The Global Police State
Greg Wilpert talks to sociology Professor William I. Robinson about his just-released book, The Global Police State, in which he outlines the confluence of interests between transnational capital, 21st-century fascism, and the general policing of society. Greg WilpertWelcome to theAnalysis.news podc
Greg Wilpert talks to sociology Professor William I. Robinson about his just-released book, The Global Police State, in which he outlines the confluence of interests between transnational capital, 21st-century fascism, and the general policing of society.
Greg WilpertWelcome to theAnalysis.news podcast. I'm your guest host, Greg Wilpert. I'm recording this podcastepisode a few days after a new wave of Black Lives Matter protests following a decision not to chargethe police officers who killed Breonna Taylor. Of course, as usual, there was plenty of repression againstthe protests which took place across the United States. What the protests and the police repressionhighlight is the extent to which inequality, and resistance to inequality and injustice, and the repressionagainst the resistance fit together.One sociologist who has argued that this is part of a worldwide trend is William I. Robinson. As ithappens, he just released a book on this topic called "The Global Police State," published this month byPluto Press. Will Robinson joins me today to discuss his book. He's a professor of sociology at theUniversity of California, Santa Barbara, and is the author of numerous books on the topic ofglobalization. Thanks for joining me today, Bill.
William RobinsonPleasure to be with you.
Greg WilpertSo your book actually covers a lot of ground, including your larger theory of globalization and globalcapitalism. But let's start with the issue at hand, the global police state. Why has it become a globalphenomenon at this point, and how does it express itself?
William RobinsonYes, well, the starting point for any discussion of the global police state has to be the crisis of globalcapitalism. Of course, I finished this book in October of 2019 so I could not see the pandemic coming,but the system was already in an acute crisis, and I'm going to suggest really the most acute crisis of its500 years, that is world capitalism well before the pandemic. And the only thing the pandemic did is toaggravate this crisis and aggravate everything, pushing us towards an intensification of global policestate.And certainly, the crisis that we're in is multidimensional. There is the ecological dimension, whichmakes it an existential crisis. And then there's the social dimension of the crisis in the sense that billionsof people around the world cannot survive. But that only becomes a crisis, the social dimension, untiland unless these billions of people rise up, and that's taking place now. But I think we need to focus ontwo other dimensions of the crisis. One is what we call the structural dimension, and that is that theglobal economy has been increasingly stagnant.And in the face of that stagnation, the building up of a global police state is a way of continuing to throwfirewood on the dying embers and stagnant embers of a global economy, and I'll get into this in a littlemore detail in a little while. But this structural dimension of the crisis is driving global police state, and
then global capitalism is facing a deep political crisis of legitimacy and of hegemony. And global policestate is a response to this multidimensional crisis of global capitalism.I would say that we're in a moment of inflection, an extremely dangerous moment. We are slipping intothe threat of fascism. But also, this moment opens up tremendous opportunities for emancipatoryprojects. The capitalist states have been unable to cope with the crisis and with the pandemic,