Will communism have prisons?

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Devrim
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Aug 6 2007 07:48
Will communism have prisons?

This came up on a couple of threads recently.
I wrote:

Devrim wrote:
Anarchist Black Cross Network wrote:
We believe, as most Anarchists do, that prisons serve no useful function and should be abolished along with the State. We believe in the abolition of both the prison system and the society which creates it.

I believe that in a communist world there will still be the occasionally sociopathic act. What would you do with the perpetrators? There are three choices really;
1) Let people who keep heads in the fridge walk around free to commit other crimes.
2) Lock them up for the protection of the community while trying to help them.
3) Execute them.
For me I think the second is the least worst choice, and in that I accept that the abolishment of capitalism, and the state won't destroy prisons. In will decrease them in numbers dramatically, and change lots of things about them, but a need for some sort of prison will still remain.

Cantdocartwheels expressed a similar idea, but much less politely: wink

cantdocartwheels wrote:
Hagbard Celine wrote:
If cantdocartwheel's communist society stills has prisons (and probably factories for that matter), then can somebody please tell me what the fuck is to be gained from communism?

You absolutely fucking worthless hippy. What do you imagine is going to happen to rapists, murderers, paedophiles and people who commit GBH then, or do you think that people will just suddenly stop committing these crimes. You'd have less prisoners and prisons would be a lot more humane and run on the principles of industrial self management yadda yadda yadda but the basic concept of a prison as 'somewhere to keep certain people who are a threat to society locked up in'' isn;t likely to change.
God tel me your not one of these ''free all prisoners'' twats. I mean are you planning to just let some lunatic like ian brady go free, can you not see a slight problem withthat line of arguement?

Do people think that communism would need some sort of prision function?

Devrim

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 6 2007 07:58

to the extent that communism won't be a utopia which doesn't produce some dangerous anti-social individuals, you're right that separation from the rest of society seems the least worst. i don't see any reason for a punitive function though, so there's no reason these prisons would resemble anything we have no except in separating specific individuals from everyone else.

how would we deal with the 'stanford prison' dynamic though? self-managing communes of some sort?

of course i'd expect much lower crime since so much is property-related, non-violent etc

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welshboy
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Aug 6 2007 08:28

I think isolated self managed commnities are probably the most humane solution, though how would the isolation be maintained? also how would it be possible to prevent fucked up power dynamics occuring without the use of some sort of system of guards in place?
What would the criteria be for isolation/imprisonment in an anarchist communist society? Obviously there are those who need to be isolated, paedophiles, serial killers etc...
I'm really interested in this at the moment as someone I have known for the best part of twenty years was beaten to death yesterday morning in one of those "drunken saturday night murders". I know that the lad in question was a fighter, and wouldn't stop once he got started so the only way to stop him was to knock him out. So I can look at it objectively, yet a part of me would quite like to see a good old fashioned lynching.
Would the person responsible be isolated from the community for something that happened whilst drunk and in a fight with someone who fights as ferociously as the lad I knew. Would the feelings of those left behind, family and friends be given precedence.
Personaly I would like to see the person who killed him be allowed to start over in another community. Assuming that they have no history of violence per se and simply over reacted after getting into a situation they couldn't handle.
As I mentioned in another thread whilst I was inside one of the nicest people I met was in for murder, he had stabbed his boyfriend to death whilst drug fucked outside a club. I don't think prison is the place for him as he was extremely remorseful and the punishment he put himself through was far greater than the state was putting him through whilst imprisoned.

alibadani
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Aug 6 2007 08:39

I don't think there will be any sociopaths under communism. So what's the problem?

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welshboy
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Aug 6 2007 08:45

As if by magic all societies problems are solved! Ta Da!! Mr. T
Seriously though it's going to be a long, long process to shed the alienation of generations so there has to some way of dealing with those who are too dangerous to be a part of a community.

MalFunction
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Aug 6 2007 08:56
Quote:
I don't think there will be any sociopaths under communism. So what's the problem?

I wouldn't be so sure.

from a quick googling and experience with sociopathic individuals, there doesn't seem to be much agreement about the causes of anti-social behaviour. The bundle of behaviours suggest that such people would still be around in a communist society and they would still be a real problem.

the wikipedia article gives:

Common characteristics of people with antisocial personality disorder include:

* Persistent lying or stealing
* Recurring difficulties with the law
* Tendency to violate the rights of others (property, physical, sexual, emotional, legal)
* Aggressive, often violent behavior; prone to getting involved in fights
* Inability to keep a job
* A persistent agitated or depressed feeling (dysphoria)
* Inability to tolerate boredom
* Disregard for the safety of self or others
* A childhood diagnosis of conduct disorders
* Lack of remorse for hurting others
* Superficial charm
* Impulsiveness
* A sense of extreme entitlement
* Inability to make or keep friends
* Lack of guilt
* Recklessness, impulsivity [6] [4]

People who have antisocial personality disorder often experience difficulties with authority figures. [7]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder

The behaviours would make any self-contained isolation unit unworkable unless they were forceably kept inside.

In short they present a challenge to any sort of society.

alibadani
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Aug 6 2007 09:16
welshboy wrote:
As if by magic all societies problems are solved! Ta Da!! Mr. T
Seriously though it's going to be a long, long process to shed the alienation of generations so there has to some way of dealing with those who are too dangerous to be a part of a community.

Well the entire time period during which the long, long process to shed .... wouldn't quite classify as communism would it? I agree that the first few post-rev generations will have to deal with killers and rapists etc. But by the time we get to full-fledged communism such behavior would be extremely rare, perpetrated by truly sick people needing treatment. No need for prisons.

MalFunction wrote:
I wouldn't be so sure.

from a quick googling and experience with sociopathic individuals, there doesn't seem to be much agreement about the causes of anti-social behaviour. The bundle of behaviours suggest that such people would still be around in a communist society and they would still be a real problem.

Yeah but individual human behavior occurs in a social context. A society lacking laws, artificial authority, repression, exploitation, competition, wars --I could go on for a while-- would in turn lack such individual behaviors.

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Aug 6 2007 09:22

Yes there would probably be some kind of restraining system (though given the breadth of our technology even today that may not mean prisons as we know them) to stop sociopaths from (re)offending, but the reduced number of people who this would have to be done to would hopefullly guaruntee both better treatment and a well-resourced focus on rehabilitation and prevention.

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Aug 6 2007 09:39
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Well the entire time period during which the long, long process to shed .... wouldn't quite classify as communism would it?

Well, in a way that is what communism is. Communism is not some kind of final state and the end of history with last men and all, it's the process of abolishing capitalism.

Quote:
But by the time we get to full-fledged communism such behavior would be extremely rare, perpetrated by truly sick people needing treatment. No need for prisons.

What is full-fledged communism?

Though I agree, prisons as we know it will probably disappear, though there will still be prisons it will probably be called something else and be more focused on rehabilitation and protection of the community rather than punishment of the individual and revenge for the offended party (not that this is the case always and everywhere now). And as others have pointed out, the "prison" will should be self-organized like any other institution.

alibadani
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Aug 6 2007 10:02

Communism is the process of abolishing capitalism? OK whatever. There comes a stage when capitalism and all the vestiges of class society are long done away with. At that stage ( I call it communism) there will neither be prisons nor "prisons".

Why do people rape and murder each other? Is it simply our nature?

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Aug 6 2007 10:13
alibadani wrote:
Why do people rape and murder each other? Is it simply our nature?

there's a bit of a leap from noting that crime is a social phenomenon to thinking we can create a utopia that eliminates it altogether. no more jealous lovers under communism?

alibadani
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Aug 6 2007 10:29
Joseph K. wrote:
alibadani wrote:
Why do people rape and murder each other? Is it simply our nature?

there's a bit of a leap from noting that crime is a social phenomenon to thinking we can create a utopia that eliminates it altogether. no more jealous lovers under communism?

So sexual/romantic jealousy are in our nature? This just isn't true. The origins of sexual jealousy and monogamy are interrelated.

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Aug 6 2007 10:30
alibadani wrote:
So sexual/romantic jealousy are in our nature? This just isn't true. The origins of sexual jealousy and monogamy are interrelated.

so will you lock up monogamous couples for violating communist sexuality? wink

tbh the kind of social engineering you're intimating seems far worse than separating the odd violent anti-social from everyone else

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Aug 6 2007 10:43
Quote:
There comes a stage when capitalism and all the vestiges of class society are long done away with.

How will you know? Due to the diachronic unfolding of history?

alibadani
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Aug 6 2007 10:55
Jack wrote:
Do you think people won't get jealous?

That people won't get drunk?

People won't get stupidly angry?

Do you think all mental illness will be removed?

That some people (even a tiny %) won't just be fucked up?

That we're going to free every prisoner who committed crimes under capitalism?

Thinking there won't be prisons is just mental. As cantdo says, they would be unrecognisably different from current prisons, but in the sense that there would be places where people who commit actions that are harmful to society would be forcibly placed to protect society from them. I also personally (altho I'm aware most others on here will probably disagree) think there's a need to punish people who do these kinds of things. Punishment may well be low down in the list, but personally I think some crimes do require retribution.

I would say that by the time humanity gets to the stage of communism, those who committed crimes under capitalism (and in the years, maybe centuries after the demise of capitalism) would be long dead.

The mentally ill, assuming mental illness is purely chemical, will be treated and sequestered if necessary, but that isn't prison anyway.

The "just fucked up" people would be fucked up by what?

Getting drunk can lead to sex orgies, just as much as vandalism or whatever. The social context matter entirely.

Communism will create an entirely new human psychology.

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 6 2007 11:03
alibadani wrote:
Communism will create an entirely new human psychology.
Joseph K. wrote:
tbh the kind of social engineering you're intimating seems far worse than separating the odd violent anti-social from everyone else

so will you lock up monogamous couples for violating communist sexuality?

alibadani
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Aug 6 2007 11:05
Joseph K. wrote:
alibadani wrote:
So sexual/romantic jealousy are in our nature? This just isn't true. The origins of sexual jealousy and monogamy are interrelated.

so will you lock up monogamous couples for violating communist sexuality? wink

tbh the kind of social engineering you're intimating seems far worse than separating the odd violent anti-social from everyone else

There's no social engineering here. It is just my understanding of a materialist view of human behavior. You change the social relations of society, you change a heck of a lot, including sexual behavior. Maybe some couples will be monogamous, for life. But them maybe some people will want to live like Robinson Crusoe on some island somewhere. I think the former choice will be just as absurd as the latter under communism.

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Aug 6 2007 11:08

Alibadani, the problem I have with your arguments about communism is that you portray it as some kind of external force, very much reminiscent of the scientific materialism of the second international. People in this scheme are just mere objects of history, rather being the subjects making history.

This statement just reveals it

Quote:
Communism will create an entirely new human psychology.

While I see what you're getting at, that say 50-100 years after the revolution people and how they behave and interact will be different, it is also very problematic. Humans are not infallible and just because there will be a communist revolution does not mean that it will be Bizzaro world to capitalism nor that bad or "evil" things will be done by individuals or even groups of people. You also seem to believe that communism and an associated morality and ethics will be universal, something that I find very disturbing.

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Aug 6 2007 11:14
alibadani wrote:
There's no social engineering here. It is just my understanding of a materialist view of human behavior. You change the social relations of society, you change a heck of a lot, including sexual behavior. Maybe some couples will be monogamous, for life. But them maybe some people will want to live like Robinson Crusoe on some island somewhere. I think the former choice will be just as absurd as the latter under communism.

sure social relations partially shape psychology, but without sounding all taoist surely any society with the potential for love has the potential for hate. have you read brave new world by any chance? wink

i mean, what do you do with people who insist on 'absurd' sexualities which may lead to jealousy and violence? lock them up as a threat to social peace?

alibadani
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Aug 6 2007 11:29

Khawaga,

To a certain extent people are objects of history. People made history, but not consciously so. The proletariat can begin to inject that element into the making of history.

I do think that communism and an associated morality and ethics will be universal. Your revulsion at the idea is what I find disturbing.

Anyway gotta catch some ZZZZZZZZ's

later guys

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Aug 6 2007 11:37
alibadani wrote:
I do think that communism and an associated morality and ethics will be universal.

see, this is why hegel had to be set on his feet. don't get me wrong, i think communism will be pretty sweet, but i can't imagine a finished society at the end of history with no conflict, falling out etc where everyone loves everyone else with equal measure and there is no hatred or bitterness. in fact that would be the death of love, which is necessarily partial. medicalising all deviants from your universal and forcibly treating them with mood-altering drugs is hardly less coercive than segregating the odd nutjob anyway, far more so in fact as psychology becomes the object of power thought crime is surely realised. fuck it's sounding scarier the more i think about it neutral

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Aug 6 2007 11:46
Quote:
To a certain extent people are objects of history. People made history, but not consciously so. The proletariat can begin to inject that element into the making of history.

Yeah, yeah, men make history, but not under conditions they choose and a lot is down to pure chance as well. Still your communism is an external force.

Quote:
I do think that communism and an associated morality and ethics will be universal.

So you're gonna force everyone everywhere to adhere to this communist morality? Seriously, even though capitalist social relations have been overthrown does not mean that everyone everywhere on the planet will share the same ethics. The point of communism is that people will finally be able to express their selves, be it as individuals or groups, not that we will be living in some homogenous Bizzaro-world of capitalism. I seriously can't believe you're saying all this shite, which basically would mean using a lot of coercion, in a thread about prisons. I hope the irony is not lost on you.

Dundee_United
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Aug 6 2007 11:56

Devrim's post did not include a fourth option - banishment.

Actually I'm a lot less in favour of prisons than banishment or execution, but every case is individual.

Obviously if someone commits some psychotic crime they've got some problems, which it's possible are a curable illness (it's also possible the individual was just born fucked up, in which case why lock them up - it's who they are and they can't help it? Surely the best way to treat such people is either because you can't cure them, to shoot them and have done with it, or send them the fuck away to let them live our their sociopathic life where they can't harm people).

I think prisons as punishment are largely pointless and expensive to maintain. I think they are justified if their role is to try and rehabilitate people or take them out of society for a bit to deal with their problems but the concept that prisons as punishment are anything other than a crude hack because policy makers can't just get away with crushing people or having them publicly disemboweled and need to be seen to do SOMETHING is a little bit naive.

I mean how do we deal with (currently) completely irrational factors like sentencing? Why bother? Is there real a societal need to hurt criminals? Just get on with it and rehabilitate them (society will frown upon them enough to hurt them anyway) or get rid of them.

So on the whole I'd say rehabilitation with some kind of efforts to get the perpetrator to see what the effects of their crime were on others, and if that's not possible coz the perp's an unreformable pysho either get rid of them and make sure they never come back or execute them.

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Aug 6 2007 12:01
Dundee_United wrote:
send them the fuck away to let them live our their sociopathic life where they can't harm people

i think this is basically what the 'imprisonment' people are discussing here amounts to

Dundee_United
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Aug 6 2007 12:04
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i think this is basically what the 'imprisonment' people are discussing here amounts to

Possibly but it seems an expensive way of doing it, and imprisonment really normally means something quite different (ie a form of punishment). Banishment isn't really punishment per se - it's giving up on someone and saying 'look - just get the fuck away from us, thanks!'

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Aug 6 2007 12:26

so you're thinking distant tropical islands rather than secure facilities of some description? bit harsh for family visits,and i don't know how many distant islands can sustain a robinson crusoe - we don't want to create another bloody australia! wink

Dundee_United
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Aug 6 2007 12:33
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so you're thinking distant tropical islands rather than secure facilities of some description? bit harsh for family visits,and i don't know how many distant islands can sustain a robinson crusoe - we don't want to create another bloody australia!

I was thinking outer space or under the sea actually, but I'm sure we could work something practical out with a worldwide centralisation of resources. I'm not about to devote a great deal of mental energy to this problem though as it's not really up there on my personal priorities list.

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Aug 6 2007 12:41
Dundee_United wrote:
my personal priorities list


wink

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Aug 6 2007 12:42

What Dundee? You don't want to help out alibadani with the blueprints?

Hagbard Celine
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Aug 6 2007 12:49

Prisons (and to a lesser degree factories and schools) were built to reinforce a proprietary based ethic. They’re all types of protestant correctional facilities. Most ‘crimes’, theft, drug taking, non-payment of debt, etc (the kind of stuff most of us have been sent down for) become meaningless in a non-proprietary social order, aka communism.

Violent and sexual crimes usually have some form of neurosis behind the motivation, society breeds neurotics and sociopaths by the dozen. Mental illness needs to be treated in such a way that the general public are kept safe, but hospitals are better qualified than prisons. The only people who need prisons are wannabe screws like cantdocartwheels.

And just to wind him up some more, those who commit ‘crimes of passion’ are not usually public enemy number one, they’re lost souls who do not understand their true nature.

Aum Dysnomia.
H.

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Aug 6 2007 12:56
Hagbard Celine wrote:
Mental illness needs to be treated in such a way that the general public are kept safe, but hospitals are better qualified than prisons.

like i say this medicalising dodge doesn't work, it's just as potentially coercive and arguably far more so, pace Soviet psychiatry