I am finalizing my submission for a collection of papers that emerged from the 2015 AAG panel Contemporary North American Police States: Ferguson, Ayotzinapa, and Alternative Futures. The paper–titled ‘Profiling, state power, and an emerging post-liberal politics of solidarity in North America’–draws together both of my ongoing projects and, in that way, suggests a direction for my future work. I cut-and-paste a key paragraph below. It reflects on how I set up the essay and maps out the subsequent two parts.
In both cases [the police shooting of John Crawford in Dayton, Ohio, and the murders and disappearances in Iguala, Guerrero], the exercise of repressive state power is contingent upon a configuration of the world that gives its targets to perception. This contingency is important because it suggests an opportunity and an urgent need for agitation that suspends the givenness of profiles—a political moment that creates conditions for collective action. Emphasis on the contingency of police violence is particularly necessary in light of countervailing tendencies immanent to and shared between political processes in the U.S. and Mexico. I examine these tendencies in the remaining pages, organized in two parts. Part one shows how participants in recent protest waves and ongoing movements for social justice in Mexico and the U.S. sometimes reify the profiles through which repressive state power is exercised. Part two, on the contrary, shows how protagonists of contemporary political processes are also forging political identities that exceed inherited profiles and are, in that sense, prefiguring a post-liberal politics of solidarity. The paper concludes by reflecting on the promise of these excessive solidarities.