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Imprisonment and Anarchism - Trial and Speeches and other

Imprisonment and Anarchism - Trial and Speeches and other

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JUSTICE IS a great concept ..but it has little place in capitalist society. Once you start to question this economic system you find that so much of what we are told is lies. The very attributes which capitalism boasts: Law, Order and Justice, are like props on a film set. The closer you examine them the more hollow and fake they prove to be.
In order to enforce justice you first of all have to decide what's criminal. The French sociologist Emile Durkheim in the 1890's wrote: "What confers a criminal character on an act is not the nature of the act but the definition given it by society. We do not reprove certain behaviour because it is criminal; it is criminal because we reprove it." In other words what society deems a crime is a crime.
JUSTICE IS a great concept ..but it has little place in capitalist society. Once you start to question this economic system you find that so much of what we are told is lies. The very attributes which capitalism boasts: Law, Order and Justice, are like props on a film set. The closer you examine them the more hollow and fake they prove to be.
In order to enforce justice you first of all have to decide what's criminal. The French sociologist Emile Durkheim in the 1890's wrote: "What confers a criminal character on an act is not the nature of the act but the definition given it by society. We do not reprove certain behaviour because it is criminal; it is criminal because we reprove it." In other words what society deems a crime is a crime.

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Published by: Philippe L. De Coster on May 19, 2014
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05/19/2014

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In Memory of Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman, and Voltairine de Cleyre
Imprisonment and Anarchism
Philippe L. De Coster, B.Th., D.D.
Trial and Speeches of Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman
© May 2014, Skull Press Ebook Publications, Ghent, Belgium
 – 
 Public Domain and Non Commercial
 
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Imprisonment and Anarchism
by Philippe L. De Coster, B.Th., D.D. JUSTICE IS a great concept ..but it has little place in capitalist society. Once you start to question this economic system you find that so much of what we are told is lies. The very attributes which capitalism boasts: Law, Order and Justice, are like props on a film set. The closer you examine them the more hollow and fake they prove to be.
 In order to enforce justice you first of all have to decide what's criminal. The French sociologist Emile Durkheim in the 1890's wrote:
"What confers a criminal character on an act is not the nature of the act but the definition given it by society. We do not reprove certain behaviour because it is criminal; it is criminal because we reprove it." In other words what society deems a crime is a crime.
The people who have always defined what is and isn't criminal have been the ruling class. In pre-industrial Europe crimes fell into two major categories 1) Against the Church 2) Against the aristocracy and capitalism The rulers, those in power at the time, were the Church and the aristocracy. Heresy, Sacrilege, and Blasphemy were all punishable by death. It was also a capital offence to pick fruit, hunt or fish on the lands of the King or the nobles. After the industrial revolution the only thing that changed was who decided what was or wasn't criminal. The new ruling class replaced the Church and
 
3 aristocracy as the authors of laws. They moved the goal posts and set the laws to  protect their own property. Property and wealth is, after all, what differentiates the ruling class from the working class.
Among our modern Nations, the function of prison is said to be a “correction  place.” When individuals break laws that uphold
 the common good, the conventional wisdom goes, they need to be punished or otherwise taught to be more socially cooperative and generous. In reality with incarceration, however,
the only thing that prison teaches is obedience. A “corrected” citizen is one
 who internalizes prison bars even on the streets.
I have my private distinctive idea of what crime “is,” which really refers to how
I would rewrite rather than abolish the criminal code. In real life, a crime is an act prohibited by the state (or an omission of an act mandated by the state) where this act or omission is subject to punishment by the state after the offender is arrested by the police, prosecuted by a public prosecutor, and convicted after a court proceeding by a judge with or without a jury. All crimes are by definition crimes against the state, whether or not they may also, or may
not, affect private interests. So defined, the “Anarchist response to crime” is
self-evident: to abolish crime by abolishing the state. Anarchist penal code is therefore literally nonsense. Crime should be left to the state, and left behind when the state is left behind. The question is what to do about undesirable behaviour. Now what is bad  behaviour to some people is not bad behaviour to others. I have a universal
formula for justice, in the grand tradition of Anarchists like Plato: “everyone
must be entitled to life, liberty, and the fruits of their [sic] labour and no one should be allowed to take these things away from anyone else. Crime is any action which wo
uld deprive someone of equal access to these things.” Deprive them of these things, or deprive them of “equal access to” these things? What does it mean to have “equal access to” life? Am I anti
-abortion? Beyond that, this generality is as abstract, and as vacuous, as proclaiming inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This is a political philosophy, not a code of conduct.
Let us go on to try to infuse a little content into these principles: “An Anarchist
society recognizes only three types of crime: (1) Chauvinistic Crimes, (2)
Economic Crimes, and (3) Violent Crimes.” A strange way to rank these categories! What on earth are Chauvinistic Crimes? “Chauvinistic Crimes are
those actions that deprive us of freedom or the fruits of our labour because of
social prejudices, religious dogma, or personal malice or animosity.” But acts
which deprive us of these things are either Economic Crimes or Violent Crimes

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