All Lives Matter

The MDIslander has picked up the story about Hancock County’s racist, piece of shit sheriff (the terms are redundant), but has notably neglected to mention that he views Black Lives Matter as a terrorist organization. We wouldn’t want people getting funny ideas about the police, after all! In the Islander’s worthless article, which acts as stenography for fascists, Sheriff Scott Kane repeats the adage of white supremacists across the United States: “all lives matter.”

This kind of response to the Black Lives Matter movement has vexed liberals for months at least, principally because in attempting to disprove it, they are arguing against themselves — since both liberals and fascists ceaselessly claim to be acting in the interests of peace, even as they have spent centuries slaughtering hundreds of millions of people. Both liberals and fascists likewise view the destruction of a random small business in a riot as far more of a crime than the destruction of George Floyd. The only difference here between liberals and fascists is a squeamishness on the part of the former, while the latter is bold and unapologetic in his thirst for blood.

“People must die if a single business is harmed,” liberals and fascists say, “but it is wrong to destroy businesses in response to the lynching of George Floyd.”

Fascists like Hitler, Mussolini, and George W. Bush never said they wished to murder anyone: always they emphasized that they were acting in the interests of peace, even as they ordered slaughter on an unimaginable scale.

Todd McGowan, a professor at the University of Vermont, brought up the issue of “all lives matter” in a recent episode of his podcast with Professor Ryan Engley, Why Theory. I will attempt to paraphrase McGowan’s comments. The statement “all lives matter” sounds, at first glance, far more leftist, radical, and universal than a statement like “black lives matter,” which likewise appears to focus only on black people. Yet this is a Hegelian case of finding the particular in the universal, and the universal in the particular: we all know anyone who has said “all lives matter” in the past year with any kind of seriousness is obviously an American Nazi who doesn’t give a damn about human life. The question, of course, is: how do we know this?

To continue attempting to paraphrase McGowan: the world we currently inhabit places no value on the lives of black people. American police kill about a thousand people per year, a rate similar (any way you look at it) to the most exploited nations in the Global South — among them Mali, one of the poorest countries on Earth, where the police execute (on a per capita basis) about as many black people as American police.

To emphasize, therefore, the value of black life, is likewise to emphasize the value of all human life. A world in which black people are treated with the same respect as white people is a world in which capitalism has ceased to exist, and along with it the modern concept of race.

“All lives matter,” in contrast, is an attempt to paper over the issue. I know from firsthand experience that Scott Kane places no value on human life. If you cross him, or any police officer, you really are as good as dead, regardless of whether the law is just — and we all know that any law based on the preservation of private property is an abomination.

I have stated repeatedly that Kane told me, face-to-face at a Budget Advisory Committee meeting, that he had worked with ICE to deport two of our neighbors to almost certain death because their papers were not in order, and they could not make bail. Local bourgeois newspapers, of course, have no interest in this statement. No article has appeared. No investigative journalism has taken place. The Ellsworth American, the MDIslander, WDEA.AM, and The Bangor Daily News are all too busy reporting on the wonders of small business.

Yet Kane’s admission prompts obvious questions. How many other people has Sheriff Kane murdered over a technicality? How many other people did Kane punish because they lacked the supposed fortune of being born rich?

The purpose of the police is to defend private property with lethal force, but they will never come out and say this, just as the liberal will never say that he is attempting to overthrow the Venezuelan government for American oil interests; just as the fascist will never say that he is invading a given country to enrich his billionaire financiers. The more the police emphasize their care for “all lives,” the more clear it is that they care for no lives at all. Their ideal world, in fact, is one in which human beings have vanished, and where private property exists in a perfect stasis, like the “kregle” glue in the original Lego Movie.

At the same time, the harder the bourgeoisie (and the teeth of the bourgeoisie, the police) push their inhumanity, the harder humanity fights back. Global capitalism has been flailing for a century. The economy in the United States has shit the bed twice in the last decade. As profits decline, as workers unite, and as the planet itself refuses to cooperate with business, it becomes increasingly obvious that we are entering a new stage of history — one in which private property, and its guardian, the bastard cop, will cease to be.

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