The Police are Trash

Hengameh Yaghoobifarah’s text translated by Jacinta Nandi

What will we do with the unemployed coppers once we finally abolish the police force?

After global Black Lives Matters demonstrations, police forces all over the world are finding themselves forced to ask – and answer – difficult questions. There’s even been talk of officially abolishing the police in Minneapolis, or system reform in New York. Even the German police are being asked to answer some difficult questions.

Now the Berlin parliament has passed the Landesantidiskriminierungsgesetz (the Anti-Discrimination Law, LADG), passed by the Berlin parliament. Some people are even dreaming of a police-free future. And it’s not as if these kind of dreams are anything new – they’ve existed for a long time – long before the controversial murder of the African American man named George Floyd.

But this is what I’ve been wondering: what will we do if the police get abolished before we get rid of capitalism? Which professions will ex-coppers be able to work as? Let’s be honest: the percentage of authoritarian power-junkies and people with fascist mindsets is incredibly high in the police force. Like, did you hear the one about the discount baker-shop workers who were all secretly members of right-wing terror networks? No? Me neither!

So, what are we going to do with the 250,000 people, who’ll suddenly find themselves unemployed? Just stick them into new professions? Yeah right – because that worked so well after 1945! This is a seriously bad idea. But what kind of jobs would ex-coppers be any use at – while posing no danger to society at large?

No Positions of Power for Ex-Coppers

Well, I definitely think they should not become social workers – the problems with the police won’t suddenly disappear just because they swap their uniforms for Birkenstocks and nice linen trousers. It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about teachers, doctors, politicians, security officers or people who work in public offices, or the justice system: positions of power over other people are not an option here. And we don’t want them to get too close to animals either, to be honest – we don’t need any more Chicos!

But the service industry wouldn’t exactly be ideal, either. Delivering post? No way! It would be too easy for them to sneak in a cheeky letter bomb between book and shoe deliveries. In fact, anything which involves the human body at all would be best avoided – meaning tattoos studios, hairdressing salons are all out. I would never get a pedicure from an ex-cop. A nail file can be used as a weapon.

No DIY stores, petrol stations or car workshops. Nowhere where you’d have the opportunity to build bombs or incendiary devices. No restaurants – they might end up poisoning people. The culture industry isn’t really an option either – if they worked in book shops or cinemas they might try to influence the programme with their fascho ideas. And what about garden nurseries? Hmmmm…….The problem is, that’s getting a bit close to all those nationalistic fantasies about nature, countryside and the earth. And I don’t even want to talk about organic farmyards, already the source of so many trendy jobs for neo-nazis. What if we got them to just paint ceramics? Nope. They might start up some kind of illegal black-market swastika tea set companies. And use the profits to finance their next terror organizations.

In fact, the only place I can think of as a suitable place for them: a landfill site! Not as garbage collectors, with keys to people’s houses, but at the waste dump, surrounded by trash. You know what? I think they’ll feel at home there.

This translation first appeared on Jacinta Nandi’s Riotmama blog. Reproduced with permission. The original text “All Cops are Berufsunfähig” appeared in the taz.