[News] With Executive Order on Policing, Trump Declares Racialized War on Dissent

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Feb 10 15:50:41 EST 2017


  With Executive Order on Policing, Trump Declares Racialized War on Dissent

Flint Taylor - February 10, 2017

On the heels of the much ballyhooed meeting that an obsequious Donald 
Trump conducted this week with local law enforcement officials from 
across the country, the president titillated the gendarmes with a threat 
to destroy -- COINTELPRO style -- an unnamed Texas state senator 
rumored to be introducing legislation to prevent law enforcement from 
financing police operations by seizing arrestees' property before they 
have been found guilty in a court of law. On Thursday, Trump followed up 
with an executive order 
that gave the recently confirmed Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard 
Sessions a /carte blanche/ to bring down the wrath of the federal 
government on anyone who is unfortunate enough to have a confrontation 
with a cop, a prison guard, a border patrol officer or who knows who 
else outfitted with a badge and carrying a gun.

At first blush, the order could be seen simply as a wildly unpopular 
president playing macho man to our nation's police departments and their 
reactionary police unions 
<http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/17520/police_unions_racist>. The 
unions have been chafing over being curbed by the previous 
administration's Department of Justice (DOJ), which, by means of 
pattern-or-practice investigations and consent decrees, started to put 
the brakes on racist police violence 
On its face, Trump's new order looks like much bluster, with no 
enforcement mechanisms. Many of the provisions will need to be passed by 
Congress, receive funding and ultimately, pass constitutional muster -- 
a hurdle that the authoritarian Trump administration, with its white 
supremacist hatchet men at the helm, seems unwilling to pay even a 
trifling respect.

On further analysis, however, the order can be read as an official 
authorization, from one white supremacist -- Steve Bannon -- to another 
-- Jeff Sessions -- to pursue the most racist and reactionary criminal 
legal policies in recent memory. The overriding theme of the order is 
"to develop strategies led by the Department of Justice … to further 
enhance the protection and safety of Federal, state, tribal and local 
law enforcement officers." What first comes to mind, quite 
intentionally, no doubt, are cops killed in the line of duty, the 
shooting in Dallas 
being the most prominent recent example. The policy statement -- either 
explicitly or implicitly -- appeals to fears about people of color and 
the demonization of Black Lives Matter (BLM), resonating with the barely 
coded racist refrains of "blue lives matter" and "law and order."

Within the rubric of that declaration, and the details that follow in 
cold and calculating procession, the order, at bottom, takes aim at 
protesters, most urgently the Water Protectors at Standing Rock, BLM 
protesters across the nation, people protesting the Muslim ban and many 
others who practice acts of civil disobedience that bring them into 
conflict with law enforcement. Not content with local prosecutors 
dealing with these confrontations, this order encourages Sessions and 
his Department of Justice to find more punitive federal laws to charge 
protesters, to seek the passage of new federal laws to further aid this 
effort and to seek new mandatory minimum sentences to enhance the 
punishment of protesters, all under the guise of protecting law 
enforcement from "violence."

Additionally, the order directs the Department of Justice to work with 
other federal agencies -- no doubt the FBI, CIA and NSA prominent among 
them -- to "develop an executive branch strategy to prevent violence 
against Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers." As 
I typed those words, I had a chilling realization: This was the same 
rationale, and almost the exact same language, that the notorious J. 
Edgar Hoover used in his COINTELPRO directives that targeted Black 
liberation leaders 
Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture), Fred 
Hampton and their organizations, and permitted wildly illegal government 
surveillance and orchestrated state violence during the 1960s.

The order also calls for the DOJ to evaluate "all grant funding programs 
currently administered by the DOJ to determine the extent to which its 
grant funding supports and protects" law enforcement and to seek 
legislation that would "adequately support and protect" these agencies. 
What seems apparent from these provisions is that funding for police 
reforms in training, discipline, monitoring and the like will be 
quashed, while funds for wartime armaments such as SWAT tanks, drones, 
high-powered weapons and sophisticated 21st-century surveillance will be 
the norm.

This order, like the similar legislation that the American Legislative 
Exchange Council is pushing on the state level, is designed to 
criminalize and quash dissent. Like the attack on the media, it is aimed 
at defeating, with broad authoritarian strokes, growing popular 
opposition to a wannabe neo-fascist regime. Wrapped in "law and order" 
and protecting the police, the next target after those who practice 
civil disobedience may well be the millions who have been taking to the 

Yet, clearly, executive repression will not signal the end of 
resistance. This battle will continue to be waged in the streets, in the 
media and in the courts. Our very existence depends on the outcome.

    Flint Taylor <http://www.truth-out.org/author/itemlist/user/50427>

Flint Taylor has been litigating cases against police torture 
<https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/01/chicago-police-department-doj-report-sessions-laquan-mcdonald/> in 
Chicago for 30 years and is one of the lawyers for the families of slain 
Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. Together with his law 
partner Jeffrey Haas, Taylor was trial counsel in the marathon 1976 
civil trial. For more information on the Hampton/Clark case, the history 
of the Black Panther Party and the FBI's program to destroy it, visit 
PeoplesLawOffice.com <http://www.truth-out.org/peopleslawoffice.com>.

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