sam marcy


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'Police are the most parasitic social grouping in society'

By Sam Marcy, Workers World Party founder: 

A worker is, above all, a producer. The policeman is a parasite who lives off what the worker produces. No truer word could be said! All the material wealth which is now in the possession of the capitalist class was produced by the workers. When a worker goes out on strike she is merely trying to retrieve a portion of the wealth which her labor power produced. The worker gets back in the form of wages only a portion of what he produces. The rest is what the capitalist class retains in the form of profit (really the unpaid labor of the workers).

What have the cops contributed to the production of this unprecedented amount of wealth? Nothing at all. In fact, their principal function is to guard the wealth for the capitalists, protect their monopolist profits from the demands of the workers. Even as the New York cops were out on strike, their emergency crews were busily clubbing the heads of striking telephone workers. That’s the very essence of a cop – to crack the heads of strikers and practice the most inhuman brutality against the Black, Latin and other oppressed communities.

A cop is a mercenary hired by the capitalist class through their agent (the city government to keep the mass of the workers and the oppressed in complete subjection. They utilize all the forces and violence at their disposal whenever the masses rise up in rebellion against the unendurable conditions imposed by the master class.

The police are the most parasitic social grouping in society. When they work – if that’s what it can possibly be called – their labor is directed against the workers and oppressed.

Graft, corruption, intimate collaboration with all sorts of underworld figures and enterprises such as gambling, narcotics and a thousand other shady businesses – that’s what cops are really engaged in.

They are utterly inseparable from crime and corruption itself. One could not exist without the other. Both a nourished and supported by the nature of the capitalist system itself. To put the police on a par with the workers is to erase the difference between the persecutors and their victims.

Such incidental operations of the police as traffic control and other related useful functions for society are deliberately tacked on by the government to police control when they in reality should be separate and independent activities of workers apart from the parasitic regular police functions.

- “The Year of the Pig: Should workers support police strikes?”, Workers World, January 29, 1971