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Expanded Resourcs Page for Chip Berlet's chapter:

Repression, Civil Liberties, Right-Wingers, and Liberals:
Resisting Counterinsurgency and Subversion Panics

Online Supplement to the Book:

Life During Wartime:

Resisting Counterinsurgency

Book cover: Life during wartimes

Click here for the online endnotes to Berlet's chapter

Main page on Counterinsurgency (COIN)

About Kitson and COIN

About Police Militarization <--You are here

Resources on Racial Justice and the Extra-Legal Killing of Black People

About Police Militarization

Recent articles(2014) about the militarization of the US police are sparking a much-needed public debate about a serious civil liberties issue. However many of these sensationalized articles begin history at 9/11 and too many blame it all on Israel.

Many of these articles do not take into account the long history of policing, police repression, and the militarization of local, county, and state police in the United States. The issue of the militarization of policing has been studied by scholars for decades, and is part of the analysis in the 1975 book "The Iron Fist and the Velvet Glove: an analysis of the US police" which was a guide for radical left organizers confronting police abuse and political repression.

The modern concepts of counterinsurgency and pacification,are a theoretical approach developed by British military strategist Frank Kitson for use in Africa decades before 9/11. 

Police have been organized in a military chain of command in the US since at least the 1800s, and later in that century were employed in a militarized fashion against labor and union organizers and strikers. That militarization has been ongoing in irregular stages since the Palmer Raids and the scare about terrorism by communists and anarchists. It expanded in significant stages after the Black urban rebellions in 1967-1968 and again during and after the Mayday demonstrations in 1971. 

A major increase in the militarization of local police occurred after the launch of the so-called Drug War. There have even been examples of covert cooperation with right-wing paramilitary gangs such as those used by city police Red Squads during the 1970s to terrorize radical left organizers in Chicago, San Diego, and Detroit.

Recent stories seldom mention the role of the LEAA in militarizing the police after the urban unrest in the 1960s, especially funding of police paramilitary units commonly called SWAT Teams. And note that this major escalation of police militarization was aimed at Black protestors--which is part of the story about Ferguson that too often gets pushed aside by the overwrought rhetoric about the Israeli connection. The facts are bad enough without ahistorical monocausal distortions due to lazy research that clearly relies on Internet browsing and not book research.

 

 


Also on this website:
Security for Activists Collection Common Sense Security
By Sheila O'Donnell
Encountering and Countering Political Repression
By Chip Berlet
Disruption: Warning Signs
Sexism, egos, and lies:
Sometimes you wake up and it is not different

By Lisa Fithian / The Rag Blog / March 22, 2010

 
Stop Spying US
An online collection of survellance documents from various government agencies.
No More With Hunts: A National Campaign in 1981

 

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