Thursday, March 27, 2014



This piece below from the Center of a Stateless Society offers up three problems and really no solutions.  

You see you have these favelas on the hills surrounding Rio de Janeiro, these downtrodden neighborhoods of the poor, i.e. problem number one.  The favelas are wracked by the violence which comes along with the drug trade and the antiquated drug laws, i.e. problem number two.  The everyday police can't really deal with the "drug problem" so they are aided by the military police, i.e. problem number three.  The other day the combination of these problems left Claudia Silva Ferreira, a local cleaning lady, dead.

The drugs didn't exactly kill her, not really.  She didn't have anything to do with drugs.  The favela and its residents sure didn't kill her.  The military police they did kill her, they pulled the trigger.  Actually they killed her several times...for her own good and the good of those like her...or that is what we are left to believe.  Yes, they are the henchmen could be held responsible.

The system of Capital which has too many workers and not enough actual work, and thus creates a gazillion service type jobs which pay nothing to keep people busy and under control.  That system with even those no paying jobs still can't keep enough people working (busy and under control), leaves many destitute and with time on their hands living in the slums of the world.  That system which figures drugs (legal and illegal) might help by keeping some of those potential "subversives" slumbering and others of them working in the "illegal" trade (killing and maiming each other) which they tacitly accept in the halls of the State, but because they can't totally pretend all is well, sends in the men with the guns when the other men with the guns get too out of hand -  that system, Empire, doesn't pull the trigger, a system has no fingers after all, but it is the ultimate murderer no less.

You know what? Often when you say the murder of one lone women can only be solved by the destruction of global capital by the multitude in revolution, it is over-speak.  You know what, in this case, in many cases it really isn't.  After all, as long as capital exists, the capitalistic drug trade will exist, the favelas will exist in misery, the military police and the everyday police will go right on killing innocent people, hell, people in general.  The truth is there isn't any way around that which I can figure out.  We can protest police brutality, we can call for drug law reform, we can hope for economic changes within the system which will help the poor.  We can do all that...just as we have been doing that for a very long time to no real avail.  


We can all finally say enough of this shit...and mean it.

Until we say that.  Until we act on that.  Until we rid the Earth of the shit, let's call Capital what it is...until all goes on...

She was the Rule, Not an Exception
Claudia Silva Ferreira’s crime, last March 16, was living in the wrong place and having the wrong skin color. She went out to buy bread and ham, a cup of coffee in hand. We can never know how lethal a cup of coffee might be if held by a black, poor woman living on the periphery of a Brazilian city. Police shot the cleaning lady twice, leaving her body stretched on the ground, chest pierced.

She was taken to a police car to be driven to the hospital. The back seat was full of guns, so they couldn’t put a wounded person there — they must have their priorities straight. So Claudia was put in the trunk, which opened along the way and let her fall to the ground, stuck to the bumper by a piece of clothing, dragged by the car for 1,200 feet. The policemen finally noticed she had fallen and tucked her back in place. She died.

The Military Police denied what residents of Morro da Congonha, Madureira, Rio de Janeiro’s suburbs, saw. According to them, Claudia was found already shot. In the same operation, the police killed a supposed drug dealer, wounded and arrested another one, seizing four pistols, radios and drugs. It was probably worth it, since drugs destroy families.

If not for the drugs, the Military Police wouldn’t have been forced to climb the favela hill, wouldn’t have encountered a menacing and violent 38-year-old black woman holding a cup of coffee, wouldn’t have been obligated to shoot twice in her direction, entailing the bothersome task of taking her to the car and then to the hospital. And drugs keep tearing families apart. Claudia, for instance, raised 8 children, 4 of her own, 4 nieces and nephews. Her family now is defaced because of drugs.

And how can we demand that the military aid a dying woman? They are the military for a reason. They are called “soldiers” (specifically, the policemen involved here were two sub-lieutenants and a sergeant) and sent to war. The idea of protecting people is entirely alien to a military organization and the Military Police proves it every time it invades a favela and sees the residents not as people but as potential collateral damage.

Of those involved, sub-lieutenant Adir Serrano Machado is the most efficient. He has been involved in 57 actions involving some kind of resistance, leaving 63 dead. Sub-lieutenant Rodney Miguel Archanjo has been somewhat more circumspect, having been part of only 5 of those occurrences, with 6 dead. Sergeant Alex Sandro da Silva Alves, on the other hand, debuted on the Sunday in which Claudia was shot, his first resisted operation.

Given all of this, it’s clear that a demilitarization would weaken the police too much, making it impossible for them to fight crime. If we want someone to go up the favelas to confiscate weed and cocaine, we’ve got to have soldiers.

But is that really what we want?

It sounds good in political ads to say that police presence in the favelas has increased and that the battle against drugs has been intensified. But what this means is that hundreds of Claudia Silva Ferreiras are going to keep dying. Because the only way to keep an illusion of safe and drug-free cities is to shoot innocent people in the favelas.

To keep thinking that police brutality is an exception will take us nowhere. Brazilian police violence is institutionalized and necessary for the government’s goals. It is not possible to control the drug trade, or maintain the legitimacy of the state’s mission to “fight crime,” without the use of lethal force. With current drug policy, there’s no possibility of ending police violence — without it, the state would never be able to affirm its power.

For now, the Military Police could at least publish a pamphlet listing suspicious activities that honest citizens should avoid, such as being black and walking with coffee.

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