Blackspot

Blackspot the Police

Can we stop the increasing militarization of our communities through a movement to de-fund the police?

Byron Hammick, Kendra James, James Jahar Perez, James Philip Chasse, Amadou Bailo Diallo, Julian Alexander, Bobby Tolan, Oscar Grant and Alexandros Grigoropoulos. These are the names of innocent, unarmed individuals executed without a trial by police officers (source). Of course, the list is not exhaustive and shootings seem to be occurring with greater frequency as police departments become increasingly militarized. There is even talk of developing softer handcuffs that can be used on children as young as five years old (source). The death of Alexandros Grigoropoulos in Athens sparked riots as did the videotaped execution of Oscar Grant in Oakland, CA. But while riots may relieve the anger of the moment, they also function to justify increasing police budgets. What if we took a different tactic and blackspotted the police by building a movement to de-fund the police and replace them with community safety patrols.

Let's take the example of Oakland, California where Oscar Grant was lying on his stomach, restrained by police officers and then shot and killed. The whole incident was caught on tape (see video below) so there is little dispute as to the facts of the case. Oakland currently spends around $194 million on police services and their total budget is a little under $950 million (source). That is about four times as much as is spent on Libraries, Parks and Museums combined. The police budget is an amazing 20% of the entire Oakland budget! In these times of economic depression, de-funding the police would directly translate into an increase of funding for the types of community quality of life improvements that decrease crime.

While we de-fund the police and pour that money into community improvement projects, we can also work to make the police unnecessary by replacing them with a Blackspot Police. Obviously a Blackspot Police would share very little in common with the State's police but would instead work to supercede the police by becoming the community's first responders. This would be something akin to the Guardian Angels who patrol "dusk until dawn, without weapons, [...] to ensure that citizens can enjoy their communities without fearing for their safety" (source). The objective would be to demonstrate that the police are overfunded and their presence is antagonistic and violent.

What have your experiences with the police been? Could a movement to de-fund work in your city?

Micah M. White is a Contributing Editor at Adbusters Magazine and an independent activist. www.micahmwhite.com

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50 comments on the article “Blackspot the Police”

Displaying 21 - 30 of 50

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Anonymous

Deeper Blight indeed "Uselesstree" Very thoughtfull comment. I can only add some insights that can be found on www.the venusproject.com "For example, in our culture, "ethics" is really a matter of degree, for our social system promotes and rewards competition and self-interest. This perspective doesn't just "lead" to aberrant behavior... it creates it directly. Corruption is the norm in our society and most people do not see this, for since the society supports this behavior, it is considered right and normal... or as a matter of degree. Given this understanding, there is a fallacy that has emerged where certain groups are deemed "corrupt" and everyone else is "good". This is the age old "us and them" world view which has no basis empirically, for it is, again, all a matter of degree.

Anonymous

Deeper Blight indeed "Uselesstree" Very thoughtfull comment. I can only add some insights that can be found on www.the venusproject.com "For example, in our culture, "ethics" is really a matter of degree, for our social system promotes and rewards competition and self-interest. This perspective doesn't just "lead" to aberrant behavior... it creates it directly. Corruption is the norm in our society and most people do not see this, for since the society supports this behavior, it is considered right and normal... or as a matter of degree. Given this understanding, there is a fallacy that has emerged where certain groups are deemed "corrupt" and everyone else is "good". This is the age old "us and them" world view which has no basis empirically, for it is, again, all a matter of degree.

Emali

Im sickened by watching that. Police have a very twisted and byast view of cultures and race. They see the worst representation of culture in extreme situations and apply it to every person/situation that is similar. Its a tough job, but they def. need to be brought down from their horses. They are to desensitised. Its the same problem with American culture that is reflected in all of our problems - Eliminiate the problem, instead of preventing or fixing the core issue. Cut the funding and apply it to education and relief.

Emali

Im sickened by watching that. Police have a very twisted and byast view of cultures and race. They see the worst representation of culture in extreme situations and apply it to every person/situation that is similar. Its a tough job, but they def. need to be brought down from their horses. They are to desensitised. Its the same problem with American culture that is reflected in all of our problems - Eliminiate the problem, instead of preventing or fixing the core issue. Cut the funding and apply it to education and relief.

Benji

Honestly i think people are over looking somethings in this article and in peoples comments. Culture, what kind of culture necessitates police? What deep rooted problems make people view life as the way we do? Criminals and Cops are the same thing. Both arise from the same deeply rooted issues that culture creates. personally i believe that hidden or subconscious self-hatred leads people to live life with conflict and dualistic issues, such as police and criminals, and why both are "good" or "bad", even though those christian based morals don't mean anything apart from the context of culture. Also i dont mean subconscious issues in a Freudian sense or even psychological sense, in my use of the term im trying to convey and underlying effect or nature that is present in us as humans and not in any limited sense, but in a totality of everything that makes us humans, or come to identify ourselves as humans. This self-hatred that causes most problems in humanity stems from a culture itself. Self hatred is an inner conflict, physiological, mental, ideal, spiritual, and whatever else adds to an inner awareness of our existence. This inner conflict is rooted in the conflict between mankind's natural self, existence, traits, tendencies, and inclinations, and the culturally or artificially planted ones we inherit from the cultural context of our lives. basically what im getting at is that there is a much larger paradigm at work in creating the fundamental way we perceive reality. And this paradigm of thought creates the ideas and perceptions we have concerning this very specific issue of police. I have no solution, i have no way of proposing a change, i have nothing else other than to examine the root or nature of the problem. This is all very complex stuff and i cannot on a comment board even begin to get deeper into it. Police and the ideas that create them are awful and are an illness to be purged. (side note- i was very recently beaten, tazered, and jailed by the police all because i dared to question their presence, and because i stood for what i believed in.) Black spotting or whatever else you proposed only adds to the fundamental illness although it is a genuine and well intentioned idea, and as far as it goes that is probably the least we could do or attempt to do, even its proposal is very ambitious in a system built on power structures maintained by the police and we are living at a time where those structures are beginning to buckle. Look only to yourself for the answers (and yes i understand the contradiction of this statement, but seriously fuck being logical), and look to human creativity and energy to guide us through these dark times as we begin to fight back against those paradigms that have kept us fighting with ourselves for countless generations. In the very end a great wave of change is coming (i sure as hell don't mean Obama), we must question everything we have have ever known and ask ourselves can we as a species do better than this and create a new world, a new consciousness that will bring about a new direction of our evolution for the betterment of everything.

Benji

Honestly i think people are over looking somethings in this article and in peoples comments. Culture, what kind of culture necessitates police? What deep rooted problems make people view life as the way we do? Criminals and Cops are the same thing. Both arise from the same deeply rooted issues that culture creates. personally i believe that hidden or subconscious self-hatred leads people to live life with conflict and dualistic issues, such as police and criminals, and why both are "good" or "bad", even though those christian based morals don't mean anything apart from the context of culture. Also i dont mean subconscious issues in a Freudian sense or even psychological sense, in my use of the term im trying to convey and underlying effect or nature that is present in us as humans and not in any limited sense, but in a totality of everything that makes us humans, or come to identify ourselves as humans. This self-hatred that causes most problems in humanity stems from a culture itself. Self hatred is an inner conflict, physiological, mental, ideal, spiritual, and whatever else adds to an inner awareness of our existence. This inner conflict is rooted in the conflict between mankind's natural self, existence, traits, tendencies, and inclinations, and the culturally or artificially planted ones we inherit from the cultural context of our lives. basically what im getting at is that there is a much larger paradigm at work in creating the fundamental way we perceive reality. And this paradigm of thought creates the ideas and perceptions we have concerning this very specific issue of police. I have no solution, i have no way of proposing a change, i have nothing else other than to examine the root or nature of the problem. This is all very complex stuff and i cannot on a comment board even begin to get deeper into it. Police and the ideas that create them are awful and are an illness to be purged. (side note- i was very recently beaten, tazered, and jailed by the police all because i dared to question their presence, and because i stood for what i believed in.) Black spotting or whatever else you proposed only adds to the fundamental illness although it is a genuine and well intentioned idea, and as far as it goes that is probably the least we could do or attempt to do, even its proposal is very ambitious in a system built on power structures maintained by the police and we are living at a time where those structures are beginning to buckle. Look only to yourself for the answers (and yes i understand the contradiction of this statement, but seriously fuck being logical), and look to human creativity and energy to guide us through these dark times as we begin to fight back against those paradigms that have kept us fighting with ourselves for countless generations. In the very end a great wave of change is coming (i sure as hell don't mean Obama), we must question everything we have have ever known and ask ourselves can we as a species do better than this and create a new world, a new consciousness that will bring about a new direction of our evolution for the betterment of everything.

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