Authoritarianism in the US

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boomer47's picture
Authoritarianism in the US

Saw this in the Huffpost US this morning Monday 8 June


"In city after city, officers are openly flouting any attempt at democratic restraint in an effort to assert authoritarian power."

As a non American I'm not sure how to take that. Are things are as dire as the article claims?

Is this latest realisation a surprise? If so, why? Police forces everywhere tend to be conservative, even reactionary . Surely President Trump has already given the police implicit permission and implied instructions to behave in the way they seem to be at present?

I'm only seeing sensational headlines and articles. The impression I have is that the US has been circling the drain for some time. I'd truly like to know what it's like for someone living through these times in the US.

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Cognostic's picture
I'm currently living in Korea

I'm currently living in Korea and from what I hear, it is rough for many in America. The recent You Tube videos of the cops shooting bean bags at people who were out on their porches and telling them to "Get the fuck in the house." was about as horrific a scene as I could imagine.

The problem, IMO, is not just CV-19 and people out of work. Police violence has escalated in America due to the incorporation of American cities. Cities in America are now 'for profit companies.' The police force works for the city. The police are now tasked with generating money for the city.

This has resulted in policies known as "Policing for Profit" and it has led to the abuse of the American population by our own cities and police departments. Looking for actual criminals costs money. Cops would have to spend time investigating, tracking down, arresting, going to court, and then housing the criminals. All of this costs the city money. Non-criminals are pure profit. Writing 300 traffic tickets in a week at $100 per citation is $40,000. Get 20 or 30 officers doing that and a city can get rich quick. Fuck looking for criminals. And there is always the added bonus of stealing a person's car when you find drugs or money in it. Just claim the money came from drugs and confiscate it.

Once you take the money you now have probable cause to search the house. Find a stash of pot or cocaine in the house and the police department gets to keep the house. What is going on in America currently is INSANE. Our police departments are completely out of control.

It is not just racial violence. It is much more serious. In my opinion the recent riots were just the tip of the problem. Civil unrest is coming to the USA and it is going to culminate in civilians turning against the government with more than just signs and protests. IMO - something big and bad is waiting just around the corner. Revolution and a Big Change for America is in the air.

Whitefire13's picture
The taste of irony IS that

The taste of irony IS that the Trump supporters speak “freedom” and “liberty” and despise the Democrats for perceived infringement of “rights” -
always predicting economic collapse and the “takeover” of America.

To have the “authorization” start with Trump at the White House drops my jaw. I wonder if this action is “seen” for what it is... unlikely...

However, the social network in the States driven by profit - prisons, healthcare - I didn’t know about the “police” ... Corporations are “psychopathic”. They have their place, however having “psychopaths” in charge of “care and well being” (omfg)...

Nyarlathotep's picture
Malcolm X [describing what to

Cognostic - Civil unrest is coming to the USA and it is going to culminate in civilians turning against the government with more than just signs and protests.

Malcolm X [describing what to do about police brutality] - When a snake bites your children, you don't go and look for the snake that has blood on it's jaws, any old snake will do. Any old snake will do!”

dogalmighty's picture
I am not saying systemic

I am not saying systemic racism does not exists in every race and culture towards people that are not the same. Neither am I saying that, racism, sexism, homophobia or other prejudices, are not part of different systems, like the military, religion, political parties or policing...etc. So, don't misunderstand what I am going to mention. I am not racist.

Malcolm's words on police violence can be applied to anyone. Authoritarian division, is not necessarily a racist issue. It can be held to any mistreatment of anyone. It is hard for me to not view this as a policing issue, and not rooted in prejudices.

My wife was called a racist by someone at the next table a couple nights ago, for saying that, "the killing of any citizen, has to stop." our dinner party got lively after that. Me and my childhood buddy patrick, a proud black man, went to the bar, had a beer while discussing strategy for the new BF5 map. When we went back...Patrick was asked by the lady, what he thought...patrick said, "what, you think they are just killing us? I am having a hard time thinking all the killings by cops are prejudices, and not a superiority, us against everyone else, policing culture. It seems to me that the police have contempt for any people they deal with, except other cops. At, least that is my and my friends personal experiences. I am just glad the cops weren't called by buffalo wings.

What do you think nyar? Rooted in racism, or in unchecked authority culture?

Whitefire13's picture
@empathicchimp ... I agree

@empathicchimp ... I agree with a lot of what you said.

It’s a combination - unchecked authority with the “poor” of society... those with less money, have less influence, can be taken advantage of, remain in a “victimized” state of mind...etc

Ever watch mob movies? The old time mafia, when “drugs” were first introduced into their income stream kept the drugs focused into black communities (their community was just as vulnerable)...then a “presentation” of wealth from selling drugs is offered up to the youth (the sales team) and gangs provide acceptance, family and belonging...

The guys on Wall Street do the same, “selling stocks” (to obtain their wealth), and their expenses are higher (cocaine, crazy expensive meals, clothes, etc) to belong in that environment, leaving them individually “poor”.

The difference is, when a Wall Street dick gets caught stealing it’s a “white-collar crime” and he can afford the big lawyer and behind the scene payoffs. When a poor smuck gets caught he goes with a public defence attorney in a system created to “make money” off him (prisons’ under table payoffs) ... here’s an example of a youth judge “on the take”...

Race is brought into the picture because they are a “majority” with poverty and prison. The problem isn’t the color of skin - take any group and give them the same conditions from the “society”
and see what happens.

How effective is a sign that reads “poor lives matter”...

jay-h's picture
Anything can get you called

Anything can get you called 'racist' in the current climate. It's a mob culture that runs on slogans rather than rational argument. And it can be very dangerous, as the self enforcing mobs often turn on their own like the Jacobins in the French revolution, or the succession of violent overthrows that marked the Russian revolution. Sometimes political correctness seems like just a stupid joke, but it has become a substitute for thinking.

The reason we support rule of law is to try to hold back chaotic self serving violence. When a cop behaves badly we have procedures in place, if you're attacked by a rioting mob you have nothing. Most of the violent rioters are walking free.

This current set of events had done huge damage to any improvement in race relations. It's given people a deep sense of fear and distrust even though they are required (coerced) into repeating politically correct mantras... the random, vicious violence, arson, looting is in their mind. As much as some of us try to control it, our evolutionary instincts tell us to alter our gut responses by our experiences. Other racial groups in the US (Asians, Hispanics) have also experienced damage by the rioting. This affects them as well.

Yet everything is distorted by the message. By a HUGE margin, the number of black people killed in the US is NOT by police, but by criminals in their own neighborhoods. To really save lives, there is a need to develop a working cooperation with the police.

David Killens's picture
@ Never Happened

@ Never Happened

"By a HUGE margin, the number of black people killed in the US is NOT by police, but by criminals in their own neighborhoods."


But I want to focus on the ratio of blacks to whites killed by police. The number in the USA is 2.5X


Attach Image/Video?: 

dogalmighty's picture
This study is not validation

This study is not validation that the black killings by the police, were initiated by racism, social-economic status, location or any number of other mitigating factors.

Cognostic's picture
@Nyarlathotep: I love the

@Nyarlathotep: I love the "unfortunate" truth of that quote. Some very nice people are likely to be hurt!

Nyarlathotep's picture

I'm glad someone understood it.

ablebaker's picture
This is the kind of thing

This is the kind of thing that we in America watch in other countries and think, "What shit holes some of those people have to live in." But we have been moving more and more toward authoritarian government, and I'm thinking what is happening right now is probably right on schedule. But the people can't win a revolt. The police backed by the military do the bidding of our leaders, and in terms of might, the government is holding all the cards and weapons. Many are hoping for something good to come out of this, but I don't believe any good will come of it, certainly not in the near term.

dogalmighty's picture


Well that is exactly why all Americans should fight against authoritarianism. Its that slow chipping away of liberty that needs to disappear, peacefully. It is a poor culture of control that has slipped in, by the guise of protecting from terrorism at home. However, its the loss of liberty that will cause separation of peoples. Defend the liberty entitled to the people, and people will not be marginalized.

dogalmighty's picture


I am not sure. When I talk with friends about it, we have more or less the same, and in some cases, identical treatment by police...and as a result, have a poor view of police...we always scoffed at the to serve and protect signage on the doors...more like to beat and manipulate. As a younger stupider version of ourselves, that's what we thought. Do the younger crowd feel the same these days? Likely more so. Not trying to marginalize, discredit or diminish any group, but from our view at the time, police had it out for anyone breaking the law, irreverent of skin color, creed or culture. I still view things that way...only now, their authority culture has deemed the ultimate demand of authority, death, as acceptable means of policing. That is clearly wrong.

My buddy and I were dating sisters down the street from us. The sisters snuck us into their basement, and while doing so, said they had to go cloths shopping with there mom. While they were gone, we found beer, and started tossing some old records around the basement like Frisbee's...we made a little mess...when they came home, the mom came downstairs where we were hiding, at which point we ran out of the side door...which was just silly, cuz she knew exactly who we were...she new our moms. She called the cops on us. The sisters said they did not let us in, which they did, but they denied culpability to keep themselves out of trouble. The cops came to each of our perspective houses, and arrested us, and took us to the station.

While under arrest, before our parents got there, both patrick and myself were beaten by the police, to admit that we broke in...we both cried and said the sisters let us this day, they were never considered as any type of person to look up to, or trust...I mean, who beats 15yr olds? We where ultimately let go, and not charged, as the sisters were questioned, and they admitted letting us in. I ended up with bruising on my dad went ballistic, took me to the next police station, and filed charges against the officers...guess what happened with that? Ummmm ya, nothing. So with illegal treatment, that long ago, the same culture left unchecked, I can't see things being better for today's youth. I was very angry because of that, and told the truth about our beating...however, we fought the law, and the law won. That was a pervasive theme with the police in my area. Authoritarianism...I can definitely see that.

Whitefire13's picture

What “social status” were you and your friend? Did your parents have money or influence? Were they “connected” through society (ie religious congregation, “clubs”, social events, etc)? What was the “reputation” of the neighborhood?

In no way does this “permit” injustice or abuse of a 15 yr old, but it will explain how it can be “gotten away” with... do those officers’ feel more powerful and in control when they abuse citizens? I don’t know - what makes anyone abuse/control when they perceive themselves in a position of “authority”....

Edited to add for clarity - link between education status ...

And if money and status isn’t an influencer why ... soooo many years for this????? Are we to believe a) finally a black man was “intelligent” enough, after what 200 some years; b) finally, enough funding/status/monetary was achieved for enough blacks to send their kids to an elitist University; c) that an Institution founded by rich whites are finally allowing more diversity within their ranks

Is his accomplishment beneficial? Oh yes, I believe so because it does speak to the fact that an elitist university feels a need to display some form of “diversity” (they can no longer just cookie cut their product).
(Canadian, btw)

My question, is why the Elitist University status to begin with? What do they offer that other universities don’t? And if it’s a “higher form of education” why is that only reserved for those that can afford it, instead of the minds that may appreciate it?

Worldwide top Universities

The “leaders” in politics, WHO, finance, science etc are the result of these institutions ...

Money and influence (a tribe all to itself)...

Whitefire13's picture
Funny skit on where I see

Funny skit on where I see society (struggle between beliefs and facts and “filter” we run information through)

****Why’d you let us do that?!?!?***

LogicFTW's picture
@OP by cranky47 and anyone

@OP by cranky47 and anyone else interested:

My thoughts as someone that lived in USA my whole life:

First the real history of USA wealth in 1 paragraph:

Before US was a country, various european countries conquered the americas with their superior firepower, first strike on infectious diseases, deceit, treachery etc. (It was easy and cheap to do so.) Then the european countries lost most of their control of this newly conquered land, as the conquers realized they do not need to share with the european countries of origin, as an entire ocean separates them from the folks in control back in europe. Then came the slaves, to help capture the enormous resources that the mostly unspoilt americas had to offer. Free resources and slave labor. Then the world wars ravaged europe, middle east and asia. US being seperated by an ocean, stayed out of the war until Japan brought it to their shores. US was finally able to take advantage of the situation, and boy did they ever. By the end of world war 2 USA held 90+ % of all the known world supply of gold. Of which back then, money it self was based on. US became the supreme economic victors of the world wars, while european and asian power got shattered. Furthermore, US ramped up heavy production while much of the rest of the world saw their factories etc get decimated.

US dollar becomes the world reserve currency (because well they had most all the gold,) then they were able to multiply that wealth by taking the dollar off gold.

Fast forward to 2020 and the US has gotten fat, lazy, corrupted with the incredible wealth it had. Things like white power and systemic racism was allowed to fester, all of which came to a head when an openly racist, misogynist con-artist billionaire was elected as president.

Oops 3 paragraphs, my bad. I must be an american of the USA variety!

Also this is not new. This is old. This has been going on for 400 years in the US. Things got a bit better racism wise with the efforts of MLK and others, but I think lots just got "swept under the rug."

Fast forward to today, where everyone has a high def camera in their pockets and an easy way to share it with any number of people for free, and the racism by cops is getting revealed like never before.

US Policing have a very long history of "white power." The original police can arguably be: the groups of people that would track down and kill/return slaves. And through the power of modern technologies, the old trick of sweeping this stuff under the rug is not working as well anymore.

Also in the US, we frequently arm the police with war equipment like: military guns, armored personnel carriers, etc. And we frequently pay our police officers a wage that does not attract the best and brightest, and instead it is frequently a "best case scenario" for people that served in the armed forces that choose or couldn't make a career out of it.

boomer47's picture


Thanks for your insightful post.

I find it interesting that much of what you write is also the view I have formed. American history is not taught in Australian schools.

algebe's picture
Here's the history of America

Here's the history of America as told by Steppenwolf in 1969.

Google "monster suicide America lyrics" to see the full text. It's worth reading.

"Our cities have turned into jungles
And corruption is stranglin' the land
The police force is watching the people
And the people just can't understand"

David Killens's picture
I come from a cop family, my

I come from a cop family, my father, both brothers, and an uncle all served. I know from personal experience that the great majority of cops are good people, they want to contribute to a safer society. I have also served in the military and know full well the term "close ranks", because I was caught up in an incident that truly displayed how members of the same service close ranks and defend themselves from external attack.

There are many contributing factors involved in this mess. The pressure on cops to effect arrests, the rules and procedures that stray right up to the limit before it becomes torture, the tribalism, the divisiveness, the ultra aggressive police unions, and the lack of effective oversight on all police activities by a civilian watchdog all contribute to a us versus them mentality by all parties.

What a totally fucked up situation, and because the leadership would rather play golf or pose for a photo op than actually deal with it, this problem will not be resolved for many years.

It is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

dogalmighty's picture
I agree David, a majority of

I agree David, a majority of police are good people...but that does not mean that the sanctioned actions dictated to them by policy, is good as well...or even appropriate. Obviously, some actions can be lethal.

Whitefire13's picture
It can be said if the

It can be said of the majority of protestors too. Good people. I understand that the majority have citizen wellbeing as a motivator “protect and serve” - but like illegal activities by protestors, illegal actions by police need to be held accountable... police brutality.

My first “introduction” to the issue back in 1991 (nearly 30 years ago)

boomer47's picture


In late 1970 I was only recently discharge from the army and back at work. My office building was in the heart of the city. That meant I had a bird's eye view of the anti Vietnam war demonstrations.

My girlfriend worked as a clerk for the police. I also knew a couple of people who took part in the demonstrations. Each gave me an explanation of what happened. Neither described what I thought I saw, even though I sympathised with the protestors.

I also sympathised with our troops,who were spat on when they came home. None of the blokes I met in the army were idealogues. They were just trying to stay alive. Almost to a man they were smart enough to see through the political bullshit at home and the hubris and humbug of General Westmoreland.

Don't know how fair this is; every Aussie grunt I knew had served in Vietnam held US troops in contempt . This because of poor training***, which was not their fault and their fatally stupid attitude,which was their fault.


**any Aussie grunt who found himself in Vietnam had 10 weeks basic, 10 weeks corps training and 3 weeks intensive jungle training in Northern Queensland.

David Killens's picture
@ cranky47

@ cranky47

I can offer a few reasons why US soldiers can be held in contempt by other professional armies.

The US military is structured around the conscription practice. It will be expected that a conscript knows noting about the military, and they will be in the military just three years. So within that condensed time, a soldier has to be trained, then fielded, and hopefully effective.

During my stop at Elmendorf USAF base in Anchorage, I learned that my Canadian profession of being an aero engine technician that covered anything and everything interacting with the engines, was broken down into discreet sub-sections within the USAF. There was a job for just fuel pump, another for refuelling, another for engine controls, so on and so one.

It is not that anyone is inferior, but there is only so much training you can cram into two or three months. One is an army of conscripts, the other one of professional soldiers.

One more factor that tarnished the reputation of the US in Vietnam was McNamara's project of using 100,000 sub intelligent people who were far below any standards of being smart.,000

When you field 100,000 idiots into a war zone, who are so stupid they don't know one end of a rifle from the other, it will never go well.

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