Originally aired on The Final Straw.
A corrections officer who listens to the Final Straw broadcast religiously once told me that correctional officers are part of the 99%. You know, the 99%, that broad majority that Occupy brilliantly claimed to represent in contrast to the privileged 1%. This corrections officer made a very similar argument to the one presented by Ass-Clown, lead singer of the poser band, Green Douche. Billy Joe class traitor said police are part of the 99%.
In one sense, this is seemingly true. Cops and guards are union members. They make a wage for their labor. They live on the same streets as teachers and plumbers and sanitation workers. None of them live in lavish homes in gated communities along with the world’s ruling elite. Cops and guards, by this standard are working stiffs like everyone else.
Except they’re not.
Look, to some greater or lesser degree, we all keep the slavery system running. All of us. I get that. We’re all plugged in, forced to drag stones up the side of the pyramid for food rewards. We all work and shop and die. The system, in that sense, has all of us hugging our own chains and digging our own graves, whether we like it or not. There’s just no getting around it.
But in the case of cops and guards, we’re dealing with a special case of keeping the system going, one that trumps their union membership and their wage-labor class identifications. While cops and guards might be economically part of the 99%, they are also openly and unapologetically waving pom-poms for the 1%.
Some necessary history here: Police didn’t exist in the U.S. until the Fugitive Slave Act. With the advent of slave laws, private groups largely composed of Klansmen chased down escaped slaves and returned them to their slavemasters, serving the profit margins of the land-owning 1%, the aristocracy, at the expense of the poor and desperate and enslaved. The word “cop” comes from the latin “capere,” which means “to catch” or “to capture.” These vigilante Klan groups were incorporated into public jobs as police, serving the interests of the wealthy, privileged 1%.
At the end of slavery, prisons became the new plantations and the prison boom was accompanied by a boom in prison jobs. Where police arose from slave catchers, guards arose from slave managers. The prison employed the same element of poor whites who used to crack the whip on the plantations.
So, from the beginning, the role of the cop and the guard is to betray their economic class in order to serve the ruling 1%. This explains why cops, who themselves are unionized, are often sent to crack the skulls of striking workers. It explains how a union hero like Joe Hill was arrested by cops and executed by prison guards, whose true loyalties are to the privileged and the wealthy.
But cops and guards don’t just betray their economic class, they betray themselves. The unions of both cops and guards willingly abide by “no strike” clauses, where they agree not to employ the only real leverage that workers have. In agreeing to never strike, cops’ and guards’ unions put the interests of the State above the interests of the cops and guards, and the cops and guards go along with it. This means cops and guards would rather take pay cuts and take food out of the mouths of their children, eliminate their own kids’ college opportunities, than inconvenience the State and the oligarchy that the State serves.
That’s just pathetic. As a consequence of their spineless surrender in the interests of the 1%, prison guards in Ohio sit on their hands while the governor privatizes more and more of their jobs, chopping away at their union numbers while their former co-workers take jobs at half the pay-rate. This continues until soon the State can completely crush the union by mass-privatizing– and still the guards won’t strike.
They love their slavemasters more than they love their own kids.
Where real members of the 99% say, “Give us justice or we’ll go on strike,” cops and guards say, “Give us justice, or we’ll go to work really, really sad.”
Their worship of the State prevents them from acting in their own self-interests, unlike all other workers who are part of the 99%.
Even now, on the verge of having their unions dismantled, the vast majority of them facing an eventual 50% pay-cut, they still won’t wildcat strike and exercise the power of worker solidarity. They would rather be reduced to crumbs while the State maintains its repression complexes on the cheap. Their surrender of their own interests affords the State the luxury of maintaining a sprawling complex, keeping millions locked up for decades, including me. It facilitates a lot of terrible consequences for all of us.
If cops and guards really want to be part of the 99%, they should go on strike. They could wildcat strike today and stick it to the State and their corrupt union leadership that sells them out at every turn. That would be the beginning, anyway, of renouncing their allegiance to the 1%.
Better yet, they could quit their jobs and convince everyone working with them to quit too. That would be an even better beginning.
Then they won’t be acting as our enemy, forcing us to take them out when the next rebellion comes. But if they don’t strike, and they don’t quit, they’re legitimate targets.
This is anarchist prisoner S… S…. from somewhere inside the American torture complex. If you’re listening, you ARE the resistance…