Rachel Herzing – Standing Up for Our Communities: Why We Need a Police-Free Future

(Image: Lauren Walker / Truthout; Adapted: HarryHart)

Standing Up for Our Communities: Why We Need a Police-Free Future

Rachel Herzing, Truthout, March 07, 2017

We are living in terrifying times. With each passing day, the Trump administration unleashes new waves of humiliation, degradation and repression. Many of us fear deportation, the evisceration of the social safety net, imprisonment or detention, ecological calamity, war and similar disasters. For those of us fighting against the violence of policing, the context was already grim. The predominance of suppression policing — sometimes called “broken windows policing” — with its mainstays of racial-profiling, sweeps, stop-and-search, ticketing and psychological and physical coercion and abuse, has made day-to-day contact with law enforcement dangerous. Add to these mundane policing practices the very real threat of dying at the hands of law enforcement agents, and the picture becomes even more bleak. Under the current White House, promises to intensify and expand an already vicious system are a signal of very dark days ahead. In a statement released during the first week in office, the Trump administration communicated its law-enforcement priorities. According to this statement, “The Trump Administration, will be a law and order administration. President Trump will honor our men and women in uniform and will support their mission of protecting the public. The dangerous anti-police atmosphere in America is wrong. The Trump Administration will end it.”

The Trump regime’s authoritarian tendencies should give us pause. When we consider the ways in which law enforcement has historically been used by authoritarian regimes to suppress dissent, we need to take seriously the state responses we’re likely to encounter in reaction to an increasingly large and dynamic anti-Trump protest movement. Whether we are considering the expansion of policing practices — including profiling, stop and frisk, sweeps and militarized tactical engagements — or crackdowns on protest and dissent, we know that the surest way to reduce the violence of policing is to reduce contact with the police.

If ever there were a time to fight for the elimination of policing from our communities it is now. Recent weeks have demonstrated just how powerful we are when we come together to resist repression. This groundswell of fight-back should embolden us to build the world we want to live in today, even in the face of violence and fear mongering.

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