Popular Justice and The Rule of Law -- 1

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at mailbox.swipnet.se
Sat Feb 24 15:27:44 MST 1996

Justin wrote:

>The rule of law is superior form of justice even when it
>is a class-based rule of law administered in the interests of an
>antagonistic class. The difference this makes is that of being subject to
>arbitrary power depending on the individual whims of our masters (no rule
>of law) or having well-established rules to which we can appeal and which
>constrain, to some degree, the power of the rulers. This is no
>inconsiderable difference. Bourgeois law is better than none. --jks

The rule of law you objectify here is merely class rule constrained by the
balance of forces in society. Capitalism works best when labourpower is
'free' and can be 'freely' bought and sold in the labour market according
to all the rules governing the sphere of circulation. It also works best
when this facade covers maximum exploitation of the workers in the sphere
of production combined with minimum costs of reproduction of labourpower.
Totally contradictory, just like the 'rule of law'.

If the balance of forces permits us to get out of particularly evil
clutches occasionally, it nonetheless forms part of the oppressive state
setup that subjects us to endless and hopeless exploitation every day of
our lives.

It's the escape from the pressure of this everyday exploitation that makes
things like inner-city riots and occupations and so on so exhilirating. The
euphoria is quite natural. In a larger political perspective, a revolution
provides the same kind of release but with infinitely better foundations.
Not for nothing did Lenin say that revolutions were a carnival for the

And the first thing that happens if a whole community gets to look after
itself for a while is that it sets up bodies of its own to maintain order
and keep the community functioning.

So reformulate. The bourgeois rule of law is a legalized form of injustice,
even though it's better than fascism or other forms of
counter-revolutionary terror. It's only kept to a pitiful semblance of
'equity' by the social power of the working class, which would be better
employed getting rid of the bourgeois state that maintains and promotes
exploitation and oppression. As justice, it's crap.



     --- from list marxism at lists.village.virginia.edu ---


More information about the Marxism mailing list