Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Anarchy and Incarceration
So, to those of you who know me well, I have very recently had first hand experience with the "system". I'm as skeptical as the next person and despite my suspicions surrounding power relationships and hierarchy, I was also unwilling to uncritically accept the position taken by young radicals in regards to anarchy and being progressive in the reductionist, oppositional way. But, having had the experience of actually being in a cell, stripped of dignity and given some time to reflect on this, I have come to the realization that hierarchy is in fact a reality. All the idealistic, starry eyed university radicals and all the bleary eyed, disillusioned ranks of the older generations who have opposed state power were on the money. One realization that dawns on you quite forcefully when in a cell for no reason is that all the human rights, pieces of identification and preconcieved notions you have held about your immunity from arbitrary state violence were ephemeral curtains, brushed aside as easily as my fathers fears about racial profiling. All the high minded disputations on Human rights and freedoms and the state operating in the interests of the citizens are a farce. Even going back to the first Democracy in Athens, one of the first institutions implemented under the new system was the ostracism. This storied Athenian innovation whereby the citizens would vote some unfortunate soul into exile is confirmed by archaeological evidence. What is this practice if not a state sanctioned attack on an individual percieved negatively by the majority of citizens. Racial profiling is a reflection of this ostracism. Security services, composed of citizens from the lower socio-economic echelons victimize individuals based solely on their perception, fostered by some of the baser elements of society. Middle Easterner = Terrorist, an inescapable conclusion if you have been immersed in American hegemonic culture for your entire life. So, anarchism may be on to something, freedom of the masses from the masses. Or are all isms inherently flawed?