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Can we please stop being surprised about police violence?!

In the past days various videos of police violence in Düsseldorf, Ingelheim, Frankfurt, Freiburg, Hannover and Hamburg went viral on social media. Many people were appalled or even surprised by the violent actions of German cops…

Published by Enough 14. Written by Riot Turtle.

  • The cops are the ones who stand between empty stomachs and dumpster diving from supermarket containers.
  • The cops are the ones that stand between empty buildings and homeless people.
  • The cops are the ones that target people of color with racial profiling operations.
  • The cops are the ones that knock on the doors of migrants in the middle of the night to deport them.
  • The cops are the ones who protect climate killers like RWE against people who protest for climate justice.

The cops are the ones that violently defend a racist and violent capitalist order.

And yet, many people seem to be appalled, or even surprised when they watch videos of police violence on social media. A structural violent order needs police forces to maintain its power. Without the police homeless people would move into empty buildings, people would stop climate killers from destroying the planet and people would not accept to be deported to war zones.

Its not surprising that youths in Stuttgart (Germany), The Hague and Utrecht (both Netherlands) started to riot. While people like Adel B. got killed by cops in Essen (Germany), others were burned while in police custody, like Oury Jalloh, and many people of color are again and again targeted during racial profiling operations, many (white) middle class people turn a blind eye and look the other way. And so they are surprised about police violence when they are confronted with videos on social media, shocked when people start to riot…

The rift between the rich and the poor continues to grow and beneath the surface things start to boil more and more. New police laws and the increasing militarization of police forces show that our rulers are preparing for conflicts that are inevitable when the racist capitalist order wants to maintain power. In other words: while the capitalist order is preparing for conflict, many people are still thinking they can change things with “ritual” protests. Scandalizing police violence might be useful from a tactical point of view in certain situations, but its important to add information about what role the police actually have in society: the protector of a racist capitalist order.

The militarization of the police is not an aberration—it is the necessary condition of a society based on hierarchy and domination. It is not just the police that have been militarized, but our entire way of life. Anyone who does not see this is not living on the business end of the guns. These are the forces of peace and justice, the mechanisms that “keep the peace” in a dramatically imbalanced social order.


Apart from the fact that the capitalist order is preparing, we also should have in mind that the far-right is also preparing for conflict. Again and again arms and ammo of military and police are “missing” and sometimes found during raids against far-right activists. Large parts of the so-called German left abandoned autonomous struggles and started to create alliances with “social-democrats” and others. With the SPD (social democrats) in the federal government, the fascization of German society is increasing more and more. Do people really think they can stop this kind of developments with whistles on an “anti-fascist” gathering in an alliance with the SPD and sometimes even the CDU (Cristian Democrats, conservatives)? The parties that are responsible for tens of thousands of deaths on the EU borders, a racist deportation regime and daily racial profiling operations? They are not our comrades.

Almost al movements that achieved something used a diversity of tactics. The anti-nuclear energy movement in Germany, to a certain point the squatters movement and many other social movements. The fierce battles of autonomous anti-fascists with fascists and the police in Dresden did more harm to the anual demo of European fascists in Saxony than the whistles on many peaceful counter protests across Germany. The battles had a demobilizing effect on the annual fascist demo. The slogan “Wir sind Mehr” (“We are more”) gives a good feeling, but it won’t defeat fascism. We need to get back to the diversity of tactics if we want to change things. That doesn’t mean that there should be no room for nonviolent action, but it would be a part of a diversity of tactics. Not a dogma imposed by liberals.

Within a struggle that uses a diversity of tactics, there is room for those who prefer peaceful methods as long as they do not try to write the rules for the entire movement, as long as they do not collaborate with the police and the other structures of power, and as long as they accept that other people in the struggle are going to use other methods, according to their situation and their preferences. It would also help if they acknowledged the historical failings of nonviolence, but that is only their concern if they wish to develop effective nonviolent methods that must actually be taken seriously, as contrasted with the hollow, comfortable forms of nonviolence that have predominated in the last decades.

Peter Gelderloos, The Failure of Nonviolence

At the moment our rulers are more afraid for the kids in Stuttgart, than for those who are working in the typical so-called left alliances. The state knows what developed out of the revolt in the French banlieus in 2005. Again and again cops have to retreat from the banlieus, and more and more people got politicized over the years. The Gilets Jaunes devoloped into a serious threat for Macron in 2018. One of the (many) reasons was the battle experience of activists from the Banlieus. Most people in the suburbs of Stuttgart, Paris, The Hague and Minneapolis are not living in “Happyland” [1]. They have experienced (racist) police violence and are not willing to confront these militarized cops with a whistle. Simply because they are not naive and are not taking the streets for a ritual protest. They resist.

Video from Stuttgart: A cop is kneeling on somebody, somebody else kicks away the cop

Tweet says: The only way to cope with the increasing #policeviolence in Germany is to fight against it together. Scenes like in the last days must not remain unanswered. Help if you see something like this. There will be no consequences from politicians.

The police always used violence to protect the powers that be and they will continue to do so. Therefore its useless to reduce our demands to defund the police, or to install “independent” organisations to investigate police violence. What we need to understand is that we have to abolish the police. Instead of wrinkling our nose when we speak about the revolting youth in Stuttgart or the Hague, we need to support their struggle. In Paris antifa activists went into the suburbs and started to support people there in various ways. We could spread our knowledge about repression, police tactics and the function of the police as an institution. But also our knowledge about the tactics on the streets used in Chile, Hong Kong, Portland and other places. But we need to understand that we are not the ones who tell the revolting youth what to do. We need to communicate on eye level with each other.

In the end we have to get rid of not only the police, but also the racist capitalist order. To achieve that a lot has to be done. One of the very first steps could be to understand that liberals and social democrats are not our accomplices. We have to make clear that we are not interested in reforms. We are enganging in nothing less than a revolutionary project. A new world against the hierarchic capitalist order is emerging, let’s fight for it, so it can grow on the ashes of the old world.

The police are the enforcers of capitalist property laws and social relations. As long as private property, the state, and all other hierarchies intrinsic to capitalism remain intact, the police will be necessary to maintain those relationships. At the same time, we cannot simply pull out the rug from underneath our feet. Eliminating capitalism from our world will require a cooperative effort like we have never seen before. It is up to us to build the consciousness, institutions, networks, and alternative economic models that we need in order to rid ourselves of the tyranny of capitalist social relationships once and for all.

Black Rose/Rosa Negra NYC, The Necessity of Abolishing the Police and Capitalism

Riot Turtle, August 19, 2020


[1] In Happyland, intention and effect do not form a causal chain and have – if at all – very little to do with each other. The Happyländer decides when and how what is said reaches the recipient, how it feels or has to feel. “I didn’t mean it that way, so you don’t have to be so offended.”And since the R-word is so morally burdened and means racism = bad person, it is also a serious insult for the Happyländer to be accused of racism: a high treason against everything the Happyländer believes in and has learned.

Further Reading: Know Your Enemy, #NoG20 Edition – Protest Policing in Germany:

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