Oakland OWS Crackdowns Show What the State is

What we see in the teargas and handcuffs is the government acting naturally. The state is authoritarian power relations which are backed up by force. Often the police force.

The leaders who decide how to use the force of the state surely are influenced by people with power but they themselves are elites with power. Their priority is protect the status quo and to secure the wealth machinery that feeds their political power. But their power comes not just from raw force but also from the people accepting the exercise of force and believing it is legitimate. That or having given up and feel so powerless that the submit to any state action.

But the state is more than just the raw force; it is also individual people who make individual decisions to follow orders. We have said for decades that “I was just following orders” is no excuse. Will the police forces continue to act as they did in Oakland?


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