Throughout the many wars of aggression perpetrated after 9/11, one term has constantly stood out:
"Bring 'em to justice."What that's meant is death and destruction on the ground and from above, kidnapping, torture, gulags, and worse.
Justice? There's no hint of justice in these actions, in fact just the opposite. But then, these actions mirror so much of what is purported to be 'justice' in the civilian world, where millions are held in custody, tens of thousands in solitary confinement, where torture and brutality are routine, where the concept of a fair trial was long ago subverted, where everyone is subject to constant and often invasive surveillance and whole communities are routinely subject to terror campaigns by police. Where the High and the Mighty get away with just about anything, whereas the lowly Rabble is constantly -- and literally -- under the gun.
What a sad, sick joke.
Along with Dignity, Justice is the most frequently heard call of rebels and revolutionaries at home and abroad.
What would it mean if we were to build a better future?
If Dignity is the first principle, then Justice must flow from Dignity. The principle of Dignity requires respect and consideration for all, not solely for those deemed "worthy" by birth or acknowledgement from those whose Dignity is otherwise assured.
Justice at law would then be principled and would operate on ideals of fairness and equality before the law. Violations of those principles would be socially -- and politically and legally -- unacceptable and would be subject to sanctions such as removal.
Are there other kinds of Justice besides Justice at law? Of course.
Social and economic Justice, for example, require presumption of fairness and equality as well -- in the sense of fair distribution of economic resources and rewards, and equality of access to and utilization of social services and benefits -- such as education.
A "Justice" system, such as the present American one, that operates on principles of vengeance, punishment, destruction as well as access to and acquisition of rewards based on status and main force is a plain mockery of Justice. But that's what we have.
There is no easy way to transition from a corrupt and destructive mockery of Justice such as we have to one that is based on and operates on the principles described. Just ask those who have tried to do so in the past. The problem is that once Justice is corrupted, the precedent will be set and will stand until such time as the entire system is done away with, taken out root and branch, and that rarely happens in human history. Furthermore, the replacements for previous "Justice" systems are in no way intrinsically immune from the corruptions present in the past.
Finding the way forward toward true Justice has been the vexing problem of practically all rebel and revolutionary activists in recent times, and the transition from a corrupt system to a better if still imperfect one, can be fraught with error. Best to start small.
On the larger scale, such as that of nation states, the imposition of rough -- or rogue -- "Justice" seems to be a fundamental hallmark of powerful states. Currently, for example, the United States is preparing to launch attacks on Syria as a means to impose "Justice" on the Assad Regime for the purported use of chemical weapons against civilian populations. No conclusive evidence has been adduced regarding the culpability of the Regime -- in fact, the public has been permitted to see and evaluate no evidence of culpability at all, only the evidence of results from the attack(s), and has been unable to evaluate even that evidence for veracity.
Consequently, there is no way to conclude with certainty who was responsible for the attack(s) in Syria, how it or they were accomplished, and in some cases even whether there was a CW attack at all.
Nevertheless, the United States proposed to impose "Justice" on the Syrian regime, regardless, much as the United States imposed "Justice" on Iraq for... something... and routinely imposes "Justice" on suspected wedding parties, wood gatherers, worshipers, students, militants, rebels and so-called "terrorists" (and on anyone who happens to be nearby) through obliteration by drone.
This is not Justice, it is its obvious opposite.
We learn from this consistent perversion of Justice that perhaps nation states and the institutionally powerful of all kinds are simply incapable of operating on the principles of Justice outlined above. We have seen too many examples of the mockery made of Justice by nation states and powerful institutions (such as religious ones) to believe otherwise.
True Justice, then, may be something that grows organically from the ground up, from families, small-scale affinity groups and communities (though there can be many hazards and subversions of Justice at those levels as well.)
If the ideal of Justice is to be found at the more intimate scale, however, then building a better future will require a further consideration of principle, that of Community.
[To be continued...]