a journal of modern society & culture

After Ferguson: Notes on Oppression

“It is common, indeed usual, to be uncertain of a boundary but quite certain of what lies well to the east or west of it.”

– Walter Stein

Oppression

“Oppression,” according to the American Heritage Dictionary, is: “the action of exercising arbitrary or cruel power: A system of oppression.” (Italics added) Two corollaries of this definition are noteworthy. First, and crucially, “oppression” is not a subjective condition: people may live under a system of oppression and not notice or accommodate to it; this is not uncommon. To paraphrase: “you may not be interested in the system, but the system is interested in you.”

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In the United States the system of oppression is founded on a political settlement that cedes some local power to black persons as such but no share of sovereign power (as the powerlessness of President Obama to effect significant changes in racial hierarchy, or even to speak about it, makes clear); indeed even deliberately excluding them from the basic right to vote via felon disenfranchisement and newly invented “voter identification” laws that return to the Pre-Civil Rights era. In addition, black persons function within an economic structure that purposefully relegates an inordinate proportion of them to an underclass, a “reserve army of labor”; a social structure that preserves stigmata and stereotypes for black persons at all levels of the social order (hence the offence of “driving while black,” of shopping in an upscale department store, or of being on foot in the “wrong” neighborhood); and above all, a separate and unequal system of criminal justice and civil procedure that ensures the perpetuation of the system under a patina of “fairness” and “due process.”

This is the core structure of systematic injustice – true of all colonialism and all entrenched or informal systems of apartheid[1] – that keeps the master/servant relationship in place over all. As to the latter phrase, a simple reality check is in order: how many black families do we know of that have white domestic servants? Beyond that homely example, we can note the second corollary of the definition: some persons – e.g., American White supremacists, or members of the New York Police Department may declare that they are “oppressed” when that is manifestly not the case.

Indeed, outside perhaps of post-colonial Rhodesia it is hard to think of an instance in human history of a master-servant relationship that reverses the order of affairs: that is, institutionalizes blacks “oppressing” whites, or for that matter of any white minority being oppressed by anybody non-white.[2] Black persons in this society, certainly, do not exercise power over others because they don’t have any; of course some of them engage in violent behavior, and sometimes on a racial basis, but that isn’t close to oppression. In fact, oppression is often marked mainly by non-violence, as Marx and Engels pointed out in explaining why workers keep going back to exploitative jobs day after day.[3]

It is necessary to emphasize this point because of the rhetoric about policemen or black business owners being “oppressed” that flourished during the morality play of Ferguson or the protests in New York City. The wielders of the baton pleading victimization because two of their number were murdered is a rhetoric that deliberately turns white into black, ocean into sky, in order to obscure the obvious and ugly truths of a social order constructed on a base of racial hierarchy, as well as to put themselves above all constraint or discipline. But then whatever else they do – much of which is essential and some of which is done very well – the police as an institution are the lynchpin of that order (and of the class/gender structure when push comes to shove), and they do that job very well. That many individual officers fill that role as honorably as is possible cannot make up for the real position they occupy. Once upon a time, indeed, police forces in many Southern cities, not to mention Los Angeles, were infiltrated or even controlled by members of the Klan; that time is presumably past, but the virulence of the NYPD toward peaceful protesters even before two of its number were allegedly assaulted, and the outbreak of hatred among them after the unrelated assassination of two officers in Brooklyn, speak volumes; as does the fact that they chose this moment to turn their backs on an elected mayor instead of seizing the opportunity to make the case for gun control that is in their true interest as law enforcers in a violent society. Their role as the neutral, incorruptible upholders of social peace and moral values exists only in the fantasy land of television. When they effectively go on strike or a slowdown, as was happening in New York City at the moment of this writing, the true order of things is revealed: no one can break their strike, or their demonstration, for they themselves, when class struggle breaks out, are the strikebreakers of choice.

There is a more general point here. Often groups claim “oppression” or “victimization” because of not being allowed to force others to do their will; as Mill put it, this is “the most monstrous doctrine” of all. The Taliban and ISIS are the most virulent exponents of that doctrine on the contemporary scene, but it is true of the proponents of any regime, large or small, religious or nationalist, that protests resistance to its unilateral demands. The desire to achieve or maintain power over others is the will to power – to tyranny – nothing less; it is not rebellion or self-defense.

Not everyone who claims victim status is actually a victim; as Walter Stein indicates, the distance from a supposedly ambiguous boundary is usually quite clear; victimhood is not a subjective status.[4]

The American South, for example, was a tyranny prior to Civil War, at the worst being denied the right to enslave and thus oppress others – which cannot be a right, but only a monstrous wrong. (As Rousseau suggested, anyone who thinks otherwise is not worth talking to.) The political system in historical fact was dominated by the South, as the Missouri Compromise, the Kansas-Nebraska Act , and the Fugitive Slave Law made clear. Losing an economic struggle, such as over tariffs, or taxation levels, is not being oppressed. “Losing” and “being a victim” are not necessarily synonymous, at least in a system where everyone has the right to vote. The wealthy, for example, despite the extraordinary existence of those among them who claim to be victims of a Nazi-like or Communist Regime, are under no circumstance discriminated-against victims because of taxation; or if they are, so are all their workers by virtue of the very laws that enforce the specific rules of private property in wealth-producing activities. Anyone can be wealthy, and anyone can not be; they are not a caste. Oppression, per the Dictionary, would be a system that excludes the wealthy from equal citizenship. Since most legislation in any nation was passed at their behest, and most parliamentary systems set up to, among other things, protect their wealth, the claim of being oppressed is a bad joke.

Violence

Not only oppression is sometimes mistakenly conceptualized as though it has ambiguous dimensions. For many observers watching from distant sidelines, the demonstrations and riots that recur whenever the deep structures of injustice and inequality are momentarily but unequivocally illuminated, as in Ferguson, seem to pose a problem of moral complexity. However, to assert the truism that “right” and “wrong” exist “on both sides” is far different from claiming that as a “side” the oppressors are in any degree “right,” or the oppressed in principle “wrong.” Mass conflict is always bloody, even when on a small scale, as in so-called “race riots,” and certainly during anti-colonial uprisings, as in any war; but the fact of oppression is not somehow made less intolerable by the bad behavior of the oppressed.[5] Undoubtedly, in the end many rebellions or revolutions may go terribly wrong, but we want never to forget that “war crimes,” or its domestic equivalents, is a rubric existing only to describe the losers.

The same caveat applies to “terrorism.” “Terrorist,” like “subversive” is an epithet, a way of casting an anathema on its subjects. It is designed to foreclose consideration and analysis of an event, rather than discussion and debate about it; to foreclose any possible ambiguity about who is “right” or “wrong.” As I’ve noted above, sometimes we apply it, without too much distortion, to the actions of those who attempt to wreak their will on others, and punish those who resist them. But very often it stems from the delusion of oppressors that they are merely defending themselves. However, many frames within which “terrorism” occurs are two-sided conflicts, civil or supra-national wars. In these, “terrorism” is a word which the strong use to define the resistance of the weak, calling what they do themselves “self-defense” or “enforcing the law,” as though “law” was the positive acts of any regime, however one-sided, brutal or corrupt.

So, for example, simply to call Hamas (or even Hezbollah) “terrorist”, without further elaboration, covers up the true nature of the conflict over Palestine. “Terrorism” is most often defined as the intentional targeting of civilians by non-state actors, but that misses the point. To return to Walter Stein’s epigram, he was arguing that nuclear weapons, delivered from far away or on high, abolish the combatant/non-combatant distinction that is crucial to the idea of “Just Wars.” Today, however forces such as Hamas and Hezbollah, opposing oppression in what used to be guerilla warfare–that is, lacking the wherewithal to engage in sustained ground combat – have at their disposal an array of weapons that enables them to cross over what used to be at least a spatial gap that helped maintain the distinction. Now state actors meet non-state actors on a battlefield so expanded, and so horrific, that the distinction is obliterated. This fact is recognized in international practice. We need only think of the FLN, a non-state actor which practiced violence on a much larger and more violent scale, and yet produced a new state that however unstable and corrupt is now recognized as “legitimate” by the nations of the world. Precisely what the objection is or was to the methods of resistance practiced by these various actors can be stated without the loaded word that tells us nothing about who is actually doing what, on either side.

As well, invoking “innocent civilians” commits us to a loaded language which forces much worse actions into the narrow framework of “terror.” If 9/11 was “terrorism,” than what were Dresden, or the nuclear devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? In fact, these were the mass slaughter of civilians, that is their rightful name. Violence is what it is. American white colonizers engaged in acts of conquest, Native Americans in acts of resistance: not “terror.”[6] How one judges those acts is formally independent of but actually dependent on one’s judgment of the conflicts themselves, and – as we have seen time and again – their historical outcomes. These judgments are totally context-dependent. On the whole, though, the spokesperson for a state that commits multiple assassinations – along with their “collateral damage” – via unarmed and thus invulnerable drones should be careful how it addresses the “terrorism” of others. In the end, the nature of a revolt is determined by the nature of the cause – a “long train of abuses” – and the response of the oppressors, not some inexplicable savagery of the rebels.[7]

So for example opposition to the War in Vietnam was not lessened by the knowledge that the forces of the North were often purely murderous. As Machiavelli insisted, the moral categories we apply to conflicts between individuals are not decisive in the realm of states and history. We can see the result of this confusion in someone like Camus, the dedicated anti-colonial activist turned pacifist, who when the choices became stark could not bring himself to oppose French oppression and torture in Algeria: discovering moral complexity where there was none, and so falling silent at the very moment when speech was demanded. There was and is no moral complexity, though, because however we define the moral issue, it is sadly subsidiary to the overarching existence of a gross imbalance between power and justice, and as long as that imbalance remains, so too does the starkness of the choice remain. To make our assessment of the overthrow of injustice depend on the behavior of the oppressed in any degree is to stand with the status quo; to counsel suffering in silence. As with Camus, the humanist position on violence retreats from any meaningful concept of justice. But notions of “justice” aside, ultimately, and more decisively, the intellectual failure here is the refusal to see the armed state as the source of violence: its own organized violence that exists to protect those on one side of the boundary.

Therefore the bien-pensant condemnation of “violence” is never complete or truly genuine, since the official violence of the authorities, even when deadly, goes seriously unpunished; whereas for social outsiders the rules place even the protection of property above the lives of persons. Lenin’s dictum is reversed: a gun in the hands of a policeman is an instrument of “justice,” a gun in the hands of a proletarian – in the U.S. a black man – is an instrument of criminality until proven otherwise – this is the unstated belief behind the popular success of the National Rifle Association’s campaign against gun control, which aims to turn every (white) citizen into an armed outpost of the State, leaving only black men outside it, for whom violent crime and rebellion are perceived by many white persons, especially within the N.R.A., as indistinguishable. Whereas if a black man is killed by a white policeman – or even a mere vigilante, as George Zimmerman; or a group of thugs with badges, as in the case of Errol Garner – that is perfectly acceptable; the same is true of the numerous border killings of so-called “illegal” (that is, undocumented) immigrants. Nowadays this race-inflected love affair with armed violence passes unnoticed (think of the addictive video games in which heavily armed American troops try to destroy un-American looking aliens), as though it is merely a recognizable aspect of the national character, or of Southwestern culture. As to the overall relationship between violence and race, though, the surest indication of its reality is the extent to which black police officers are afraid to be in plainclothes when in the presence of their white counterparts. [8]

In any event, where the means of destruction are as one-sided as they are in Missouri, or the United States, the notion of “both sides” exists mainly to exculpate the oppressors, or to ease the putative guilt of bystanders for doing nothing; in common discourse it is invariably applied to the actions of the oppressed. The disengaged critic of violence feels good at having discharged a moral duty, but this option is not open to those engaged in rebellion. Since peaceful protest is always met by either contempt (often disguised as useless sympathy, the formation of commissions etc.) or repression, the next step is either escalation or surrender. It is also for this reason of general disengagement that police actions resulting in homicide rarely fall under the headings of “crime” in the annual reports; if collated at all, it is as though they were something else, and it is difficult even to be sure of their number, except to say that they are seriously undercounted. George Orwell’s famous description of “Shooting an Elephant.” encapsulates the linguistic fallacy at work here. Orwell knew full well, as his tone makes clear, that the outcome of the event only seemed morally ambiguous because he was a legitimate agent of colonialism; in reality there was no ambiguity at all: he was shooting an elephant. Legitimate crime, that is, isn’t “crime,” official violence isn’t violence.

This is known to everyone who lives under the heel of the oppressor. The black woman who said during the riots in Ferguson that she tells her children never to call 911 when in trouble, but to call a friend or neighbor instead, because they themselves will be the ones punished by the police, was expressing this knowledge. It is why the “irrational” behavior of black men during an arrest or questioning, such as Michael Brown allegedly charging at Officer Wilson, is never really irrational, but is an expression of their understanding of the absolute fact that guilty or innocent the white police are out to hurt them, and will do so up to any extent they can get away with.

What has happened in this eruption turned into a morality tale is that history has been removed from the realm of the observable, which thus has no causes and therefore no effects. Disembodied and outside of time, the actors in what is treated as a momentary occurrence engage in what is described as merely unjustifiable behavior; or, with more understanding, as a non-verbal form of communication s kind of “language of the unheard,” (in Martin Luther King’s words) – which will in any event be ignored except to form a commission. But they are more than that; they are rebellious attacks on a power structure that is suddenly vulnerable. With regard to concrete policy, then, they may be deemed irrelevant. But this interpretation serves to diminish their purpose and their meaning: they are rebellions, and should be seen as such: like a revolution, though on a much lesser scale, a rebellion “is not a tea party.”[9] Whether street demonstrations in Ferguson or rocket attacks by Hamas, they are the response of the dispossessed to their dispossession; the revolutions of those in no position to make a revolution.

As to the means of rebellion, of resistance, those of us who benefit from or have otherwise accommodated to what is an oppressive regime for others, can have no first-hand experience of oppression unless we have made a conscious effort to immerse ourselves in it. To be sure, the question of means is a moral one, subject to ethical questioning – would I push the Fat Man off the bridge to save the children? torture the kidnapper to find the hostage? – but it is primarily existential. In the case of oppression you are either in it or not. As demonstrated in the early writings of Camus, who came close to the immersive experience by making himself into an intimate observer and listener, it is possible for an outsider to be thus possessed of authentic knowledge. Journalists can do this, aid workers, volunteers, but sideline observers know nothing of the experience of oppression.

Nor do the actions of the oppressed themselves give any clue as to what might be an “appropriate” response. Quiescence, submission, non-resistance, non-violent resistance, violent resistance, revolution, are all on the same moral ground. They arise out of the experience and from nothing else; that accommodation is the most accessible and least disturbing response is beside the point. Conversely, as personal character varies to the fullest possible extent in every organized group of humans, from saint to serial killer, there will be those whose acts of violent resistance will go beyond the pale into the inhumane, and can be criticized as such – but only if the critic remembers that hideous acts of violence have been engaged in by soldiers, police, mercenaries, and so on from his own human group; and that their appearance does not in any way implicate the movement, if there is one, as a whole; any more than the bombing of Dresden suggests that the US should not have participated in WWII. Otherwise, though, Gandhi is no more authentic, no more virtuous, no more historically progressive than Subhas Chandra Bose.

Thus this is a debate that rightly takes place among those who must rebel; outsiders such as myself have nothing to contribute to it except well-intentioned advice; the colonizers know nothing of what it is like to live in a world you never made. So the question is not what violence is or is not “legitimate,” because that concept pertains only to the State; who else can decide? But if the state itself is oppressive or sustains oppression institutions, it is not up to Israelis to lecture Palestinians, or whites in the U.S. to lecture blacks about their moral standing; as the history of the civil rights movement demonstrates over and over, Black people are perfectly capable of doing that themselves. White people, per contra, have to remind themselves every day that their own life of privilege – at least for those of us who live such a life – is built on a foundation that has the never-disappearing past of slavery as its everyday cement. Most days we forget this; it is necessary that we be reminded.

Of course white persons without any degree of privilege but their whiteness, or masculinity, regularly transfer their grievances to the most immediately visible of those who confront them directly (what Jean Jaurès, speaking of anti-Semitism, called “the socialism of fools”). “gain, this is to some extent understandable. White rage (deepened in its rhetoric at least by the existence of the internet) as in response to Ferguson recognizes that a symbolic and yet also very real relationship has been repudiated by the protesters, who are demanding that the existing structure of opportunity and of moral authority be upended, and replaced by a new system defined by time and place as an extension of “equality.’ On the other hand, we must remember that those who actually contrive the concepts and interpretations that legitimize this inchoate construct are not the poor or marginalized, but persons like myself: the (mostly white male) persons of language and communicative skills who control the institutions that make and remake “public opinion.” Moreover, we must also keep in mind the couplet that tells us “Cet animal est très méchant/Quand on l’attaque, il se défend.” (“This animal is very wicked/It bites the foot that tries to kick it.”). Those who rebel do so because they are always under attack.

 

Crime

Just like the standard notion of “violence,” the way most of us conceptualize “crime” and “the criminal” is among other things an effect of the distorted outcome produced by the system of oppression. To take a salient example ripped from the headlines, grand juries (as anyone who has served on one will be aware) will indict any black person (even were he “a ham sandwich”) charged with the non-violent crimes for which most felony arrests of black people are made; while exonerating, as we have seen, the white killers of black persons. Their members will tell themselves, if they search for any understanding of their own behavior, that this is just the charge that the legal system has given them, as well as being the unfortunately necessary outcome of the demography of crime. Last year (2013) indeed, there were by one official count 2,645 “homicides” by black people, some of them probably justifiable, and a minuscule amount compared to the number of drug possession “crimes” committed by them (or arrests for no crime at all); this was about ten times as many as homicides committed by whites.

Responsibility for this discrepancy is often held to be the nature of “Black culture” (a misuse of the term “culture,” since the criminogenic neighborhoods of the “inner cites” consist of what are better referred to as “subcultures”). But it is not any “culture” that produces the relatively inordinate degree of violent crime; it is the system (or, if you will, the “culture”) of racial oppression: as is similarly the case in any society anywhere in the modernized world, where violent crime is primarily a behavior engaged in by unemployed or poorly employed young men with low expectations – or, as in the incarceration-fixated U.S., by men who have been confirmed in their criminality, such as it may or may not have been, by lengthy and desocializing prison sentences.

It is also the case that the poor commit crimes mostly against each other, that is in their own worlds: that is part of the class structure in such societies. In the United States, not uniquely but to a greater extent than elsewhere, class and race destructively intersect. That outcome is the product of what the criminologist Edwin Sutherland called “differential association.” It will stop operating in the ways to which we have become accustomed only when the conditions that produce it are eliminated. This can only done by the oppressors themselves, since all the “legitimate” power and authority are on their side; Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi to the contrary, that change can never be achieved by the oppressed, though as King proclaimed they can attempt to induce a more egalitarian sentiment in their oppressors–by, as he perfectly well knew, subjecting themselves to violence. But that is ultimately the only non-violent remedy for systematic oppression.

Law

Inter Armas Silent Leges

The founding of every nation-state consists of a huge sweeping under the rug of what used to be violence, turned into law as a settlement of conflict. However, it is essential to distinguish the Rule of Law from what is colloquially known as “Law and Order,” for the latter is in most of its usages the ideology of repression. The Rule of Law, as Rousseau succinctly put it, is that “power shall never be great enough for violence, and shall always be exercised by virtue of rank and law…” (The Social Contract, Bk. II, Ch. 11, trans. G.D.H. Cole).[10] That is, no one outside the legitimate authority exercises effective power, and the wielders of that authority follow only just procedures. Thus for example there is no rule of law in Israel today, as, e.g., the State responds to encroachments on the rights of Palestinians by retroactively or prospectively authorizing them. In the United States, similarly, the worst offenders against the Rule of Law are the forces of law and order, namely the police who traduce the law in order to produce “order.” Crime by citizens is random and human (except in times of rebellion, or when criminal organizations outpass the state, as in contemporary Mexico, Afghanistan, or Pakistan) ; crime by the police, no matter what its justification, is systemic and thus strikes at the heart of the Rule of Law: it sets law against The Law.

It is for this reason that we often say, tritely but truly, better one hundred guilty men go free than that one innocent man be convicted. The former number might herald a breakdown in “law and order,” the latter almost certainly entails a breakdown in the Rule of Law, since it could not ordinarily happen except at the behest of the authorities: illegality committed in the name of legality. Police corruption, militarization, prosecutorial overzealousness, lying and falsification of evidence in criminal proceedings, all in the name of “law and order,” undermine the Rule of Law. Contravening Plato’s prescription that the “auxiliaries” must be under civilian control, the police become an occupying army out of all effective control in various locales. (Where there is widespread civil conflict, as in Israel and its Bantustan in Gaza, or a police state that needs to be maintained, as in Franco’s Spain, this will also be true of the authorized military forces as well.) In a society divided by the perceived hostilities of class, or race, nationality, or religion, “order” is maintained precisely by not following the rules of due process.

No doubt breakdowns in law and order or what are perceived to be such breakdowns, often at the contrivance of sensationalizing media in collaboration with the authorities,[11] really do occur, as for example in New York City or Chicago during the 70’s. But such breakdowns in law and order usually indicate some underlying condition. In the US, for example, violence has always existed at a much higher level than elsewhere for reasons both historical and social (e.g., the forcible expansion of the United States over an inhabited Continent; the development of a heartless capitalism that tolerates conditions of mass disenfranchisement, poverty, etc.) If there were no black persons it would still be the most violent of advanced industrial societies, with the possible exception of contemporary China. And as to violent crime, beyond the historical reasons addressed above, one further, contemporary source of lethal violence is the withdrawal of the primary requirement of law and order, not to mention the Rule of Law, from the State: and its cession, as the institutionalization of lawlessness, to the N.R.A., not to mention the pushers of the truly terrifying world of video games. In sum, the “culture” of white people is the problem; only our transformation as a people, our repudiation of lawlessness, can be the solution.

 

Notes

[1]Ordinarily, “colonialism” refers to the conquest of and continued domain over an indigenous population by an alien power, an invader. Thus in North America the relationship of whites to Native Americans was and still is one of colonizers to colonized, though now modified in practice by the fertile use of sovereignty and treaties by various recognized tribes. Israel, too, has become a colonial (though Israeli Jews are hardly alien) state ruling over a colonized people; and a system of “apartheid” as well. “s for the U.S. slavery was obviously not any version of colonialism; informal and incomplete “apartheid” or apartheid-like is the proper term for the American racial system. On its appropriateness, see the definitive account of Douglas S. Massey and Nancy “. Denton, American apartheid: Segregation and the making of an underclass (Harvard Press, 1993). Their account has hardly lost its currency, and in some ways, such as the attack on voting rights, the situation is even worse than it was two decades ago. See also Michael Omi and Howard Winant, Racial Formation in the United States: from the 1960s to the 1990s (Psychology Press, 1986; rev. 1994).

[2] A peculiarity of the American discussion of race, and thus also of this essay, is that no one knows quite what to do with the category of Asian-Americans, who though once a population of the oppressed, and still often the victims of discrimination, are in no meaningful way any longer to be counted as “oppressed,” even though “non-White.”

[3] In fact there might well be less violence in a pure police state than in a liberal one.

[4] See Alyson M. Cole on The Cult of True Victimhood (Stanford University Press, 2007), for a definitive discussion of the American scene.

[5] Here and throughout I use the word “race” with tongue firmly in cheek. There are no meaningful “races” in the ordinary, every-day use of the term, but it would simply be too convoluted to be constantly explaining what per-cent of DNA, or blood type, etc., is shared by persons with different apparent skin-color; and to what extent intersexuality, voluntary or forced, renders the entire notion of “race” otiose.

[6] See Susan Faludi’s The Terror Dream: Fact and Fantasy in Post-9/11 America (Metropolitan Books, 2007).

[7] The depredations of Native Americans aside, we do well here to remember the savagery of much rebel behavior (often conveniently forgotten) against Loyalists during the American Revolution; and even more, the decision of Lincoln and Grant to take advantage of the North’s numerical superiority by deliberately engaging the tit-for-tat slaughter of massed troops during the American Civil War.

[8] Marginal persons are always at one time or another, in one nation or another, the subjects of police victimization. Over time, however, the salience of marginality for treatment by the police changes. The homeless and sex workers, e.g., are still regular victims, whereas the relative position of homosexuals has improved, and white ethnic groups have all become satisfactorily “white.” Presently, the mentally disabled, as well as immigrants of the wrong color are probably as likely to suffer official violence as are black persons,. Here I am concerned specifically with sanctioned violence that is associated with structured group inequality.

[9] On this point, see Josh Clover, “Pop and Circumstances,” in The Nation of December 29, 2014.

[10] An obvious objection that the Rule of Law as I’ve defined it (or Rousseau) is that on the surface it is neutral among different types of regime, all of which may be based on some type of social injustice – class rule, as an instance. But even the forces of revolution usually promise to replace the old with a better version of the New – a new Rule of Law (see Engel’s critique of “workers control of industry,” for example). The promise may be empty, but only the kind of anarchism that has disappeared in the New Modern Era makes no promise of Law at all.

[11] The definitive account of this process is still Stuart Hall et al., Policing the crisis: mugging, the state, and law and order (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 1978).

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