The Dual Function of Police As a Mediator of Fear
“Fascism is Capitalism in Decay.” – Vladimir Lenin
Considering how Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy is deployed amongst the general population, we must evaluate the material situation, i.e., the landscape of violence that causes people adhere to the existing order. The language and rituals we assume to be “natural” are intentionally constructed by law and enforced by a colonizing group authorized to wield forces of fear in a such a way that endorses specific behaviors under “civil society.” Each way we now relate to one another, each method of conduct we adorn in each social context is a learned strategy for survival developed and required by the colonizers of our ancestors. The state continues that legacy by preserving and strengthening the conditions of subjugation we are confronted with today.
The police state concerns itself with fear in two modalities:
- As an ostensible mediator of violent forces in society initiated by those who are not part of the state.
- As a merciful mediator of its own capacity to produce fear through its arsenal of violent techniques against bodies.
By wielding power over the body, the state also wields power over the psyche. In both modes, the police are fundamentally repressive and reactive.
On a public level, the state aims to justify its existence by reacting to and repressing behaviors that spontaneously emerge in the context of perpetual colonization and exploitation by IWSCP. Internally, it is insidiously reactionary, utilizing its own capacity for death, imprisonment, and other abilities which are sufficiently fear-inducing for its potential subjects. We who are exploited are always the targets of the state, because our liberation will never be realized under this system. While the categories of the state are borne out of the need to grow and protect its own powers, its laws carry no weight until the police create violent consequences for refusing to observe its law. In theory, the state apparatus creates categories of criminality; in practice, the police make decisions to use violence in order to inscribe these abstract categories upon bodies.
While the internal decision making process of those individuals who operate within the institutions of the Prison Industrial Complex are made invisible to the public, barring the narrow parameters of legal proceedings, the state regulates the accuracy of police prescriptions upon bodies because they are at every stage of this process. The “accuracy” of the judges, investigators, and courts are dependent upon the deployment of police violence. The narratives of justice must in this way “stick” to bodies. The accuracy of criminal descriptions is then the product of the states ability use violence and structural dynamics in a way that causes members of society to affirm the accusations of criminality. Criminality is an ongoing discourse created by the state to legitimize the state’s right to wield violence.
Blackness, subjected to scrutiny by Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy, has historically been and continues to be the target of police violence because black subjugation is the critical component of white domination in social and economic life. Slavocracy cannot sustain itself without slaves defined as a subhuman race. Capitalism cannot sustain itself without stratified race-castes in society that are especially dehumanized and undervalued by the propertied class. Race, exploited under capitalism, creates the illusion that workers with race privilege have more to appreciate as an exploited class than others less able to escape the grasp of the state. People of marginalized identities are more often identified as criminals because of our otherness–our incongruity with dominant roles of power within IWSCP that are deliberately made unattainable. Because of this unbroken historical purpose of the police to which black people have always been subjected, the state is hyperspecialized to preserve whiteness and colonial power. The legal proceedings by which black people become black prisoners is made easier because its jurors and judges more easily sympathize with the police who chose to subject black people to violence. In this way, white supremacy identifies with and endorses racist violence because it is familiar with apathy to the unique struggles, with its fear of blackness, and its hatred for blackness. Anti-blackness is accepted because it is necessary for white supremacy to define the humanity of whiteness by its comparison to black people and marginalized groups who are subjected to racist power.
In a society where the police have a monopoly on sanctioned violence, racist subjects of Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy simulate and stimulate their bloodthirstiness with the knowledge of and witness to (virtually and physically) police violence against black people. This is most clearly demonstrated by the white jury passing judgement on the criminality of a black defendant. The subtext of this social process that solidifies violence is a mutual agreement to remove black people from society or, in this modern context, avowing murder as an acceptable response to black, non-white, trans*, and disabled people. The malevolence of the police state is always disavowed under the pretense of criminality.
Fascist Deployment of Authority vs. Black Revolt
The totality of social life as it is prescribed by occupation endorses the violent maintenance of systems that are set in motion to regulate behaviors, temperaments, and general configurations of power. The most tangible regulatory system of this type is capital (economic power under capitalism). The law articulates the economically permitted in the form of capital, with all of its intended social consequences. Capital–circulated for necessary goods, commodities that range in usefulness, services which encapsulate different manifestations of power dynamics, and major industry’s forms of high-profit yielding production–defines those supposedly positive elements we choose to position ourselves to legally acquire in daily life. We think of these methods of acquisition positively because they are contrasted with our fear of the forms of power claimed by police that are intended to be thought of negatively. The reality of these circumstances is a violent state which is ever-present, intervening in every decision we make, implicitly and explicitly. This situation represents the not-so-figurative “policeman in our heads,” based upon a reality wherein the threat of violence is exercised over bodies ubiquitously in social life. This totalizing capacity for violence, designed to maintain a society based on compulsory consumption of commodities through the use of capital, defines the perception of everyday life as a spectacle that is universally understood under Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy as a familiar and inescapable coercion.
Authority, fundamentally upheld by sanctioned institutions, is at all times enforced by violence. While the police and variations of the nation state’s armed forces play a central role in this reality, the ideological substance of authority is upheld by deference to violence. Because violence ultimately exists to enforce the order of capital, authority oversees the circulation of capital–its use. People forced to live a life dominated by capital and the targets of violence are made to accept a life dictated by the quality of life capital creates which is always at the expense of the exploited and oppressed. The ability to labor and receive a wage requires submission to authority and the terms of exploitation.
Authority is structured such that society can be freely arranged according to the circulation of capital and the property attached to Capital itself. Wherever people are forbidden to undermine the order of capital, the state must intervene. Fascism, occupying our lives at all times, preemptively prevents public discontent from becoming a force that may threaten capital. In it, the state and capital become more than two entities on opposite sides of a permeable boundary, rather, they become more and more fused with each other. Capital being deployed so systemically, demanding that it be recognized as having a tangible existence, creates its own authority. Fascism enforces the chaotic occupation of daily life by Capital — it is the totalitarian situation wherein people are forced to subject themselves to their own exploitation by the bourgeoisie who secure profit domestically and abroad at a rate that can only be sustained through military force.
Black people who choose to participate in spontaneous revolt have full unconditional knowledge of the oppressive reality they live in and aim to remove and decenter the constant occupation of their communities by the white supremacist state . Their uprisings erupt from under the state’s monopoly on sanctioned violence, the media spectacle’s control over how the public perceives unsanctioned violence against property, and against the colonizing police who value profit and property over black lives. Specifically, revolt embodies intolerance of exploitation and oppression that manifest in the form of cultural erasure, violent state repression, and economic starvation. Black revolt, rejecting submission to fascist authority, insists on making the righteous rage of black people visible, in all of its power. The black revolt does this by confronting the power of the state and undermining the sanctity of property through the desecration of that which is inappropriately fetishized and endorsed by Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy.
The white racist and the reformist apologist who asserts the value of property over human life saber-rattles on behalf of the state, encouraging violent repression of revolts brutally with impunity. Dismissing any challenge to the status quo, these reactionaries place faith in the ability of the state to imprison, murder, and brutalize its opposition into defeat. Engaging with protest from the perspective of the hegemonic spectacle, the apologist and peace police on the sidelines are sizing up the opposition and heckling the movement by chanting for swift repression. This apathetic milieu, intoxicated with bourgeois morality, has no faith in any movement that seems unable to topple the fascist artillery. Yet, the revolt that disrupts and imperils the fake paternalistic benevolence of modern fascist violence strikes fear into the minds of those people who seek the comfort of fetishized property. People nervously espouse the importance of pacifism, condemning violent confrontations with the state and the destruction of property that is frequently elevated above the value of black lives, out of their own personal fear of repression. Part of this fear also contains people’s desperate desire to receive privilege and recognition from authority–to avow the categorization of revolts as “criminal” means to receive a pardon from the state and a more harmonious alignment with capital.
By these sets of circumstances, the police make criminals. The sanctioned violence of the police is ascribed alongside a position of supposed moral superiority. Because the state is composed of a group of people who make real-time decisions in the world about when to deploy violence on behalf of the interests of Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy, morality becomes shaped by the state’s gatekeeping role in society. The state ultimately determines who is forcibly made absent from society or mercifully permitted to be present in society through murder, deportation, and imprisonment.
In this way, the perception of morality is a focal point fixed on an artificial construction justifying the total consequences of sanctioned violence. Bourgeois morality is a void surrounded on all sides by various institutions that strategically occupy the discourse on justice. This notion erases suffering as much as possible, and forces the remaining visible forms of discontent into the margins of society where they can be more easily denigrated by the spectacle of IWSCP.
The tasks of the capitalist state forced people into capital and the fascist state prevents people from living without it.
How the Commodification of Life Creates an Apathy that Eclipses the Reality of Violence
Commodities are disseminated on a scale that makes them more relatable as objects of value than the dehumanized subjects who bring commodities into existence by laboring. It is precisely this fact that entraps apathy for those who rebel against the system, securing inhuman empathy for prolific commodities. As we enter the machinations of capital for a wage, we are rewarded with a potential to acquire and possess things that we involve in our survival. Because we are exploited by capitalism, our alienation from how our own work is used in society denies us the legal permittance to empower and liberate our own communities with autonomous control over our own capacity to create.
As alienated workers, empathy with all exploited people comes at a heavy emotional price, particularly if we carry this awareness with us as we operate within our roles as consumers. The existence of wages and prisons diminish empathy for those in struggle, curbing motivation to build ways of existing in the margins left by an ever-eclipsing spectacle of fetishized objects. Because of this normalized impetus, any unsanctioned attempt to gain access to commodities, resources, and appeals to community power is used by the spectacle to trigger mass distaste and apathy within those people who have assimilated and accepted the status quo as inescapable and necessary. This social outcome is deliberately cultivated by Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy as a total system of violence and erasure. Those who exist the margins of society and are more brutally repressed by the state are the most readily available targets of victim blaming that deflects public consciousness from the reality of fascist violence.
Commodities are both prolific in society, and rare in society. This curious juxtaposition creates an illusion that commodities can be acquired at any time. Individual circumstance, the restriction by and permittance to bypass the violence of the state, is conditioned according to a person’s relationship with capital and authority. Every transaction in this way is a direct appeal to the state and the property it defends. The internalization of the logic of commodities is cultivated and sustained by suffusing space with the suggestion of violence, while affirming bourgeois reward for accruing capital. The cash register and cashier prompt you to take out your wallet or purse while the alarm detector, the security guard, the surveillance cameras check for the outliers who messed the memo–the commodities you walk out with are your reward for your learned behaviors. In this way, the physical organization of property is a methodical biopolitic imposed on human consciousness. Human bodies are spatially dominated by property through, what may be referred to as an architecture of wealth. This social reality necessitates that property be organized in such a way that the demands of the state and the bourgeoisie are evoked and contribute to decision making calculations people people make: “are the hours spent at work that give me choices other than theft or squatting worse than starvation, imprisonment, homelessness?” The question posed to society is then about the degree of each personal sacrifice for and contribution to capital, rather than whether or not the terms of the state will or will not be entertained.
If then the people who rush to defend the status quo are rarely, if ever, the victims of state violence, what then motivates them to March lockstep with the police state? The state secures this assimilation by making itself inextricable from the property and commodities we are forced to navigate and acquire on the state’s own violent terms. Loving commodities means loving our fear of the state. Fearing the state means worshiping the commodity.
People dismiss and distance themselves from revolt because they see their own fantasies of a harmonious life under global imperialism easily imperiled by any community’s refusal to accept oppression. For the black revolt in particular, the immutable race privilege encoded in whiteness by white supremacy is threatened. The white apathete cannot help but disappear into the margins of a world that has liberated itself from the oppressive race caste stratification of that enables whiteness to exist. Whiteness knows this instinctively, and so supports the occupation and incarceration of blackness in addition to groups whose exploitation helps to preserve white supremacy.
The Spectacle of Violence
This spectacle, occupying what becomes culturally visible, controls the way violence is perceived and suppresses our general awareness of the less explicit forms of violence that are imposed on us. The portrayal of violence from within the influence of the spectacle is positioned in such a way that eclipses and obscures the state’s mastery of sanctioned violence. Their techniques are used to manipulate and coerce our behaviors in precise ways that reinforce the influence of capital, white supremacy, and patriarchy. The hyperspecialized uses of violence are made invisible as much as possible, instead, taking the form of prejudices and assimilation to law while minimizing direct confrontation with physical violence. When the violence of the state emerges and becomes visible, it is immediately saturated with bourgeois morality. This power dynamic is a totalizing amalgam of dispositions towards violence that are conjured in everyday life within people who spontaneously react to their surroundings, informed by their lived experiences within the landscape of violence under Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy. The goal of these tactics, characteristic of fascist mass psychology, is to prevent any awareness of violence until it becomes visible in an unsanctioned form. The success of this forced perspective is the suggestion that the police only use violence when it is necessary, rather than being the culprit that spurs unsanctioned violence into existence while also causing great harm with its sanctioned violence. Indeed, thousands of police armed with shotguns, assault rifles, grenades, tear gas, tanks, helicopters, sound cannons, and sniper rifles are not even registered by the spectacle’s awareness, contrast with the falsified sympathy for the destroyed building of a corporation.
The pen-ultimate task of these complementary institutions is to make the violent erasure of marginalized groups into a tangible ideology that normalizes the repressive functions of the state that must operate to sustain capitalism. The “tangibility” of the ideological forms of power is dependent upon the internalization and reproduction of justifications, apologies, and various other rationalizations of the uses of sanctioned violence. The spectacle becomes a mouthpiece for the gospel of benevolent fascism, creating narratives that can be easily mimicked and redeployed on behalf of the nation state. In a cultural environment where dispositions towards violence are used in this way, the importance of a truly liberatory movement or the construction of new empowering institutions becomes diminished. The state constructs and occupies a role for itself in society that allows it to more easily defeat challenges to its power. The very existence of folks in the margins of society necessitates a new liberatory morality.
Given this context, it is especially important to problematize the way people can communalize their own righteous power to combat the manifestations of suffering that appear within Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy, while developing new systems that are sustainable and motivated by empathy rather than apathy. In the absence of these groupings with a liberatory intention and praxis, “morality” becomes a domain controlled by the state. Bourgeois morality in this way is cobbled together by the positive attitudes of people towards IWSCP, the state, and the compulsory rituals we are expected to assimilate to. The trajectory of these ideological temperaments are mediated by the institutions–capital, schools, prisons, courts, police, media, etc.–that work together to produce the spectacle which intervenes in and shapes discourse about the uses violence on behalf of an imperialist world order.
These forces in their totality must be confronted and equally opposed. Revolt is the announcement that we are aware of and outraged by the violent occupation of our lives. Revolt is a call to restructure of social life as we know it, starting with the abolition of every institution that makes itself an obstacle to our liberation.