user preferences

New Events


no event posted in the last week

Policing Dissent: Social Control and the Anti-globalization Movement

category international | imperialism / war | review author Wednesday September 09, 2009 14:51author by Deric Shannon - University of Connecticut Report this post to the editors

Review of the Luis Fernandez book

With this book anarchist sociologist, Luis Fernandez, writes on his studies of policing protests (broadly speaking). At first glance, the references and style of the book might make one think it is written for other academics–dispassionately studying the behaviors of our political masters and their domestic army, the police. A close read, however, makes it clear that Fernandez has fighters for social justice in mind, taking a critical approach to studying police and conceiving of policing processes broadly to demonstrate the ways that our ruling relations are protected in western “democracies”.

Policing Dissent begins by defining our terms and operationalizing the categories of analysis for this ethnographic study. Next, Fernandez gives a review of the existing literature on the control of dissent. Interestingly, here (and throughout the book) Fernandez shows some of the radical political uses of post-structuralists like Michel Foucault. Indeed, any volume on dissent would be remiss not to mention the ways that discipline, discourse, and regimes of knowledge are implicated in domesticating desire, including the desire to rebellion. This frees us from looking at power as only being located in specific institutions (such as the state, or capitalism), but also gives us ways to analyze productive power that disciplines us, often times in complex ways that are not reducible to capitalism and the state. This conceptualization of power is becoming much discussed in contemporary militant movements, as queer theory and other recent perspectives have taught us that sometimes hierarchies and oppressions develop out of the ways that we invent social categories and essential corresponding roles, attitudes, actions, etc.–in short, we create docile, disciplined, and domesticated bodies, both individually, but also, as Fernandez demonstrates, docile social bodies. This is something of concern to all people who hope for a radically different future and a revolutionary social body to carry out the task of bringing this future about.

Another item of interest in this book is Fernandez’s analysis of the uses of police psychological control. Through the creation of images of violent “anarchists”, the police frame the debate in ways that both delegitimize anti-authoritarians and demonize them. This involves a process through which our rulers actually hire public relations experts to give them the proper public image and persona before spraying us with teargas and clubbing us in the streets (demonstrating their actual contempt for us, the subjects of their rule). Fernandez shows how they court the media to help them frame public opinion on their terms, or to use Herman and Chomsky’s famous phrase, the ways that they “manufacture consent”.

Fernandez has clearly been on the front lines in social justice struggles. As more and more militants move beyond summit-hopping politics to organize within their workplaces and communities, these lessons from the anti-globalization movement can serve as warnings for what might come as we battle in new areas (and continue to practice our legitimate right to protest). May we win our battles and the larger war!

[First published in Political Media Review, 8 Sept., 2009.]

Related Link:
This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch
Rojava: Mensaje urgente de un compañero anarquista en Afrin

Front page

[Colombia] Perspectivas sobre la primera vuelta de las elecciones presidenciales de Colombia 2018

Call for Solidarity with our Russian Comrades!

8 reasons anarchists are voting Yes to Repeal the hated 8th

Comunicado de CGT sobre la Nakba, 70 años de dolores para el Pueblo Palestino

[ZAD] Les expulsions ont commencé, la zad appelle à se mobiliser

Assassinato Político, Terrorismo de Estado: Marielle Franco, Presente!

La Huelga General del 8 de Marzo, un hito histórico

A intervenção federal no Rio de Janeiro e o xadrez da classe dominante

Halklarla Savaşan Devletler Kaybedecek

Σχετικά με τον εμπρησμό

Ciao, Donato!

[Uruguay] Ante el homicidio de un militante sindical: Marcelo Silvera

[Argentina] Terrorista es el Estado: Comunicado ante el Informe Titulado "RAM"

[Catalunya] Continuisme o ruptura. Sobre les eleccions del 21D

Reconnaissance par Trump de Jérusalem comme capitale d'Israël : de l'huile sur le feu qui brûle la Palestine

Noi comunisti anarchici/libertari nella lotta di classe, nell'Europa del capitale

Luttons contre le harcèlement et toutes les violences patriarcales !

The Old Man and the Coup

Hands off the anarchist movement ! Solidarity with the FAG and the anarchists in Brazil !

URGENTE! Contra A Criminalização, Rodear De Solidariedade Aos Que Lutam!

¡Santiago Maldonado Vive!

Catalunya como oportunidad (para el resto del estado)

La sangre de Llorente, Tumaco: masacre e infamia

Triem Lluitar, El 3 D’octubre Totes I Tots A La Vaga General

© 2005-2018 Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]