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News :: Human Rights
Springfield 'task force' occupies oppressed communities
03 Apr 2005
Modified: 09:22:29 PM
Under the guise of “fighting crime,” the state of Massachusetts and city of Springfield started “Operation Safe Springfield” March 20.... Those involved with the task force are banking on the ploy of blaming the victims of capitalism for success in their occupation and repression.
Under guise of keeping city ‘safe’
Task force occupies oppressed communities

By Bryan G. Pfeifer
Springfield, Mass.

Under the guise of “fighting crime,” the state of Massachusetts and city of Springfield started “Operation Safe Springfield” March 20.

This new special task force is composed of almost all white city police officers, state troopers using their K-9 unit and others, bolstering the existing police force on all three shifts with more numbers on the midnight-to-8-a.m. shift. The task force is similar to a dozens of paramilitary units across the U.S. in large urban centers as well as other areas.

The task force’s goal is to curb crime and make the city “safe.” That’s according to Massachusetts Public Safety Secretary Edward A. Flynn, who announced its imple mentation the week of March 13. Flynn and other state and city officials, in a most crass and hypocritic way, are using a higher Springfield murder rate in 2005 to justify the task force.

Flynn said the new measures will be funded by more than $500,000 in state funds. Springfield will also receive $900,000 from the state over two fiscal years to pay city police overtime.

According to various news reports 10 state troopers, or one-third of the barracks staff, will patrol. Furthermore, the state police undercover unit will be working with the city police forces. (www.masslive.com)

Although the funding is coming from taxpayer funds, Flynn and others involved refuse to disclose how many city cops and troopers are members of the task force, citing the need to keep this information from “criminals.”

The deployment of the task force thus far is being concentrated in primarily poor Black and Latin@ Springfield neighborhoods. These neighborhoods have been decimated by plant closings and other economic and racist attacks, which have resulted in social challenges such as homelessness, health-care epidemics such as addiction, and school closings.

While outside these communities "boosting," selling drugs, sex work and other jobs are vilified as “criminal acts,” they are understood in poor communities as forms of economic survival, even though they may be undesirable. Often the poor and unemployed or underemployed have no choice.

There are no living-wage, union jobs in their communities. Social safety nets have been slashed or destroyed. And the realities of racism, sexism and lesbian/gay/bi/ trans oppression are everywhere.

Repression, occupation and profits not safety

Behind the packaged news conferences and media reports, the ruling class and its state, here and nationwide, are fast implementing repressive apparatuses. This is an attempt to subdue the working class and oppressed as massive class-wide resistance builds on various fronts from student and worker struggles to the anti-war movement.

Springfield is an excellent example.

The Finance Control Board’s relentless attacks on unionized workers, and on the working-class and oppressed communities as a whole, are creating more anger and fight-back sentiment. (http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/33713)/
http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/33144

The high-profile, savage beating of high-school principal Nicholas Greer by four white cops in November, and the subsequent acquittal of the cops and rampant police terror in the oppressed communities, are creating a cauldron of anger and resistance. (http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/33525)/
(http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/31088)

Awareness that city and state taxpayer money is being stolen to fund the Penta gon’s occupation of Iraq is increasing. So is resistance to the economic draft, as working-class and oppressed families increasingly oppose their loved ones entering the military. (http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display_any/21056)

Those involved with the task force are banking on the ploy of blaming the victims of capitalism for success in their occupation and repression.

A central goal is to divide white workers from oppressed working-class communities by smearing the latter, in the most vile manner, as less than human “criminals.”

The only real “safety” the task force and other occupying forces of the state are supposed to protect is the bosses’ safety to exploit and super-exploit the working class and oppressed, and to maintain divisions and fractures between them .

Poor and working-class whites must reject the ruling class’s racist plans and unite with oppressed people fighting back while respecting self-determination up to and including armed self-defense against the occupying forces in Springfield and elsewhere.

A beginning in Springfield could be a demand to immediately abolish the task force and reallocate the money toward the communities’ immediate needs.

-- 30 --

(c) 2005 Bryan G. Pfeifer. Article may be used in full or in part provided full attribution is given to author.

Union labor donated.

***
For history and background see:
"The Militarization of the Police"
by journalist Frank Morales at:
http://covertaction.org//content/view/95/0/
See also:
http://www.counterpunch.org
http://covertaction.org//content/view/95/0/

This work is in the public domain
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Comments

IAC To The Rescue!
03 Apr 2005
We will save springfield! Once the police have been replaced by the PEOPLE'S POLICE, freedom will truely ring!