No—the Epidemic of Police Terror Is NOT a Product of Popular Demand by African-Americans

October 12, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Michael Fortner is the author of a book called The Black Silent Majority which is being hyped by the powers-that-be and their media. In an op-ed piece in the New York Times that lays out the basic message of his book, Fortner insists that the epidemic of police terror and mass incarceration—or as he puts it, “the propensity to over-police and over-imprison”—is a product, at least to a significant degree, of “African-Americans’ own hard-fought battle against the crime and violence inside their own communities.” And he explicitly argues this in opposition to the conclusion of the Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow—insisting that is “[not] the result of a white-supremacist social order.”

Reality check: Police brutality and mass incarceration are no more a result of a “hard-fought battle” by the “Black silent majority” in the African-American community than poverty, unemployment, terrible schools, lack of access to medical care or recreation, and a barrage of so-called “news” and “entertainment” that demonizes Black people as “thugs.” None of these things are a response to public demand. And ALL these things, including police brutality and mass incarceration are products of and enforce a SYSTEM built on genocide and slavery, unjust wars of empire, exploitation, and oppression.

As we put it in Crime Among the People and the Police: A Revolutionary View:

There should be no “ambiguity” or “confusion” about the role of police in dealing with crime among the people. Let’s look at the actual relations here. People have been maintained forcibly in conditions where, to quote a conservative writer, Edward Luttwak, for masses of youth in the inner city, crime is a “rational choice.” Even with the risk of prison and lives cut short, crime is a “rational choice” under this system. Why? Because of the workings of this system, there are no decent jobs and there is no education for millions of Black and Latino people in the inner cities, there is forced segregation to this day, and there are forced conditions of poverty. There is absolutely no justification for bringing down violence on people who have been forcibly kept in this position in their millions and millions for generations.

Which side are you on?



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