Police Accountability: Analysis and Revolutionary Theory in Sixteen Words of Copypasta

Here’s a very terse market anarchist take on just about any police abuse/accountability story. Feel free to save it for use as copypasta.

Police are a monopoly. Monopoly promotes abuse. To abolish a monopoly is to open up competition.

Also check out CopBlock.org as a police accountability resource. See if you can spot the C4SS logo in this recent activism video of theirs.

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2 thoughts on “Police Accountability: Analysis and Revolutionary Theory in Sixteen Words of Copypasta

  1. The problem with the police isn't so much that they are a monopoly, but that they have power over others. Even private police would act in abusive manners against the people they have power over; give anyone a gun and that amount of authority and they will act on it. And the employer of a private police force could easily hire a really good legal team to protect his private police from accountability. In other words, regardless of who police are working for, they're bound to be @$$holes.

    We should be looking towards alternatives to police instead of putting faith in these "private defense associations". Community-responses to crime, for example, would work much better.

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  2. "The problem with the police isn't so much that they are a monopoly, but that they have power over others."

    I think the problem is that they are a *coercive monopoly*. People are forced to pay for them and are not free to compete with them.

    If there were a market for police rather than a coercive monopoly of police then I think the police would be significantly more accountable. Why? Keep reading to find out… 🙂

    "And the employer of a private police force could easily hire a really good legal team to protect his private police from accountability."

    Maybe, but could this employer protect his private police from the possibility of his customers switching police providers to a provider that does a better job of making sure that his police employees are accountable for their actions?

    Certainly the answer is no, by definition, since we are assuming their is a market for police rather than a coercive monopoly of police meaning that customers are free to purchase police services from whomever they wish and are not forced to purchase the services of any firm.

    Thus, if the private police employer cannot prevent his customers from switching providers, then how can he ensure that he will be able to continue to fund his unaccountable police? He can't, because he has voluntary customers, unlike the coercive monopoly government police.

    So I think that even if the private police did still have power over others, the power differential between police and the other people would become much smaller if there was a market for police rather than a coercive monopoly of police.

    In the section "The Market for Security" of the 1849 essay "The Production of Security," the first explicit defender of market anarchism, Gustave de Molinari, takes a similar position as I do above except with regard to the broader service of security instead of only police services. His point applies to police as well though:

    "[The producers of security'] clientele will naturally be clustered around the center of their activities. They would nevertheless be unable to abuse this situation by dictating to the consumers. In the event of an abusive rise in the price of security, the consumers would always have the option of giving their patronage to a new entrepreneur, or to a neighboring entrepreneur.

    "This option the consumer retains of being able to buy security wherever he pleases brings about a constant emulation among all the producers, each producer striving to maintain or augment his clientele with the attraction of cheapness or of faster, more complete and better justice.

    "If, on the contrary, the consumer is not free to buy security wherever he pleases, you forthwith see open up a large profession dedicated to arbitrariness and bad management. Justice becomes slow and costly, the police vexatious, individual liberty is no longer respected, the price of security is abusively inflated and inequitably apportioned, according to the power and influence of this or that class of consumers. The protectors engage in bitter struggles to wrest customers from one another. In a word, all the abuses inherent in monopoly [government] or in communism crop up [see the part of Molinari's essay titled "Monopoly and Communism" for his definition of these terms]."

    –Gustave de Molinari, "The Production of Security" ( http://wp.me/p2cdsV-66 )
    My recent post Gustave de Molinari’s “The Production of Security”

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