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Prosperity Marxism – Episode 13: The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale

In this edi­tion of Pros­per­i­ty Marx­ism, Hosts Michael Pelias and Peter Brat­sis dis­cuss Alex Vitale’s book The End of Polic­ing and some of the ways polic­ing can change in the future. 

The End of Polic­ing by Alex S. Vitale

How the police endan­ger us and why we need to find an alternative 

Recent years have seen an explo­sion of protest against police bru­tal­i­ty and repression—most dra­mat­i­cal­ly in Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri, where longheld griev­ances erupt­ed in vio­lent demon­stra­tions fol­low­ing the police killing of Michael Brown. Among activists, jour­nal­ists, and politi­cians, the con­ver­sa­tion about how to respond and improve polic­ing has focused on account­abil­i­ty, diver­si­ty, train­ing, and com­mu­ni­ty rela­tions. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, these reforms will not pro­duce results, either alone or in com­bi­na­tion. The core of the prob­lem must be addressed: the nature of mod­ern polic­ing itself. “Bro­ken win­dows” prac­tices, the mil­i­ta­riza­tion of law enforce­ment, and the dra­mat­ic expan­sion of the police’s role over the last forty years have cre­at­ed a man­date for offi­cers that must be rolled back. 

This book attempts to spark pub­lic dis­cus­sion by reveal­ing the taint­ed ori­gins of mod­ern polic­ing as a tool of social con­trol. It shows how the expan­sion of police author­i­ty is incon­sis­tent with com­mu­ni­ty empow­er­ment, social justice—even pub­lic safe­ty. Draw­ing on ground­break­ing research from across the world, and cov­er­ing vir­tu­al­ly every area in the increas­ing­ly broad range of police work, Alex Vitale demon­strates how law enforce­ment has come to exac­er­bate the very prob­lems it is sup­posed to solve. 

In con­trast, there are places where the robust imple­men­ta­tion of polic­ing alternatives—such as legal­iza­tion, restora­tive jus­tice, and harm reduction—has led to reduc­tions in crime, spend­ing, and injus­tice. The best solu­tion to bad polic­ing may be an end to policing.

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