This article by Ezra Klein is excellent. I can’t do it justice in a blog post, but here is a bit:
This is the often neglected heart of nonviolence: It is a strategic confrontation with other human beings. It takes as self-evident that we must continue to live in fellowship with one another. As such, it puts changing each other’s hearts at the center of political action, and then asks what kind of action is likeliest to bring about that transformation. That its answers are radical and demanding does not make them untrue.
“King thinks human beings are sacred,” says Brandon Terry, a Harvard sociologist and co-author of a volume on King’s political philosophy. “We need, above all else, to avoid preventing them from changing for the better. That’s what the whole ethos is about: trying to see in other people what we see in ourselves — the capacity for growth, self-correction, and change.”
That violence begets violence is more than a dorm room slogan: It is a much-replicated research finding. A study by the US Justice Department of 11- to 17-year-olds, for instance, found that being the victim of violence was an extraordinarily powerful predictor of subsequently being the perpetrator of violence. “Violent victimization,” they concluded, “is an important risk factor for subsequent violent offending.”
There is much the state does that is meant to protect citizens from violence, including policing, which really does work to reduce crime. But there’s also much the state does that inflicts violence — and that is nowhere more true than in the state’s cramped, self-defeating definition of justice. As Danielle Sered writes in Until We Reckon: Violence, Mass Incarceration, and a Road to Repair, decades of studies find four key predictors of violence in individuals: “shame, isolation, exposure to violence, and a diminished ability to meet one’s economic needs.” Those are also, as it happens, the definitional features of prison. “As a nation, we have developed a response to violence that is characterized by precisely what we know to be the main drivers of violence,” she writes. “We should not be surprised, then, when the system produces exactly the results we would expect.”
And one more:
In restorative justice, the focus is not on what perpetrators have done but on what victims need. In some cases, that is imprisonment. But far more often, it is answers, amends, the kind of visible transformation in a perpetrator that leads to a continued feeling of safety. Sered, who directs the remarkable nonprofit Common Justice, tells the story of a man robbed at gunpoint. Asked if he preferred imprisonment or a restorative justice program, he asked whether the perpetrator could get life without parole for the crime. Told that he couldn’t, the man chose restorative justice. “If he can’t be gone forever, then I’d rather he be changed,” he said.
A meta-analysis of 84 evaluations of restorative justice programs focused on juveniles found better outcomes for both offenders and victims. Another analysis of 22 studies examining particularly rigorous restorative justice programs concluded, “restorative justice programs are a more effective method of improving victim and/or offender satisfaction, increasing offender compliance with restitution, and decreasing the recidivism of offenders when compared to more traditional criminal justice responses.”
As they say, read the whole thing!
This issue was researched by Gene Sharp (who probably worked for CIA) in the context of organizing the color revolution, especially in xUSSR space.
How Nonviolent Struggle Works by [Gene Sharp]
Politics of Nonviolent Action, Part Two: The Methods of Nonviolent Action
It is undeniable that neoliberal Dems have decided to support the BLM movement and are helping to organize and finance protests.
But as soon as the genie is out of the bottle, it is impossible to put it back in 🙂 Externalities are abundant. Pelosi, with her African scarf stunt and neoliberal MSM, might find this simple fact soon enough.
EuroMaidan is a case story of what happens when the authorities decide to look the other way and give de facto control of a territory within a major city to radicals. When citi governments are giving the locals radicals freebies (such as bringing down statues, looting stores, getting the tension out, and getting some excitement, justifying the whole thing with an invented cause ) the things can run out of control very quickly and shooting starts. Of course, such riots never happen outside the major cities with a large underclass.
This is an expensive theater, which has not been well received outside of urban areas. So, in the long run, it may cost neoliberal Dems more than they can afford to lose. For one, it creates the level of polarization, which is very dangerous for a country. When the main aim is to delegitimize the current government (aka to stage “color revolution”), nasty unexpected things start happening. And I am not talking only about Weimar Germany or Ukraine (in both cases far right came to power with disastrous results for commoners).
Trump proved to be an incompetent weakling and a coward somewhat similar to rulers of Weimar republic and Yanukovich, but in any case, putting race or nationalism at the center of our political discourse may have unexpected benefits for the far-right forces.
Moreover, it is clear that the people pushing it are hypocrites living in gated all-White communities. Another factor is an obvious desire of the neoliberal elite to deflect the population from more substantive economic injustices (such as regressive taxation, the working class having flat or declining real wages for 50 years, the decimation of the New Deal social safety net, etc ).
All those neoliberal oligarchs like Bezos, Adelson, etc. would greatly prefer discussion of LGBT issues instead; or if this does not work the black inequality and racism 😉
The question is, where are we going? Classic neoliberalism is water under the bridge in any case, Biden or no Biden. Nobody can resuscitate it. Is neofascism the only option like in the late 1920th, early 1930th?
This is all good, but I don’t think it and similar discussion happening currently addresses the core issue: authoritarian approach to life.
We have a system developed with an authoritarian mind set. Persecution is the results born of victumhood. All of it coming from a selfish perspective. We have lost, if we ever had it, the ability to collectively not let the emotional upheaval of a victim be determinate of policy.
The twin tower bomb’s showed we had lost our ability to differentiate an attach of war from what was a criminal act. Emotion all the way! That’s all Bush’s bull horn moment was. Congress then lead the charge. Emotion all the way.
We’ve gotten hooked on the alpha male/female idea of how society works when in the animal world. The alpha male/female is not the one making the decisions. Thom Hartman talks about his conversations with researcher James Randerson on this. It’s actually a type of democratic process:
But, I have recently listened to interviews by Rutger Bergman and I think he’s really onto something. He is the one who spoke at Davos regarding the rich not paying. On the Media (NPR) had a good interview: https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/otm/segments/humans-systems-we-build-on-the-media?tab=summary
I’m really disappointed that the phrase “defund the police” is the phrase chosen to lead a movement for change in our thinking about dealing with the relationship of crime, society and the individual. It just made it too easy for the authoritarian view to use fear some more. You just knew the right was going to distort the intent to the extreme.
We have to stop being so simplistic in our thinking about life. Just like we know the concept of sexual identity is much more diverse and complicated within nature (did you know there is a fish where they are all female but 1 and that when that 1 is done, another female will change to male for the school?), the concept of crime, justice, morals, freedom is much more involved than “lock them up”. For example, we know that young men go through a growing period in which they are more prone to act criminally, even violent but once beyond that growing period there is the maturity to see the wrong and not do it again. The ability to repent.
There is the Dutch approach and it’s success. There is Portugal’s drug approach and success.
I hear no discussion suggesting we might look to others for lessons in our quest to redo our criminal/justice system. I fear our arrogance of American Exceptionalism will prevent us getting the change done well. That and the F’n private industry we have built up around this issue.
Just another example where simply minding the money, letting it find it’s “natural” path does not work to produce a society that is healthy and happy. Free market ideology failure writ large because the free market model is the wrong model to use as the tool to solve the problem. Totally wrong tool.
> The twin tower bomb’s showed we had lost our ability to differentiate an act of war from what was a criminal act.
This is so true.
> Just another example where simply minding the money, letting it find it’s “natural” path does not work to produce a society that is healthy and happy. Free market ideology failure writ large because the free market model is the wrong model to use as the tool to solve the problem. Totally wrong tool.
Neoliberalism needs to be dismantled and replaced at least with something similar to the New Deal Capitalism. Financial oligarchy needs to be tames, money in politics strictly regulated, and progressive taxation restored.
Better trolls, please.
He is making this blog unreadable.
There is also the issue of public safety which may require getting a particular criminal off the streets. Trying to transform the person is a good idea but giving him/her the benefit of the doubt on when that has occurred is probably foolish.
Read the Klein article and noted that the New York stop and frisk program reminded me a lot of the NDD’s coronavirus test paradigm, where you wanted high testing and low positives as a good development. Now the impact on the person’s dignity and autonomy can be much different between the two kinds of test, but if you are going to run a stop and frisk program at all, high negatives would seem to be associated with the result that was intended.
That’s a very important observation. Racism, especially directed toward blacks, along with “identity wedge” is a perfect tool for disarming poor white, and suppressing their struggle for better standard of living, which considerably dropped under the neoliberalism
In other words. by providing poor whites with a strata of population that has even lower social status. neoliberals manage to coopt them to support the policies which economically ate detrimental to their standard of living as well as to suppress the protest against the redistribution of wealth up and dismantling of the New Deal capitalism social protection network.
Pretty sophisticated, pretty evil scheme, if you ask me. In a way, “Floydgate” can be viewed as a variation on the same theme. A very dirty game indeed, when the issue of provision of meaningful jobs for working poor, social equality and social protection for low income workers of any color is replaced with a real but of secondary importance issue of police violence against blacks.
This is another way to explain “What’s the matter with Kansas” effect.