Prison officers unofficial action spreads

89 posts / 0 new
Last post
posi
Offline
Joined: 24-09-05
Nov 18 2009 15:46
Prison officers unofficial action spreads

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5i082uFaYVJOM-vT-NWvY9szJjsrA

Django's picture
Django
Offline
Joined: 18-01-08
Nov 18 2009 17:43

Its an interesting issue. My instinct is that wildcat action by workers such as this shouldn't just be ignored, as it often is by anarchists - at the very least it makes the point that capitalist society can't help fucking the people who are supposed to be doing the day to day repressive work on its behalf.

waslax's picture
waslax
Offline
Joined: 6-12-07
Nov 19 2009 09:14

I agree with Django. Also the article by the BBC (see links below "Related Articles" under the article) is much more informative than the Google News one.

posi
Offline
Joined: 24-09-05
Nov 19 2009 14:13

I would go further than Django, and say that not only should it not be ignored, it should be supported. Of course, it needs to be supported with the perspective of a critical view of the role of prison officer as such, but that goes for loads of jobs...

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Nov 19 2009 22:28

I think it should be supported only if they go out on strike for the next 100 years.

Jason Cortez
Offline
Joined: 14-11-04
Nov 19 2009 22:35

I await Brian Canton leadership with bated breath (and obviously no teeth) wall

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Nov 19 2009 23:18

Yeh definitely - all anarchists should get right behind this strike and encourage prisoners to show solidarity with their guards - then eventually they can take over the prisons and self-manage them together as anarchist collectives. (Just like Durutti advocated.) Libcom should give prison officers their own forum here and we should forge close links with them and set up support groups. All anarchist organisations should offer them membership and help them set up industrial networks. Some of you should also strategically insert yourselves in the industry by taking prison jobs to build up these industrial networks. And the same goes if any cops, intelligence service agents, bailiffs or similar 'class comrades' go on strike. Which side are you on? It's us and them.

Django's picture
Django
Offline
Joined: 18-01-08
Nov 21 2009 17:51

I'll let Posi defend his/her own arguments about supporting this strike, which wasn't something I was advocating. But I don't think things are ever so clear as 'us and them', even though I don't think police, border agents, prison guards and so on should get active support from anarchists during these kinds of strikes.

I mean, the reason for it being an interesting issue is that there are plenty of workers who carry out and enforce the repressive and disciplinary roles of the state who would get support on these forums, and have in the past - job centre workers, teachers, parking attendants etc. Even more broadly, most jobs I've had have had compulsory aspects which you could describe as being repressive - kicking out shoplifters, watching CCTV, barring people from shops, and now (working for a credit union no less!) having to refer people to debt collectors. So even though I think its common sense not to line up behind prison guards who are at the end of the day demanding to be able to incarcerate people without being 'bullied', I don't think things are ever so clear cut as 'us and them'. And its not like police haven't joined mass struggles and insurrections in the past, so there are some situations when it is appropriate to treat them as 'class comrades'. I don't think this is inconsistent with wanting a world without police.

I notice that soldiers aren't on Ret's list of class enemies, and wonder what the anarchist reaction would be if we had mutinies spreading around barracks in the UK.

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Nov 22 2009 12:06

Django wrote:

Quote:
its not like police haven't joined mass struggles and insurrections in the past, so there are some situations when it is appropriate to treat them as 'class comrades'.

In the UK at least, the police haven't "joined mass struggles and insurrections" for 90 years - and then many of them were sacked afterwards and the remainder were subjected to a no-strike agreement: cops aren't allowed to strike - and I don't think there have been any wildcat strikes by the filth since. Your post reminds me of a member of IS - fore-runner of the SWP (he'd been a Catholic 3 months previously, but converted quickly to another religion - Trotskyism) . During the anti-Bloody Sunday demo that took place 6 days after Derry's Bloody Sunday when the cops were coming out between the police horses and viciously truncheoning people linking arms in the front row of the demo in Whitehall, this Trot shouted out, "Remember the 1919 police strike!". This did not have the effect of suddenly converting these defenders of the State and bourgeois property relations, who then truncheoned the guy.

The idea of supporting screws or cops, the frontline defenders of this sick world, is ridiculous leftism, about as radical as the former lefty MP Eric Heffer's "Class Struggle in Parliament".

Django's picture
Django
Offline
Joined: 18-01-08
Nov 22 2009 14:41
Samotnaf wrote:
In the UK at least, the police haven't "joined mass struggles and insurrections" for 90 years - and then many of them were sacked afterwards and the remainder were subjected to a no-strike agreement: cops aren't allowed to strike - and I don't think there have been any wildcat strikes by the filth since.

You could say the same thing about military mutinies, which are essentially a thing of the past in the UK, despite their important role in past insurrections, revolutions etc around the world.

Samotnaf wrote:
Your post reminds me of a member of IS - fore-runner of the SWP (he'd been a Catholic 3 months previously, but converted quickly to another religion - Trotskyism) . During the anti-Bloody Sunday demo that took place 6 days after Derry's Bloody Sunday when the cops were coming out between the police horses and viciously truncheoning people linking arms in the front row of the demo in Whitehall, this Trot shouted out, "Remember the 1919 police strike!". This did not have the effect of suddenly converting these defenders of the State and bourgeois property relations, who then truncheoned the guy.

confused

I said that I don't agree with supporting strikes of these kinds by prison guards, police or border agents - what that has to do with some Trot thinking he could "convert these defenders of the state and property relations" by shouting some magic words at them is beyond me.

What I had in mind more were historical situations like certain police units supplying workers with arms in Spain in 1936, police involvement in the Seattle General strike , etc. In those kinds of situations it would be pretty stupid not to attempt to address them as workers, and its difficult to maintain an 'us and them' analysis of the situation. I find it odd that this analysis is almost never applied to soldiers despite them having a role in breaking strikes and suppressing struggles which is just as obvious throughout history, and who are most definitely "frontline defenders of this sick world".

Samotnaf wrote:
The idea of supporting screws or cops, the frontline defenders of this sick world, is ridiculous leftism, about as radical as the former lefty MP Eric Heffer's "Class Struggle in Parliament".

Good thing I'm not doing that then...

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Nov 22 2009 15:11

Sorry if I mixed up your more considered comments,Django, with posi's ridiculous suggestion: tiredness on my part.

Quote:
What I had in mind more were historical situations like certain police units supplying workers with arms in Spain in 1936,

But then they had ceased serving the State, ceased being cops (and - since I don't remember reading about this incident - if they had continued their role as cops, obviously they would have had to be opposed).

Quote:
police involvement in the Seattle General strike

Please tell us about it - I, for one, don't know about this.

Quote:
You could say the same thing about military mutinies, which are essentially a thing of the past in the UK, despite their important role in past insurrections, revolutions etc around the world.

If I'm not mistaken, these mutinies have invariably taken place amongst conscripts and the press-ganged (e.g. in Iraq/Kuwait during the '91 Gulf War), at least initially. Professional armies are a bit different. In Iraq there have been individuals who mutinied and went AWOL or even shot their officers - but no movement (and I would give these people - depending on their actions - my 'support' - verbal at least).
But even amongst professional soldiers there's a difference with the cops or prison guards: for one thing, we're far more likely to socialise with them in pubs or wherever (and who would feel comfortable having a conversation with a screw or a cop?). For another, if they mutiny it's not the same as a screw going on strike: they face years in prison, a screw probably faces nothing much. There are other differences, but I've got to rush...

cantdocartwheels's picture
cantdocartwheels
Offline
Joined: 15-03-04
Nov 22 2009 16:18
Samotnaf wrote:
But even amongst professional soldiers there's a difference with the cops or prison guards: for one thing, we're far more likely to socialise with them in pubs or wherever

I've known plenty of people in the army, who joined the police and a few who work in prisons. I don;t really see this arbitrary line you've created about who we're more likely to socialise with, or who we'd want to have a drink with.
Sure coppers might tell you things that make you feel uncomfortable, but none of their ''law and order'' stuff is really going to compare to the time you get a phone call telling you how great it is that your mates got his first kill, that shit just makes your skin crawl tbh.
Plus the police serve some useful fucntions in our society, policing traffic, arresting and locking up rapists/paedos etc, even if their useful fucntions are dwarfed by their repressive role under capitalism. The army serves absolutely no useful function whatsoever.

Not that I'm convinced it matters who i socialise with tbh. I may be unlikely to socialise with long term coppers but then realistically i'm not that likely to socialise with some random chinese immigrants wth a poor grasp of english working in the black economy either..

Django's picture
Django
Offline
Joined: 18-01-08
Nov 22 2009 16:22
Samotnaf wrote:
Sorry if I mixed up your more considered comments,Django, with posi's ridiculous suggestion: tiredness on my part.

No worries - I don't agree with Posi on this but I wouldn't call the post above 'ridiculous' . Anyway its down to Posi to argue his/her views on this.

Samotnaf wrote:
But then they had ceased serving the State, ceased being cops (and - since I don't remember reading about this incident - if they had continued their role as cops, obviously they would have had to be opposed).

Though I don't think they stopped being cops (the republican state continued to exist along with its policing function), you could say that we want job centre workers to stop being job centre workers, parking inspectors to stop being parking inspectors, civil servants to stop being civil servants... So even though I agree with you that the possibility of them stopping to be the repressive arm of the state be a condition for addressing them as 'fellow workers', I still think the point that there are all sorts of shades of grey in terms of workers who 'serve the state' stands - its this that makes it an interesting issue.

Samotnaf wrote:
Please tell us about it - I, for one, don't know about this.

I read about this a bit ago, but from what I remember the police (or parts of the police force) joined the strike, forcing the state to bring in the military as well as police from outside the area.

Samotnaf wrote:
If I'm not mistaken, these mutinies have invariably taken place amongst conscripts and the press-ganged (e.g. in Iraq/Kuwait during the '91 Gulf War), at least initially. Professional armies are a bit different. In Iraq there have been individuals who mutinied and went AWOL or even shot their officers - but no movement (and I would give these people - depending on their actions - my 'support' - verbal at least).

But even amongst professional soldiers there's a difference with the cops or prison guards: for one thing, we're far more likely to socialise with them in pubs or wherever (and who would feel comfortable having a conversation with a screw or a cop?). For another, if they mutiny it's not the same as a screw going on strike: they face years in prison, a screw probably faces nothing much. There are other differences, but I've got to rush...

I don't dispute that there's certainly more 'potential' in conscript armies, and that they've tended to behave differently to professional armies. But I don't see what the qualitative difference between a professional soldier and a professional cop is, and why it would be OK to lend support to mutinous soldiers and not to support mutinous prison guards (in war zones soldiers serve as prison guards after all).

I'm not sure whether I'd be less likely to drink with a cop or a prison guard, I've never been in a situation where its been a possibility (I have been out drinking with people in the armed forces though). I've got on alright with mates' relatives who have been cops though, as I don't see the problem with the police being individual police officers but the social role of the police force.

On the issue of the stakes of mutinying though, does that mean that if the stakes were higher for prison guards, and they risked imprisonment for striking, it would be OK to support them?

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Nov 22 2009 16:48

Yes of course the cops serve useful functions like helping little old ladies across the road. "Policing traffic"? - well, every year several people are killed by cop traffic - cops speeding at ridiculous rates, and usually at most these killers get a suspended sentence. Any useful things they might do "policing traffic" is cancelled out by this fact. As for getting rapists - it's well-known that conviction rates for rapists are extremely low (not that I support prisons, but that's another question). Anyway, it's not for defenders of the State to deal with rapists, since the State and the social relations it's part of do far worse things than rapists do. It's for the class struggle to deal with rapists and generally nasty behaviour. In Canada in the 70s some women's groups would go round to the house of known rapists, spray-paint their houses to 'out' them and then often confront them in their homes, confront their family with what they'd done. In Alexandria during the revolutionary movement in South Africa in the 80s, the local community would confront rapists or those who beat up their girlfriends, and would deal with them through local meetings. As for paedophiles - well, in the past, in many close-knit working class communities (e.g. mining villages), if someone was discovered to be a paedophile he'd get outed and thumped and sent to Coventry. With the destruction of community, the State takes on that function but in such a form, that often paedophiles kill to get rid of the evidence, which was certainly less so when there was some semblance of a community of struggle.

To say the cops perform some useful function can equally be applied to the army: after all, they got rid of Saddam didn't they? And Hitler and Mussolini over 60 years ago. Such simplistic arguments would rightly be laughed at on libcom; but somehow cantdocartwheels finds a forum here for equally ludicrous ideas.

I prefer the "Harry Roberts is our friend" chant.

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Nov 22 2009 16:53

The last post I sent was a reply to candocartwheels, not Django: will maybe reply to Django's (which seems to have crossed with mine) later if I have the time, though there's not all that much, on first glance, that I really disagree with, though some of the nuances imply still that cops are somehow not that bad.

Yorkie Bar
Offline
Joined: 29-03-09
Nov 22 2009 17:13
Quote:
The army serves absolutely no useful function whatsoever.

This just isn't true. Like the police, the army often does useful things, but as with the cops these are a side-issue to their central role in capitalist society.

~J.

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Nov 22 2009 20:09

Having looked properly at Django's post I realise I have some fundamental disagreements.

Django wrote:

Quote:
I've got on alright with mates' relatives who have been cops though, as I don't see the problem with the police being individual police officers but the social role of the police force.

I find this utterly symptomatic of the counter-revolution - in the UK especially. In France (where I try to live) such an attitude would be impossible amongst those who considered themselves 'radical' in some way. You wouldn't have been able to get away with saying this in the UK 20 years ago. Such a basic use of 'radical' ideas wishes away any active decision to combat people's choices into (implicitly) - "well, the guy's a worker trapped in his social role".

If you knew someone who, seeing someone nick a bottle of wine, grabbed him by the arm and twisted it round his back, forcibly took him, along with other people, to his place, made him sit down and fill in some papers, then locked him in a room in his house for a few hours and then set him free, but threatened to do worse if he didn't come along to his house later, where some weeks after he would sit him down with a load of other people and have different people accuse him of stealing the bottle of wine, at the end of which an older relative of the guy forced the 'thief' to hand over say £400 and threaten to lock him up for 4 months in that room if he ever did it again - would you really feel the same about sitting down with such a psychotic? But because the guy has a social role for which he's paid it's somehow just part of the normal alienation we all have to lead.

The only good cop I've ever heard of was a UK village cop who, in the early 70s, got the sack because he refused to arrest people: he'd never arrested anyone in his life.

People can choose not to become cops - and thankfully the vast majority of people choose not to. Would you feel the same about a politician because after all, it's the 'social role of the politicians'?

Most rebellious proletarians, regardless of how they 'theorise' , have a gut dislike for cops (hence the old proletarian slogan "all coppers are bastards"). This puts you behind the vast majority of the rebellious working class. 'Radical' ideas become a justification for present contradictions, rather than an attack on them, once they are seen not as a means to subvert reactionary choices, as an impulse to decision, but as a justification for them ("it's capitalism - we've got no choice"). Resignation in revolutionary clothing.

In 1986 there was a national prison guard's overtime ban in the UK, leading to an uprising by the prisoners in at least 18 prisons. One prison (Northeye in the South East) was almost completely destroyed. It didn't last long: the screws, having partly won their demands, quickly ended the overtime ban and went back to their work of beating up many of those who had participated in the uprising. Fuck 'em - no solidarity with screws.

I like the slogan from the early 70s when the Police Federation were lobbying for the restoration of capital punishment for the murder of prison guards and police. Somebody produced a sticker saying: "Bring back hanging - for prison guards and the police!"

A free society (if it ever comes about) will have no cops and no prisons (though it might probably - and almost certainly in its early stages - involve elements of forcibly putting people in places they had not 'freely' decided to go). The task of opposing sick anti-social acts will not be down to specialists-in-order: it'll be the task of everyone or not at all.

Yorkie Bar
Offline
Joined: 29-03-09
Nov 22 2009 20:30
Quote:
If you knew someone who, seeing someone nick a bottle of wine, grabbed him by the arm and twisted it round his back, forcibly took him, along with other people, to his place, made him sit down and fill in some papers, then locked him in a room in his house for a few hours and then set him free, but threatened to do worse if he didn't come along to his house later, where some weeks after he would sit him down with a load of other people and have different people accuse him of stealing the bottle of wine, at the end of which an older relative of the guy forced the 'thief' to hand over say £400 and threaten to lock him up for 4 months in that room if he ever did it again - would you really feel the same about sitting down with such a psychotic? But because the guy has a social role for which he's paid it's somehow just part of the normal alienation we all have to lead.

In other words, if you abstract from all existing social and material conditions, then the police are all lunatics. Except that we all act anti-socially and irrationally if you abstract form all reality. If you do that, soldiers are much worse than cops. Should we therefore shun soldiers too? What about security guards? Or ticket collectors? What about workers in armament factories? And so on.

~J.

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Nov 22 2009 21:01

But you, BigLittleJ, have 'abstracted' from the whole of my post just a part - and ignored the basic, and fairly obvious in my opinion, arguments.

Tarwater's picture
Tarwater
Offline
Joined: 29-12-08
Nov 22 2009 21:13

There were no arguments in your post. You replaced any analysis of capitalism or social relations with some mythical revolutionary "impulse" that "real workers" have, as opposed to reformist "ideas".

Also,

Quote:
A free society (if it ever comes about) will have no cops and no prisons

That is so utterly wrong-headed, what kind of road warrior fantasy world are you envisioning?

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Nov 22 2009 22:06
django wrote:
I notice that soldiers aren't on Ret's list of class enemies, and wonder what the anarchist reaction would be if we had mutinies spreading around barracks in the UK.

It would depend on why they were mutinying, obviously. We rarely, if ever, meet soldiers here in the UK as a repressive force used against class struggle. If we ever have to face soldiers on the streets you can try to subvert them and/or demoralise them (very difficult with a professional army) but if you want to continue to struggle you have to accept that while they act as soldiers they are on the opposite side - otherwise just put some flowers in their barrels and hug them or join the Clown Army.

As for "us and them" - there are circumstances when it clearly is us and them. What do you want, class struggle without antagonism? You think there isn't a reason why capital has strata of mediators and those whose primary role is disciplinary? You don't think the compromises, contradictions and repressive aspects of some of those roles won't necessarily get more stark and oppressive as a radical movement develops? And that therefore they'd have to be confronted as an obstacle and so a class enemy? You don't think some members of the middle class (if you even accept they exist as a class) won't side to the death with the ruling class to protect their margin of privilege? (Some of the working class may too, but that's a different social question.) Apart from more mundane individual encounters in daily life with repressive state forces that have to be challenged; what are you gonna do in a situation like the Miners Strike - appeal to the good nature of cops to draw out their 'class solidarity'? Go ahead and make yourself a laughing stock to both sides in such a situation.

My previous posted comment was to draw out the logic of advocating giving support - if you really think screws are worth supporting as strikers all my suggestions should be taken up. I hope the Commune and/or posi will do so, and so stand by the courage of their convictions/show their true colours (OK, maybe it's posi's personal view only.) Again, a sizeable proportion of the working class - rightly IMO - would think it absurdly confused and naive (or worse) to act so. (In the unlikely event they were ever to think about such obscure antics at all.) As Samotnaf says, it has been a basic principle of working class solidarity that people like scabs, cops, screws were given no quarter. But some of today's 'class struggle' anarchists, if libcom is any measure, are descending into liberal humanism.

As for appealing to history to support such notions - maybe a tiny number of cops somewhere have supported proletarian insurrections - but 99.9% of the time cops, screws and security forces have locked up, tortured and killed workers and other radicals in such situations - and have to be assumed they will act like that. I don't know what the cops did to support workers in Seattle 1919 - but they seem to have been a tiny minority as cops and vigilantes in the aftermath rounded up 'Reds', raided the IWW etc. Where were the radical cops you wish to believe in in May 68, Italy in the 60s-70s etc? Cracking heads and throwing people with beliefs like yours in cells. They at least had sense enough to know you have to take sides in class conflict and not disarm yourself with liberal notions of 'oh well, lots of jobs have a potentially repressive aspect so all jobs are equivalent and we must never demarcate in any practical way between fundamentally repressive roles and others'.

Cops (and soldiers, when they are directly used against class revolts) are, unlike ticket collectors etc, in a primarily disciplinary role with wide-ranging application of their powers which seek to maintain the fundamental relations of private property etc - they function as an organised force defending the general interests of class society in a way that, eg, ticket collectors do not. If the policing system collapsed capitalism would be in trouble - if ticket collecting did, it wouldn't. So the comparison is slight and does not justify treating them as all equally compromised roles.

None of us can predict how exactly the messed up personalities produced by this society and its revolutionary process would be dealt with or how much of a problem they would be. But the regularly claimed 'of course we'll have cops and prisons in an anarchist/communist society' regularly spouted on here seems more like a way of simplistically repressing a complex question or bending over backwards to avoid some anarchist stereotype of hippie individualism - as if overcompensating on the 'law'n'order issue' so as to not alienate the punters. And if that was how complex questions of social relationships were dealt with generally in such situations it wouldn't be very 'revolutionary'.

There are vast variations historically and even now - linked to varying social conditions and environments - in the existence of different criminal and/or anti-social behaviours. This is surely relevant when speculating on a future society where people would have revolutionised their social relationships and so be living in very different communities. No need to assume so strongly we'll all supposedly be still more or less as anti-social to each other as ever and absolutely certainly need to be policed by an external force. Can't see why it's worth wanting a revolution, never mind fighting one, if you believe that - unless you wanna be an 'anti-statist anarcho-'cop'.

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Nov 22 2009 23:10

Tarwater quoted me:

Quote:

A free society (if it ever comes about) will have no cops and no prisons
That is so utterly wrong-headed, what kind of road warrior fantasy world are you envisioning?

It is typical of the political point-scoring mentality to quote out of context and to abstract from what is being said. I said:

Quote:
A free society (if it ever comes about) will have no cops and no prisons (though it might probably - and almost certainly in its early stages - involve elements of forcibly putting people in places they had not 'freely' decided to go).

It's about as deceitful as saying someone who said "Down with law and order!" had said "Down with order!" (in fact, something that bourgeois thought constantly and deliberately misattributes to anarchist and other revolutionary perspectives).

This, apparently,

Quote:
is so utterly wrong-headed

.

Sorry sir.

Some more utterly wrong-headed ideas:
1.Incarcerating anti-social leftovers of the mad alienation of class society (the ex-cops, ex-screws, politicians, rapists, paedophiles, etc.) all in the same horrible anti-social alienated hellhole is obviously idiotic.
2.If elements of incarceration are necessary they will have nothing to do with the brutal repressive reality of prisons throughout history.
3.To think that we'd call such incarceration a 'prison' is as like calling 'workers' councils' (or whatever term you'd like to imagine the future fantasy society to be) 'the State' or 'the government'. This is not just a question of semantic terms but of a break with hierarchical notions and practices of social control. Killing scum is not the same as capital punishment. Forcible restraint is not the same as prison. A margin of rationing ( where scarcity is not forced by capitalist property relations but comes about because of production differences between different geographical areas) is not money.
Given the wrong-headedness of all this, I'm sure you can recommend a good lobotomist (you, maybe).

Quote:
There were no arguments in your post. You replaced any analysis of capitalism or social relations with some mythical revolutionary "impulse" that "real workers" have, as opposed to reformist "ideas".

Please explain where I did this? (there are as many arguments in your post as you attribute to mine)

Ret, having more experience of libcom than me, has put some of your attitudes in a more precise context than me - his post is spot on (as usual, Ret...but what will flattery get me?).

Yorkie Bar
Offline
Joined: 29-03-09
Nov 22 2009 23:49
Quote:
'anti-statist anarcho-'cop'.

Since Organise! is apparently doing a remake of Navy SEAL, we could probably manage an Anarchist version of Dirty Harry.

~J.

Farce's picture
Farce
Offline
Joined: 21-04-09
Nov 23 2009 00:21
Samotnaf wrote:
Killing scum is not the same as capital punishment.

neutral The exact difference being that?

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Nov 23 2009 00:25
Jack wrote:
Sorry Ret, but this is an unfair characterisation of "pro-prison under communism" posters here.

Well I doubt anyone's bored enough to have done a survey of all the libcom posts about prisons, and maybe some now feel more obliged to add the qualification, but that's been my impression. But maybe that's partly having argued most with cantdocartwheels about such topics, who has been more gung ho about it (though at least he has engaged frankly.) Regardless, iirc, there seems to be little analysis of why it's thought certain particular anti-social acts will survive. An ahistorical 'It's just human nature' is what often seems to be implied.

And a far more important question is how would such anti-social acts be dealt with within a radical social movement (and how have they been? Samotnaf mentioned the example of SA). The lived experience of doing so is likely to provide more answers for the post-revolutionary era than dogmatic ideological positioning from any angle.

Khawaga's picture
Khawaga
Offline
Joined: 7-08-06
Nov 23 2009 00:31
Quote:
Regardless, iirc, there seems to be little analysis of why it's thought certain particular anti-social acts will survive. An ahistorical 'It's just human nature' is what often seems to be implied.

Which is just as ahistorical as saying that they simply will disappear because human nature is otherwise.

Yorkie Bar
Offline
Joined: 29-03-09
Nov 23 2009 00:34

Ret, no matter how much better at living together we get when and if communism finally rolls around, to suggest that there won't be any 'anti-social acts' is just retarded. There will still be psychopaths, rapists, et al. To assume otherwise is wildly optimistic.

~J.

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Nov 23 2009 01:03
BLJ wrote:
Ret, no matter how much better at living together we get when and if communism finally rolls around, to suggest that there won't be any 'anti-social acts' is just retarded. There will still be psychopaths, rapists, et al. To assume otherwise is wildly optimistic.
Khawaga wrote:
Ret Marut wrote:
Regardless, iirc, there seems to be little analysis of why it's thought certain particular anti-social acts will survive. An ahistorical 'It's just human nature' is what often seems to be implied.

Which is just as ahistorical as saying that they simply will disappear because human nature is otherwise.

No it isn't - as I'm not saying, and haven't said anywhere, there will be no anti-social acts. I said "there seems to be little analysis of why it's thought certain particular anti-social acts will survive". People tend to mention murder, rape, paedophilia. Why? (OK, there's a long-running weird obsession with paedos on here - but apart from that.) Because they are non-property crimes?

Edit; but perhaps that question is not for this thread.

Django's picture
Django
Offline
Joined: 18-01-08
Nov 23 2009 12:23
Quote:
As for "us and them" - there are circumstances when it clearly is us and them. What do you want, class struggle without antagonism? You think there isn't a reason why capital has strata of mediators and those whose primary role is disciplinary? You don't think the compromises, contradictions and repressive aspects of some of those roles won't necessarily get more stark and oppressive as a radical movement develops? And that therefore they'd have to be confronted as an obstacle and so a class enemy?

I agree with all this, nothing in my posts has said otherwise. I was only interested in why it is acceptable to attempt to subvert the military (even if its a professional force, as you say), and not to subvert the police force (which I don't even agree with doing - the point I was making is that there have been cases where police have joined in struggles, and in those cases I think it would be as stupid to turn your guns on them or whatever because they're 'the class enemy'. )

Ret Marut wrote:
Apart from more mundane individual encounters in daily life with repressive state forces that have to be challenged; what are you gonna do in a situation like the Miners Strike - appeal to the good nature of cops to draw out their 'class solidarity'? Go ahead and make yourself a laughing stock to both sides in such a situation.

Right, cause thats exactly what I was suggesting when I was saying that I don't agree with giving support to strikes by Prison guards, Police or border agents, and that the problem with cops is that they function as the repressive wing of the state. But just go ahead and ascribe some extra views to me anyway.

Quote:
My previous posted comment was to draw out the logic of advocating giving support - if you really think screws are worth supporting as strikers all my suggestions should be taken up.

Except I don't think that they should be supported as strikers, and have said so. All I said was that there's a political point to be made - "capitalist society can't help fucking the people who are supposed to be doing the day to day repressive work on its behalf", and that the issue is interesting because anarchists tend to give the military an easy time. But again, just ascribe some other view to me if you want.

Ret Marut wrote:
Where were the radical cops you wish to believe in in May 68, Italy in the 60s-70s etc? Cracking heads and throwing people with beliefs like yours in cells. They at least had sense enough to know you have to take sides in class conflict and not disarm yourself with liberal notions of 'oh well, lots of jobs have a potentially repressive aspect so all jobs are equivalent and we must never demarcate in any practical way between fundamentally repressive roles and others'.

yeah, thats exactly what I said:

Django wrote:
But I don't think things are ever so clear as 'us and them', even though I don't think police, border agents, prison guards and so on should get active support from anarchists during these kinds of strikes.
Quote:
So even though I think its common sense not to line up behind prison guards who are at the end of the day demanding to be able to incarcerate people without being 'bullied', I don't think things are ever so clear cut as 'us and them'.

So no demarcation there, even though I say that prison guards, police etc shouldn't get support while other workers in grey areas should. Its clear that job centre workers, teachers etc all have repressive aspects to their work, and that they help reproduce capitalist social relations, and thats the point I was making - in those situations I don't think an 'us and them' analysis is of any use. But again, you're ascribing view to me I haven't expressed if you're claiming I'm saying 'so all jobs are equivalent and we must never demarcate in any practical way between fundamentally repressive roles and others' - against what the actual posts say.

Oh yeah, and then claim I'm an 'anarcho-cop' too for added measure...

Samotnaf
Offline
Joined: 9-06-09
Nov 23 2009 13:28

Farce said:

Quote:
Samotnaf wrote:
Quote:
Killing scum is not the same as capital punishment.

The exact difference being that?

Capital punishment is a cold-blooded ritual conducted by the State, which as everyone on these forums well know, is directly and indirectly complicitous in far far greater crimes than even those of Fred and Rosemary West. During the revolution in South Africa collaborators with State murder were often given the 'necklace' - i.e. a tyre was put round their necks and set light to. Unpleasant, but a fairly good incentive to other collaborators to not continue with their collaboration. It's not a model for post-revolutionary society but it was not capital punishment. It was rage. During the French revolution the mob would often kill aristocrats or defenders of the nobility spontaneously until Robespierre etc. took control of the situation and introduced the public spectacle of the guillotine (which clearly was capital punishment). Cold blooded mathematically calculated killing is not the same as hot blooded revenge. I far prefer the summary justice meted out to Mussolini than the spectacle of State 'justice' performed at Nuremburg.

Jack:

Quote:
I really don't think the people of SA could have built prisons (especially the far more complex, modern, well resourced kinds of 'prisons' with more progressive aims than currently exist) even if they'd wanted to.

In these progressive prisons do all the guards have wooden legs, and all the guard dogs have rubber teeth, whilst the jails are made of tin and you can walk right out again as soon as you are in...? What is your notion of a progressive prison?

Generally, it doesn't seem as if there's much real practical importance to whether your fantasy post-revolutionary society has prisons, money, cops, the State, etc: there are and have been a lot of people who have contributed/contribute to an attack on this society without having a clear notion of what they are fighting for. However, these are people who, generally, also don't contribute much on the level of ideas, who have nothing to do with any explicit revolutionary perspective. And that lack of clarity has been a factor in the recuperation of revolutionary movements into another form of class power. At the same time I don't judge people primarily on these fantasies - only when there's a connection between the fantasy and what they tolerate in the present does it become a more significant issue: Django getting on alright with cops when they're his mate's relatives (I'm certainly not saying you should be a militant and have a go at the relatives - a more polite distance might be tactical, but I would have thought it would become an issue with your mates; but you justify the relatives with 'theory'), posi claiming that 'we' should support the strikes of prison guards, others making an equivalent of all forms of compromise with this society.

Django - though Ret can certainly defend himself, personally I didn't read his post as having a go at you, but rather other posters, particularly posi who started this thread.. However, you don't at all reply to anything I posted, some of which was explicitly concerned with what you'd said. I find that many posters, and certainly not just on this thread, either quote out of context and 'respond' to distortions of what is said or completely ignore any difficult point of view because it messes up their fixed ideas. In other words, these posters take their mode of argument from the dominant society.

Red Marriott's picture
Red Marriott
Offline
Joined: 7-05-06
Nov 23 2009 14:42

Django; I was replying partly to what you said and partly to the general ethos of - as I clearly stated - "some anarchists" on here that is against such demarcation in any meaningful practical sense. I thought it should have been clear that my comments were not all directly responding to you as, eg, one para was a direct response to posi and another to BLJ's "ticket collector" comment. Then further down, directly above the "anarcho-cop" pic it says; "Maybe this is how some anarchists see the post-revolutionary society".

But what I said about "us and them" is relevant to this;

Django wrote:
Its clear that job centre workers, teachers etc all have repressive aspects to their work, and that they help reproduce capitalist social relations, and thats the point I was making - in those situations I don't think an 'us and them' analysis is of any use.

Being on the receiving end of such "repressive aspects" does sometimes make it a class relation - so does make it us and them. That's not an "analysis", it's an experience, so the situation and its consequences has to be dealt with as a real conflict of "us and them" - so, even if the worker is only the 'delivery agent' of class repression, an "us and them" response is sometimes necessary to defend your own personal and class interests.