Protect and Serve (the Bourgeoisie)

Date: 25 Sept 2022

Author: Indescribled

Tags: N. America, Economics

The United States does not just have police. The United States has over-equipped, over-funded, ill-trained, and ever-growing death squads disguised as police. They tout the motto “Protect and Serve” and they are accomplishing that goal, but they lie about who they profess to protect and serve and who their actions truly benefit. The police protect the class interests of the bourgeoisie, and have done such a good job through their racist killings, union oppression, and overall repression of workers that they are being rewarded by their bourgeois overlords with a historic increase to both their funding and numbers.

It is important to remember that American police are not an entity acting on their own will — they are the domestic armed forces of the bourgeois State. The Marxist-Leninist analysis of the State can be summarized with the following three points:

The police are only one arm of the state — arising in capitalism due to the struggle between the bourgeoisie and proletariat. Due to generations of capital accumulation, the bourgeoisie have massive funding and propaganda capabilities at their fingertips to support the police - which they constantly continue to do despite the cries of the oppressed and working people. The goal of the police, and the bourgeois state, is to maintain the class struggle as long as possible for the benefit of the bourgeoisie, so they can continue living off of the blood, sweat, and tears of the proletariat. The state has a monopoly on violence and which it exerts and utilizes in various ways. Direct violence is only one way, of which the police are the main domestic perpetrator. In recent history the Black Lives Matter & George Floyd protests were met with massive police violence. While these protests were not attempting to end bourgeois rule, they were still brutally suppressed by the bourgeois state, because success could have led to further demands by the working class. At the same time; however, the state does not have to use physical violence in order to inflict pain upon the working class. A clear example would be Roe v. Wade being overturned in the United States by an unelected body of termless jurists earlier this year, which stripped away the reproductive rights of millions, and resulting in the last several months in several deaths, the unjust incarceration of many, and an unknown-but-growing number of unwanted pregnancies.. This crime against humanity is enforced by none other than the police.

When not arresting young mothers for having miscarraiges, leaving innocent people handcuffed in front of oncoming trains, or beating, harassing, and murdering random people in broad daylight, police also issue fines and tickets — the bourgeois state's favorite method of extorting the working class without outright brutality. For the already-rich, a fine is little more than a trifle. For the working and oppressed people of America, however, a fine can very easily result in a missed bill, and a spiral down the slippery slope into poverty. There are countless manners in which the state uses the police to enforce bourgeois rule; these are only a few of the most common.

Violence enacted by the police has only gotten worse over the past few years. 2021 had the most police killings out of the recent few, and 2022 is exactly on pace with 2021. At this point 2022 will likely be extremely close to, or even worse, than 2021, with over 1,000 police killings so far. The police do not “protect and serve” the working class; they protect the interests of the bourgeoisie and enforce the bourgeois dictatorship. | Data from

The state often targets minorities even more than other members of the working class. The proletariat often sees countless divisions in itself such as viewing themselves as members of the middle, upper-middle, or lower-middle class, and some of course hold backwards views, including many forms of bigotry and xenophobia. The bourgeoisie did not invent racism, nor is the bourgeoisie the reason it exists — but they do utilize it to their advantage, foment it, and use it as a wedge against proletarian unity and solidarity. The bourgeois state recognizes and amplifies such views through education and mass-media. This is why we say that none of us can be free until all of us are free, and Marx himself said that labor in the white skin cannot emancipate itself where labor in the black skin is branded

The result of the bourgeoisie amplifying bigotry, xenophobia, and racism is, in part, the current culture of hatred, exploitation, and violence. Bourgeois amplification of backwards views such as bigotry, xenophobia, and racism combined with living under capitalism — a system based on violence and exploitation — unfortunately creates conditions that perpetuate those ideas. 

Some of the most common reasons for joining the police, found in various studies across multiple years, are:

“excitement, job security, fighting crime, the prestige of the profession, and the opportunity to help people as reasons for their interest in policing careers (Lester, 1983; Foley et al., 2008; Todak, 2017)”

Based on these studies, and others, it seems that people enter the police force with what they likely view as good intentions — wanting to help people, serve society, and fight crime. Unfortunately, that is not the goal of the police in a bourgeois dictatorship. Serving society and helping people would better describe the goal of the police in a socialist state, where they are held accountable by the people. In the US today, the goal of the police is to maintain bourgeois rule, not to help people. The police were not helping Jayland Walker when they shot him 60 times and they were not helping George Floyd as they kept their knees on his neck for 8 minutes and 15 seconds. Without accountability to the people they claim to serve, any pretense of service is just that: pretense. Supreme Court rulings have routinely upheld that there is no legal requirement for police to place themselves in harm’s way, or to actually help the people they claim to be serving. In this way it becomes clear that they are little more than tools for repression, and any positive outcomes are purely by happenstance.

The impact of a system built on racism, exploitation, and violence can be seen clearly by the discrepancy between police killings of black and white people. We often hear that the police treatment is drastically different depending on who they are interacting with, and the data clearly supports this point. First, there are ZERO states where someone is more likely to be killed by the police if they are white than if they are black. Not a single one. Second, the worst states in this regard, Utah and Illinois, show that police kill black people at a rate of TEN TIMES higher than white people. Make no mistake, there should not be ANY police killings; the data shows however that not only are there over a THOUSAND killings per year, but they are also objectively racist in nature by virtue of the MASSIVE discrepancy in which communities are targeted by these death squads.

What is happening now? After massive protests following the murder of George Floyd? After nationwide calls to reduce police violence, after massive awareness of police brutality, after the horrendous police failure at Uvalde? Here is what Joe Biden proposed in his March 28, 2022 budget:

The police are getting more funding. The situation is unfortunately not going to get any better, especially as workers continue unionizing and organizing. For example, police threatened to arrest Chris Smalls, likely at the behest of Amazon management as a result of his well-known status within the labor movement and role in leading the Amazon Labor Union. An anti-communist would suggest here that workers should simply stop unionizing, should stop asking for less policing and less police violence. A police force under socialism will look entirely different than it does today, but we have to act in our current situation, as the epidemic of violence only continues to spread. Our current demands need to involve community control of the police — giving working people control oversight of policing in their communities. Full oversight — budgets, hiring, firing, access to documents, and any other possible consideration needs to be in the hands of the people. In their August 2022 article on the subject, the African American Equality Commission of the Communist Party laid out its view on this approach and how it may look in application, while also highlighting the steep fight ahead against the jackbooted running dogs of bourgeois repression—direct descendants of runaway slave patrols and the Ku Klux Klan.

“To dismantle and end the racist prison industrial complex as well as the carceral systems that enable it (which includes the police), institutions such as all-elected civilian control boards could hold real investigative and policy-making powers in their cities and communities, and have full authority over hiring and firing and the local city police budget. Community control is meant to shift the balance of power and give oppressed communities complete democratic control over public safety and hold murderous police officers accountable.”

If a police force is truly to “protect and serve” then they should answer to the working class — the proletariat — and not the bourgeoisie. We deserve a police force that actually helps the people. One of a completely different form and function than today; a socialist police force, not a state sanctioned death squad.