DEFUNDING THE POLICE, PRO AND CON
This blog makes five arguments that will be developed in subsequent posts:
- Conventional policing fulfills many types of important positive social functions, as well as some less socially and perhaps even personally dubious ones. Certainly after George Floyd’s killing policing requires serious rethinking and reform. The five very different components of policing need to be considered individually. The whole has very different parts; the parts often contradict each other.
- Uniform one-size-fits-all reforms, such as totally defunding whole police departments, are inappropriate, considering the five different functions the police now perform. They require careful attention, reflected in varied approaches to the allocation of budgetary funds. in which the constructive involvement of the police themselves is important.
- Violence is appearing with increasing frequency on the streets and public places of our cities, reflecting deep divisions in our societies. The need for rethinking of institutional relationships between residents and police may also be required, if majoritarian democracy is to be preserved.
- Police reforms are increasingly vital out of direct self interest, not only for the classic victims of racism, disproportionally black and minority, but also for the presumably safer white majority. The context are the changes taking place at the global and national as well as local levels, with an organized violence–susceptible political right not committed to majoritarian democratic values. The future of the majority as well as of all minorities is at stake in resolving issues of policing today.
- A rethought and reformed police must be affirmatively involved with the peaceful majority in finding solutions to problems in maintaining a just and peaceful society. The solutions must be crafted so that the police are not “others” whose conduct must be controlled, but “partners” on the side of all seeking peaceful solutions to common problems, racism high among them.
The police need both adequate funding, and restraint. Increasingly the majority of civilians need a constructive police. The class position of the police, sharing both, must be thought through.
Further thoughts along these lines are in formulation and will be posted.