Book Reviews

Published on June 22nd, 2022 | by Conor Hultman


Book Reviews by Conor Hultman: “We Fight: Three Decades of Rebellion Against the Police” from Detritus Books

We Fight: Three Decades of Rebellion Against the Police
Detritus Books ($13.12)
Available here

The essays in this collection are on-the-ground reportage from activists in anti-police demonstrations. They range from the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles during 1992, all the way to the Jacob Blake protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin a few years ago, and the resulting Kyle Rittenhouse shooting. Included in this timespan are the killings of Oscar Grant, Kimani Gray, Jesus Huerta, Michael Brown, and George Floyd, along with several others. The table of contents alone should be enough to convince you that this country has a problem with policing.

The writers in We Fight are more interested in outlining and decrying the police problem, rather than making solutions. A thousand-page anarchist synthesis of history and economics with a thorough index this is not (there are plenty of those already). Instead, these are livewire gonzo eyewitness accounts from young people inspired to action after instances of police brutality in their hometowns. This book could be described as propaganda, using the non-pejorative definition of the term: literature meant to influence opinion and inspire support for a cause. While there is a fair amount of thought given in the sidelines of the text to the question of whether violence can ever be politically justified, the focus of these essays is always personal, practical, and coming from an intrinsically anarchist point of view.

Nonetheless, I think this book is a good read for someone from any political background. There has been a great amount of media attention to “black bloc” demonstrators involved in protests, but hardly any word from said demonstrators, largely due to their fear of the consequences to being doxxed. The essays in this book come straight from the mouths of these people, unfiltered; if you ever wondered where they were coming from, or afraid of what their goals were, you should read something from the source. It’s important when forming a stable political opinion to consider many varied beliefs, and the stance taken in We Fight is one not often available from the major publishing houses, likely for its extremity.

Ultimately, this book should be engaging even for the politically apathetic reader. The situation, being an active rioter in conflict with the police, is one that many of us cannot imagine, and yet also one we can’t look away from when confronted with on TV. These are energized accounts from the scene of a struggle; that struggle, the future of our country. This review should end with one of the quotes that gave me pause:

“The police are wedged in the tension between precarity and legitimacy. They exist to police surplus populations but they also produce those populations through the legitimacy of their violence. They choose whose lives are literally disposable.”

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