On Thursday, police forces from across the world will gather in Pleasanton, CA – one of the wealthiest cities in the country – to ogle the newest weapons and hone tactics of counterinsurgency and population control. The event – Urban Shield – will last four days and provide law enforcement with “intense training for intense times.” As in years past, the event will be hosted by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and will include national and international forces – the Oakland Police Department, the Chicago Police Department, Israeli police forces, Bahrain police forces, the Mexican Federal Police – known for rape, murder, and general brutality and corruption.
The militarization of the police is not a mistake or the result of a few “bad” policies. Instead, one must see the increasing power of the state alongside the needs of capitalist ruling class in a time of increasing uncertainty at home and abroad. As Lenin describes in The State and Revolution, the role of the state in society increases as class antagonisms becomes more acute. The more the working class and poor push against the bosses (see this year’s Verizon strikes), stand in the way of the oil and gas industry (see the ongoing movement against Energy Transfer Partners), and defy orders to get out of the street (see any protest against killer cops), the more the state acts with overt brutality.