Killing Consensus About Sao Paolo and Violence Essay

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Sovereignty by Consensus

In Sao Paolo, homicide detectives do not serve the same function as they do in the U.S. or any other wealthy and wealthy country; they have a different means of classifying deaths. They cannot and do not investigate crimes in the same way as in wealthy countries. Violence and homicide are pervasive and common in Sao Paolo; they are even considered "normal" (Willis 6).

Police tend to investigate two types of homicides: one with an unknown assailant, and police killing citizens, which is very common, at a rate of more than one per day. These types of homicide are ironically crimes perpetrated by the police, and they are labeled as "resisting arrest"

The PCC -- essentially the mafia -- handles everything else.

The author introduces the theme of the book as being about "cities, social relations, and the patterns of urbanization common in the Global South," (p. 7).

The two patterns of concrete urbanization include geographic areas that are built by their owners (this is the informal construction), and the areas that are built for the owners (formal structures built according to official building codes like a tenement)

Citizen-state relations are totally different within this culture/subculture, and it forces a total renegotiation of definitions of crime/criminal.

People have to take the law into their own hands, resolve conflict in means other than police; the PCC provides that quasi-government structure

Chapter 1: "Surviving Sao Paolo"

The PCC is "the party," or "the family"

The PCC uses a sophisticated system that expressly states it will generate an "ethic of crime" by creating "peace among criminals" via its specific codes (p. 23)

The PCC actually does keep the peace, even though they use violent means and methods

Chapter 2: "Regulations of Killing"

This chapter focuses on the "resistencias," when the police label an act "resisting arrest." Resistencias are the area in which the police are most empowered; they have the discretion to use force, and they use it to maintain the social hierarchies that exist.

The PCC may be behind most homicide the police consider "normal," and the PCC use of force is considered equally as legitimate (as well as illegitimate) vs. the cop. There is an internal logic to the order and structure of PCC vs. cop.

The system is based on social stratification and classification. There are cleavages based on race and status in the community. This leads to the judgments about how a crime is to be classified.

The police organization itself is also highly structured.

Chapter 7: "The Powerful?"

In this chapter, the author talks about the perplexing resistance to change from almost all stakeholders in the issue.

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The ramifications are felt even at the upper level of politics.

The author writes an Op-Ed piece for the New York Times, something that subverts the unspoken commitment to silence that exists within Sao Paolo; it takes an outsider to see the situation honestly from all sides.

Police, whether the "beat" cops who are Military and relatively low social status, but know the ins and outs of the streets, or the Detectives, the political police, are bound by social codes that prevent speaking out, making any public or political statements, partly because both sides are dangerous.

It is dangerous for the police to speak out, at the very least to your career, but many do so under false names on a blog.

No one is innocent. If the police crack down on the PCC, then the police have too much wanton power to kill indiscriminately. You can call police authority part of a "democratic" system but it won't be democratic, it only serves to legitimize the use of violence and force and would prevent police oversight.

Typical methods of mobilization such as striking do not work in this case; what about the "regular" police caught between two conflicting ideals?

It seems there are two conflicting needs: the need for democracy, openness, accountability, transparency on the one hand, and for security, law and order structures, and stability on the other.

His Op-Ed makes waves. He is interviewed by Brazilian media, under the pretense of speaking about police salaries, and is tricked -- the interview is distorted to read as a Canadian support of PCC. This lands him in serious hot water. Makes him seem like he is sympathetic to the PCC and critical of the police. On the other hand, a lot of cops knew what he said was true and supported him tacitly.

Unrelated, there was a change in policy regarding resistencias. The new policy changed it so that detectives did have to investigate police killings of civilians. Police who killed civilian under the presumably false pretenses was also prevented from destroying evidence. Even prevented the retired/off duty cop from enjoying immunity from the law. Helped improve police accountability, on paper anyway. A major "top-down reform" (p. 139). The need to improve police accountability is clear; but who are the police accountable to?

The people just want to be safe, and sometimes the PCC protects them from bad cops.

Chapter 8 "Toward an Ideal Subordination"

We need to change our notions of an ideal "state," which is informed by a preoccupation/obsession with "democracy" within the "hegemonic ideals of the….....

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