The Cost of Compliance
29 December 2011
A fictional letter by a supporter of colonial slavery named Willie Lynch has circulated for nearly twenty years. Based on the actual careers of J. Edgar Hoover, Eugene “Bull” Connor, and Frank Rizzo, the following law enforcement strategy outline provides a cautionary note to the Occupy protestors who have chosen to make their visible dissent at the King of Prussia mall over the last two weeks.
This doctrine by Franklin “Eagle” James began on the bank of the Schuykill River in the state of Pennsylvania in 2012. James is a fictional American police commissioner. He speaks against the massive international uprising to undermine the right to property in hopes that his methods would restore the power of the conglomerate in the public mind.
[beginning of the Franklin James Letter]
I greet you from the Schuykill River in 2012. First, thank you, the dedicated citizens of Pennsylvania, for hearing me out. I am here to help you solve your problems with protestors. Your invitation reached me in my offices where I have developed some of the newest and most effective methods for keeping the peace. I have a method for controlling your laziest citizens. If performed correctly, it will control these malcontents forever. My method is simple. These activists must always and only trust and depend on only our corporate goodwill. If you use this method, the protestors themselves will remain perpetually distrustful.
First, every person must believe that they are only an individual with no connection to a larger movement. Second, be constantly vigilant for any charismatic leader who might seek to bring a community together in protest. Third, encourage any protest organization to stick to nonviolent tactics so any destruction of property or threat to corporate representatives will break their unity. Fourth, undermine any possibility of a protest movement’s respectability, especially through television and other mass media outlets. Fifth, prevent the growth of any activist organization by eliminating all forms of youth participation. By meeting these five criteria, we can cripple all challenges to corporate dominance.
The protection and growth of corporate profits still shape the law of the land. We must enforce them to the utmost of our ability through the forceful application of all lawful means. We must do everything to keep so-called activists `in their place.’ We must break any strikes, silence any radicals, and always stay on the good side of the business leaders. My support of the economy emphasizes no new taxes and a smaller government that offers only the bare essential services. We must keep to the hard line, resisting any compromise with leftist radicals until the bitter end.
Among my first acts as the police commissioner was to order an assault on hundreds of high school students demonstrating for an interdisciplinary studies program in a local school district. I implemented my plan for riot management. My opening command was to remove the protesters by saying, “Get their lazy asses.” Our forces beat the students and anyone else who happened to be in the area. A liberal organizer who witnessed the event noted, “I saw children who were fleeing from the police lying on the ground, each with three patrolmen beating them unmercifully with clubs.”
I cannot wait for the occasion to raid the offices of the local Occupy movement later this year. They are already planning more disruptions of our most successful places of business as we enter this crucial election year when the fate of our entire society hangs in the balance. Recent resistance to elected local authorities and rampant violence in communities like Norristown and Pottstown give us sufficient justification in using force to protect the most successful members of our communities. We will humiliate these protestors and their supporters at their events and in the media. We will clean out every organization center and demolish any functions that these buildings could provide for the radicals. These raids will be my declaration of war on these subversive revolutionaries.
Thank you for your time and attention. Let’s bring law and order back to the United States of America.
[ending of the Franklin James letter]
Again, this letter is a work of fiction. It is, however, based on actual ideas, words, and strategies developed by some of the most celebrated (or vilified) law enforcement officials in the nation’s history. Only time will tell how accurate this proposal will be. As always, the future remains in our own hands.
Dr. Walter Greason is an Associate Professor of History and American Studies as well as Coordinator of the African American and Africana Studies Program at Ursinus College. His email address is (firstname.lastname@example.org).