodies of men and women in defense of private property and capitalism. This should be stated and explained. As we do so we can move in that direction and increase working peoples' awareness of this reality, and weaken the hold of the super rich, the 1% over the cops by these steps by fighting for the restrictions on cop unions that we explain above.