Sub-titled “A History of Policing in Two Modes”, this essay explores the historical origin of two important functions of the police: violent exclusion and the management of society. The essay explores the origins of policing in the slave patrols of the South, presenting a brief overview of the development of police as a system intended to implement racialized violence. The other half of the essay looks at the development of police in Great Britain, exploring the ways in which police were used to develop and discipline a newly citizen-subject in the mid-1800s. The author argues that a better understanding of policing and control will help to develop a more nuanced critique of social control, civil society, and white supremacy – with the goal of discovering more ways to intervene and disrupt mechanisms of control.
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Excerpt from Slave Patrols & Civil Servants
The police have a dual history: one of violent exclusion, one of insidious inclusion. If our opposition to the police rests only on their heritage of racism or class oppression, then we risk attacking a symptom instead of uprooting the whole. We are against the police not only for their clubs and their guns, but also for the ways they infiltrate our minds, making us citizen-cops and unwitting accomplices.