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World Revolution?!

Past protests drew huge crowds, obsessive media attention, and overwhelming public support. But most achieved little in the way of real, lasting change. These past weeks, however, protestors actually got what they asked for. The Minneapolis Police Department has been disbanded. Systemic change is finally on the table. But what's next?

Many have called for "community policing." What does that entail? "The first policing was," in fact, "community policing." Until 1829, crime-ridden London didn't have a professional police force. When introduced, it faced skepticism from citizens to whom the police seemed like an occupying militia. Robert Peel, then Britain's Home Secretary, recognized both the need for a better way to reduce crime and the potential of going too far.

Among his nine principles, Peel emphasized that "the police are the public and that the public are the police," and that their power "is dependent on public approval of their existence, actions and behaviour." In other words, the legitimacy of the police rests on the approval of the people they serve: the public. If police departments can't win the public's respect, don't ensure but endanger its safety, or side with private power over public peace, then they don't deserve the public's tax dollars. They must then be disbanded.

Community policing isn't a far-flung fantasy. It isn't even a new idea. It increases public confidence, reduces crime, and staves off corruption. Not just in theory, but in practice. It works.

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Adbusters #149 The Re-enchantment of the Political LeftGet this issue

Will the coronavirus spell the end of meat? Cash? The movie theatre? The shopping mall? The classroom? The business trip? The office? The handshake? The hug? Neoliberalism? Globalization? Hyper-individualism? Romance? Your career?

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Hard times are coming, when we'll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope.

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