violence and revolution

Joseph F. Lockard lockard at NetVision.net.il
Fri Jun 9 06:24:59 MDT 1995


>Is there anybody else out there who agrees with the sentiment of the
>Pasolini quote?

I've watched this thread develop with some fascination, for it reveals
vastly different left tendencies, especially in relation to attitudes
towards police.  For one, I understand some of the sentiments of the
Pasolini quote.

Some police actions I've seen revolt me and I've a gut dislike of the kind
of street authority a cop carries, given its potential (even likelihood)
for abuse.  Even so, attitudes towards the police need to be based on
differentiation and discrimination between good and bad uses of police
authority.

Two months ago I visited New Orleans and stayed a couple days with an old
friend, a local sheriff's deputy (and for who, counter to one poster who
would waste no sentimental tears on dead cops, I would be *very* upset if
anything were to happen to him).  Leo is my idea of a good cop:  he's
well-read in political theory, does solid class analysis (even while
denying that he's a socialist), fulminates against the racism and municipal
corruption he sees, backs his belief in education by teaching GED night
classes a couple evenings weekly, continually publishes short stories, and
all this while tracking down and sending away parole violators.  Leo is
profoundly aware of and talks constantly about the intersections of race,
class and poverty in New Orleans.  None of this excuses victimizing fellow
citizens instead of fighting these power structures, and Leo is remorseless
about sending street criminals to prison to do hard time.

Leo is also about the only cop I know well, and I imagine that while there
are relatively few like him, he's far from the only socially-aware cop.  To
respond to that Pasolini quote, I'd take sides with decent, down-to-earth
and caring cops like Leo in the blink of an eye over screaming student
revolutionaries on their imaginary barricades, assholes who are going to
make the David Stockman Port Huron-to-Reaganaut-to-Wall Street transit and
live in the liberal/conservative (take your pick, it doesn't matter)
comfort of youthful romantic political memories.  We've seen this sort of
political turnover and class sellout since Wordsworth and before.  But cops
are stuck on the nitty-gritty side of life without career prospects as
stockbrokers, and the ones who remain humane, decent public servants in the
midst of social violence deserve our respect.

If there's need to spend much time rehearsing why "Kill the pigs" is bad
rhetoric and worse politics, that says a lot about why the American left is
so far from even a ghostly hope of political power.

Best, JOE



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Joe Lockard                          Tel. (972) 2-246470 [H]
Kibbutz Teachers College             E-mail lockard at netvision.net.il
149 Derekh Namir
Tel Aviv / ISRAEL
(or)
Rehov Nissim Behar 3
Jerusalem / ISRAEL

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