Arrest As Means

Posted on February 3, 2011



The past few months have witnessed the mass arrest of hundreds of students protesting the most recent and potentially fatal government onslaught on higher education. Arrest as means to inhibit public protest through victimisation has been coupled with mass detention without trial, charge or legal basis in a practice that is euphemistically known as kettling. These parallel processes constitute the latest and most apparent expression of the violence that inheres in the very heart of our political and economic system, beset as it is by existential crises. The immediate agent of this violence is the police. The explicit function of this institution is to preserve the law as it is promulgated by the political class. When the containment of the ugly disease that is protest, disorder and refusal fails, and kettling is too deemed a failure, the tactic reverts to a more desperate level; one in which the police can be sure of their authority-giving authority: the power of arrest and the individualisation of the insurgent mass that refuses to be subdued. For every arrestee there stands one police officer on overtime. The ‘humane’ procedures have been abandoned in favour of individualisation, categorisation and neutralisation

Posted in: 1. Ed Minus One