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Will communism have prisons?

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Khawaga
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Aug 6 2007 12:59
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pace Soviet psychiatry

Apparently they're at it again in Russia, using the same old tricks. Politkovskaya (?) wrote a pretty chilling article on this her book Putin's Russia.

Dundee_United
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Aug 6 2007 13:06

Get over yourself JK

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 6 2007 13:11

eh?

Sotev
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Aug 6 2007 13:23

hello

I find a text called For a World Without Moral Order (la banquise) interesting.

I think Dauve somewhere says communism will know crimes, but not criminals. communism won't be a conflict-free living.
i wouldn't have a problem beating down someone who does harm. Society will not revenge the individual by isolating or prisoning or whatever.
Considering it in its immediacy, the connection between crime and prison is non existent. Someone rapes a woman, gets a sentence of 10 years. ??!.
The mediator between crime and prison can't be anything other than a state. communists will address the issue in concerte terms, not in the imaginary of revenge.

a quote from the text I mentioned above:

Quote:
In communism, one doesn’t start from values set by a common accord but from the real relations in which one lives. Any group practices, refuses, allows for, imposes certain acts and not others. Before we have values, and in order to have them, there are things one does and doesn’t do, imposes and forbids.
Dundee_United
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Aug 6 2007 13:30

That picture you keep posting. I said I'd explain myself in due course but it'll take some writing and so I'll need a bit to get round to it.

As it stands I believe a worldwide industrial union of space launch facility staff, missile technicians, satellite operators, satellite communications teams, technical support staff, engineers and other geeks involved in this field is of critical importance and should be theorised as heavily as plans to control ports like Singapore or Rotterdam or world shipping because this growing sector is begining, with the advent of the arms race in space and sophisticated new anti-satellite weaponry and the strategic role satellite coverage now plays in geopolitics and the politics of ICBMs and military logistics (hence the attempts by powers other than the USA to develop GPS, and hence the realignments like the SCO) and so on, to play a strategically vital role for any plan to concretely control biopolitics - something which I would have thought any serious socialist would treat with the utmost analytical rigour. Instead you've mocked the idea that this sector could ever be unionised or be brought into an international industrial union in such a way that leads me to think you don't really believe it is possible to win, and that you are mocking of serious analysis. I think that's deplorable and shows the depths of your ambition.

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 6 2007 13:49

grin

GPS and ICBMs are biopolitical how? nowhere have i said it's impossible to organise said workers, or to win in general. i'm just a little bemused by your industrial strategy.

Dundee_United
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Aug 6 2007 14:14
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GPS and ICBMs are biopolitical how? nowhere have i said it's impossible to organise said workers, or to win in general. i'm just a little bemused by your industrial strategy.

This will take an essay, which I will come back to. I haven't got the time right now and writing it is really not my key priority. One word for you though - leverage. Think like soldiers councils. It will also become more and more biopolitical when the US completes its moon base in 2020 (currently Russia has mothballed their end of the SCO plan).

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 6 2007 14:23

you're obviously using a different meaning of biopolitical to me, or foucault for that matter, as far as i can tell... post up the essay if you write it yeah?

raw
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Aug 6 2007 14:38
Sotev wrote:
hello

I find a text called For a World Without Moral Order (la banquise) interesting.

I think Dauve somewhere says communism will know crimes, but not criminals. communism won't be a conflict-free living.
i wouldn't have a problem beating down someone who does harm. Society will not revenge the individual by isolating or prisoning or whatever.
Considering it in its immediacy, the connection between crime and prison is non existent. Someone rapes a woman, gets a sentence of 10 years. ??!.
The mediator between crime and prison can't be anything other than a state. communists will address the issue in concerte terms, not in the imaginary of revenge.

a quote from the text I mentioned above:

Quote:
In communism, one doesn’t start from values set by a common accord but from the real relations in which one lives. Any group practices, refuses, allows for, imposes certain acts and not others. Before we have values, and in order to have them, there are things one does and doesn’t do, imposes and forbids.

I agree with the sentiments of this. Prisons are of a statist, authoritarian society, they have no place in an anti-authoritarian, free communist society. Thats not to say people may or maynot be restraint, punished, banished or whatever - the point is that the factors which can help correct a situation will be available to all involved in directly or indirectly that situation. That is, when we see or hear about a crime we feel removed from the situation. The police deal with it, the media spin it and report it how they will and the judge imprisons the dehumanised criminal. We have had no involvement in this process and therefore our view on how to deal with "criminals" are based on our experiences under capitalism. We use the same language of bourgeois society, to write a possible view of how we would do it differently in our new "dream" world.

Many crimes are reported which suite a certain method of reporting, use of language and cultural references with the view of inducing and propagating a certain idea of the world and human nature. The crime is taken outside of the social context which has created it, so as to make us all feel how shit humanity is and important it is to have the police, prisons, judges and of course the moral mainstream media. If people were allowed to participate in all areas of their environment freely (i.e. communism as you kids say) then these mammoth problems become easily overcommable hurdles...it doesn't become the individuals problems but the collectives problem, and the reaction would be not to approach gangs like the police for help but instead to work the problems out by those affected. Hence, developing such praxis in the areas we frequent and have affinity with, and with those people which we share our surroundings, becomes part of the undermining of police and prison as a material and psychological reality.

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 6 2007 14:56
raw wrote:
Prisons are of a statist, authoritarian society, they have no place in an anti-authoritarian, free communist society. Thats not to say people may or maynot be restraint, punished, banished or whatever

ok, if it's the word that's the problem - and perhaps it is too bound up with statism - read the thread title as 'will communism have restraint/punishment/banishment/whatever'

you're right that the media creates a certain narrative about a hobbesean human nature ready to tear society apart if we don't demand to be ruled, i think we all expect a free society to have far less crime, but we're left with how to deal with that which remains in a manner compatible with said free society (unless we simply think crime will disappear completely, like alibadani).

i mean, what if there were still ELF-type primmos arsoning away at whatever? there's a thread for libcommunity, 'will communism have primmos?' tongue

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Aug 6 2007 15:02
Dundee_United wrote:
As it stands I believe a worldwide industrial union of space launch facility staff, missile technicians, satellite operators, satellite communications teams, technical support staff, engineers and other geeks involved in this field is of critical importance and should be theorised as heavily as plans to control ports like Singapore or Rotterdam

Man you don't half come out with some crackers Dundee. Class struggle's not like Risk.

Not that I've played Risk, but how I imagine it is how you seem to view things.

Who the fuck has ever theorised heavily about how to control Rotterdam port?!

Quote:
Instead you've mocked the idea that this sector could ever be unionised or be brought into an international industrial union in such a way that leads me to think you don't really believe it is possible to win, and that you are mocking of serious analysis. I think that's deplorable and shows the depths of your ambition.

grin

Dundee_United
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Aug 6 2007 15:06
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you're obviously using a different meaning of biopolitical to me, or foucault for that matter, as far as i can tell... post up the essay if you write it yeah?

Yeah. I will do. I refering to energy supply though as the great white hope at the moment for the forthcoming energy crisis amongst world planners seems to be the dash to the moon to get the 1000 tonnes of Helium3. Hence the recent arms race in space as well. Control of satellites effectively would mean not just military hegemony (as it does for the US with its current unparalleled GPS infrastructure) but control of the energy supply for the world economy.

Dundee_United
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Aug 6 2007 15:09
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Man you don't half come out with some crackers Dundee. Class struggle's not like Risk.

Not that I've played Risk, but how I imagine it is how you seem to view things.

Who the fuck has ever theorised heavily about how to control Rotterdam port?!

Quite a lot of socialists actually. Class struggle, as with anything that is about power and forces, is exactly about gaining levers. The risk analogy is obviously a bit mocking bit think of it this way what key sectors are needed to be able to have proletarian control of biopolitics? This is something many many groups are concerned with. The reason there are socialist groups in the UK which don't behave like this is that the left in the UK doesn't take itself seriously.

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 6 2007 15:16

Dundee, can you define what you mean by biopolitics, because i'm not following

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Alf
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Aug 6 2007 15:44

Communism isn't the end of history, it's just the beginning.

I find it strange that people are so willing to find alibadani's views 'scary'. He has made it clear that he is talking about a situation after a long transitional stage in which there will indeed be a constant struggle against all the habits of the old world. Neither do I think he denies that even at a very advanced stage of communism there may be be various kinds of anti-social acts or even deeply anti-social individuals. But such individuals won't be a direct product of the dominant social relations as they are today.

And how can communism be anything else than "universal"?

Or have I missed something here?

Dundee_United
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Aug 6 2007 15:47

Wanky definition from some Foucault inspired website:-

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"biopolitics is concerned with population as a political and scientific problem, as a biological issue of the exercise of power. Biopower does not act on the individual a posteriori, as a subject of discipline in the diverse forms of rehabilitation, normalisation and institutionalisation. Rather, it acts on the population in a preventive fashion. Its legitimacy stems from its preoccupation with optimising life chances, and biopower operates through surveys for the prevention of epidemics and scarcity. Its government works through management and the regulative mechanisms that are able to account for aleatory and ‘unpredictable’ phenonema on a global scale, by determining an equilibrium and keeping events within an acceptable average. Biopower is not just discipline but regulation on a global scale, it is ‘the power to make live. Power won’t make die, but it will regulate mortality.’ "

Basically as I see it if you shut down the food supply through the ports in Britain we'd all starve. If you locked down the supermarket distribution centres, then again we'd face starvation. If there was no electricity being sent from France's nuclear power stations to the South East there'd be energy shortages which would lead to price inflation, which would lead to... etc. The world is made up of these interrelated networks of materials, food, supplies, feedstocks, processes. You can really see what that means in the context of Belaruse last year, or in the conflicts and mobilisations over the Straits or Hormuz, the Straits of Malacha, the Panama Canal, The Horn of Africa and of Suez, and latterly now what we're begining to see over the Siberian Ocean. Socialists have always theorised unionising or creating workers committees in transport, in shipping, at the ports, in agriculture and in communications as a prelude to uprisings and civil upheavals. There's nothing new about that - Pouget was a sparky who shut down the Parisian electricity supply as a solidarity action for striking workers. Socialists in the 19th century were talking about controlled the coal stopping points necessary to maintain Britain's naval supremacy/primacy for that reason.

The thing is in the modern context with energy supply becoming less and less autonomistic and more and more concentrated on certain regions we are seeing an aggregation of military forces. For this reason we're back to the great game in Central Asia and the caucuses and Nato planners refer to 'strategic encirclement' or Russia and China and all the great capitalist powers are looking for their own autonomistic energy supplies to mitigate this. Russia has been developing its own oil trading bourse. China has been focussing on developing imperial relations with African suppliers and with Tajikistan. Both have been building the SCO. The EU has been going after relations with middle eastern suppliers.... Well we could go on and on, but the point is that society as a whole is increasingly reliant on economic inter-relations and interdependencies, and that the national ruling class of various great powers are currently focussing on becoming the main hegemon by gaining control over new sources of energy exclusively - thus taking themselves out of these networks and feedback loops. That is of critical importance if you are an Angela Merkel or a Lugashenko. However it's also of massive importance if you are class conscious member of the working class. Imagine how tentative these new avenues for biopolitical control are if they are dependent on several thousand key workers (if anything even less numerous than shipping workers and dockers - the current holy grail of any socialist unionisation efforts). Does that explain what I'm taljing about or is it still clear as mud?

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Aug 6 2007 15:55

ok, so you mean control of the means of life? i'm not sure how ICBMs fit into that, they're the spectacular soveriegn power of death writ large

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Aug 6 2007 16:01
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I find it strange that people are so willing to find alibadani's views 'scary'.

I find it scary that he wants communism to have one set of corresponding ethics and morality that are universal, not the communism bit. And he does have a very instrumental/mechanical view of historical change, which is awfully close to vanguardism in its practical implications IMO.

That he's talking about a future society after years of struggle is clear, but the way he conveys this is communism as some perfect utopia at the end of history.

yoshomon
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Aug 6 2007 16:08

I think we need to begin by understanding what prison is, how it came about, and what social role it plays. Like police, prisons do NOT exist to solve social problems or make us safer.

"(A prison) abolitionist approach requires an analysis of "crime" that links it with social structures, as opposed to individual pathology, as well as "anticrime" strategies that focus on the provision of social resources. Of course, there are many versions of prison abolitionism -- including those that propose to abolish punishment altogether and replace it with reconciliatory responses to criminal acts. In my opinion, the most powerful relevance of abolitionist theory and practice today resides in the fact that without a radical position vis-a-vis the rapidly expanding prison system, prison architecture, prison surveillance, and prison system corporatization, prison culture, with all its racist and totalitarian implications, will continue not only to claim ever increasing numbers of people of color, but also to shape social relations more generally in our society. Prison needs to be abolished as the dominant mode of addressing social problems that are better solved by other institutions and other means. The call for prison abolition urges us to imagine and strive for a very different social landscape... Since the invention of the prison as punishment in Western society during the late 1700s, criminal justice systems have so thoroughly depended on imprisonment that we have lost the ability to imagine other ways to solve the problem of "crime." One of the interesting contributions of prison abolitionists has been to propose other paradigms of punishment or to suggest that we need to extricate ourselves from the assumption that punishment must be a necessary response to all violations of the law. Reconciliatory or restorative justice, for example, is presented by some abolitionists as an approach that has proved successful in non-Western societies -- Native American societies, for example -- and that can be tailored for use in urban contexts in cases that involve property and other offenses. " (Angela Davis)

Why have we come to associate community safety and personal security with the degree to which the state exercises violence through policing and criminal justice? If there are prisons, who decides how long people get locked up for? Will they be put in cells or prevented from escaping? Who will be the guards? What if prisoners escape? Will prisoners be made to work? Why are some cultures able to exist without prisons? If one assumes that racism will continue to exist 'after the revolution', how will any kind of prison system not continue to be a racist institution (ie. people of color get locked up more often than not)?

I find it disturbing that the world you all want to live in includes prisons.

Dundee_United
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Aug 6 2007 16:18
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ok, so you mean control of the means of life? i'm not sure how ICBMs fit into that, they're the spectacular soveriegn power of death writ large

Yes but they are dependent on satellite guidance systems to be remotely useful in conflict. That's why the US rules the planet with less conventional forces than either Russia, China or the EU. If you can knock out the guidance systems then they are basically lumps of metal with radioactive waste inside, and most can't even be launched. That's why it was so terrifying a 'fuck right off' for the US when in 2003 after they bombed a Baghdad hotel housing Chinese diplomats China disabled a US satellite's communication systems by zapping it with a ground based laser.

yoshomon
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Aug 6 2007 16:23
Joseph K. wrote:
ok, if it's the word that's the problem - and perhaps it is too bound up with statism - read the thread title as 'will communism have restraint/punishment/banishment/whatever'

I don't think this is a semantic issue. Prisons are institutions that incarcerate people as punishment for 'breaking the law'. They are tied up with the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe. I don't think it does. If we're talking about prison for only the most sociopathic murdering crazy fucks, are we talking about locking them away for life? Or releasing them after 10 years? How will putting people in a cage make anyone safer? Prison is always after the fact - it doesn't stop bad things from happening - and people inevitably get out of prison.

Incarceration is violence, and it makes people into monsters, both guards and prisoners.

Will prisons be segregated by sex? Will prisoners be allowed to be with each other? How will conflicts within the prison be resolved? Will there be a chain-of-command within the prison (wardens - guards - etc)? Will there be a prison in every town or will people be transported away from where they live? Who will transport them and what relation will communities have with prisons that aren't nearby? What if someone does something fucked up while traveling?

The existence of prisons opens a box of horrors.

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Aug 6 2007 17:17
Dundee_United wrote:
Quote:
ok, so you mean control of the means of life? i'm not sure how ICBMs fit into that, they're the spectacular soveriegn power of death writ large

Yes but they are dependent on satellite guidance systems to be remotely useful in conflict. That's why the US rules the planet with less conventional forces than either Russia, China or the EU. If you can knock out the guidance systems then they are basically lumps of metal with radioactive waste inside, and most can't even be launched. That's why it was so terrifying a 'fuck right off' for the US when in 2003 after they bombed a Baghdad hotel housing Chinese diplomats China disabled a US satellite's communication systems by zapping it with a ground based laser.

really? didn't hear about that. no i'm just trying to say of you include means of death and means of life then the concept of biopolitics seems to lose all meaning - foucault specifically used it in opposition to the spectacular threat of state violence typified by public executions, which ICBMs seem the modern incarnation of, so i'm not sure what you mean by it (doesn't matter if it's different to foucault's meaning though). it's all a bit of a side issue, but like i say it's hard to follow your 'biopolitical' strategising without knowing what you mean by it - apparently 'the means of life and death'?

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Aug 6 2007 17:25
Yoshomon wrote:
I don't think this is a semantic issue. Prisons are institutions that incarcerate people as punishment for 'breaking the law'. They are tied up with the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe.

well clearly what everyone is talking about as a 'communist prison' bears little relation to that at all, so you can rail against capitalist prisons all you like because nobody thinks they're any good. people are simply saying that if there are dangerous people, they may have to be separated from society. only jack has advocated any punitive function.

Yoshomon wrote:
Incarceration is violence

so is kicking an attempted rapist in the bollocks, the question is is it necessary defensive violence?

Yoshomon wrote:
Prison is always after the fact - it doesn't stop bad things from happening

if someone kills people, and is likely to do it again, segregating them from the rest of society clearly does stop them doing it again

Yoshomon wrote:
f we're talking about prison for only the most sociopathic murdering crazy fucks, are we talking about locking them away for life?

people have clearly said these are the kind of people they're thinking of, and i don't think anyone's ruled out rehabilitation and restorative justice wherever possible.

you ask a lot of difficult questions which have to be grappled with by any society that has violent crime (which is most societies larger than the clan/tribe scale, and they often exist in a state of war with one another, though not always). i don't think they can be dodged by saying 'prison is bad' - the onus is on you to say what we should do if there's a harold shipman (to take the extreme case) in a communist society

Dundee_United
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Aug 6 2007 17:48
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really? didn't hear about that. no i'm just trying to say of you include means of death and means of life then the concept of biopolitics seems to lose all meaning - foucault specifically used it in opposition to the spectacular threat of state violence typified by public executions, which ICBMs seem the modern incarnation of, so i'm not sure what you mean by it (doesn't matter if it's different to foucault's meaning though). it's all a bit of a side issue, but like i say it's hard to follow your 'biopolitical' strategising without knowing what you mean by it - apparently 'the means of life and death'?

Let's call it 'the means to control life or death'.

What I'm concerned about is that supposing you have a popular insurrection. Let's suppose on the insane outside possibility that it spreads enough for your proletarian movement to control a vast enough section of the globe to survive (and really in cold hard economics what we're talking about is a frighteningly large area of the world in my view - I think you'd need a unitary region of something like Western Europe to Central Asia), even then the capitalist enemy is not going to let you win that lightly. We'd face either immediate simultaneous invasions from all sidces and a total economic embargo, or tactical nuclear weapons, and then even if we survived that they'd nuke us. If you want to win, you must be able to win. We must be able to have asymmetric leverage on these things.

As regards China, yes that happened. They've also developed a missile which blows them up. There was an excellent article from a Philipeno General in the Asia Times last year about these asymetric military developments warning that US military hegemony could no longer be taken for granted based on a paradigm of ICBMs, GPS satellite sophistication and Carrier Battle Groups.

On Chinese anti-satellite lasers:-

http://www.cndyorks.gn.apc.org/yspace/articles/chinese_laser_cannon.htm
http://www.defensetech.org/archives/002794.html
http://defensenews.com/story.php?F=2121111
http://www.heritage.org/Research/AsiaandthePacific/wm346.cfm
http://www.cndyorks.gn.apc.org/yspace/articles/chinese_laser_cannon.htm

I'm only interested in winning. We really need to understand this stuff and factor it into our plans.

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Aug 6 2007 19:11
yoshomon wrote:
How will putting people in a cage make anyone safer? Prison is always after the fact - it doesn't stop bad things from happening - and people inevitably get out of prison.

People. Who. Are. In. Prison. Are. Not. Outside. Hurting. People.

It's not exactly difficult to grasp. If somebody poses a danger to themselves and others something has to be done about it. Either you execute them or you seek to isolate them. It's what you do when they're in isolation that really matters.

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Aug 6 2007 19:35

your right, lascannons are well good, especially against land raiders or squads of space marine terminators roll eyes

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Aug 6 2007 20:01
yoshomon wrote:
I think we need to begin by understanding what prison is, how it came about, and what social role it plays. Like police, prisons do NOT exist to solve social problems or make us safer.

What the fuck are you talking about? A prisons sole purpose is to make society safe.Putting ian brady in jail made society safe and it made me and you safe aswell. However, the point is that under capitalism what is a threat to ''society'' is defined by capitalism hence ricky tomlinson did 3 years in jail.

Quote:
some balls by Angela Davis

Oh fuck off with your angela fucking ''its not class'' davies, how the hell are native american societies going to offer any comparative model to a 21st century metropolitan city. And she seems to conveniently ignore the fact that prisons were invented by early bourgeois liberals as an alternative to the death penalty.

Quote:
If there are prisons, who decides how long people get locked up for?

Juries and magistrates working according to whatever the regionally accepted legal code happens to be . How would you do it, roll some dice or something?

Quote:
Will they be prevented from escaping?

Yes, wouldn't be much of a prison otherwise

Quote:
Who will be the guards?

Monkeys with spears obviously, since they'd be incorruptable,

Quote:
What if prisoners escape?

try and catch them

Quote:
Will prisoners be made to work?

I would magine they wouldn't be forced to, they'd be ''encouraged'' to though.

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Why are some cultures able to exist without prisons?

What now, the calalhari bushmen? some mentalist tribe in papau new guinea? jesus fucking wept

yoshomon
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Aug 6 2007 21:32

I never thought I'd see anarchists and "libertarian" communists arguing so forcefully in defense of prisons (in the case of cantdocartwheels, "communist" prisons of the future and those that exist today). I don't have anything else to offer to this discussion.

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Joseph Kay
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Aug 6 2007 21:37

i don't think cantdo's arguing for prisons as they are today, just pointing out that their role is to defend society - bourgeois society

j.rogue
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Aug 6 2007 21:41

Have folks read up on the history of incarceration as a form of punishment? It's a fairly new phenomenon.