Connecting & Reenvisioning the US Judicial System towards Justice for Living Beings Generally

27 December 2014

WHEREAS:

  1. [1] A fascist system maintains itself at the expense of its members. [2] And the system of mass incarceration values security and control to the detriment of all else, regardless of cost. [3] The system of mass incarceration is, therefore, a fascist system.
  2. [1] The human social need for safety is met by the necessity of mass incarceration. [2] Yet, the US Supreme court affirmed that mass incarceration does more harm to public safety than crime itself. [3] The system of necessities by which we currently meet our needs do so at our expense.
  3. [1] Our system of human justice meets our social need for safety by valuing the necessity of security and control to the detriment of all else, regardless of cost. [2] This necessity maintains itself the expense of the plants, animals, living systems, and ecologies we take as resources. [3] The system of anthropocentric justice is, therefore, a fascist system.
  4. [1] All systems with one bottom line are fascist systems. [2] To add care, even to a fascist system, transforms it. [3] By “care” I mean: to decide to temporarily enter into the structure of another living system.

THEREFORE:

When we add care to a human system of justice that values, at the expense of its members, a necessity of security and control above all else in order to meet the human social need for safety, then

  1. We would decide to inhabit temporarily the structure of the forest we would destroy, in order to meet our human need for safety with the necessity of shelter and warmth;
  2. We would decide to inhabit temporarily the structure of the animals we would kill to eat, in order to meet the human need for safety with the necessity of food;
  3. We would decide to inhabit temporarily the structure of the human being we would incarcerate, in order to meet the human need for safety with the necessity of confinement.

Out of empathy and our own desire not to be destroyed, we would face in the court of justice the life that we would cut down—for lumber, for food, for peace of mind; the life that we feel we must cut down as a necessity in order to meet a given instance of the human social need for safety.

When we care, then out of an acknowledgment of fairness and recognition for an Other that we desire to cut down—for lumber, for food, for peace of mind—we would at least pause to ask if we might take that life in order to meet, as we see it, a given instance of the human social need for safety.

And this moment of greater justice presupposes the wrong of what we ask, however much our need for human safety seems to demand this necessity. And it presupposes that the Other we address might answer, “No.” And if we do not proceed then, over the objection of this Other–this forest, this creature, this person we think we need to incarcerate–to cut down the life, then our meditations for how otherwise an better to meet our human social need for safety will mark a moment of higher and more far-reaching justice, for all living beings an ecologies.

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