Donald Trump gave a bone-chilling speech at Suffolk County Community College on Long Island, N.Y., on July 28, exposing the fact that he is nothing more than a cop occupying the White House. In front of an audience of police officers, Trump spoke on why his administration is pushing for more repression against migrants, especially along the U.S.-Mexico border. He is scheduled to give similar talks elsewhere around the country.
He referred to MS-13, a group of Honduran and Salvadoran youth based in Los Angeles also known as La Mara Salvatrucha, as a “gang” of “animals” and “thugs.” In doing so, Trump continues to push the racist, xenophobic narrative of “protecting American lives” as he moves to add 10,000 more armed border patrol agents and 5,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to arrest and deport migrants.
Trump ran a racist presidential campaign of labeling migrants as “murderers,” “drug dealers” and “rapists.” Then, during his first 100 days in office, ICE arrested 41,318 immigrants, up 37.6 percent over the same period in 2016. (Washington Post, July 28)
Back in the late 1980s, Trump referred to the Central Park Five, Black and Brown youth falsely accused of raping a white woman, as “animals.” They were finally exonerated, but he refused to apologize.
Trump made other remarks in the same speech so brutal that some police publicly tried to distance themselves from them. Talking about the way they make arrests, Trump said, “Please don’t be too nice. When you guys put somebody in the car and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put their hand over? … Like, don’t hit their head, and they just killed somebody. I said, you can take the hand away, okay?” As he was speaking, Trump mimed the physical motion of an officer preventing a suspect’s head from bumping against the squad car.
Some individual cops may have been upset with Trump’s words. But he was only acknowledging in his own crass way what happens every minute of every day inside the U.S.: The police can and do get away with all forms of racial profiling, including stop-and-frisk, beatings, Tasering and outright murder, with impunity, because the rules that repress the poor, the workers and the oppressed do not apply to the police.
Trump’s words should bring to mind for revolutionaries what Karl Marx wrote during the 19th century about the state — the armed bodies of men and women, including the police, prisons, courts, army and so on. It is “an organ of class rule, an organ for the oppression of one class by another … and this power, arisen out of society but placing itself above it, and alienating itself more and more from it, is the state.”
Trump also reinforces the inevitable truth that the workers and oppressed, as a class, are the ones who will be the gravediggers of the capitalist system — which elevates the police as armed occupiers of oppressed communities, especially those full of Black and Brown people, whether U.S. or foreign born.
(WW photo: Minnie Bruce Pratt)