49 The Capitol Insurrection and Asymmetrical Policing: David Cunningham (EF, JP)

We first heard from the sociologist of American racism David Cunningham in Episode 36 Policing and White Power. Less than a week after the horrors of January 6th, he came back for an extended conversation about “asymmetrical policing” of the political right and left–and of White and Black Americans. His very first book (There’s Something Happening Here, 2004) studied the contrast between the FBI’s work in the 1960’s to wipe out left-wing and Black protests and its efforts to control and tame right-wing and white supremacist movements. That gives him a valuable perspective on the run-up to January 6th–and what may happen next.

“The FBI was seeking to eliminate left-wing threats….with the Klan…the overriding motive was to control…not to eliminate.”

Mentioned in the Episode

  • Two of the “after-action” reports on Charlottesville that David discusses are:

Independent Review of the 2017 Protest Events in Charlottesville, Virginia” (Hunton and Williams 2017)

Virginia’s Response to the Unite the Right Rally: After-Action Review” (International Association of Chiefs of Police, December 2017)

Listen and Read

Upcoming Episodes

First, another rapid responses to the Capitol attack of January 6th. Episode 50 is a discussion of the racially-inflected genealogy of the words that are used to describe uprisings, rebellions and riots. Joining us is Brandeis historian Greg Childs, expert on political mobilizations and revolutions in the Americas.

Next, we are delighted to pick up our pandemic-interrupted Recall This Buck series by speaking with the brilliant French economic historian Thomas Piketty, tackling questions of wealth inequality, the failures of capitalism as ideology, and the depressing rise of “Brahmin left” political parties. Adaner Usmani (you know him from episode 44 on mass incarceration) co-hosts with JP.

36 Policing and White Power: (EF, JP) Global Policing Series

Black lives matter. Yet for decades or centuries in America that basic truth has been ignored, denied, violently suppressed. Many of the mechanisms that create an oppressed and subordinated American community of color can seem subtle and indirect, despite the insidious ways they pervade housing law (The Color of Law), education (Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together, Savage Inequalities) and the carceral state (The Condemnation of Blackness, The New Jim Crow, Locking Up Our Own).

Although there is plenty of subtle racism in policing as well, there can be a brutally frontal quality to white-power policing: just look at the racial disparity in the stubbornly astronomically number of fatal shootings by police.

In this episode, we join other public discussions (including Brandeis University’s America’s Racial Reckoning: Black Lives and Black Futures in Historical, Political and Legal Context and Democracy Now’s interview with Angela Davis on abolition) of police brutality, systemic and personal racism and Black Lives Matter. We are lucky to be joined by Daniel Kryder and David Cunningham, two scholars who have worked on these questions for decades.

Continue reading “36 Policing and White Power: (EF, JP) Global Policing Series”