[Marxism] From Jim Craven (conspiracies)

Sologdin at aol.com Sologdin at aol.com
Sun Mar 13 08:10:30 MST 2005

"under evolving "conspiracy 
law", all parties to a conspiracy are assumed to be acting in concert with 
a common plan and thus are culpable for the activities of the others even 
if not given direct notice by the others of what they are doing in 
particular in furtherance of this common plan."

there is merit in this point.  the bourgeois criminal law has provided an 
assortment of tools for handling conspiracy.  

the ancient common law required several things, detailed in the previous 
post, such as a "twoness" (i.e., no "unilateral conspiracy" was possible until 
recent times), a mutual plan (either express or implied), and some kind of overt 
movement toward fulfilling the that plan.

the form that the conspiracy was to take has gone through several mutations.

1) the development of the legal concept of conspiracy as a "wheel," where on 
person acts as the hub, and the others are related to the hub via "spokes" of 
data, and to each other by a "rim" of data--i.e., there is functional 
knowledge by all players, though no necessary interdependence.  cf. Kotteakos v. US, 
328 US 750 (1946).  one famous case, US v. National City Lines, 186 F.2d 562 
(1951), which every marxist should read, concerns how the auto companies and 
their suppliers conspired to destroy public transportation in the US early in the 
20th century.  it has been called the most successful and brazen conspiracy 
in history, as the world they made is firmly in place, with all of its 
genocidal qualities, and they were made to pay a token fine, something i could afford, 
like $5000 or so.  amazing.

2) the development of the legal concept of conspiracy as a "chain," where 
each player is related to adjacent ones by "links" of data.  here, we have an 
implicit interdependence of all players on each other, but in long chains, there 
is no functional knowledge of all other players' activities.  cf. Blumenthal 
v. US, 332 US 539 (1947).  

3) after the production of the RICO system, we have a further development in 
the legal concept of conspiracy, which explicitly compares a third type of 
conspiracy as looking like a "corporation."  see US v. Elliott, 571 F.2d 880 
(1978).  this is also an amazing case, which deploys the rhetoric of management & 
business administration to describe what is essentially a bizarre conspiracy 
of grocery thieves and drug dealers, but does not conform to either the 
Blumenthal or Kotteakos rule.  in literary terms, the Elliott opinion is hilarious at 
times and very instructive for marxists interested in how the *bourgeois* 
courts look at conspiracy.

my knowledge of the criminal law is not up to date, so i'm not sure how this 
taxonomy of bourgeois conspiracy has held up recently, but nonetheless there 
is a long tradition of recognizing conspiracy as a part of material reality; 
the problem is that marxists might want to challenge the rationale behind 
prohibiting only these relatively rare (compared to routine cappy BS) interactions.


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