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Defunding the police

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Reinart der Fuchs View Post
    I think sending the right people to do the right job is a worthy spend.
    .

    To your point. A story about a mother who called for a crisis team for her 13 year old autistic son. The police came, instead, and to the surprise of no one the child got shot.

    https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5...b67602f5fd7194

    And it is so great to see that avatar and the good dude behind it.
    Last edited by Doc; 09-08-2020, 02:33 PM.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Heresiologist View Post

      Seeing as BLM is, more or less, the leading force in the protests and considering that one of the core demands is to listen and give space to people from the black community, why not just see if BLM, or any related groups, have made statements on what "Defund the Police" means?

      For instance, the BLM website offers: What defunding the police really means.

      Of course, that's pretty short and maybe left you with more questions. Well, I rather quickly found this Q&A with a Canadian BLM leader. It's got to be just as easy to find something from your home state or, at least, country.

      I also took a look at a few news/media sites and found that "Defund the police" explainers are quite popular. Searching on "Defund the police confuses me" unearthed What does 'defund the police' mean and does it have merit? from the Brookings Institute.

      For the most part, I'd say Doc's “diver[t] money from police budgets to social services budgets” is the primary message. Of course, given that BLM is not a centralized movement, and since it's not the only player on the field, there's a lot of other messages getting pushed. Of those that I've looked at I thought Campaign Zero looked interesting. Black Futures Lab, started by one the BLM founders, also looked interesting, but I couldn't find anything from them on defunding the police.

      Call me a radical lefty but you could say I am pro-BLM and pro-Defund-the-Police on principle, at least to a point. At the very least I'd like to see it get enough support that people in positions of power see a need and/or benefit to implementing some, or all, of that public safety reform most everybody else here favours. Because without a harder position to fend off, I don't see that stuff happening either.
      The lack of clarity in messaging is certainly linked to the lack of a centralized messenger. That’s one of the reasons that any grass roots movement has trouble amplifying a national or international message. It every movement has Fox (fake) News running point on all messaging.

      I support the basic sentiment, but wish we had nuance in the way we talk about it. Of course I wouldn’t sacrifice the grass roots effectiveness of BLM for centralized messaging (and I hope my support for BLM is a give ).

      I also realize it is too much to ask for nuance in today’s climate, but RdF has a great single sentence position that says more than many blowhards have said in hours of commentary.


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      • #18
        Originally posted by In_Loos_Ptokai View Post
        What I find appalling is that the basic theory of government as argued by the US Declaration of Independence and Constitution is that the power of life and death is to be strictly rationed, limited, etc. The Head of State and the Executive branch is to be constrained by constitutionality. And it is to be open to be contested. Or in other words, the power of life and death is not to be casually used.

        Fast forward to 21C and what do we see but the Executive branch using it casually, and in a highly biased manner.

        If I have any right to make any suggestions, it would be to the BLM folk to raise that issue in the courts of law and the court of public opinion. Once that has been aired, then I suspect the issue of "de-funding the police" would settle into place.
        if I knew I could get some of the veteran members out, I would have started this thread awhile ago. 🙂

        This is one solution to inconsistent messaging. The constitutional one. Of course, we know that even the constitution has become optional under Bill Barr. Having said that, it might be really revealing to have Barr’s Justice Department handle a case that confronts the unlimited power of the executive branch.

        Seriously, great to see that avatar.

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        • #19
          Checking out the info on the BLM Canada website pointed me at a Defund The Police site. There's quite a bit in there. Can't say if it's got the nuance Doc is looking for, but it sure looks like a good start.

          Elsewhere I've found that the recent protests can be seen as the latest outburst of a struggle that is at least a 100 years old. For instance, check out this paragraph:
          "Bad policing practices, a flawed justice system, unscrupulous consumer credit practices, poor or inadequate housing, high unemployment, voter suppression, and other culturally embedded forms of racial discrimination all converged to propel violent upheaval on the streets of African-American neighborhoods in American cities, north and south, east and west. And as black unrest arose, inadequately trained police officers ... entered affected neighborhoods, often worsening the violence."

          Sounds pretty topical, no? It's a summary from a recent article on the findings of the Kerner Commission of 1968. The ellipsis marks where I removed the phrase "and National Guard troops" in a, no doubt, misguided effort to make it less obvious it's about something from just over 50 years ago. Anyway, here's the article it came from: The 1968 Kerner Commission Got It Right, But Nobody Listened.

          After that I read this wider ranging article on the history of protests and the riots that seem to inevitably accompany them: The History of the Riot Report.

          I'm getting a strong sense that policy solutions for problems such as systemic racism were identified long ago. My hunch is that those many reports and recommendations (and note that Canada has a history of them, too) do not lack for nuance.

          As for inconsistent messaging, I think that is inevitable given the conditions. If it somehow didn't happen, some crazy position would be invented and that would be the yardstick to measure all others by, or it would be put forth that only a robotic horde of communists or brainwashed cultists, or fanatics, could maintain such consistency. Or something. Nothing will ever be good enough.

          Finally, when it comes to the Constitutional Gambit, I can't help but think of Rule #3 from Masha Gessen's Rules for Surviving Autocracy: Institutions Will Not Save You.
          Last edited by Heresiologist; 09-09-2020, 08:51 PM.

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          • #20
            True, Heresiologist - "Institutions Will Not Save You". But the point is, cut the (assumed) legitimacy from under their feet. At this point, the Powers That Be have the (assumed) legitimacy of their current (unexamined) status. Institutions and those running them always have that legitimacy because of their status.

            If you question their status, casting their legitimacy into doubt, you're a good part of the way there; if you prove their illegitimacy because of their (proven) bad faith interpretation of what in intended to establish their legitimacy, you start sawing away at their status and begin the first steps towards changing the situation.
            sigpic Myself as Mephistopheles (Karen Koed's painting of me, 9 Nov 2008, U of Canterbury, CHCH, NZ)

            Gold is the power of a man with a man
            And incense the power of man with God
            But myrrh is the bitter taste of death
            And the sour-sweet smell of the upturned sod,

            Nativity,
            by Peter Cape

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            • #21
              This article on the militarization of police departments seems appropriate for our conversation here.

              https://www.salon.com/2020/09/13/mil...ought-us-here/

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Heresiologist View Post
                Checking out the info on the BLM Canada website pointed me at a Defund The Police site. There's quite a bit in there. Can't say if it's got the nuance Doc is looking for, but it sure looks like a good start.

                Elsewhere I've found that the recent protests can be seen as the latest outburst of a struggle that is at least a 100 years old. For instance, check out this paragraph:
                "Bad policing practices, a flawed justice system, unscrupulous consumer credit practices, poor or inadequate housing, high unemployment, voter suppression, and other culturally embedded forms of racial discrimination all converged to propel violent upheaval on the streets of African-American neighborhoods in American cities, north and south, east and west. And as black unrest arose, inadequately trained police officers ... entered affected neighborhoods, often worsening the violence."

                CUT

                I'm getting a strong sense that policy solutions for problems such as systemic racism were identified long ago. My hunch is that those many reports and recommendations (and note that Canada has a history of them, too) do not lack for nuance.

                As for inconsistent messaging, I think that is inevitable given the conditions. If it somehow didn't happen, some crazy position would be invented and that would be the yardstick to measure all others by, or it would be put forth that only a robotic horde of communists or brainwashed cultists, or fanatics, could maintain such consistency. Or something. Nothing will ever be good enough.

                Finally, when it comes to the Constitutional Gambit, I can't help but think of Rule #3 from Masha Gessen's Rules for Surviving Autocracy: Institutions Will Not Save You.
                I’ve wanted to respond for a few days and didn’t get the time and mental space to be coherent. Haha.

                I think the idea that we’ve had effective
                policy solutions for awhile is spot-on. Courage and will have been lacking, and even LBJ’s efforts were driven by political pragmatism more than by courage and conviction.

                And the idea that nothing will ever be enough resonates with me so strongly. Much like some groups will never be “American” enough or “deserving” enough. The reflection of the constantly shifting benchmarks and raised bar for some groups is striking.

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