Whose side are the police on, anyway?

I remember the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry — when we lived in Eugene, we often (but not as often as we’d like, it was a long drive) trekked up to Portland with the kids to enjoy it. It was a safe place, a hands-on museum with lots of children’s activities. I wonder how it’s changed in the past 30-some years.

It’s still supposed to be a safe place. In the recent demonstrations with fascists, the Portland police actually recommended that it was a good spot to visit that weekend, that it would be free of protests and Proud Boys. They lied. They actually led the Nazis right past the museum in order to clear them from downtown.

I was with my son, my daughter-in-law, and two little boys under five years old. We did not want my grandchildren anywhere near fascists. The Portland police bureau had published a map promising that OMSI, across the river from the planned site of the rally, would be safe. Alas, as police defused the main rally, some of the fascists found their way across the river and marched past the museum.

While the kids played in the beautiful Science Playground, the public-address system announced that the museum was in “lockup”; no one could enter or leave until further notice. We could not see the street; none of the staff knew what was going on; no one could tell us how long the lockup would last; no one knew whether the marchers might assemble in front of the museum, making escape impossible.

An actual lockdown, in contradiction to what the police had earlier recommended. Wow. They really don’t care, do they?

It’s not just Proud Boys, either. The Republican Party is merging with fascism.

Although no major political figure has embraced antifa activism, the Republican Party has begun to embrace the Proud Boys. Last fall, the Metropolitan Republican Club invited a Proud Boys leader to speak at a club event. (After the event, two Proud Boys beat four protesters so badly that a jury on Monday convicted two of them on charges of assault and riot.) The Republican activist Roger Stone has said he was initiated as a Proud Boy, and Proud Boys appeared at a federal courthouse when he turned himself in on charges brought by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Stone and the Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson posed in the Fox greenroom with two Proud Boys accompanying Stone.

This summer, Republican Senators Ted Cruz and Bill Cassidy are sponsoring a resolution that would designate antifa as a “domestic terrorist group.” No mention of the Proud Boys or any of the other neofascist groups who feel empowered by the ascent of Trump.

I guess we’ll need to go into lockdown any time a Republican passes by.


  1. PaulBC says

    The police are on the side of money and privilege. They protect the privileged from the rabble. At least, that has been the historical norm, and if you pay attention to the backlash to BLM, there are a lot of people who want to keep it that way.

  2. garnetstar says

    If anyone knows what Roger Stone means by being “intiated” into the Proud Boys, i.e., what their initiation ritual is, please don’t tell me. There are things that I would prefer to go to my grave in ignorance of.

  3. mnb0 says

    “Whose side are the police on, anyway?”
    On the side of the state, as usual. The state invented the police to protect itself against civilians. Sure, during large chunks of our lives the police was supposed to protect those civilians. And I’ve no doubt many police officers still want and do this. But that’s not the normal situation for the police as an institution.
    Don’t believe me? In a quiet, tolerant country like The Netherlands the police cooperated very well with the nazis during WW-2, to round up jews. And eight years ago a black activist was not only arrested, but also molested.


    The entry is rather inadequate. That “publice disturbance” consisted of wearing a T-shirt with the text “Black Pete is racism” and refusing to leave when the police ordered him. So much for freedom of speech.

  4. microraptor says

    Portland’s police have been blatantly pro-fascist, they don’t even make a pretense of hiding it.

  5. unclefrogy says

    in the past the republicans not seem to so openly support the racists and fascist elements of conservative politics southern racists excepted of course. They did not openly tolerate and encourage their support knowing it to be a challenge to power all the while supporting the ideas that they advocated. Now thanks to rump or is he just a result, the conservatives now are openly courting them while not saying out loud they agree with them 100%. Do they finally feel that their hold on power is so tenuous that they need to embrace the worse elements of the society to maintain power openly now? looks like a race to the bottom to me.
    uncle frogy

  6. microraptor says

    One side note: OMSI is no longer where you remember it, PZ. In the early 90s it moved from its longtime location next to the zoo to a new, larger building located on the east bank of the Willamette River. The old location has since been converted into a children’s museum- I’ve never been inside it myself due to not having any children but the outside is quite a bit more colorful than it was in its OMSI days.

  7. Robert Serrano says

    From what I’ve seen it’s not much of anything, more humiliating (at least it should be humiliating) to those participating than anything else. Oh and they’re supposed to fight someone before actually becoming full members.
    Aside from being a pack of violent thugs with self-esteem issues, the whole organization is basically a bunch of clowns who take themselves so seriously that they don’t realize that people are laughing at them.

  8. says

    The police are their own side.

    It is important for would-be revolutionaries to understand that and either neutralize them or get people inside the blue line.

  9. Stuart Smith says

    Of course the police are on the side of the fascists. There’s a reason that they call fascist regimes ‘police states.’

    Anyone whose ever had their house robbed knows damned well that the police aren’t on their side. The first thing they tell you, before they waste a few hours of your time, is “We probably won’t catch them, and even if we do you won’t get your stuff back.” You can bet they sure as fuck don’t tell that to rich folks who get robbed, because those people matter to them. The police are, generally speaking, just another street gang, except their protection racket is treated as legitimate and they don’t have to worry about ever being punished for their crimes.

  10. wzrd1 says

    The Newest Duck And Cover drills, to ensure obedience to authority.
    I have no problems with compliance in an emergency, but as a way of life, my parents rejected duck and cover for a fucking good reason!

  11. says

    The cops are always on the side of authority. For those who remember the WWII cartoonist Bill Mauldin, read his book, Up Front. He noticed in his travels up on the line and behind the lines that the quickest to suck up to any occupying force were hotel managers (not much choice for them) and the local cops. Always remember in most of Europe the Jews were rounded up by the local police.