To Deal With Police, We Must Understand Why They Even Exist

| Podcast

The recent protests across the country following the murder of George Floyd have elevated the demands to defund and abolish the police. This comes on the heels of the nationwide resurgence of a movement for community control of police led by the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. We speak with author and activist Max Rameau of Pan African Community Action about the role of police in the bigger picture of the evolution of human beings as protectors of private property and wealth, the pitfalls of defunding police if this dynamic is not addressed and what community control of police looks like. Max is co-author with Netfa Freeman of an upcoming book, “Community Control over Police.”

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Max Rameau is a Haitian born Pan-African theorist, campaign strategist, organizer and author. After moving to Miami, Florida in 1991, Max began organizing around a broad range of human rights issues impacting low-income Black communities, including Immigrant rights (particularly Haitian immigrants), economic justice, LGBTQ rights, voting rights, particularly for ex-felons and police abuse, among others. As a result of the devastating impacts of gentrification taking root during the housing “boom,” in the summer of 2006 Max helped found the organization which eventually became known as Take Back the Land, to address ‘Land’ issues in the Black community. In October 2006, Take Back the Land seized control of a vacant lot in the Liberty City section of Miami and built the Umoja Village, a full urban shantytown, addressing the issues of land, self-determination and homelessness in the Black community. Read more here.


  • Jeff

    The police exist mainly to protect property and those who own it. The more property you own, the more protection you get. Cops are, more than anything, the army of the rich. You don’t need an article or an interview to state this.

  • David Eberhardt

    to say aolish the police or prisons might as well be written by right wingers- such attention grabbing and egotistic slogans will help trump get reelected- the police musat be reformed- and teeth in place to enforce it- david eberhardt (baltimore 4) saupport militant non violent resistance such as Kings Bay P:lowshares- disrupt and defeat republicans!! give us tactics that work

  • David Eberhardt

    correct o abolish and must and support

  • Richard

    Abolish the police, but let our out of control government continue to do as they please, makes a lot of sense. Both need to be held responsible for their actions, but that will never happen as long as people don’t vote or continue to vote for their “party of choice” no matter what. This is what happens when the people give government free reign, and it gets worse, a lot worse, just wait and see.

  • ThisOldMan

    I posit that what makes the police be “The Police,” different from the rest of us, is the gun that is always on display at their side. In my experience nobody else carries a gun openly everywhere they go on a regular basis in the USA, not even the most ardant fans of the 2nd amendment. A number of other countries including Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway and the U.K. do not arm their regulars, and last I checked law and order was being upheld if anything better in those countries than in the USA.

    Not having a gun ready to shoot on a second’s notice would of course ensure that any time a gun did get used by the authorities, it was done only after the need for it had been duely considered by the home office, which would send in a specially armed team to deal with a truly life-threatening situtation. It is of course possible that a mass shooting might not be stopped as a result, but most mass shootings are not stopped quickly just because an armed officer happened to be in the right place at the right time anyway (Columbine, Orlando, etc.). It seems rather certain, at least, that the number of casualties per year in the USA would be considerably less if police officers did not routinely carry guns.

    Just as importantly, such a policy would also send a very strong subliminal message to all cops everywhere “killing is not part of your job description,” and I suspect most community members would also be a good deal more comfortable having them around if they were unarmed. It seems rather strange that I haven’t seen anyone else saying anything like this lately.

  • iowapinko

    “The police exist mainly to protect property and those who own it.”

    100% agreement that your statement describes the way in which policing functions within the parameters of a capitalist socio-economic structure. As you accurately and succinctly state, “Cops are, more than anything, the army of the rich.”

    But I have to disagree 100% with your opinion that we don’t need an article or interview to state this, because I think, in fact, ‘cops= the army for the rich’ is an epiphany for many in the U$, who have been lied to and indoctrinated throughout our ENTIRE lives so that we will look the other way when the ‘system’ oppresses and exploits and even murders the sister or brother next to us.

    Thank you to Popular Resistance for this interview. I wish every american had the opportunity to experience the relief of the ‘truth’ washing over them that these words provide. So that more and more of us will participate in the creation of a new and more just nation and world.

  • Nylene13

    What makes you think that a “out of control government” allows honest voting?

  • Victor Madeson

    The problem became entrenched when counties took control of policing. Democratic collapse was speeded in 1890 by imposition of senators from from the fitst 6 of 12 “states” that remain smaller in population (10 of 12) than territories. Power shifted from relatively equal Congressional Districts back to a highly unequal British-styled colonial system of counties and boroughs, often with separate police structures and sheriffs. A possible solution is to defund these so-called governments, that are more like corporations, and shift fiscal responsibility to state representatives who, at least, have a more equal constituency.

  • Bill Rood

    There are some police reforms that would make sense and actually create change by creating accountability. An example is HR 7085, introduced by Justin Amash (L-MI), which would eliminate qualified immunity from civil suit against police officers and other officials. When these clowns start losing their homes or find they can’t be employed because no insurance company will insure them, things will change. Suits against municipalities that taxpayers eventually must pay have no direct affect on rogue cops.

  • Bill Rood

    I’m not a Trump supporter, but I don’t trust the WHO, CDC, FDA or NIH either. Why are Kevin and Margaret continuing to beat a dead Covid-19 horse? The number of Covid-19 infections detected is a function of the number of tests administered. Even according to the corrupt CDC overcount, the deaths/week peaked in mid-April and has decreased monotonically since April 18. There is absolutely no evidence of a spike since opening commenced. Check out the CDC website.

    If you want to know the reality of Covid-19, search for Knut Wittkowski, John Ioannidis, Scott Jensen, Kyle-Sidell, Dan Erickson, Artin Massihi, Dolores Cahill, David Katz, Rashid Buttar, Erin Olszewski and listen or read carefully. Or just check out “Facts about Covid-19” on the Swiss Policy Research website. These are all expert opinions — practicing nurses and doctors, epidemiologists, virologists, immunologists etc. I tried to provide links, but they apparently triggered moderation.

    It amazes me how many people are wise to the lies of the US MIC and foreign policy establishments but are totally clueless about the capture of HHS by Big Pharma and agricultural chemical companies like Monsanto. The scientists and bureaucrats of WHO, CDC, FDA, NIH and NIAID are every bit as capable of being corrupted by money and personal gain as are people in the MIC and foreign policy establishments. The methods are precisely the same: censor dissident opinions on social media, ad hominem attacks on dissidents like Judy Mikovitz, (including framing her for a false arrest, then using that false arrest in smearing her with circular logic).

  • Richard

    Good question.

  • SCM

    Soviet Russia had a lot of police and no private proprty

  • Jeff

    Were the rulers in Soviet Russia rich? If so, the statement still applies. If there were no rich people there, then the cops were used for a different oppressive reason. One way or the other, cops are an establishment tool of oppression.