10/19 Historic Gaza Ceasefire Protests; How The Car Transformed Policing w/ Spencer Headworth

October 19, 2023

It’s another EmMajority Report Thursday! Emma speaks with Spencer Headworth, associate professor of sociology at Purdue University, to discuss his recent book Rules of the Road: The Automobile and the Transformation of American Criminal Justice. First, Emma runs through updates on the arrest of 500 peaceful anti-zionist protesters in DC at a Jewish Voices for Peace rally, the growing death and devastation out of Gaza, US Aid to war, Jim Jordan’s speakership, Trump’s legal battles, and the hot labor market, before parsing through the moving speeches by Rashida Tlaib and Naomi Klein at the JVP rally. Spencer Headworth then joins as he dives right into the evolution of the automobile and its particular impact on policing in the US. First, Headworth walks through the general bloody invention of the car (causing more American deaths over WWI than the war did), and the capitulation of the US government to the whims of corporations, initiating a slow but sure reassignment of the roads from a public place – for play, community, and commerce – to one exclusively for automobiles, with the criminalization of pedestrian use of the vast majority of streets under jaywalking. Expanding on this, Headworth dives into the impact of the automobile revolution on the implementation of the 4th Amendment, with prohibition law enforcement ramping up the use of “probable cause” to stop and search an automobile and its driver, particularly as traffic stops became the primary interaction between citizens and the state. Moving to the second half of the 20th Century, Emma and Spencer explore the role of both suburbanization – and the parallel decimation of urban areas – and in reinventing American segregation, and interstate highways in pushing the federalization of the very same crimes that were punishing Black and brown Americans at increasingly horrifying numbers, before tackling how all of these elements, aided by the wars on drugs and poverty, pushed racial biases to the center of policing strategy. Wrapping up, they look at the devastating impact of policing’s evolution alongside the automobile, and how it serves to reinforce the US police state. Emma concludes the free half by watching Fox & Friends begin to eat the moderate Republicans alive for refusing to endorse Jim Jordan’s speakership.

And in the Fun Half: Emma is joined by Brandon Sutton and Matt Binder as they discuss the arrival of spooky season, before parsing through the severe disinformation around the recent bombing of a Gazan hospital, Israel’s history of bombing medical infrastructure and actively lying about war crimes, and the already-debunked arguments Israel attempted to use to blame Gaza for its own devastation. Barnaby Raine gets to the core of Israel’s apartheid regime (colonizer logic), and Ron DeSantis takes on Trump’s response to Hamas’ terror attack. Raz from Santa Barbara discusses unlearning the patriarchy, which Dan from California expands on, and Spocko explores death threats and free speech, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Spencer’s book here: https://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=34413

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