Check it out:

Occupied Territory, by Simon Balto



Occupied Territory: Policing Black Chicago from Red Summer to Black Power (Justice, Power, and Politics) is an important new book well worth checking out.  This book covers in depth the history of policing in the city of Chicago.  Simon Balto makes clear in telling detail and with analytical rigor how from its inception through every stage of its existence the Chicago PD has principally existed to control certain populations (European immigrants in the late 1800s, then beginning at the turn of the century Black people in particular), to repress political activity that took on the power structure, and to control, regulate and channel crime (rather than stop it) to serve those mechanisms of social oppression.  He shows the incredible violence this has entailed against Black people in particular, how even sincere efforts at “police reform” actually served to increase state violence against Black people, and how the police in particular went after the Communist Party in the 1930s and then the Black Panther Party in the 1960s.  It is in covering the crucial 50 years between 1919 and 1969 where Balto’s work is most valuable.  There are things to probe more deeply and things to disagree with in some of Balto’s conclusions and ideas on where to go and perhaps in some of how he analyzes the era of mass incarceration, but these are very secondary to the valuable historical exposure and analysis at the heart of the book. 




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