Revolution vs. Rationalization ~ Willis Gordon

by Horror Sleaze Trash on November 5, 2014

Willis7

Revolution vs. Rationalization
(The Militarization of the Police and The Death of Rebellion)

Willis Gordon

I was writing this to be presented to a crowd of high brow poets and writers in the aftermath of the Brooklyn Book Festival, so I started reading up on my classic poets and philosophers considering my audience, and found myself revisiting my favorite English Philosophers to get a handle on some of America’s current events. One of these sages, the Philosopher Jagger once said in 1968 that “in sleepy London town there’s just no place for a street fighting man”

That was 44 years ago. The sleepy London Town is now the entire American landscape, and the street fighting man has not been displaced by some massively oppressive police force, totalitarian government, private death squad or even overfunded espionage tactics. It was us. We are so afraid of true revolution or even change that we have conditioned ourselves to shrink back from any indication of it. Our intrepid philosopher goes on to say that “where I live the game to play is compromise solution” in these darkening days we’ll be lucky if we get that.

The most visceral evidence of this has been the aggressive, blatant, and mostly unnoticed Militarization of the Police. People criticized Boston PD when they rolled out armored vehicles and SWAT teams in the wake of the Boston Bombing of 2013, but there happened to be a clear and present threat to the security of the city. I remember because I was there. The feeling of unrest, of panic, that dizzying discomfort of sitting in a chair with one leg that’s just too short. Fast forward to Ferguson in 2014. Tear gas, Molotov Cocktails, riot gear, assault rifles trained on unarmed civilians, rubber bullets fired into crowds that included children…All this because yet another policeman murdered yet another unarmed young black man in the street and gave no real answers and made no real effort to rectify the situation. The people of Ferguson, to their credit, were having none of it. Peaceful protests were met with armed officers and things escalated into all out madness in the streets. The eyes of the nation were fixed on Ferguson, and what did we see?

“Those people need to stop making trouble”

“Why would you loot from your own community? How stupid.”

“How come when a white person gets killed by the cops it never makes the news?”

“I wish they’d stop making this a race issue”

 

No one wonders why the police department is armed well enough to march into Fallujah, or why they’re pointing loaded weapons at unarmed civilians, or why a town like Ferguson needs armored vehicles and tanks in the first place. We don’t blink because they’re the police. The uniform represents authority and no one here wants to rock the boat. As not only a citizen of this country, but a veteran of the “War on Terror” I find it absolutely disgusting that the organization meant to “protect and serve” private citizens is being giving War Machines designed to maim and kill and drive people into caves.

 

In January of this year the Pentagon gave away 13,000 armored trucks. 13,000 trucks each worth $500,000 out the gate. One of the departments that snapped one up was the Ohio State University Campus police in my home state.

MRAP vehicles are also being given away to people who don’t even remotely need one. In High Springs, Florida the police department received one of these Christmas Presents and can you guess how many officers are on the force there?

12.

Not only are these men using military equipment, but they don’t have the military training to use it in the first place. The more I talk to police the more I find them discontent with the way things are run. Officers instructing firearms classes who have never been in a live-fire situation, desk jockeys who happen to have a hard-on for violence and noise. The saltier cops who have been on the beat (and more likely to be streetwise and rational) are slower to be promoted, and like anywhere office politics rules the day. It is almost a universal truth that military veterans are consistently disappointed with “more of the same” in their jobs as cops. A lot of the police know there is a deep and troubling flaw in our system, and a vast number of citizens know it too, so why are we all so goddamned mousy and quiet about it?

Where is our sense of pride? The fire in our bellies that allows us to join together and rise up against forces we know to be a threat to all that is good in the world? It has been extinguished by years of subversion and cowardice.

Rebellion has to be appropriated by Hollywood to look like James Dean or Steve McQueen, all leather jackets, sunglasses and engine maintenance. We are so pacified by thinking that THAT is rebellion that we’ve lost the true meaning. Anyone who truly rebels against our delicate tendencies is broken, fucked, and scattered across the earth in quick succession. Rebellion isn’t a sense of being “cool” rebels hit the books before they hit the streets. We have to be well read and informed in order to take truth to power, it’s more than just posing on a silver screen or bitching about the patriarchy on social media. That is not social combat. The Great Failure of the 1960s is that we were afraid to go on. No real reward came after so much blood and sacrifice. But we can be great again, through knowledge, understanding, will power, and the strength to take no shit from anyone.

I hear too many people talk of war who have never been and will never understand what it really is. Too many of my fellow servicemen and women have seen its horrors, and the last thing we need is that military mindset and use of force here at home. We sacrificed so much so that it didn’t come to that. With Fallujah back in the hands of terrorists, and tanks rolling down suburban streets in the US, some of us ask each other “was all of it for nothing?”

So what can a poor boy do? He can read. He can take the lessons of Thoreau, of Thomas Paine, of Che Guevara, of Malcolm X, Huey Newton Aaron Swartz, Julian Assange and Muhammad Ali. He can arm himself in the best way possible; with knowledge. Understanding of facts and truth are the only way to ensure the survival of what we hold dear in this country and in every country around the world. Armed men can kill flesh, but not ideas. Ideas don’t bleed, they don’t get tired, they never surrender under any circumstance, they survive for generations and get more powerful as they go on. In order to re-evaluate how we police ourselves we must first recognize ourselves and value ourselves instead of making excuses for our oppressors. A revolution can start anywhere. In a garage, in a bedroom, in a courtroom, a library, a basement, a computer lab, a stage a boxing ring, anywhere! The time is now. Don’t post it, live it. Change takes place on concrete.

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