Popular Justice and The Rule of Law -- 1
kbevans at panix.com
Sun Feb 25 22:41:31 MST 1996
Here, here! This business of dismissing law and the logic of
American civil law is ridiculous. Has anyone ever heard the phrase "seeds of
their own destruction?" Bourgeois law gives the individualist inspiration to
the socialist antithesis.
Socialists WILL be debating the same issues that American law
currently struggles with, make no mistake. The idea that all contradictions
will somehow vanish exceeds ideas like "the invisible hand" in prima faceia
absurdity. The idea that one can scurry in and scrap 400 years of people's
sincere and intelligent attempts to debate and resolve questions of justice
and the wisdom of redress, no matter how appallingly capitalism-dominated the
environment in which the effort took place, is folly and irresponsible (if
well intentioned) polemic.
Sure, everybody wants to storm the Bastille and cut off the King's
head and dispense glowing justice from on high. That is the problem. Sure,
things will get a little rough, and socialists will have to act outside civil
authority, but they had better realize that is a minimally necessary EVIL, to
be rationalized back into civil law as quickly as possible - with martyrs to
the restoration of civil authority a distinct possibility.
Envisioning any measure of lawlessness or exceeding of legal
authority beyond the odd riot and somewhat heavy-handed "business" dealing
with individual capitalist concerns - in a modern democracy - is destructive.
It undermines the rectitude of the revolution. It shows a weakness of ideas.
Now there may have to be special exceptions made in the case of European
"royalty". However, as feudal relics, they should expect a little peasant
and pitchfork action.
The point is that socialists will be faced with the very same
problems of law that we are now. Minorities will commit crime in
disproportionate number and have to be punished in disproportionate number.
Lawyers will still demand payment for complicated work. Influential people
will still be able to obtain their services somewhat more easily than those
without influence. Judges and juries will retain their prejudices and their
The question should not be whether bourgeois law has any value, but
how capitalists specifically change its structure so that it will live
up to its own letter, firstly, and then, how it will live up to its spirit.
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