Do ordinary people have an opinion about the existing justice system?
Of course they have.
This opinion which is almost universal is expressed by the maxim: “One buys as much justice as the amount of money one possesses.”
We are told that, when facing the existing system of justice we are all equal.
A British judge, during the Victorian age, put it very accurately, while making fun of this equality, by saying: “The law like the Ritz Hotel, is open to rich and poor alike.” That was a “judge” of a socially advanced society; the British society.
Also, in relation to the above maxim, instead of “money” some refer to one’s “color of the skin”, or to one’s “political ideology”, etc. For example, a black human gets less justice than a white one, or a leftist is punished much more severely in comparison to the punishment of a Nazi.
So, what the hell is the existing system of justice? Is it simply a charade?
It is more than a charade; it is an instrument of oppression and aggression in the hands of the (brutal) elites of the world.
Let us examine this statement in some detail:
The elites through history “constructed” what one might call a “justice industry” to protect its members and to control the unwashed masses. This industry has two sections: the parliaments, congresses, etc. that “create” the rules (laws) and the courts that apply the rules.
There is not much to say about the parliamentarians, congressmen , etc.; the politicians. That the ordinary people, worldwide, have great “respect” for them, i.e. the politicians, is a given. Anyway, what they have been doing for centuries is to “create” rules (laws) for the benefit of their “masters”; the elites. These laws inevitably have to be very general, as there are innumerable specific cases, they deal with. So the trick was to let the judge interpret the law and thus let a single person, the judge, decide for the fate of a human according to the wishes of the powerful elites.
[Important Note: The Greek word “monos” means: “single”, “alone”, “only”. In English or in Spanish it is used to form words as “monopoly” or “monopolio”, respectively. The Greek word “archo” means: “to rule”, “be leader of …” Hence we have the words “monarchy” or “monarquia” in English or in Spanish, respectively. It seems that along the social trajectory of humans in history, at some point there was what one might call a “monarchistic abnormality”, that is the rule by one over the many, as opposed to a collective or participatory way of life. This social change, resulted in the creation of “abnormal” entities as the “King”, the “President”, the “Judge”, the “CEO” (the Chief Executive Officer of the corporation), etc. End of Note]
That there are additional persons (juries, appeal judges, or the Supreme Court) involved in the decision process is irrelevant. The decision is not collective it is still “monarchistic” in essence and constitutes a continuation of the charade.
The case of the courts is a bit more complicated. The three “actors” of the court: the judge, the prosecutor, and the lawyer constitute an interesting “trinity”.
– The judge: What kind of a person is a judge? A judge takes over after the policeman has finished his benign job. As the creator of the ultimate police force, the GeStaPo of Hitler, had testified many years ago, the majority of the individuals that become policemen are sadists. There is no need to dwell on the fact that torture is a common practice in the police stations of the world. Thus, it is not unreasonable to expect that the persons who wrap up the “handiwork” of the policeman are not so saintly. Whether the percentage of non-saintly judges is close to that of the “tough” policemen mentioned by the creator of the GeStaPo, is a matter for academic research.
However, life has offered some “data” that enable us to assess the quality of the persons that choose to become judges, that is to decide the fate of a human “single-handedly”. Starting at the top we find Oliver Wendell Holmes (1841-1935), the eugenicist member of the US Supreme Court, whose texts the Nazis at the Nuremberg trials mentioned in their own defense! Or, take the quality of Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia, the “stars” of the US Supreme Court, of today. The small fry, the provincial judges, etc., have similar quality but their power to do harm is inevitably restricted.
– The Prosecutor: The role of the prosecutors is similar to that of the judges only it carries more hypocrisy and hate. In general their quality as humans is below even to that of the judge. The last time I was in a Greek courtroom, following the trial of a Greek Nazi, I sat a couple of seats away from a young man whose scull had a depression almost half an inch deep, which had been caused by a blow with a baseball-like club by the Nazi. The young man, a student, had been in a coma for more than a month. For the two days that trial lasted the prosecutor was contemplating and checking or admiring the manicured nails of his fingers. I am not exaggerating. Perhaps the man suffered from OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). However, the arrogance of the man and his obnoxious behavior in the proceedings were not atypical of a usual prosecutor.
– The Lawyer: It is more than certain that one of the worst humans in Greece is the star-lawyer of the nation. Again, a not atypical case for most nations. Of course, there is a minority of honest, decent people who earn their living by working as lawyers, which obviously holds also for a minority of the judges or of the prosecutors. However, what do we have to say about the fact that in Greece, there are not more than six lawyers (two of them women) who dare defend a leftist or even an anarchist. Again, probably there is a similar situation in most countries.
[Parenthesis: This was in the TV evening news in Athens today, on August 30, 2014: An octogenarian Greek is interviewed by a lady reporter in relation to the much publicized archaeological finds in Macedonia these days, about Alexander the Great. The oldster admits that he and ten other fellow-villagers decades ago were digging at the same site, found a tomb full of stuff, gold jewelry, etc, but were arrested by the police. The police continued the digging, stole and sold the stuff for themselves. That stuff probably is found today in the elite Museums of New York or Berlin. Does any honest person doubt that a policeman who beats students or pepper-sprays their eyes, will have any inhibitions in performing a so “unchristian” act and steal the treasures of antiquity? End of Parenthesis]
There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of trials of the last couple of centuries that confirm the truth of the above assessment of the existing “system of justice” and of the “trinity” who apply it.
Here are three very recent cases from my country, Greece:
– “In Greece, about 20 miles west of Olympia, which is supposed to be one of the most “sacred” places of this wonderful world, as it is the birthplace of the Olympics, there is a place called Manolada. On April 17, 2013, about 200 Bangladeshi migrant workers in the strawberry fields of Manolada, who had not been paid for six months, asked the owner of the farm to pay them. Three foremen of the owner got their shotguns and started shooting the migrant workers. About 30 workers were wounded, suffering wounds in the abdomen, the legs, and the eyes. Then the three braves run in search of a hiding place.” [My ZNet article “What a Wonderful World!”, of June 12, 2013]
On June 6, 2014, 15 months after the above incident, the owner of the farm Nikos Vagelatos and the three brave foremen were brought to trial. On July 30, 2014 the court decided that Vagelatos, the owner, was innocent [!]. Also, innocent was found one of the three foremen. Of the rest, one foreman was convicted to 14 years and 7 months imprisonment and the other to 8 years and 7 months imprisonment. They were let to go free, pending an appeal trial. One day after the sentencing the Supreme Court Prosecutor, a woman, asked for a copy of the verdict, for further investigation, probably disturbed by the blatant amorality of the outcome. Why was the perpetrator of the crime, the owner, acquitted and only the lumpen thugs got punished? Probably, because he was able to enter the above mentioned “Ritz hotel”.
– The present Greek government is supposedly a conservative (rightist) one. In reality the people close to the Prime minister are crypto-Nazis. A couple of months ago the secretary of “New Democracy” [as if there are all kinds of democracies!], the governing party, a man called Baltakos [“small hatchet” in English] was proven to have very intimate contacts with the Nazis, as shown in a video. The man … resigned, or whatever, and that was that. For almost three years the government ignored the killings of migrant workers by the Nazis. After the killing of a young Greek by the Nazis the government was forced to act by declaring the Nazi thugs a “criminal organization” and imprisoning its leaders. However, it seems that now the government is trying to free and support the Nazis by revising the “Penal Code” by legislating that a group should be characterized as a “criminal organization” only if they have an “economic” aim, which supposedly the Nazis do not have. So the Nazis will be let out of prison and will be restored as decent members of the society and they will help the present Greek government prevent the formation of a Leftist Greek government. This, is supervised by Obama and his German employee, the “angelic” Merkel, as all he cares is to secure, probably the most important US base in the world today, the US Souda Base in Crete. This indeed proves that the existing system of justice is the bedrock of morality.
That is the situation with the existing justice system in Greece.
In 1961, Sybille Bedford (1911-2006) an English writer authored a book [“The Faces of Justice”, Collins, London] in which she offers us precious material about the European existing justice system after laboriously researching it “in situ”, by visiting and attending the courts of England, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and France.
Bedford examines the justice system in these countries by recording accurately the “monarchistic” behavior of the judge [his “worship” in England], the aggressiveness of the lawyer who “can discredit a witness’s evidence by making a witness look a nitwit, a liar or a crook …”, etc. She admits that “[a] rule of law is a sine qua non of any tolerable material life”, but she adds: “The very next question is, what law?”
Bedford was impressed with the centuries-old justice system of the Swiss [see below].
So, can humans devise an honest and moral justice system?
Of course they can!
The solution rests on the wider possible participation of ordinary people in the law-making and in the decision-making process in the courts.
Who should participate in such a decision process? It is reasonable to include the relatives of both the accused and the victims, the neighbors of the accused, their classmates, their colleagues in work, their friends, any people that know something about the accused, but who are afraid to come forward in the present system, any person that can have an opinion on the matter at hand, etc. These persons will not be considered as “witnesses” but as participants in the decision. Their number could be in the dozens, or in the hundreds, or even in the thousands. Cumbersome? No! This has been going on for centuries, or better for millennia, in decision-making in cities, towns, senates, parliaments, congresses, referendums, etc in non-digital societies. Therefore, it can happen, also, in our digital era.
Things are not that complicated. For minor offenses the number of participants would not be more than a dozen or a few dozens. For more serious offenses they could be in the hundreds. For crimes of Nuremberg importance they could be even in the thousands.
Of course, this system of justice can very easily be built in a participatory society, that is in a “pareconish” society.
Are these thoughts utopian? No! The vision of a participatory society, if we survive the climate change problems, will inevitably become reality. Besides, there are examples of such systems of justice in History.
Murray Bookchin, in his book “The Rise of Urbanization and the Decline of Citizenship” [Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, 1987, page 35] writing about the Athens of 2,500 years ago says: “We would also have to assume that the notion of a state is consistent with a consciously amateur system of governance, based on almost weekly popular assemblies, a judicial system structured around huge juries that represent the assemblies on an attenuated scale …” [Emphasis added]
Also, Bedford writes:
-“The most interesting features of some Swiss appeal cases … was the principle of open court at all stages; the judges deliberate, and put their final decision to the vote in public.” [page 200]
– “And so the law, too, is felt to be something that can be administered by any able-minded man of good repute.” [page 208]
The claim that this can happen only in small societies, as the ancient Athens or the Cantons of Switzerland, is not correct, because a participatory society begins with the neighborhood, the workplace and moves to higher numbers of participants.
However, there is a factor of paramount importance in the problem of criminality in a society and in the process of meting out punishment. This factor is: prevention.
In a rationally organized society, that is, in an anarchic society, prevention can be easy. Starting with the family, it is reasonable to expect that the members of the family are in a position to detect if in a child there are tendencies that could lead to criminality and violence.
Today the family tries to hide the problem. The reasonable thing to do is talk about the problem, in the presence of the child, with the neighbors, the child’s peers, other relatives, and persons that the child respects. That is let the proximate community participate in the problem in an anarchic way. This could be the first step. Could this be effective? We cannot tell, as any anarchic participatory intervention is an experimental act at this stage of our evolution. However, one thing is certain. It is better than hiding or ignoring the problem. Also, in the future, any criminal act of the adult, that the child has grown up into, would have the useful testimony of the members of the above, (early) proximate society.
The idea is to help the child resolve its problem by itself. Also, to make it understand that it is going to be its own fellow-humans that will judge it and not the violent and impersonal policemen and the arrogant judges, and that his life in a community that holds him or her in contempt could be Hell.
Finally, concerning prevention, a very important factor is the role of the female in preventing criminality. In general criminality and violence is a masculine “virtue”. The role of the female as mother, girlfriend, wife, companion, even as prostitute, could be visceral. She can reach the problematic male more effectively than any other person.
To close this article, what do we all do about the thousands of humans that the existing justice system punishes even with the death penalty, while knowing that they are innocent?
This article is
dedicated to the memory of
George Junius Stinney Jr.