Police Militarization in the US
The police in the US are trained to view citizens that they’re tasked to control and subdue as “the enemy” as an article printed yesterday in The Guardian reveals. With widening gap between the rich and the poor and the widespread poverty and unemployment, the ruling class of billionaires has been trying to stay ahead of the curve and has been preparing for possible uprisings and revolts. They took lessons from the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s and decided not to let a movement get to a point where they would have to arrange and facilitate the assassination of its leaders, although that still remains as their last resort. As soon as protests that might have the potential to force concessions from the ruling oligarchy and impose some badly needed changes begin to show signs of strength and endurance, such as the Occupy Wall Street movement against Wall Street banks or the protests in Ferguson, Missouri against police brutality and killings, the police is ready to engage the protesters as “the enemy” and they do just that.
Within the last several decades, the distinction between the military, which is tasked with waging wars with enemy governments, and the police, which is normally tasked with keeping the order and enforce the laws within the country, has faded and disappeared. This muddling up of the two which has been deliberate and methodical has led to the total militarization of the urban police, to the point where they’re now indistinguishable from each other, in training, in approach, in combat and warrior mentality and in methods, if not in the choice of weapons they use. Even that last distinction is disappearing as the police departments throughout the nation are receiving weapons and equipment from the military meant for foreign combat, including tanks, attack helicopters, heavy machine guns, drones and night vision goggles.
The reason for such militarization is the same as in any other country where the military is routinely used to crack down on civil unrests, which is the hallmark of a society lacking any semblance of democracy and rule of law: to make sure the government remains firmly in the hands of the wealthy ruling class, whether it’s a handful of powerful families or an oligarchy of giant banks and other corporations. This is not some Marxist teaching or conspiracy theory. These are facts that are in the open and can be googled.
It’s impossible to have half a million militarized police with impunity and a National Security Agency that spies on the citizens without a cause or warrant on the one hand and democracy on the other at the same time and I’m not even talking about fake elections financed by big corporate money. And what is clear is that lack of democracy has its consequences: increasing poverty, widening gap between rich and poor, unrepresentative politicians who are bought and sold by powerful corporations and endless and devastating wars.