[Marxism] Cincinnati gets first Black police chief

jay rothermel jayrothermel at gmail.com
Mon Aug 15 11:21:37 MDT 2011

Ohio social democracy's "minimum program" seems to be very minimum indeed
these days.  Below are excerpts from an article by Ohio's foremost social
democrat, Dan LaBotz, lauding the social struggles that got Cincinnati its
first Black police chief.

A comrade of mine here in Cleveland has a definition for this kind of
seemingly progressive capitalist maneuver: "A wolf and a sheep sit down
together to discuss the menu."

LaBotz is careful to point out in his article that the "movements from
below" in Cincinnati must remain ever-vigilant.  Which is correct, because
now the Cincinnati cops have one more arrow in their quiver and a little
more freedom of movement.  Just like Wall Street and Washington after a
Black president was elected.  We all remember him, Barack Obama: the man
elected by the people, and who has just attempted to eliminate the Social
Security System adored by every man and woman who voted for him.

LaBotz adds all the caveats he can, but reducing the horizons of social
struggles to a series of elections, recalls, propositions, and city
government appointments which allow the ruling class to keep playing 3-card
monte or musical chairs has gotten "movements from below" further from
reality and has given the Black community nothing but further cop arrogance
and impunity.

The last 40 years of bourgeois politics in the United States clearly shows
that the election of Black leaders does not assure that any city's "long
history of racism, violence, and abuse is coming to an end." Quite the
opposite.  The ruling has has much more elbow room.

To be fair to LaBotz, he isn't saying this appointment will end the
Cincinnati PD's "long history of racism, violence, and abuse,"  just that he
hopes things are now moving in a better direction.
Cops are cops, no matter what the nationality.  And they only head in one
direction where workers and oppressed nationalities are concerned.

Cincinnati: First Outsider, First African American Police Chief, a Victory
after Decades of Struggle for Racial Justice
by Dan La Botz


Ten years ago movements from below placed demands on the table that could
not be ignored and led to the collaborative agreement and then to the new
police chief that Cincinnati has today.

restoration of public accountability of the police force

reform of government and election procedures

If today we have a new black police chief, it is less because of the good
will of Mayor Mark Mallory and City Manager Milton R. Dohony, Jr., and more
the result of a decade of struggle by African American Cincinnati residents
and their white allies.
breaks with the city's bankrupt political traditions.

domination of a white West Side clique within the force made it virtually
impossible for the department's leaders to understand the issues facing the
African American community.

Craig [the new chief]  worked in the 1970s in the Detroit Police Department,
in the 1980s in the Los Angeles Police Department, and then Portland, Maine.

most in Cincinnati will be wishing him well and hoping that the Cincinnati
Police Department's long history of racism, violence, and abuse is coming to
an end.
citizens still need to be vigilant in overseeing policing operations and the
police culture.

More information about the Marxism mailing list