some thoughts on ideological purity and teh law
October 23, 2015
I”m going to try and make this non-epic. Mainly bc I do think ppl ought to read and pay attention so that they don”t end up like me. Here is the basic point:
Principles of non-carceral forms of justice are fundamentally incompatible with our current system of law.
Sure, you might think this is an obvious thing. I know I never thought I”d learn this lesson the hard way.
By ‘non-carceral forms of justice” I mean things like community accountability, various traditional/indigenous systems of justice, basically any of the alternatives that move us away from prisons and the police as ‘solutions” for justice.
Trying to adhere to non-carceral conceptions of justice is great and all… so long as you don”t get caught up in notions of ideological purity and lose sight of the fact that we live in a carceral state with a carceral system of law. And that these systems are about protecting white men, first and foremost, and often incredibly violent for marginalized people. And that white men and/or the state in general, can and will leverage this tool of violent oppression whenever they can and think it is necessary.
I remember once complaining about the fact that journalists always use ‘alleged” in front of someone who clearly committed a crime. I know why they do this now and I recommend a lot of people quickly get acquainted with this word and use it far, far more often.
For as uncomfortable as this was for me to realize: we can be considered ‘journalists” in the right contexts and punished accordingly. You should be worrying about libel and defamation. You should be worrying about openly sharing copyrighted materials. Even if you use a pseudonym, do not count on tech companies protecting you if they get official requests for user information.
All I”m really trying to say here is… make informed decisions. Understand what you are doing and what the potential consequences are. Don”t forget that your survival (imo) should trump ideological purity. If you”re already marginalized and vulnerable, it really doesn”t take much for your life to get much, much worse if you”re exposed to the violence of the judicial system.