APB Month: Bill Campbell
 
Last week, APB: Artists against Police Brutality came out. (Again, I urge you to get a copy at your local book store, failing that, use the Amazon link I used, and you can siphon a small amount from Amazon to me. Which is a worthy cause.) And I want to put a bug in your ear.

This upcoming April, I and the artists of APB will be showing our work at Comics N' More in Easthampton, MA. April 9th is Easthampton Bookfest, Bill Campbell, Barbara Brandon-Croft, Jason Rodriguez, Aaron Rand Freeman, as well as other contributors (Those are as firm as possible this far out) will be in town to celebrate this book and to promote the hell out of this book and show.

There will be more announcements this weekend (April 9th) as soon as I am ready to say something about it. (Hint: It's a second show. Same opening day. Yes, I'm psychotic.) Hopefully I can announce this with next week's graphic.

Now, on to Bill Campbell.

Bill Campbell is a writer, publisher, editor and friend. (Full disclosure, he published APB, too, which has my art in it.)

I have said this in conversations, but I'm not sure I ever wrote this out for people, but police are a hammer. The problem with hammers is they see everything as a nail. Police are not supposed to be hammers, however, thanks to Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton they have turned the police into a national police state.

This problem existed before them.

From the founding of our country, those in power have used the powers of the state to oppress the voice of dissent. From the great railroad strike of 1877, to the Haymarket Affair, from the labor protests after the Triangle Waist Shirt fire to the Civil Rights movement, the police have been used as a hammer.

Why else is Bull Connor still remembered to this day as a villain?

This history is complicated, and one I am still researching. However, it's fair to say that Southern Conservatives love living in a police state. Why else was Richard Nixon so attractive to them in 1968, after the riot at the Democratic National Convention?

What did Nixon do in response?

He started the drug war. I don't recall anyone questioning the war on drugs in the 80s when Reagan (Another person who appealed to the Southerner's love of the police state by announcing his candidacy for President in Philadelphia, MS.) For the most part, when Clinton began militarizing the police, with his Republican house and senate, there was a small opposition, but they never could stop it.

Police have always used their force against the African American community in this country. They were the force to constantly keep them down. This is not just a Southern thing, either.

This is why we needed in the past the Black Panthers and the Young Lords and we need something like that again. We need community organizations that help raise up the community while keeping tabs on the police. Though they were not perfect organizations, their legacy of community betterment still lingers today.

The police must be held accountable to the community. When they commit violence against the community, they must be put on trial. They are there to SERVE and protect. They should act, to paraphrase Cenk Uygur and former detective Joe Crystal, as customer service agents. Only stepping in when someone is doing something wrong. They shouldn't be looking for trouble. However, they are used today, as throughout history, to serve and protect the rich and powerful.

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