20 October 2009

Political Space

"Jefferson ... knew, however dimly, that the Revolution, while it had given freedom to the people, had failed to provide a space where this freedom could be exercised." ~ Hannah Arendt

I am late commenting on this - the last several weeks have been especially hectic. So, while I had heard a bit about the police mis-conduct shown here, I had not see this video. You can read the local Gannett take on the episode here and here.* Regardless of whether one agrees with the kids, there is no excuse for the behavior of the police shown here. None.

The obvious, immediate problem here is that Rochester police, like those elsewhere, feel entitled to beat people with impunity. But there is a deeper matter at issue too. Where is the public space for the exercise of freedoms? If that space is defined by club wielding, uniformed agents of the state, we are in trouble. So, we are in trouble.
* You can find a report here from the local PBS station on the subsequent public hearing on the episode.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any chance you can recall where your Arendt quote comes from? He remains a much more complex revolutionary figure (slavery, anti-federalism, democratic engagement) than I think is often remarked...

21 October, 2009 10:13  

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