EDITOR: The Sentinel’s November 11th editorial “Don’t undermine Aurora public meetings by hiding — arrest illegal disrupters” communicates a clear message: the political speech of citizens should be met with authoritarian enforcement and heavy policing.
The notion of “law and order” stretches back throughout American history and has been intimately tied to white supremacy and the far-right, especially in the 20th century. Historically, “law and order” has always meant a crackdown on civil rights, especially in the case of marginalized people. “Law and order” has never been advocated to protect anything more than the interests of the ruling class, white supremacy, and the state. The term has proven to be nothing but a call for racist violence, both vigilante and state violence, and class war against working people. Those who opposed the Civil Rights movement always framed their opposition to civil rights in terms of a preservation of “law and order.” Outside of the US, fascist movements have also based their policies and promises on a desire to restore or strengthen law and order. Both Mussolini and Hitler promised to bring law and order to Italy and Germany. And we know how that went.
In a time in which the Black Lives Matter and Abolish ICE movement, as well as various other forces on the left, are mobilizing and directly confronting the institutionalized racism and structural brutality of the police, it is no surprise that we are again confronted with calls for “law and order” being issued from the most reactionary sections of city council and The Sentinel.
“Law and order” in council chambers would be the deepening of police violence against black people, against undocumented people and against women. It would mean the further expansion of the prison-industrial complex and the tightening of the police state. It means the continued war on the working class in Aurora and its militant organizations: socialists, communists and freedom fighters.
The Editorial Board at The Sentinel just should be honest with themselves and their readers; the Editorial Board wishes for new laws to be created to criminalize freedom of assembly at public meetings.
It should be noted that following the Nov. 4 meeting, Councilman Dave Gruber was a guest on the Peter Boyles radio show. At 21:40, Boyles asks Councilman Gruber why the city didn’t arrest protestors and Gruber laments that our group didn’t destroy property or behave violently because “the media” would be upset if activists were arrested for using their rights to free speech. You can listen to Councilman Gruber’s authoritarian rhetoric on the Boyles radio show here:
Redress of grievances is enshrined in the US constitution, including casually cursing at police and public officials, like Mayor LeGare and Councilman Gruber. Hearing dissent at a public meeting is not “harassment.” It is a part of the job.
Ultimately, The Sentinel editorial centers civility and order over the conditions as to why protestors and the black and immigrant community are outraged. As Martin Luther King once wrote from the Birmingham Jail, “You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations.”
— Sophie Scholl, Abolish ICE Denver via [email protected]