ACAB includes clueless civilians

Pictured: Picture of a police cordon, with tape saying “Police line, do not cross.”

I’m a reformed criminal. I used to be a thief, and I was in a gang. Nothing too exciting, mainly just traumatising levels of poverty coupled by rare moments of excitement, including police violence.

ACAB is a criminal slogan, it came from the great depression, and it’s a statement of solidarity, a reminder not to rat people out, and an expression of defiance of authority.

That’s why you sound like an asshole when you use it unless you’re actually a criminal. So here’s a few reasons as to why people who aren’t criminals should quit saying ACAB:

First off, it’s a lie. Cops probably tell you to drive carefully and to have a nice day, they probably have community outreach programmes in an effort to groom you into being a snitch. You’re a liar. Cops are not your enemies, and you probably have no idea what it’s actually like.

And it doesn’t mean what you think it means. ACAB is not a political statement, nor is it a call to arms, it’s not Cyrus asking the underworld if they can dig it. It’s just an expression of solidarity and contempt, it’s a feeling, not an idea.

Whole reason why it’s a mild insult rather than “Kill all cops” or something is precisely because it’s not about hating police, they’re just the enemy. You don’t hate the enemy, because it’s exhausting to do so, you just fight them. The most common feeling criminals have about police is annoyance, we don’t think a lot about cops unless we have a practical reason to.

And of course, campus liberals are absolute punks. I dare you to put ACAB on your résumé. Wearing a mask and cracking windows and bragging about it on social media is what dumb criminals do.

The Neapolitans ruined the mob, because they didn’t know how to behave like Sicilians. I don’t expect you to get that reference, and that’s my point.

Also, to all you anarchists out there, stop conflating liberal police with socialist police. The Soviet criminal reform was written by former convicts, and was one of the most widely supported policies among Russian criminals. Hence the bitch wars.

The bitch wars was a fight between old time imperial thieves, and new revolutionary thieves. The old timers were anarchists, they did not support Soviet reform. Things like 15 year maximum sentence, paid wages, housing guarantee, rehabilitation etc.

They were called Vory, which means pure. Then you had the new revolutionary thieves, who wanted to join the Red Army in order to get their freedom, they were called Suki, or bitches.

For several years, these two factions fought, and it was the Suki faction who won. Presumably because many of them were hardened veterans from Stalingrad.

Does that mean Russian criminals love the police? Of course not, but for the first, and only time in history, criminals actually had democratic representation. Even Stalin was a bank robber after all.

Moreover it’s disrespectful. Criminals have certain principles and honour codes, which, like all honour codes, are sometimes taken seriously, and are sometimes completely flaunted.

For instance, you don’t wear a prison tattoo unless you’re a convict, and you don’t ask questions about things like money, or specifics about people’s jobs. You learn to respect old timers, and listen to advice, and you don’t brag or show off in ways that draw attention to your associates.

And moreover, I’ve never insulted a cop unless they put a gun to my face. If I saw a police on the beat, I’d be polite, I’d put on a friendly face and greet them. Why? Because I didn’t want to draw negative attention to myself, or my neighborhood for that matter. We had enough problems as it is.

And that actually paid off, because as it turns out, during that period of my life police had actually installed listening devices in my place of work as it were, and I was never caught because, presumably, they only knew my voice and I never fit the profile.

Also if you have rapport with police, then it’s a lot easier to lie to them, which I also did. That’s the real ACAB mentality, it’s not about symbolic gestures, it’s about knowing who your enemies are.

And we say it precisely because cops are just people too, and we need the reminder sometimes. How they can be real decent, real friendly, and real helpful. But at the end of the day, they’re wearing blue, and that’s the problem.

So if you’re going to be a preachy asshole who riot in downtrodden communities in order to get Instagram followers, then please do it without violating our trademarks, thank you.

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