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Are all cops really bastards?

+1 vote
Does being a cop make someone a bad person? Obviously a lot of police do terrible things with their authority, but aren't there many other cops that actually help their communities by catching violent people (murderers, rapists, hard drug dealers, etc), deterring violent crime when they are physically present, and showing leniency towards otherwise nice people for minor infractions?
asked Jan 18 by anonymous
"...hard drug dealers..."

if you still think that cops can actually serve and help people, then they should going after pfizer and any other company that manufactures painkillers. Painkillers made by these companies are an enormous problem for the state that I live in, I don't see any point in embracing the police because if they want to get you, in the end it matters little how right or wrong what you were doing was. Police do more harm to people collectively than serial killers and rapists.

2 Answers

+3 votes
Good question. As far as i'm concerned, the defense of the slogan ACAB relies on a deeper and systemic reading. a) all cops are bastards because being a cop necessitates following rules and procedures that have nothing to do with helping people, even if that's their justification. that doesn't mean that every second of every day, cops only do bad things. b) cops are not just the people paid by the state to be cops, they're also the people who follow rules and procedures of other dogmatic sorts (not just the state's), so anyone can be that kind of a cop, including anarchists, and so we want to "kill the cop in our head" (a May, 1968 slogan from paris).

i know some cops who've been very nice in the moment to me. But in general they are forced by the system and by each other (among other things) to be horrible to people who are not cops.

there's also the reality that having specialists for dealing with the most violent and deceitful groups of people is inherently destructive to that band of specialists. i did a ride along decades ago with a cop who could only see me as a victim, because he saw me as a nice white person, and he only saw those in his job when they had been victimized. so that will make people be bastards too...

on the other hand, as with all slogans, there will always be people who take them at their most simplistic and moralist (cops bad/non-cops good style).
answered Jan 18 by dot (52,010 points)
Was basically going to say the same and put in that not all cops are born out of wedlock :-D
I would add to this that cops might be very good people outside of their role as cops. Loving and nurturing parents, supportive members of their community, interesting and funny, even. But the role of wearing the badge and enforcing the dictates of the state is, as dot said, what makes them all bastards (yes, all).

Funny story, I was at an anarchist assembly a couple years ago when a participant brought up ACAB, handing out a flyer to the rest of us and suggested that anarchists consider the emotional impact of calling cops bastards, as her children were born out of wedlock and, thus, bastards. She suggested we replace "bastards" with "bad." I've met her children, they are bastards.
Lol, she sounds incredibly liberal...if attacking the douschey nature of cops entails so many self-imposed rules and restrictions, then why do it at all?! I mean overall i added that children born out of wedlock thing as a joke because the way people use "bastards" now adays has absolutely nothing to do with christian europe. Nobody gives a shit if you are born out of wedlock anymore lol.
+2 votes
Yeah, I think the genius of the slogan is that it is not hyperbole; it asks the person hearing it to reconsider the seeming exceptions. It addresses a person who already knows how the vast majority of cops behave towards them, and reminds that person to think: after all, how would the one "nice" cop I have met deal with someone more vulnerable, or more badly behaved, or even just with someone more assertive? Or: in the moment that they seemed to have helped me, how was I actually helping them? I think it implies an analysis of the structure/purpose of policing, while insisting that the structurally coercive nature of policing really is instantiated in each specific officer, whether you're in a position to easily see this or no.
answered Jan 30 by asker (8,110 points)
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