The police as ruin

by Arran James

Are the police policing the police? In which case, what an ironic intensification of their function. What would it mean? One policeman must arrest another for demanding what they both want, for pointing out that illgality is far removed from Criminality. Maybe there is reason to be hopeful…but there is still a feeling I can’t shake that some strange mutation is at work that doesn’t end well for those who have had enough.

I propose a new slogan for this feeling, which is the only way I can express it: Demand the inevitable, you have nothing to lose but your dreams.

Yet something radical. The cry of Sylvia Pankhurst in the summer of 1918: ‘Not the army, but the police force is the power which quells political and industrial uprisings and maintains the established fabric of British society’. Yet in splitting the police, aren’t its radical elements exposed to idenification…to all the techniques of policing?

Jacques Camatte, beloved of insurrectionary anarchists (currently en vogue), wrote that ‘waving banners, putting up posters, handing out leaflets, attacking the police are all activities which perpetuate a certain ritual – a ritual wherein the police are always cast in the role of invincible subjugators’. Having the police demonstrate alongside you undoes this casting. The production changes to one in which the police are subjugated alongside you. A dramatic shift and the drama of such a shift.

First and foremost the police are the guarantors of the reality we have constructed around us. I think there is reason to welcome their temporary mutiny from that reality. Left undefended it is malleable for a while. Or rather, it is revealed to be unworthy of such a defence.

I feel that the police’s latest mutiny- their rememberance of the common- is a symptom. It is a symptom that they don’t care any more about the future of this civilisation than the rioters of last summer. The police are noticing the hollowness of what we fabricate as our social reality, that primary school stage play, and are abandoning it. Even the gate-keepers are joining the exodus. From now on, I think all conflicts between activists and police will feel as empty as they have always been.

Their real demand is this: ‘if you want us enforce this bullshit you better pay us well’. Money, not conviction. There is no Constabulary Faith. When a policeman refuses to do his job he is not necessarily a radical or a revolutionary. He is more than that; he is an agent of ruin.