Gun Boat Diplomacy or Law

jenyan1 jenyan1 at
Thu May 3 11:32:44 MDT 2001

On Thu, 3 May 2001, Mark Jones wrote:

> Carrol Cox wrote:
> > The extension of "bourgeois law" to any area where U.S. (or NATO)
> > military power can reach is essentially a return to gunboat diplomacy,
> > to international vigilantism -- to chaos, not law.
> Does it occur to you that  this argument (which appears to be popular on this list)
> is just a backdoor legitimisation of the rule of bourgeois law *within* the state
> boundaries of the USA and other Nato powers? Is that your intent?

Does it occur to you that  this argument (which appears to be [un] popular
on this list) is just a backdoor legitimisation of the  [selective,
arbitrary and capricious application] of bourgeois [lawlessness without]
the state boundaries of the USA and other Nato powers [by and for
sole the benefit of the USA and the NATO powers]? Is that your intent?

> All bourgeois law is based on the rights of property, ie on the rationalisation and
> legitimisation of primal theft. Nevertheless, to serve its purpose and be functional
> as a guarantor of the conditions of existence of capitalist production relations,
> bourgeois law and right necessarily embodies notions of the rights and sovereignty
> of the individual subject. We are all beneficiaries of this fact.

No "we" are not.

> If it observes these rights only hypocritically or in their absence,
> that is because bourgeois law is class law, and is therefore unable to
> universalise itself. Only a truly human society, ie communism, can
> replace class law with a truly universal, transparent and
> non-hypocritical system of law and justice, which is based not on the
> defence of  private property but on the universal norms which bourgeois
> law can only genuflect to but cannot ultimately uphold.

I belive someone recently called statements of this sort "gossamer
abstractions". We live in the here and now, and at the moment imperialism
is trying to reverse the hard won gains made against by the people of the
South over the last 150 years. Whether it seeks to do so under the guise
of military humanism, bourgeois legalism or another variant of mission
civilatrice, it must be opposed.

> But this does not mean we should simply abandon bourgeois law, civil and
> criminal justice systems, bourgeois right, the franchise etc! That would
> really be foolish.
> It is good that Pinochet was arrested, and even better that this act, by its
> self-evident arbitrariness and one-sidedness, served to demonstrate again and in a
> powerful way, the hypocrisy and obvious injustice, cynicism etc, of the bourgeois
> rule of law, which is incapable of putting the real criminals behind bars (Kissinger
> etc). It is absurd to argue, as some here do, that per contra it's bad to arrest
> Pinochet but it's OK (from a socialist or Marxist point of view) to be a state
> criminal, a war criminal, a plunderer of national assets etc, if you happen to have
> Chilean or Argentinian or Russian nationality. That makes a complete mockery of *our
> own* claim to represent higher and truly universal principles.
What the bourgeoisie are promising (and you seem to support) are not
"truly universal principles" but kangaroo tribunals and victors justice.


> Mark

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