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Society Without Police?

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by Left Coast, Apr 17, 2021.

  1. Left Coast

    Left Coast Happy Spring!
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    Some folks on the Left are calling for complete abolition of police. If that's your position, how would that actually work on a practical level? Would we have no job or position in society responsible for law enforcement? For apprehending criminals? For protecting victims of crime?

    I don't see how society would function without such things. So if we abolish police, we're just going to have to replace them with people who do the same work and go by another name. Right?
     
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  2. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    I'm not advocating to get rid of the police, at least not immediately. But on who is going to do the work, that would be everyone. As the other name I'd suggest "citizen".
     
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  3. Left Coast

    Left Coast Happy Spring!
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    The issue is, "everyone" doesn't have the time or training or ability to do police work. No one should trust me to apprehend a dangerous criminal who is on the loose, for example.

    So how would it work on a practical level? Someone is breaking into my house. What do I do? Someone is driving dangerously on the road. Who do I call?
     
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  4. joe1776

    joe1776 Well-Known Member

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    I lean about as far left (progressive) as anyone; but there are progressive ideas I hear sometimes that are head-shakers. They make no sense. This is one of them.

    We need trained people to maintain a safe environment. They should be well-trained and subject to stringent oversight in order to prevent abuses of power.
     
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  5. Regiomontanus

    Regiomontanus άντρας των αστεριών

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    I can see that working, to some extent, out in the sticks like where Iive in Pennsylvania because you pretty much know everyone and there is not much going on (OK, some weed growing in cornfields and an occasional meth lab exploding LOL). But I don't know about in the cities.
     
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  6. Isolde Schulz

    Isolde Schulz Member

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    It's a keen observation that they'd need to go by a different name, but likely true.
    Anarchy is an ideal whose time has not yet come, given the chaos of modern society.
     
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  7. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    Law enforcement is absolutely necessary in a society where one is supposed to feel safe.
    The only requirement is that it has to deal with skilled people who learn how to use force.
     
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  8. Kooky

    Kooky Freedom from Sanity

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    The job of capitalist police forces go far, far, far beyond the simple enforcement of laws.
     
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  9. Orbit

    Orbit I'm a planet

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    When they say "defund the police" what they are talking about is to re-allocate the city budget to prioritize social services that prevent crime in the first place, instead of giving huge budgets to police departments who just use it to buy military equipment.
     
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  10. Kooky

    Kooky Freedom from Sanity

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    There is really no reason why the numerous tasks that have congealed under the umbrella "police work" absolutely, positively have to all be done by a single organization with the same legal powers and the same attitude towards problem solving.
    • Neighborhood disputes could be resolved by teams of specialized mediators trained in de-escalation techniques.
    • Drug crimes and mental health incidents should absolutely be responded to by social workers and psychologists who know how to deal with such cases.
    • Petty criminals typically don't need to be handled by armed personnel, either, and so can be apprehended by trusted folk who then just send them over to be processed by the judicial system.
    • Fraud and other white collar crimes are already so distinct from regular police work that it would arguably make more sense to have a specialized organisation handling these cases, instead of conducting them under the umbrella of regular police work.
    • Standing guard over Neonazis and beating up BLM and Antifa protesters could probably be outsourced to bands of criminal thugs at a fraction of the budget a mid-sized police department would demand, if you'd absolutely have to have that kind of police work in the first place.
    Homicide, violent and organized crime are probably the only areas where the notion of an organization of armed investigators would still have merit - but the former two categories constitute only a fraction of everyday police work, and in the latter case, regular police is arguably more likely to be in their pocket than to conduct serious investigations there.
     
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  11. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    I don't think the police should be abolished - or even defunded. But I think measures could be taken to make them more accountable. The people are supposed to rule the government, not the other way around. A change in philosophy might be needed - or at least a return to the idea that we are a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

    Another thing that we can do is reduce the number of laws, as well as the kinds of things police are made to do. We have far too many laws in this country, particularly when it comes to victimless crimes.

    I don't think we need to get rid of the police. We just need to get rid of the lawyers.
     
  12. Left Coast

    Left Coast Happy Spring!
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    I'm aware of that. I've seen more explicit calls for complete abolition of police. "Police cannot be reformed" expresses similar sentiment.
     
  13. Left Coast

    Left Coast Happy Spring!
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    Not sure what capitalism has to do with it. Every non-capitalist country I'm aware of has some type of police force.
     
  14. Kooky

    Kooky Freedom from Sanity

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    Police qua police arose in the 18th and 19th century, due to the need of early industrial capitalism.

    The increase of urban working class populations, and increased wealth of the capitalist class, demanded a force that was, on one hand, capable of keeping the unruly masses of working people in check with carefully applied violence - for example, by breaking up protests and strikes, "keeping the order" if you will - and on the other hand was capable of protecting the property of the moneyed elite against those same masses. Some of the earliest Western police forces were formed specifically to protect the properties of merchants and business owners, and to clamp down on theft, smuggling, and general property crimes.
     
    #14 Kooky, Apr 17, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
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  15. Estro Felino

    Estro Felino Believer in free will
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    That's what I meant. It has to change.:)
     
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  16. Conscious thoughts

    Conscious thoughts Veteran Member

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    Personally i believe we do need some form of police, but how it should be done in the best way is difficult to say.
     
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  17. Orbit

    Orbit I'm a planet

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    Police abolitionists want to do the same thing, just with different end-goals. Any radical idea is essentially utopian, so the fact that it's not practical is kind of a given.
     
  18. Orbit

    Orbit I'm a planet

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    In the US, the origin of the police can be traced back to runaway slave patrols.
     
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  19. Left Coast

    Left Coast Happy Spring!
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    Those things are true, although policing has earlier roots as well. Societies have needed people to enforce laws and protect their citizens from criminals for millennia. And again, I'm aware of no non-capitalist country that has no form of police force today.
     
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  20. Left Coast

    Left Coast Happy Spring!
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    Call me a pragmatist, then, I guess. :shrug:
     
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