Saturday, September 3, 2016

Police - Protectors of the Capitalist State - Gather for Arms & Training Expo in California

by Luke Pickrell

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 Chicago Police Department – fresh off the murders of Laquan McDonald and Paul O’Neil – will participate in Urban Shield. They will be joined by the Mexican Federal Police (killers of eight teachers in June) and armed forces of Israel, among other criminal institutions.
Urban shield is a perfect example of the enmeshment of all levels of the public and private and sector with the capitalist state; increasingly, every level of the state is being armed with taxpayer’s dollars. Funding for Urban Shield is made possible by dollars from the Department of Homeland Security ($7.5 million was given for the event in 2013) and the lucrative arms, surveillance, and military industries including Lockheed Martin. Other sponsors include Verizon, Cisco, FedEx, Sprint, Kaiser, Stanford Hospital and Clinics, the Port of Oakland, Visa, Google, and every level of the military. In the case of Verizon in particular: on May 10 a striking Verizon worker was struck by a van carry strikebreakers. The van was being driven by a uniformed NYPD officer. Verizon is one of many corporations supporting Urban Shield because a strong police force means a strong state, and a strong state means more profits for CEO Lowell C. McAdam, who was compensated $18.3 million in 2014.

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.
Chosen by Wall Street to run the capitalist state, Obama has made good on his promise to enrich the .01%. His administration made a very smart move in pretending to halt the flow of military-grade weapons to the police. Now that the media has had time to draw eyes away from Ferguson, police militarization will continue at pre-2014 levels.
The state halfheartedly legitimizes Urban Shield by warning us of impending doom and disaster brought by some unknown “terrorist.” (Of course working class permission is isn’t needed for the state to arm and train its domestic army, as the working class has absolutely no say in what policies its oppressors choose to carry out). And yet the greatest threat to the national and international working class is its own ruling class and the system of capitalism that makes a few absurdly rich while billions suffer. The state and it’s armed body won’t protect us – that’s not their job. The weapons and training they receive isn’t about ending war or stopping climate change, but about protecting those who profit from arms and oil sales and decimating a working class that will inevitably stand in the way of those profits. The state will always look to give more weapons to the police so long as a minority enforces its rule over a majority. Therefore, an end to police militarization means an end to the police – and an end to the police means an end to class society.
The police will not protect the working class from attacks on wages and living standards, save families from falling into poverty, or stop climate change. Quite the opposite: they exist only to break strikes and enforce the laws that protect bourgeois society. Cops 'protect and serve' the ruling class. 'Law and order' means a safe space for a select few to profit off the misery of many.

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