I woke up this morning to find this shared on my Facebook.
I’ve been hearing and catching stories of the brutal arrests and show of police violence on Wall Street almost since the protests began over 10 days ago. Of course, this isn’t at all unique for the NYPD, who are as notorious amongst activists and the city’s poor for their brutality as much as they are lionized by the city’s politicians and elite. This summer two socialists activists were hospitalized after suffering a random, completely unprovoked beating by NYPD officers in a subway station. Also let’s not forget the stories of the NYPD’s dastardly tactics at the 2004 Republican National Convention where cops unjustly arrested several hundred protestors and even dressed in Yankees jerseys reading “Babe Ruth 3” while they plowed into protestors on mopeds, like it was a game.
In case you haven’t been following the stories coming from Occupy Wall St. here’s an excellent summation of the events of the protest and the lead up to it. Additionally, here are some disturbing photos of the police violence and arrests here.
The police brutality in New York is not only not unique in New York, but given the recent, tragic execution of Troy Davis in Georgia; case after case of racist racial profiling against undocumented immigrants by border patrol; police complicity and justification of rape and sexual assault; police violence against protestors and rioters in London; police violence across the Arab World as rebellion spreads across the region, etc, etc., we should start to make the connection that police brutality is systemic. Police brutality cannot be explained by stories of “bad apples” or “a few troublemakers” (as the MSNBC reporter above mentions), as it is far too commonplace across the globe, and continuously comes out time and again at moments of rebellion and struggle. They are the armed guards of a system of exploitation, brutality and violence, the world over, and when that system comes under threat they will inevitably reveal the nature of their role in that system.
For a socialist perspective on the police and their role in capitalist society I would recommend checking out this brief presentation at WeAreMany.org.
Here are some songs that aptly express my feelings for the NYPD, and the police who murdered Troy Davis, Oscar Grant, and who continue to protect despotic and exploitative systems and regimes the world over.