Posts tagged Edmund Burke

Market Anarchy Mailed Monthly April 2011. Five Theses and a Vindication.

tl;dr. There’s two beautiful new booklets available for ordering from the ALL Distro. This month’s Market Anarchy is a collection of five contemporary pieces on spontaneous order and freed-market social movements. This month’s Anarchist Classic is a sleek new edition of the oldest known English-language Anarchist tract. You can get one free sample copy of either series (or both) to check out, if you’re considering a monthly subscription for individual copies or monthly packs to distribute in the radical space of your choice. Sound good? Contact me for details. Also, we have some new ALL buttons, now available through the distro page.

Scatter tracts, like raindrops, over the land….

— William Lloyd Garrison, The Liberator, March 1831.

Two things.

1. The Lit

First, I’m happy to announce that earlier this week I mailed out the first orders of this month’s newest additions to the Alliance of the Libertarian Left Artwork & Agitprop Distro. Issue #18 of the now-monthly Market Anarchy Zine Series is a collection of five contemporary pieces on spontaneous order and freed-market social movements. Issue #6 of the Anarchist Classics Zine Series is as classic as it gets — the earliest known extended defense of philosophical Anarchism in the English language.

Market Anarchy #18 (Apr’11). Spontaneous Order.

Five Theses on Freed-Market Social Movements and Self-Regulating Anarchy

Sheldon Richman, Charles Johnson, and David D’Amato (2011)

In “Five Theses on Freed-Market Social Movements and Self-Regulating Anarchy,” Sheldon Richman, Charles Johnson, and David D’Amato look at the social and economic possibilities for social order to emerge without the need to impose social control – for spontaneous order and people-powered social movements against capitalism, racism, and ecocide within an anarchic freed market. Richman’s “Regulation Red Herring” discusses the demand for “regulation” and the power of unplanned spontan- eous order; Johnson’s “We Are Market Forces” considers the meaning of “market forces” and the possibilities for DIY social change in a self-regulating market anarchy; and in “I Oppose Civil Rights Acts because I Support Civil Rights Movements,” “The Free Market’s Regulatory Model,” and “The Clean Water Act vs. Clean Water,” Johnson and D’Amato apply the analysis to freed-market social activism against racism and environmental destruction.

In a freed market, who will stop markets from running riot and doing crazy things? And who will stop the rich and powerful from running roughshod over everyone else? We will.

In a freed market, if someone in the market exploits workers or chisels customers, if she produces things that are degrading or dangerous or uses methods that are environmentally destructive, it’s vital to remember that you do not have to just let the market take its course — because the market is not something outside of us; we are market forces…. When liberals or Progressives wonder who will check the power of the capitalists and the bureaucratic corporations, their answer is—a politically-appointed, even less accountable bureaucracy. The libertarian answer is—the power of the people, organized with our fellow workers into fighting unions, strikes and slow-downs, organized boycotts, and… alternative institutions…. [I]f you want regulations that check destructive corporate power, that put a stop to abuse or exploitation or the trashing of the environment, don’t lobby—organize!

$1.50 for 1; $1/ea in bulk.

The “Vindication of Natural Society,” published anonymously in 1756, is the earliest known English-language tract to offer an extended defense of philosophical Anarchism – arguing for a peaceful social order based upon individual conscience and mutual agreement, without legal constraint or political authority. It was later discovered to have been written by Edmund Burke, then a radical Anglo-Irish journalist. This booklet is based on the original edition of the Vindication, which appeared anonymously and without further explanation. In later editions, after his authorship was discovered, Burke, who had retreated from his earlier views and begun a new career as a member of Parliament, added a new Preface, in which he disowned his anarchistic conclusions and stated that the entire argument was originally intended as satire. Many Anarchist readers, however, point out that the vigorous, coherent argument of the “Vindication” does not read like satire, and take Burke’s later disavowal as careerist damage control.[1] In any case, whatever the authorial intent, the “Vindication” went on to become a major influence on early English-speaking Anarchists such as William Godwin and the mutualist followers of Josiah Warren.

To prove, that these Sort of policed Societies are a Violation offered to Nature, and a Constraint upon the human Mind, it needs only to look upon the sanguinary Measures, and Instruments of Violence which are every where used to support them. Let us take a Review of the Dungeons, Whips, Chains, Racks, Gibbets, with which every Society is abundantly stored, by which hundreds of Victims are annually offered up to support a dozen or two in Pride and Madness, and Millions in an abject Servitude, and Dependence…. I acknowledge indeed, the Necessity of such a Proceeding in such Institutions; but I must have a very mean Opinion of Institutions where such Proceedings are necessary….

I now plead for Natural Society against Politicians, and for Natural Reason against all…. My Antagonists have already done as much as I could desire…. The Monarchic, Aristocratical, and Popular Parti­zans have been jointly laying their Axes to the Root of all Government, and have in their Turns proved each other absurd and inconvenient. In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!

$2.00 for 1; $1.50/ea in bulk.

As I mentioned last month, both the Market Anarchy Zine Series and the new Anarchist Classics Zine Series have become regular monthly publications. One issue in each series is published every month. I’ve been working out the publication schedules, and from here on out, new issues will be announced (and made available for pre-order) around the first Friday of every month. Issues will be mailed out to subscribers and pre-orderers during the third week of the month.

As before, I hope that the new projects and the regular publishing schedule will help out ALL locals, hometown radicals and market anarchists out to make a point. I can provide nicely printed copies at low cost; and for those who want super-low-cost zines to give away for free or just prefer to DIY, I’ll also be providing regular access to ready-to-print electronic copies to anyone who subscribes, orders or donates to the project. (For details on ready-to-print electronic copies, see below.)

As always, you can order individual copies, sampler packs, or bulk orders for tabling, infoshop-stocking, and other special events. You can also set up a monthly subscription for individual copies, or for bulk packets for distributing through your ALL local, at outreach tables, or through local radical libraries and infoshops. If you’re considering subscribing, you can contact me to request a free sample copy for you to check out, compliments of the Distro; then, if you like it, continue the subscription for the rest of the year at the following rates:

Market Anarchy Zine Series

Delivered each month

Individuals Bulk Distribution Packets
$1.50/issue
(= $18/year)
No. of copies ✕ 80¢/issue
(= N ✕ $9.60/year)
Anarchist Classics Zine Series

Delivered each month

Individuals Bulk Distribution Packets
$2.25/issue
(= $27/year)
No. of copies ✕ $1.25/issue
(= N ✕ $15/year)

For details on all your options (including ready-to-print electronic versions, customization with local contact information, and discounts for quarterly shipments), see Market Anarchy Mailed Monthly.

Prices include shipping & handling costs. If you decide not to continue the subscription, the sample issue is yours to keep. Intrigued? Contact me forthwith and we’ll get something worked out.

2. The Buttons

Second, I am also happy to announce that we have three big new 2.25″ ALL buttons available for order through the Distro. One is a revised version of a button we’ve had since 2009; the other two are brand new designs.

ALL (Libertarian Left).

2.25″

$1.50 for 1; 75¢/ea in bulk

No War No State (think anarchy for peaceful alternatives)

2.25″

$1.50 for 1; 75¢/ea in bulk

Enjoy!

See also:

  1. [1] See, for example, the preface and appendix added by English Warrenites in their edition of the Vindication, The Inherent Evils of All State Governments Demonstrated (1850), or Rothbard’s Note on Burke’s Vindication of the Natural Society (sic). Radical readers of the Vindication have tended to conclude that Burke simply was a proto-Anarchist in 1756, and that he then abandoned the position in the interests of political power. For a convincing argument that the author of the Vindication was really using the anonymous tract as a space to explore ideas that he found compelling, but was not ready to embrace, see Roderick Long’s discussion in Burke’s Semi-Serious Anarchism part the first and part the second.

Beating up your teenage daughter isn’t just a good idea. It’s the law.

If you happen to pass through Justice of the Peace Gustavo Gus Garza’s court room, anyway.

(Mike Gogulski @ nostate.com 2008-06-08: Texas: Court-mandated assault for skipping school.)

Lawsuit: Los Fresnos JP ordered spankings

5 June 2008

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS (AP) — A Los Fresnos family is going to court to prevent a Cameron County justice of the peace from ordering spankings in his courtroom.

A lawsuit filed today alleges Justice of the Peace Gustavo Gus Garza told a 14-year-old girl’s stepfather to strike her repeatedly on the buttocks in open court.

If he didn’t, the judge said the girl would be found guilty and fined $500 for truancy.

The lawsuit by Mary Vasquez and her husband, Daniel Zurita, described the paddle provided by Garza as large and heavy and fashioned from a thick piece of lumber.

In a story for The Brownsville Herald, Garza declined to comment on whether he has people spanked in his courtroom. He also said he had not seen the lawsuit.

Zurita says he didn’t feel as if he had a choice but to follow the order.

In an affidavit, Zurita says that when he was through, the judge told him he had not struck the girl hard enough.

— KGBT 4 (2008-06-05): Lawsuit: Los Fresnos JP ordered spankings

Because he coerced the stepfather into beating and humiliating his 14-year-old daughter in open court, in front of strangers, by threatening to inflict a several hundred dollar fine and a criminal record on the young woman if he didn’t do it, Justice of the Peace Gustavo Gus Garza believes that he didn’t order the beating; he just offered it as a punishment option. Much like a mugger offers you an option between your money and your life, I guess:

Justice of the Peace Judge, Gustavo Garza was in court this morning after getting sued for his spanking punishment option. The plaintiffs are Mary Vazquez and Daniel Zurita. They want a temporary restraining order against Judge Garza’s spanking punishment. Instead, state district judge Abel Limas has reset the hearing for next Wednesday.

The parents of a 14-year-old teenager were in court, hoping to put a stop to Judge Garza’s idea of punishment. Their complaint says that Garza told the teen and her step-father that the teen would be found guilty of a criminal offense and fined $500 for not attending school unless Zurita spanked his step-daughter in the JP courtroom on April 9th. The couple’s attorney Mark Sossi, argued that Judge Garza did not have the authority to order someone to spank their child. But after the hearing Judge Garza told us again that he did not order anyone. Parents had a choice to either spank or pay up.

I’ve never ordered anybody to use discipline on their children in court.

— Michelle Macias, KVEO 23 Rio Grande Valley (2008-06-06): Judge Gustavo Garza’s First Day in Court

Please note that when Garza says using discipline, he doesn’t mean what the words would naturally suggest, that is, for the parent to exercise restraint in spite of strong feelings of anger or frustration. By using discipline, Garza means parents lashing out rather than restraining themselves, beating their child or teenager with a wooden bat, and laying it on well, while they do so.

Of course, there’s more. Because there’s always more. Court-ordered teen-beating isn’t just a good way to deal with the victimless crime of choosing not to go to a government school. What with the criminalization of everything, especially everything that young people might do, it’s a good way to deal with all kinds of things. Like disabled teens who swear at school bus drivers:

A petition against Gustavo Gus Garza grew by two on the eve of a temporary restraining order hearing against the Cameron County Pct. 6 Justice of the Peace.

The parents of two minors came forth Tuesday, asking 404th state District Judge Abel C. Limas to prevent Garza from ordering, encouraging or allowing spankings in his courtroom as punishment.

I wouldn’t hit a child with a paddle, particularly one with physical problems, plaintiffs’ attorney Mark Sossi told The Brownsville Herald late Tuesday. Sossi was referring to one of the two children, who suffers from a muscular-development birth defect and allegedly was spanked in Garza’s court.

The child with the disability is a 14-year-old boy who used profanity toward a school bus driver. The second is a 14-year-old girl who skipped class, Sossi said, shortly after filing his amended petition in district court. The respective parents are Leroy Garcia and Rosa Valdez.

. . .

The parents also seek Garza’s removal from office [in addition to a restraining order].

After parents feel compelled to spank their children, they claim, Garza orders the children to bend over a chair placed directly in front of the bench. They are ordered to put their elbows on the arms of a chair with the buttocks facing Garza.

(Garza) has long engaged in this kind of corporal punishment under the authority of his office. Ten years ago when the defendant was a district attorney in Willacy County, he used the color and authority of his office to threaten criminal prosecution unless the parents struck their children with a wooden paddle he owned, Sossi states in the amended petition.

The initial petition alleges Garza directed Zurita to repeatedly strike his stepdaughter on the buttocks with a large, heavy wooden paddle fashioned from a thick piece of lumber in open court and in the presence of other adults and juveniles.

Zurita stated in an affidavit that, I did not feel that I had a choice but carry out the orders of the judge. When I was finished, Judge Garza told me that I had not struck (my stepdaughter) hard enough…

Zurita and Vasquez also claim that they were in Garza’s courtroom when he ordered the paddling of other minors.

Garza said Friday that he has not kept count on the number of children paddled in his court.

— Emma Perez-Treviño, The Brownsville Herald (2008-06-10): More families file against spanking judge

Justice of the Peace Gustavo Gus Garza believes that Texas state law is on his side:

Judge Garza says his disciplinary option does not break any Texas law.

I believe and as you will find the law will support me. The penal code addresses it for parents and educators to use it for discipline, the family code obligates it.

— Michelle Macias, KVEO 23 Rio Grande Valley (2008-06-06): Judge Gustavo Garza’s First Day in Court

I don’t know whether or not Garza really meant to claim that the Texas state family code obliges parents to beat up self-willed children and teenagers in the name of discipline. That seems odd. But I don’t know much about Texas state law, and he is Da Judge, so, for all I know, he may very well be right about the contents of the Texas penal code and the contents of the family code. The legal condition of children and teenagers throughout the United States is generally pretty appalling. But if he is right, then that’s a good reason to say to hell with the penal code and the family code.

To prove, that these Sort of policed Societies are a Violation offered to Nature, and a Constraint upon the human Mind, it needs only to look upon the sanguinary Measures, and Instruments of Violence which are every where used to support them. Let us take a Review of the Dungeons, Whips, Chains, Racks, Gibbets, with which every Society is abundantly stored, by which hundreds of Victims are annually offered up to support a dozen or two in Pride and Madness, and Millions in an abject Servitude, and Dependence. There was a Time, when I looked with a reverential Awe on these Mysteries of Policy; but Age, Experience, and Philosophy have rent the Veil; and I view this Sanctum Sanctorum, at least, without any enthusiastick Admiration. I acknowledge indeed, the Necessity of such a Proceeding in such Institutions; but I must have a very mean Opinion of Institutions where such Proceedings are necessary. . . . In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!

— Edmund Burke (1757): A Vindication of Natural Society

Meanwhile, the comments thread, here’s how to maintain high moral standards and exonerate sadist judges in ten easy steps:

  1. Conflate force with reason:

    I myself have spanked my kids in the butt area. Only once in a long while to teach my kids right from wrong. . . . Teach your daughter the consequences of not been in school. Don’t wimp out and try to be her friend.

    — Sy A, Edinburg, comments on KGBT 4 (2008-06-05): Lawsuit: Los Fresnos JP ordered spankings

    How are they going to learn if there is no discipline?

    — lachancla, reader comments (2008-06-11) on Emma Perez-Treviño, The Brownsville Herald (2008-06-10): More families file against spanking judge

  2. Blame the victim:

    WHY IS THE BOTTOM LINE NOT SEEN HERE? These kids are not in court because they are honor students! They are discipline problems!!

    — chula71, reader comments (2008-06-11) on Emma Perez-Treviño, The Brownsville Herald (2008-06-10): More families file against spanking judge

    Children with disabilities? That kid certainly was very able to run his mouth off to the bus driver. All this is drama for your mama.

    — donkique, reader comments (2008-06-11) on Emma Perez-Treviño, The Brownsville Herald (2008-06-10): More families file against spanking judge

  3. Blame the victim’s parents:

    The article never mentioned the mothers role or lack there of??? I wonder if the child has been late for school since the step-father opted to save her future by not paying the fine and allow a criminal history?

    — Patrick R. Murray, comments (2008-06-05) on Nikki W., Digital Journal (2008-06-05): Judge Sentences Children To Spankings By Parents And One Family Is Fed Up

    Man, these parents are something else. . . . Obviously the judge is doing the job the parents have failed to do. I wonder if these parents read these blogs and feel just a little dumb for trying to milk the county for their child’s inability to stay in school or behave?

    — chula71, reader comments (2008-06-11) on Emma Perez-Treviño, The Brownsville Herald (2008-06-10): More families file against spanking judge

    The kid’s step father couldn’t control the kid (Is he a wimp?). Far too many judges refuse to enforce the law. Judge garza should be recognized for enforcing the law. The parent had three choices: Make thge kid go to school, pay a fine, or paddle the kid–and he is now crying about his choice. Again, I ask if he is a wimp?

    — retired principal Terry Olbeg, McAllen, comments on KGBT 4 (2008-06-05): Lawsuit: Los Fresnos JP ordered spankings

  4. Blame the lawyers:

    What these people don’t understand is that the only one that will come out winning is the lawyer(s). The more petitioners, the more the lawyer gets and the less they get.

    — peepaw, reader comments (2008-06-11) on Emma Perez-Treviño, The Brownsville Herald (2008-06-10): More families file against spanking judge

    These people are being led by the nose by sharks, aka lawyers.

    — donkique, reader comments (2008-06-11) on Emma Perez-Treviño, The Brownsville Herald (2008-06-10): More families file against spanking judge

  5. Blame the victim’s socioeconomic class:

    I bet you she will be pregnant and on public assistance before she is 18 years old. Thats all we need another dumb teenaged parent with an attitude. Sorry if it seems harsh but thats what it is. Just a thought!

    — L Deleon, Harlingen, comments on KGBT 4 (2008-06-05): Lawsuit: Los Fresnos JP ordered spankings

    I guess everyone forgets about the drop out kids from school who because of lack of education leads to no job and deperation for money which might lead to theft,burglary (your neighboorhood)robbery. More drain on the goverment assistance.

    — D Morales, Harlingen, Texas, comments on KGBT 4 (2008-06-05): Lawsuit: Los Fresnos JP ordered spankings

  6. Blame other youths, unrelated to this case, because you presume that the youths in this case are kind of like those other youths:

    I feel compelled to spank my child as well too but I don’t. I would if she acted like some of these punks though.

    — lachancla, reader comments (2008-06-11) on Emma Perez-Treviño, The Brownsville Herald (2008-06-10): More families file against spanking judge

    Some kids do need a good spanking. Especially if this punishment averts any other form of criminal activity.

    — harmony, comments (2008-06-05): on Nikki W., Digital Journal (2008-06-05): Judge Sentences Children To Spankings By Parents And One Family Is Fed Up

    I wonder how many people would make the same comment if they worked in a public school you have no idea what type of behavior kids have in school. Texas Law allows the parent to discipline their child but when the parent wants to do so their child threatens to call police and file assault charges against them.

    — D Morales, Harlingen, Texas, comments on KGBT 4 (2008-06-05): Lawsuit: Los Fresnos JP ordered spankings

  7. Impugn the parents’ motives without evidence:

    Man, these parents are something else. Jumping on the band (more like BANK) wagon to gain notoriety. WHY IS THE BOTTOM LINE NOT SEEN HERE?

    — chula71, reader comments (2008-06-11) on Emma Perez-Treviño, The Brownsville Herald (2008-06-10): More families file against spanking judge

    If the parents thought this was embarrassing then they should have paid the fine. A choice was given so why are they crying about it now. The lawyer and the parents are probably doing this for the money.

    — I. Flores, Mid Valley, comments on KGBT 4 (2008-06-05): Lawsuit: Los Fresnos JP ordered spankings

    [The story says only that the parents are seeking a restraining order against Garza and, if possible, his removal from the bench. As far as I can tell there is no mention of their seeking monetary damages. Not that there would be anything wrong with it if they are. —R.G.]

  8. Compete to see who can go most over-the-top in their praise of beating and terrorizing children:

    Go Judge Garza! It’s about time someone taught kids now a days about discipline. This lawsuit is a joke. If we as parents don’t want to be at this point where we are at court having to spank our kids in front of a group of people, we need to start doing it at home.

    — N R, Los Fresnos, comments on KGBT 4 (2008-06-05): Lawsuit: Los Fresnos JP ordered spankings

    I think their is always two sides to the story. Many of the kids today need corporal punishment. I am thankful that my principal and school community still allow my principal to spank kids. As a school administrator it is very simple to know what school still uses paddling and which one doesn’t. Most of the ones with the most discipline problems do not spank. I would like to hear more about why this J.P. ordered the spanking. A firm supporter of spanking. Get’m Judge.

    — Anonymous school counselor, Edinburg, comments on KGBT 4 (2008-06-05): Lawsuit: Los Fresnos JP ordered spankings

    As we were growing up we got spanked, not beat, and we grew up just fine. I believe in spanking on the buttom. It is even in the bible. . . . Save you children now while you still can, don’t be too soft on them. I had my children spanked in school if and when they did wrong. There is nothing wrong with a spanking here and then when done right. I am all for you Judge Garza, God Bless You.

    — I. Flores, Mid Valley, comments on KGBT 4 (2008-06-05): Lawsuit: Los Fresnos JP ordered spankings

    When I went to school, we were threatened with the slap. the school had two different types. They had a red leather slap and a black one. I forgot which one was thicker. The strap was used as a form of discipline and it worked. Kids were too afraid of getting the strap therefore they were obedient. Most kids were never given the strap because they knew better. Today kids are threatening and abusing their teachers. I’m beginning to think that the schools should implement the strap again.

    — harmony, comments (2008-06-05): on Nikki W., Digital Journal (2008-06-05): Judge Sentences Children To Spankings By Parents And One Family Is Fed Up

    Spank Her Good

    The judge should have had a police officer spank that brat. Getting a strong, muscle-head cop to do the spanking would have been ideal. Then I would have paddled the hell out of the parents too. They know when their child is not attending school.

    — L Deleon, Harlingen, comments on KGBT 4 (2008-06-05): Lawsuit: Los Fresnos JP ordered spankings

    I feel compelled to spank my child as well too but I don’t. I would if she acted like some of these punks though. How are they going to learn if there is no discipline? time out? I would take a time out from the spanking. There is your time out.

    — lachancla, reader comments (2008-06-11) on Emma Perez-Treviño, The Brownsville Herald (2008-06-10): More families file against spanking judge

  9. Quibble over semantics:

    What do you mean by ordering a forced beating? If it falls under the category of abuse causing bodily harm, then I don’t think it’s legal.

    — harmony, comments (2008-06-05): on Nikki W., Digital Journal (2008-06-05): Judge Sentences Children To Spankings By Parents And One Family Is Fed Up

    As we were growing up we got spanked, not beat, and we grew up just fine.

    — I. Flores, Mid Valley, comments on KGBT 4 (2008-06-05): Lawsuit: Los Fresnos JP ordered spankings

    Spanking is without the use of an aide. A beating uses such, although corporal punishment is different than parental discipline.

    Parents do not spank with a belt, flyswatter, switch - they bust ass or administer a whoopin!

    They spank with a hand. And if the mark remains, it is child abuse.

    — Nikki W., comments (2008-06-05): on Nikki W., Digital Journal (2008-06-05): Judge Sentences Children To Spankings By Parents And One Family Is Fed Up

    @ Connie M (Catana) I don’t consider being hit with a board a spanking. It’s a beating, plan and simple.

    If there are no marks, bruises or broken bones, it’s a spanking, plan and simple. If there are no marks, bruises or broken bones, it’s a spanking, plan and simple.

    — harmony, comments (2008-06-05): on Nikki W., Digital Journal (2008-06-05): Judge Sentences Children To Spankings By Parents And One Family Is Fed Up

    [Alberto Gonzales and Donald Rumsfeld would be proud. —R.G.]

  10. Ramble aimlessly about the good old days and the decline of patriarchal traditions:

    Hoping Good Old Times Come Back

    As we were growing up we got spanked, not beat, and we grew up just fine. I believe in spanking on the buttom. It is even in the bible. Back in the days teenagers were allowed to work too if this was brought back up we would not have as much trouble today. We would go to school, work after school and we would respect our elders. There was not as much trouble as we have now. There was no time for trouble because we were occupied. I did all this and I grew up to be a responsible, repectable adult.

    — I. Flores, Mid Valley, comments on KGBT 4 (2008-06-05): Lawsuit: Los Fresnos JP ordered spankings

    What is with all these women not taking their husbands name? Do they jump around so much that it is too much to keep up with their last names, so they keep their’s?

    — peepaw, reader comments (2008-06-11) on Emma Perez-Treviño, The Brownsville Herald (2008-06-10): More families file against spanking judge

When people engage in violence against children for victimless crimes like ditching school or mouthing off to adults; when they claim that the violence is to teach its victim a lesson; when you spend the first two decades of your life being indoctrinated and ridiculed and beaten and extorted into believing in, or at least acquiescing to, this kind of violent, legally-backed authoritarianism, and when this is dignified as raising a child the right way, when howling mobs of sado-fascist blowhard bullies can be expected to ridicule and blame any parent who doesn’t toe that line and enthusiastically beat their own children, when that same bellowing blowhard bully brigade looks looks for absolutely any and every excuse they could possibly find to justify beating a child or a teenager and compete to see who can get the most down and dirty in their efforts to smear the victim and cheer on the violence; what sort of lessons do you think that violence and that rhetoric teaches? What sort of a life, and what sort of a society, do you think that this kind of physical and verbal environment prepares these children for?

Further reading:

Shiva on “abuse” and “misdiagnosis”

Besides availing itself of my favorite quotation from Edmund Burke, this recent post by Shiva at Biodiverse Resistance is also pretty much right on from beginning to end. Thus:

The headline of this recent BBC story is Stroke victim was misdiagnosed as mad. While reading it was pretty scary (especially as temporary aphasia can also occur in autism, and in fact i experienced it (albeit only for a few very brief periods) in my teens), it follows a certain pattern that annoys me: in describing the horrible treatment that Steve Hall experienced when misdiagnosed, it implicitly suggests that the same treatment would be appropriate and acceptable if he actually was mad.

It reminded me of this case of a woman who was put in a men’s prison because she was percieved to be a transsexual woman (and, therefore, in the eyes of the police who arrested her, really a man) - and of similar cases i’ve heard of where gender-ambiguous-looking women have been refused entry to women’s toilets or other single-sex spaces where they were thought to be MTF transsexuals. As nodesignation says:

The police don’t question the practice of regularly placing trans women in situations where they will be raped. They only lament that they accidentally subjected a non-trans woman to the violence that they regularly subject trans women to. I would assume that as this story gains traction the emphasis will be about how horrible that a woman who was not trans received such mistreatment. That much is clear already from the fact that there are so few stories on trans women receiving this mistreatment despite being its being a regular occurance.

It’s not the inherent wrongness of the treatment that is discussed, it is the supposed horrible mistake of subjecting someone to that treatment when that person actually turned out to be not a member of the category of people that it’s considered acceptable to do this sort of thing to. No thought is given to why it’s supposedly acceptable to do it to people who are in that category, despite the fact that, in both cases, the reporting of the incident blatantly begs the question: if it was horrible and inhuman and inacceptable to do this to one person by mistake, what is it to do it to a whole Othered class of people deliberately?

It was, and in some places still is, common for autistic people (particularly those who don’t fit certain aspects of the commoner autism stereotypes) to be misdiagnosed as schizophrenic, leading to institutionalisation, forced drugging, etc. Similarly, many non-verbal autistic people (who are/were nonetheless capable of communication through other means) are or were misdiagnosed as mentally retarded, again leading to institutionalisation and other abuses justified by the fact of their supposed incapacity for rational thought or communication. On autism message boards and other communities, these cases tend to be talked about primarily in terms of the horribleness of the misdiagnosis, often with comments to the effect that I/you/ze should never have been treated like that, because I’m/you’re/ze’s autistic, not schizophrenic/mentally retarded/whatever, or seeing the case similarly to someone who was acquitted of a crime after new evidence proved them not guilty, as if to be found to be autistic rather than some other diagnostic category after all is what makes all the difference. Even if the people making these sort of comments don’t realise it, they’re implying that it would be OK to do all those things to someone who actually is schizophrenic or mentally retarded.

Whether or not we want to adopt an overarching political/philosophical label like anarchist, however, all of us who fight, with actions or words, for any oppressed groups and against oppression need to actively oppose the hypocrisy of outrage at people being mistakenly treated like they are members of a supposedly OK to exclude, abuse or oppress category, when the real outrage should be that such a category even exists. The thing itself is the abuse…

— Shiva @ Biodiverse Resistance (2008-01-03): The Thing Itself Is The Abuse

Read the whole thing.

Law and Orders: UCLA campus police “found it necessary” to repeatedly taser an Iranian student already lying helpless on the ground

Cops in America are heavily armed and trained to be bullies, and they routinely hurt people who are not posing any serious threat to anyone, in order to make sure that they stay in control of the situation. They have no trouble electrifying small children, alleged salad-bar thieves; or pregnant women possibly guilty of a minor traffic violation, if they get tired enough of being talked back to and if their bellowed orders are no longer sufficient to end an argument—even without any plausible reason whatsoever for fearing any physical threat to themselves or others. When they are caught in the act police administrators will wring their hands, make up some lies to try to excuse the assault, promise an investigation, find that Official Procedures were followed, and then do nothing at all, except perhaps question the decision to arm the pigs with tasers (as if the equipment were the issue here). This is a cellphone video of what happened to UCLA student Mostafa Tabatabainejad when he refused to show identification to campus police and then demanded that they not touch him while he left the library.

(Link and story via Brian Doherty @ Reason Hit and Run 2006-11-16.)

Here is the story from The Los Angeles Times:

The latest in a recent spate of cellphone videos documenting questionable arrest tactics surfaced Wednesday, this one showing a UCLA police officer using a Taser to stun a student who allegedly refused to leave the campus library.

Grainy video of the Tuesday night incident at UCLA’s Powell Library was broadcast Wednesday on TV news and the Internet, prompting a review of the officers’ actions and outrage among students at the Westwood campus.

The footage showed the student, Mostafa Tabatabainejad, falling to the ground and crying out in pain as officers stunned him.

According to a campus police report, the incident began when community service officers, who serve as guards at the library, began their nightly routine of checking to make sure everyone using the library after 11 p.m. is a student or otherwise authorized to be there.

Campus officials said the long-standing policy was adopted to ensure students’ safety.

When Tabatabainejad, 23, refused to provide his ID to the community service officer, the officer told him he would have to show it or leave the library, the report said.

After repeated requests, the officer left and returned with campus police, who asked Tabatabainejad to leave multiple times, according to a statement by the UCLA Police Department.

He continued to refuse, the statement said. As the officers attempted to escort him out, he went limp and continued to refuse to cooperate with officers or leave the building.

Witnesses disputed that account, saying that when campus police arrived, Tabatabainejad had begun to walk toward the door with his backpack. When an officer approached him and grabbed his arm, the witnesses said, Tabatabainejad told the officer to let go, yelling Get off me several times.

Tabatabainejad encouraged library patrons to join his resistance, police said. The officers deemed it necessary to use the Taser.

Officers stunned Tabatabainejad, causing him to fall to the floor.

The video shows Tabatabainejad yelling, Here’s your Patriot Act, here’s your … abuse of power, the Daily Bruin reported, adding he used a profanity.

It was beyond grotesque, said UCLA graduate David Remesnitsky of Los Angeles, who witnessed the incident. By the end they took him over the stairs, lifted him up and Tasered him on his rear end. It seemed like it was inappropriately placed. The Tasering was so unnecessary and they just kept doing it.

Campus police confirmed that Tabatabainejad was stunned multiple times.

By then, Remesnitsky said, a crowd of 50 or 60 had gathered and were shouting at the officers to stop and demanding their names and badge numbers.

Remesnitsky said officers told him to leave or he would be Tasered.

Tabatabainejad declined to comment. He was arrested Tuesday night and cited by campus police for resisting and obstructing a police officer and was released.

The incident was the third videotape of an arrest to surface in the last week in Los Angeles.

One video showed a Los Angeles Police Department officer dousing a handcuffed suspect in the face with pepper spray as the suspect sat in a patrol car.

That video came to light Monday, just days after the LAPD and the FBI launched investigations into another videotape showing a police officer hitting a suspect in the face several times after a foot chase in Hollywood.

UCLA Assistant Police Chief Jeff Young said Wednesday that he had viewed the video of the campus incident on the Internet and would view any other videos that were shot.

We will gather as many samples as we can find, from different sources, Young said. We’ll use it for our own administrative investigation.

— Amanda Covarrubias and Stuart Silverstein, Los Angeles Times (2006-11-16): A third incident, a new video

Here is the campus police’s military necessity justification for repeatedly electrifying an unarmed man already lying on the ground and offering no physical resistance, let alone physical threat, to the armed and uniformed gang of peace officers surrounding him:

Tabatabainejab encouraged library patrons to join his resistance. A crowd gathering around the officers and Tabatebainejad’s continued resistance made it urgent to remove Tabatabainejad from the area. The officers deemed it necessary to use the Taser in a drive stun capacity.

— University of California Police Department (2006-11-15): Powell Library Incident

The Powell Library is university property, and authorized agents of the university have every right to force out someone who does not use the library according to the policies set by the university. What they have no right to do is to carry out those aims by repeatedly using powerful electric shocks to immobilize a helpless man with pain, over and over again, when he is already lying on the ground, solely in order to keep control of the situation or to ensure students’ safety when the students themselves feel far more threatened by the belligerent and violent police. Whether or not they found it necessary to torture Tabatabainejab with electric shocks in order to accomplish those things is quite irrelevant. As Edmund Burke once wrote,

To prove, that these Sort of policed Societies are a Violation offered to Nature, and a Constraint upon the human Mind, it needs only to look upon the sanguinary Measures, and Instruments of Violence which are every where used to support them. Let us take a Review of the Dungeons, Whips, Chains, Racks, Gibbets, with which every Society is abundantly stored, by which hundreds of Victims are annually offered up to support a dozen or two in Pride and Madness, and Millions in an abject Servitude, and Dependence. There was a Time, when I looked with a reverential Awe on these Mysteries of Policy; but Age, Experience, and Philosophy have rent the Veil; and I view this Sanctum Sanctorum, at least, without any enthusiastick Admiration. I acknowledge indeed, the Necessity of such a Proceeding in such Institutions; but I must have a very mean Opinion of Institutions where such Proceedings are necessary.

— Edmund Burke (1757): Vindication of Natural Society

There are three things about the video that are just terrible to watch and to hear. The first is the obvious one: Tabatabainejad screaming in pain and writhing on the floor as cops assault him again and again. But the second is just as awful: the crowd of 50 or 60 students, outraged at the police’s ongoing assault, and doing nothing about it other than yelling at the cops and indignantly demanding their badge numbers—apparently in the fantastical belief that a The Law is somehow going to protect them from violence at the hands of its own rampaging hired goons. The third are the comments from the bare-fanged sadists who inevitably came along, as they come along in every case like this one, to add remarks like this:

if you don’t cooperate you get tazed. it’s very simple to understand.

— trappednAZ, in replies to YouTube (2006-11-16): UCLA Student Tasered by UCLA Police for not showing ID

Or this:

I have a medical condition! Hahaha, so good. Damn that was funny. If you don’t wanna get tasered, then don’t a dick to the police. They’re just doing their job.

— symonwill, in replies to YouTube (2006-11-16): UCLA Student Tasered by UCLA Police for not showing ID

Or this:

This is why you dont scream like a 5 year old at police when they tell you to do something. The guy wouldnt comply with anything the police were saying. He deserved it. This shouldnt even be an issue.

— c17h25n, in replies to YouTube (2006-11-16): UCLA Student Tasered by UCLA Police for not showing ID

Did you know that if a college student has a bad attitude towards armed strangers giving him orders, that justifies the cops using violence, up to and including hitting him with immobilizing electric shocks, over and over again, while he lies on the ground, in response? Apparently in the world of authoritarian creeps and bureaucratic sociopaths, it does.

Further reading:

Bolts from the Blue

(Links thanks to Marian Douglas [2005-06-07], Lew Rockwell [2005-06-06], and Edmund Burke [1757].)

Cops in America are heavily armed and trained to be bullies, and they routinely hurt people who are not posing any serious threat to anyone, in order to make sure that they stay in control of the situation. You already knew that they electrified children and suspected salad-bar thieves; you can also add to the list women who have committed the horrible crimes of driving on a suspended license and going 12 miles an hour over the speed limit, provided that they are (1) Black and (2) talk back to the cops, especially on points of legality. Note that being completely unarmed and doing nothing more dangerous than not getting out of the vehicle promptly on command will not stop them from using a 50,000 volt electric blast to immobilize you with pain two or three times in quick succession. Neither, incidentally, will being eight months pregnant.

This is getting repetitive, so let’s just review:

We already knew that Florida cops were willing to electrify a 6 year old boy and a 12 year old girl with a 50,000 volt blast from a taser. The 6 year old was distraught and threatening to hurt himself (after all, why hurt yourself when you can have a cop immobilize you with pain?); the 12 year old’s crime was playing hooky and maybe being a little tipsy, and the incredibly dangerous imminent threat she posed was that she ran away from the cop and so might have been able to skip school. Back when it happened, I mentioned that the main reaction from the police brass was to review the decision to equip cops with tasers—as if the equipment were the primary problem here. I also mentioned that we might be better served by scrutinizing the paramilitary police culture that we have, in which peace officers are trained to take control of every situation at all times, by any means necessary, and where any notion of proportionality between the possible harm and the violence used to maintain control is routinely chucked out the window in the name of law and order and winning the war on crime.

The cops, of course, continue to treat these cases as a P.R. management problem, not a public safety problem created by out-of-control cops. That’s because the cops aren’t out of control; they are doing what cops normally do in our society; we only know about it here because the victims were vulnerable enough that their caretakers were able to get the attention of the newsmedia and the civil courts. We are not talking about a few bad apples here; we are talking about a systematic feature of policing in our society.

— Geekery Today 2005-04-26: Peace Officers

Meanwhile. in Seattle:

Law enforcement officers have said they see Tasers as a tool that can benefit the public by reducing injuries to police and the citizens they arrest.

Seattle police officials declined to comment on this case, citing concerns that Brooks might file a civil lawsuit.

But King County sheriff’s Sgt. Donald Davis, who works on the county’s Taser policy, said the use of force is a balancing act for law enforcement.

It just doesn’t look good to the public, he said.

— Marian Douglas 2005-06-07: Police Taser pregnant woman 3 Times, Just happens to be Black

I’ve been at this for a while with more or less the same analysis applid in each of several different cases (1, 2, 3), so by now I probably ought to at least add a bit by way of a reply to Martin Striz’s complaints. In that direction, let me just say that my main concern here is the paramilitary stance that police forces take toward you and I, and the routine use of extreme violence that that fosters; and that my main difference from Martin has a lot to do with a difference over whether the institutional framework that cops work in is essentially or just accidentally connected with the abuses of power that rampaging cops display every day.

But there’s no need for me to dwell on this point about the hangman State when Edmund Burke already explained it better than I could, back in 1757:

These Evils are not accidental. Whoever will take the pains to consider the Nature of Society, will find they result directly from its Constitution. For as Subordination, or in other Words, the Reciprocation of Tyranny, and Slavery, is requisite to support these Societies, the Interest, the Ambition, the Malice, or the Revenge, nay even the Whim and Caprice of one ruling Man among them, is enough to arm all the rest, without any private Views of their own, to the worst and blackest Purposes; and what is at once lamentable and ridiculous, these Wretches engage under those Banners with a Fury greater than if they were animated by Revenge for their own proper Wrongs. …

To prove, that these Sort of policed Societies are a Violation offered to Nature, and a Constraint upon the human Mind, it needs only to look upon the sanguinary Measures, and Instruments of Violence which are every where used to support them. Let us take a Review of the Dungeons, Whips, Chains, Racks, Gibbets, with which every Society is abundantly stored, by which hundreds of Victims are annually offered up to support a dozen or two in Pride and Madness, and Millions in an abject Servitude, and Dependence. There was a Time, when I looked with a reverential Awe on these Mysteries of Policy; but Age, Experience, and Philosophy have rent the Veil; and I view this Sanctum Sanctorum, at least, without any enthusiastick Admiration. I acknowledge indeed, the Necessity of such a Proceeding in such Institutions; but I must have a very mean Opinion of Institutions where such Proceedings are necessary. …

I now plead for Natural Society against Politicians, and for Natural Reason against all three. When the World is in a fitter Temper than it is at present to hear Truth, or when I shall be more indifferent about its Temper; my Thoughts may become more publick. In the mean time, let them repose in my own Bosom, and in the Bosoms of such Men as are fit to be initiated in the sober Mysteries of Truth and Reason. My Antagonists have already done as much as I could desire. Parties in Religion and Politics make sufficient Discoveries concerning each other, to give a sober Man a proper Caution against them all. The Monarchic, Aristocratical, and Popular Partizans have been jointly laying their Axes to the Root of all Government, and have in their Turns proved each other absurd and inconvenient. In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!

— Edmund Burke (1757): A Vindication of Natural Society