We Are All Jaywalkers
<table><tr><td>From <a href="http://arcticcirclecollective.info">Arctic Circle Collective</a>
On Monday afternoon, June 14th, Seattle cop Ian Walsh began harassing multiple young people attempting to cross the Martin Luther King Jr. Way without permission. When two of the youth, both black women, refused to become passive victims of his verbal and then physical aggression, he responded by punching one of them in the face and then arresting both. (<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_P5jOoDDbI">Video here</a>.)
Of course, no one is surprised. Everyone remembers the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-aCVrG-M_0">recent stomping</a> of a handcuffed Latino man by a white Seattle cop proclaiming, “I’m going to kick the Mexican piss out of you, homie.” Or the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/17/aiyana-jones-7-year-old-s_n_578... of 7 year-old Aiyana Jones</a>, shot in the neck by the heavily armed Detroit police in her own home. Or <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ToVlIXLqk4">the beating of 15-year-old Malika Calhoun</a> in a holding cell in November 2009 by Paul Schene—a cop who had shot and killed previously. Or the <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Tmh9B8LVxM">public summary execution of Oscar Grant</a> in Oakland, 2008.</td><td><img title="I am not surprised. Not even a little bit." src="files/pictures/2008/encircled.jpg"></td></tr></table><!--break-->
And the list goes on. These specific events all have two traits in common. First, all of these police attacks were captured on tape by witnesses. The mainstream media try to ignore or downplay police violence whenever possible. (Consider how, for example, the front page of the Seattle Times on Wednesday displays two freeze frames of the above video that create the illusion that the victim of Walsh's attack actually threw a first punch.) When the police are caught red-handed, even the generally complicit mainstream media must show the cops doing what they always do, lest their legitimacy as news sources be challenged by the decentralized distribution of video websites. Second, all of these victims of the police were attacked for petty refusals of authority, or for no apparent reason at all. In an <a href="http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2012122660_coppunch16m.h... to justify Walsh's attack</a>, a police spokesperson describes the <em>jaywalking</em> as “potentially explosive,” with “verbally hostile” people present. He goes on to explain that police are trained to punch people in such situations. The president of the Seattle Police Officers’ Guild has stated that he sees nothing wrong in Walsh’s attack.
Representatives of power see "nothing wrong" here because these well-known instances of police violence are not examples of bad cops acting out of line. These are undeniable glimpses of the <em>entirely normal</em> violence we are all subjected to everyday, albeit in more subtle forms. <em>We are all jaywalkers</em>, literally and figuratively. Like a pedestrian disobeying a traffic signal, a growing number of people are realizing we can all take better care of ourselves and our communities than any politician, manager, landlord, judge, or other type of social manager can. That people might move to break authority’s stranglehold and wrest away their lives is unacceptable to power, so we find that our very existence is criminal; subject to revocation under the lock of a jail or the glock of a cop. This system <em>is</em> violence, and cops are its enforcers—brutal by design.
Authority is raising the stakes: in at least three states it is <a href="http://gizmodo.com/5553765/are-cameras-the-new-guns">now illegal to make any recording of an on-duty cop</a>. We must act now to destroy coercive authority in its entirety, including the police. There is no hope for change in the political shuffling that follows each media scandal. A new mayor offers a new police chief; the reform is as meaningless as waiting for the light to give one permission to use the crosswalk. We want instead the simultaneous creation of autonomous communities and destruction of the current social order. We find inspiration in the joy and rage of <a href="http://news.infoshop.org/article.php?story=2009010801341349">uprisings in Oakland 2008</a>, the <a href="http://www.crimethinc.com/blog/2008/12/20/greece-and-the-insurrections-t... insurrection of Greece 2008</a>, and the <a href="http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/03/31/18643470.php">movements in Portland 2009</a>, when people responding to killings by police demonstrated that the streets are ours to do whatever we want with, and chunks of crosswalk make for beautiful projectiles.
Police are only held accountable when people get out of control. This is incidental, though, because we don't want <em>accountable police</em>. We want <em>no police at all</em>. Getting out of control is our means and our end.
Fuck the police!
<a href="http://arcticcirclecollective.info">Arctic Circle Collective</a>