It’s obvious that the rioters, those who burn, steal and commit violence are criminals who must be judged and sentenced in accordance with the law. There is a great deal of trafficking in the suburbs, including drugs. What a temptation when unpunished trafficking is infinitely more profitable than a laborious and unjust search for bad jobs! If the police catch a trafficker, he will most likely be released because the justice system can’t take it any more. And yet it’s normal to want to be heard in a democracy! Why beat on the masses without listening?
There is clearly a problem of unacceptable violent behaviour on the part of the police. Too many people have died as a result of increasingly powerful weapons! Our elected representatives support them from afar with their calls for firmness, but every year they reduce the numbers and resources of the police and the justice system. A patrol that has to share a bullet-proof waistcoat for four officers for 9 days without rest, surrounded by unpunished criminals, is bound to react out of fear. Give them a gun and you guarantee violence and deaths like Nahel’s and all the others that weren’t honoured by the cameras. Yet the police should be guaranteeing the right to demonstrate, guaranteeing the safety of demonstrators by protecting them from rioters and looters. They should be accountable to the people, not to the government.
Let’s not get bogged down in this duality. Pointing out the violence of some does not mean that you are taking sides with the others, and neither group deserves impunity. They deserve justice. However, justice is cruelly lacking in resources and is unable to judge criminals, violent police officers, corrupt elected representatives and billionaires who are killing the planet and monopolising all its resources at the expense of the poorest within an acceptable timeframe. To carry out this justice, we need elected prosecutors who serve the people and not the government.
This will not necessarily be more costly for the citizen, because there is an unlimited resource of “bullshit jobs” in both the public and private sectors, as well as subsidies that could be redeployed in the justice system, the police, education, organic farming and health.
Similarly, in a true democracy, the courts should apply the laws as decided by the people and not just by elected representatives. If the people rise up in revolt, they can use the popular initiative referendum to peacefully settle a political dispute.
According to Thomas Hobbes, a very powerful justice system means that men do not have to prepare for violence out of fear of uncertainty, to protect themselves from other potentially evil men. A strong judiciary and police force is a way of de-escalating violence. “During the time men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition called war; and such a war, as if of every man, against every man.” “A state is formed and the power given to justice in order to escape from the state of nature where all men are enemies to each other.”
The development of community policing had drastically reduced violence in the years 1997-2002. Nicolas Sarkozy abolished it in his speech of 3 February 2003, when he stopped community policing and created two rival clans, starting the escalation of violence (How Sarkozy ridiculed community policing: https://www.vie-publique.fr/discours/130359-declaration-de-m-nicolas-sarkozy-ministre-de-linterieur-de-la-securi#:~:text=Je%20veux%20aussi%20mieux%20méquilibrer,21%20janvier%201995%2C%20sera%20maintenu.).
To find out more, see On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs: A Work Rant by David Graeber: https://web.archive.org/web/20180807024932/http://strikemag.org/bullshit-jobs/
Le fabuleux monde de l’entreprise | ARTE: https://youtu.be/mm_UidMxDcM