death penalty

Wojtek Sokolowski sokol at
Wed Mar 17 13:31:42 PST 1999

At 12:32 PM 3/17/99 -0800, Max wrote:

You're coming in after all the action on this, Wojtek. This thread is dead.

People are happy (some, anyway) to have executions under socialism, but not under capitalism. So under capitalism, the powerful use capital punishment to discipline the population, whereas under socialism it is completely similar.

and Jordan added:

>This is a vast simplification; in fact, the class (or race, depending
>on how you see it) bias is just icing on the cake: the abuse of the
>death penalty is *further* evidence that the death penalty is stupid.
>Other easy reasons include:
>. It's incredibly expensive (3x is the usual figure cited over
> life in prison)
>. It provides no real deterrent
>. It's barbaric
>. It doesn't serve justice; in fact it goes the other way and
> doles out punishment to not just the criminal but to their
> families and loved ones.
> (I personally have no problems with executing or otherwise
> disposing of upper class men who view themselves above the
> law)
>Why is it that you're able to value one group over the other? I guess
>it's a good thing you're not in charge :)

Sorry if I missed the action on capital punishment (reality sometimes calls!), but:

1. Contrary to how Max interprets my remarks, they are not an endorsement of death penalty under socialism or 'real socialism' as it was sometimes referred to in Eastern Europe. My comments would apply to both, as social hierarchies (albeit diffrently justified) exist under capitalism and 'real socialism.'

The idea of my comments was that if death penalty loses its class aspect then rallying against it probably should lose importance to the left. I may add that since it is the working class who are for the most part victims of crime, prioritizing the opposition to capital punishment (and thouygh anti-crime measures in general) may be construed as being against the interests of the working class. Hence it may not be the best strategy for the left.

2. As far as the barbarity of death penalty is concerned I concur (BTW, there is a series of documentaries by Steven Trombley that convey that point in a very quiet, unemotional yet chilling manner). It is irrevokable, and thus unacceptable because of the possibility of judicial error.

Every piece of data I know shows it is not a deterrent either (but it is also possible that it is greater a deterrent to upper classes, which have been historically exempt from this form of punishment, than to the underclass, to which it has been historically applied).

Therefore, I never supported capital punishment or prosecutorial state as a matter of principle. I still think, however, that the world is a somewhat better place without Kings, Capanos and their likes in it. I will not miss them.



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