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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 151404 Find in a Library
Title: Iron Fist and the Velvet Glove (From Police and Society: Touchstone Readings, P 83-94, 1995, Victor E. Kappeler, ed. - See NCJ-151401)
Corporate Author: Crime and Social Justice Associates
United States of America
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 12
Sponsoring Agency: Crime and Social Justice Associates
Berkeley, CA 94704
Waveland Press, Inc.
Long Grove, IL 60047
Sale Source: Waveland Press, Inc.
4180 IL Route 83
Suite 101
Long Grove, IL 60047
United States of America
Type: Survey
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article labels the efforts of recent U.S. Administrations to strengthen and streamline the police as a way for the government to respond to widespread challenges to its legitimacy.
Abstract: The article takes the position that the primary function of the police throughout American history has been to enforce the class, racial, sexual, and cultural oppression that has been an integral part of the development of capitalist society. As a result, any effort to strengthen police powers or to allow the police to become more efficient and sophisticated in their methods must be seen as contradictory to the interests and needs of the majority of the population. This article contends that the police have enforced the oppressive social and personal relations of capitalist society by defining crime by and on behalf of the people who benefit most from capitalism and by selectively enforcing the law against certain segments of society while failing to prosecute other types of law-breakers. This article concludes that the only way to find an enduring solution to the problem of crime is to struggle for a society that can meet people's basic needs, thereby attacking the underlying economic and social roots of crime. 19 notes
Main Term(s): Police reform
Index Term(s): Capitalism; History of policing; Marxism; Radical criminology
Note: Excerpted from Institute for the Study of Labor and Economic Crisis, The Iron Fist and the Velvet Glove: An Analysis of the U.S. Police (3rd Ed). San Francisco: Crime and Social Justice Associates, 1982, 7-18. Reprinted with permission of Social Justice, a project of Global Options.
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