Officer Friendly (was Violence and Revolution)

Joseph F. Lockard lockard at NetVision.net.il
Sat Jun 10 18:51:03 MDT 1995


Alfred, use some restraint and I'll answer with equal consideration.  There
was a rough spot or two in that last post, but let's overlook it and call
it even.

No, there are no illusions about American exceptionalism.  After teaching
Olaudah Equiano, Frederick Douglass, and Luther Standing Bear this past
semester, there's no room for privileging American history over any other.
America's foundational genocides speak too loudly.  Actually, this is
closely related to a theme of warning I've talked about to students:  be
careful about your consumption of American culture, know its ugliness as
well as its delights, control the English language rather than let
yourselves become its subjects, don't become imperial campfollowers.

Similar care is needed for historico-political comparisons.  Darryl Gates,
however dispicable, is no Himmler and doesn't even begin to fill such
boots.  Ironically, this claim seems a rather perverse version of 'biggest,
best' Americanism:  our American villains are every bit as big as your
European ones. Well, Gates just isn't and you should thank whatever gods
you worship that he isn't.  Gates, like every other police chief in the US,
is restrained by constitutionalism, the Bill of Rights, and attorneys only
too happy to get an injunction.  Deficient as these checks are, they're a
helluva lot better than most of the rest of the world has or has had.  A
couple weeks ago I delivered a paper in a European city where the SS had
visited 50+ years ago and murdered 96% of the 55,000 Jews living there, the
largest community in the city.  Put bluntly, Darryl is a testosterone-free
pipsqueak next to these goons.

Part of your argument is interesting and has some merit:

>You know Marx talked about unequal development.  The
>same way that  certain segments of the working-class are at different
>stages of political development ( for various reasons),  different segments
>of the working-class experience FASCIST police repression while other
>segments of society do not.  In this society black and latino workers
>prematurely feel the fascist tendencies of your beloved brethren, the
>police.

It's an argument that could certainly begin a sustainable critique of
American police work, although fascism involves much more than brute power
and racist street abuse.  Without careful use, it lapses into
meaninglessness.  However, you've got to be joking with the "beloved
brethren" bit.  Look carefully at the preceeding posts:  there's no
especial love for police, only respect for those who do their job properly
and with human regard towards *all* those citizens they're supposed to
serve.

Also, you write:

>Please don't take this the wrong way,  How do you handle the contradictions
>that must arise from your military obligations and your Marxist beliefs.  I
>mean, can an American  leftist work for the American immigration service in
>the South-west US in good conscience?  Again, I am very curious.  Please do
>not take offense to my questions.

No offence taken, but I don't think the Marxism list is the proper place to
answer personal questions.  If you want, we'll talk about it offlist.
Briefly though, my position is no different from millions of other people
in other uniforms who believe in peace, freedom, justice and social
equality.

Regards, 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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