Date of Degree

9-2015

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Political Science

Advisor

Susan Buck-Morss

Subject Categories

Philosophy | Political Science

Keywords

Black Lives Matter; capitalist state repression; fetishized secularism; police violence; political resistance; popular sovereignty

Abstract

This essay explores the purpose and function of the police in a modern state. It draws mainly from the ideas put forth by Walter Benjamin in his 1921 essay, Critique of Violence, and focuses exclusively on the events surrounding the Black Lives Matter movement. By applying political theory to concrete events, it attempts to expose the mechanics of capitalist state repression as presented in its current form. Central themes are police violence, state repression, popular sovereignty and political resistance. It is the intention of this piece of writing that it be used for practical purposes, to serve as a foundation on which the public can more easily critique the American political system. We must understand racist police violence in order to resist it.

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