Policing is a Counter-Insurgency Force at War with the People
It’s taken me a little while to see our current politics, including the “trial” of Derek Chauvin, in the macro historical view, but now that I have, I can’t go back.
It goes like this: Territorial conquest in the U.S. was legitimized by the self-serving racist “Discovery Doctrine” (1493, and upheld U.S. Supreme Court 1823) wherein white, European, Christian, land-owning men were “human” or “favored by [their] God” and everyone else, non-white, non European, non-Christian, non-landowning, non-men, were dehumanized into animals. Therefore what all those non-human people have (land, food, love, community, bonds with others, freedom, and even life) is available for the taking by said, so-called human, white men.
These white men also wrote their own story, called “the western canon,” a narrative in which they describe the heroic subjugation and domination of their antagonists, nature and everyone else. We still hear this story around the water-cooler today.
Their domination was called “civilization” as if no other civilizations existed or could be accomplished by any other means than through genocide and continual violent suppression.
In the colonized U.S., rich white landowners employed poorer white mercenaries to terrorize, kill, and dislocate Indigenous People to acquire territory. Rich white landowners employed poorer whites to kidnap, enslave, torture, and murder Black People to serve as forced labor in the colonial project. Rich white landowners employed poorer white media people to lure poor white, Asian, Central and South America people as well as other people from ravaged economies to glut an exploitable labor force for the purpose of personal wealth accumulation in the colonial expansion.
Through our history, mercenaries, of which police are a part, killed, raped, and terrorized human beings either explicitly (People of Color, Indigenous People, or “labor”) or implicitly (“good” white people). In this way, violence, and policing, is used to divide the population into two essential groups, those terrorized by explicit violence and those terrorized by implicit violence.
This division keeps the population focused on the other rather than the lawgivers directing the violence, like the Discovery Doctrine, to advantage rich, white men.
Capitalism is an invented hierarchy of human value measured by ownership and control of resources, including human beings. Capitalists are today called “stakeholders,” meaning that they have a “stake” ie, ownership and therefore control of the owned. Having a “stake” is considered worthy and good. You have a stake in the civilization of domination because you have reaped some of the fruits of that domination (at the expense of others).
By appearance, this means that there are stakeholders and non-stakeholders. Non-stakeholders have no claim. Without a “stake” and investment in “civilization,” non-stakeholders are a destructive force to the story of civilization positioned by the above, landed, white men. Non-stakeholders are “bad.”
Non-stakeholders, not sharing in the “fruits” of domination, are targeted as “bad” because they are not psychologically disposed to support the principles of domination. The “bad” needn’t resolve their cognitive dissonance with “confirmation bias” like the “good” must.
“Non-stakeholder” is an idea that comes from an ideology of ownership.
Within an ideology of ownership, this idea of non-stakeholder comes to mean a lack of “claim” to life itself. If you own, you have value, and if you don’t, you don’t have value. Material ownership, accomplished through the domination of others, describes human value, not life itself or, say, believing in the equal treatment of all. Human life is not equal. Property denotes a human hierarchy based on unequal value. Capitalism expounds an ideology of inequality of human beings.
The two kinds of “stakeholders”
Within “stakeholders” there are individuals or groups who have a “controlling interest,” over 50% and all the rest, with a “minority interest,” who are just along for the ride. Those with a controlling interest are at the top and those along for the ride are the buffer between those with control and those who have no material stake, non-stakeholders. This minority interest stakeholder group has been called “the middle class.” I’ll call them petty-stakeholders.
Those with a “controlling interest” are able to direct policies to their own advantage with the money they have, insuring they’ll have even more money in a proverbial snowball. In regard to the larger political system, landed white men, “stakeholders” with controlling interests have made the rules of the system to their own advantage, through taxation, interest from loans and Bonds, and the “market.”
In the popular phrase, “Divide and Rule,” this is the “rule.” Control of “rule making” is essential for maintaining control and insuring profits and continued growth. There are two types of Rules:
- Rent Seeking: tribute and other financial advantage for those who already own. Rent Seeking is both abstract and distal.
- Create Conflict: define groups and frame conflict within the population by bestowing carrots and sticks, rewards and punishments. (We’ll note that the oligarchical anti-social behavior of “rent seeking” will neither be “framed” nor criminalized. Instead it is normalized and even suggested to be “pro-social.”)
Control of the rules keeps the oligarchs on top, and can be understood in the financial con game called, “Rent Seeking.” In the Rent Seeking Con, those below must pay those on top for the opportunity to rise. In “Rent Seeking” those who desire to rise will find the top always evaporating into the distance, like a mirage.
We might see that the con of rent seeking is predicated on the idea of the right to “stake a claim” to “territory,” manufactured by the inequality of human beings built into the Discovery Doctrine. Historically, oligarchs only topple by way of violent mass revolution, however, given control of “rule making” new rent-seeking oligarchs, the Robber Barons, Joseph Stalin, Jeff Bezos, arise.
Three Classes: Appreciating, Depreciating, and Depreciated
Those few who can gain advantage through “rent-seeking” we can call the “appreciating class.” They are able to manipulate rules so that they achieve an exponential advantage over all others. Those who can’t vie for an equal advantage are part of a “depreciating class.” No matter how far they rise or fall on the hierarchy of value, relative to those on top collecting rent, they are going down. And lastly there are those who never had a “stake” or have been conned of their “stake,” who are “depreciated.”
Along with the demand for “tribute” the oligarchs must divide the petty-stakeholders who are “depreciating” from the non-stakeholders, the “depreciated” class.
Because of the human propensity to focus on “framed struggle” a residual effect of evolutionary biology, we are easily duped into focusing on a “proximal” conflict in which there seems to be clear “ winning and losing.” Focused on the proximal (often by media) and concrete means we lose sight of the distal and abstract issue of Rent Seeking, which is also more mathematically complex.
For example, we are fascinated with the turn of the roulette wheel. We don’t realize that statistically our best outcome would be to play red all our lives (which we won’t). Even then our odds of breaking even are only 47.6% (in American Roulette). We will come out behind because of that one little green zero and if that wasn’t enough, an added double zero.
I think that we lose because of what is there and doesn’t exist simultaneously, the zeros, is a miraculous metaphor that describes the oligarchical advantage, which is there but seems not to exist simultaneously! telling. Power is a result of percentages.
If, by some miracle of chance, we do come out another rung up in the depreciating class, it’s only because we got out of the game (died) before we went under — but our progeny, if they continue playing the game, will go under.
Winning and Losing: Carrots and Sticks
To keep it all going, the “house” makes sure we gamblers stay fixated on winning (rewards) and losing (sticks) relative to the other gamblers.
Those rewards are also relative to the sticks, so they must, together remain potent enough to keep us interested in the game. The success of the oligarchs on top is that we remain distracted by the proximal struggle in front of us. If we lose track of this proximal struggle, we are reminded (made afraid), and unfortunately due to our evolutionary brain, we become again and again focused on the proximal and easily understood struggle.
In our society, the oligarchs keep the “petty-stakeholders” fixated on a perceived competition with the “non-stakeholders.” This is the key to the oligarchs success over the depreciating and depreciated class. And, as the oligarchs accumulate more and give less, in material rewards, the oligarchs must increase the relative abstract, emotional value of “winning” by making “losing” exceptionally unpleasant. The public torture and murder of non-stakeholders serves as an example.
Oligarchs “focused” the population on rewards and punishments with mercenary violence (policing) and stochastic (rhetorical) terrorism, ie, laws.
In Scott Wimberley’s Special Forces: Guerrilla Warfare Manual, he describes armed forces moving among the population as “armed propaganda” and part of “armed propaganda teams.” Police, in the U.S., are armed propaganda teams.
Wimberley writes that “armed propaganda teams combine political awareness building with armed propaganda.” In the case of police, they focus the attention of the population on the rewards of non-violent interaction and the punishment of violent interaction. In this, police frame a manufactured “conflict” between the petty-stakeholder and the non-stakeholder. In rhetoric this is also called framing a “false dichotomy.”
In creating this “framed conflict” they obfuscate the distal, abstract and mathematical violence of “Rent Seeking.” That false framing allows for the continuation of the far more certain but less perceptible violence of a depreciating economy as collective wealth and resources continue to be privatized in fewer and fewer hands.
As in the casino, the police create both the stick and the carrot, through implicit and explicit terror, where the stick is violent police action and the carrot is the implied terror of potential violent police action. We see this explicit terror pushed through media daily in police brutality against Black People, and we see the reward of non-violence for white people continually in an absence of violence, and as we saw in the most extreme case to date, at the Capitol Insurrection.
As Wimberly writes, “armed propaganda teams,” implicitly terrorize, because “the target population, without saying it aloud, feels terror that the weapons may be used against them.” In this, the police function as a continual, and active counter-insurgency force, suppressing the human aspiration for equality.
Through explicit terroristic acts, like the murder of George Floyd, State sponsored, armed propaganda teams perform and propagate the ruling ideology of domination. In this, policing functions as an antithesis of democracy and democratic principles.
Policing serve a top down command structure of dominator over subjugated.
Naturally, the police themselves do not see their own role as a counter-insurgency force at war with the population. They believe, as their public relation team suggests that they “Protect and Serve.” But in all ways, they are paid mercenaries who protect and serve the dominant generational, white landowning class, the oligarchs, from scrutiny. Through their studied and tactical divisiveness, they allow for the extraordinarily violent anti-social criminality of Territorial Acquisition (privatization) and Rent Seeking that has been responsible for both war, genocide, and our current racist domestic terrorism, lead by police.
We will see the oligarchs work in the “trial” of Derek Chauvin. We will watch the roulette wheel. Human beings are driven by expectation, waiting from “what will happen?” We play the game. In a divided population, as in the casino, when one member of the depreciation class wins, another loses, but so long as we keep gambling, the house always wins.
The acquittal of Derek Chauvin is assured, since that further conditions us to “learned helplessness.” Even when we all saw murder with our own eyes, they will tell us, we don’t know what we saw. That will send a powerful message about our complete subjugation. They claim domination even over our perceptions.
It also assures the reaction, riots and protests, which will be turned by racist agitators into the false dichotomy of black against white, non-stakeholders vs. petty-stakeholders, that will serve the distal, criminal oligarchs.
On the chance that Chauvin is convicted, that serves the oligarchs as well, but I wouldn’t count on it. In a time of ever increasing wealth disparity, the oligarchs need ever more violent subjugations, as we can see with the ever greater militarization of police. They are clear they are at war. Why aren’t we?