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Labor in the Time of Trump$
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Jasmine Kerrissey, Eve Weinbaum, Clare Hammonds, Tom Juravich, and Dan Clawson

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501746598

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501746598.001.0001

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Trumpism, Policing, and the Problem of Surplus Population

Trumpism, Policing, and the Problem of Surplus Population

(p.169) 9 Trumpism, Policing, and the Problem of Surplus Population
Labor in the Time of Trump

Cedric Johnson

Cornell University Press

This chapter tackles the issues of mass incarceration and aggressive policing, and their impact on low-income communities and people of color. It places Trump's defense of police and denigration of Black Lives Matter into historical context. The chapter connects the rise of the carceral state with an ideology that pathologizes poverty, blames working-class and unemployed people for their failure to get rich, and defines an urban “underclass” as the problem. In this context, the chapter analyzes Trump's reverence for police as the “thin blue line” that separates civilization from chaos. Focusing its attention on the intersection between class and race, the chapter unpacks the logic that has motivated a long-standing effort to shift power and resources away from the working class and toward the corporate elite. It argues that liberal antiracist arguments misunderstand the class relations that underlie the current system of policing. The chapter concludes that labor groups have a crucial role to play in fighting police abuse and mass incarceration.

Keywords:   policing, mass incarceration, police abuse, Black Lives Matter, working class, class relations

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