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Abstracts for Social Justice Vol. 31, Nos. 1-2 (2004):
Resisting Militarism and Globalized Punishment

Challenging the Prison-Industrial Complex: A Symposium

Tony Platt

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 31, Nos. 1-2 (2004): 7-8. Buy PDF

An overview of the Sudbury Symposium on the prison-industrial complex.

Key words: prison, social movements

 A World Without Prisons: Resisting Militarism, Globalized Punishment, and Empire

Julia Sudbury

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 31, Nos. 1-2 (2004): 9-30. Buy PDF

Author Julia Sudbury articulates the tactics and strategies of a new round of progressive activism and makes connections between neoliberal globalization, U.S. empire building, and the rise of the prison-industrial complex. Sudbury systematically attacks the notion that the prison-building boom is a mechanism of social defense operating in the public interest. She links the transnational expansion of the prison-industrial complex to the social devastation caused by U.S. foreign intervention and militarism in Latin America during the past four decades, to the criminalization of African diasporic, indigenous, and immigrant populations -- leading to a rise in cross-border incarceration -- and to exponential rate of growth of women’s imprisonment, which in most nations has outstripped that of men.

Key words: prison-industrial complex, women, global system

Collateral Consequences of the Prison-Industrial Complex

Marcus Mahmood

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 31, Nos. 1-2 (2004): 31-34. Buy PDF

This essay is a commentary on Sudbury's analysis of the links between mass incarceration, global capitalism, and U.S. militarism. To complement Sudbury’s argument, Mahmood suggests a closer examination of the profoundly destructive latent consequences of mass incarceration to society as a whole. It is necessary to examine the empirical links between the prison-industrial complex and the long-lasting damage to families and communities on the outside, many of which are already on the fault-lines of poverty and social disorganization. The latent consequences of ever-expanding mass incarceration policies and practices on those left behind are particularly hard felt by women and children of color in tangible ways that include lost income and child care, disrupted family relationships, and increased social isolation.

Key words: prison-industrial complex, poverty, community and social disorganization

Punishing for a Living: More on the Cementing of Prisons

Geoff Ward

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 31, Nos. 1-2 (2004): 35-38. Buy PDF

Ward shifts our attention to a contradiction raised in Sudbury’s "World Without Prisons." Namely, he explores how the punitive penal system in the United States provides working-class service workers, notably African American women and Latinas, with relatively stable and adequately paid jobs as guards and criminal justice personnel. What does it mean, he asks, that a growing segment of workers is employed in industries of social control? Anti-globalization activists, he concludes, should not ignore these “dynamics much closer to home.”

Key words: criminal justice personnel, African American women and Latinas

Militarism, Criminal Justice, and the Hybrid Prison in England and Wales

Joe Sim

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 31, Nos. 1-2 (2004): 39-50. Buy PDF

Joe Sim expands upon Sudbury’s "World Without Prisons" manifesto to break through the “mystifying liberal fog” that pervades most academic criminology in the U.K. He discusses the expanding use of imprisonment in England and Wales, debates about the privatization of punishment, the growing militarization of criminal justice in the name of anti-terrorism, and the emergence of new strategies of resistance.

Key words: prison privatization, anti-terrorism legislation, militarization, war on terror

Imprisoned Bodies: The Life-World of the Incarcerated

Drew Leder

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 31, Nos. 1-2 (2004): 51-66. Buy PDF

This article addresses the experience of the imprisoned, since two million men and women are now incarcerated in the United States, a six-fold increase in the last three decades due to war on drugs with its focus on criminalization and punishment, and an overall trend toward longer sentences and reduced use of parole. The essay offers a phenomenological account of what happens to convicts in terms of time, space, and corporeality. It offers an applied philosophical investigation of criminal confinement and contributes to and extends the recent post-Foucault literature on resistance in prison life. Utilizing the narratives of various convicts to demonstrate how escape, reclamation and integration occur makes sense and coheres quite nicely.

Key words: phenomenology, penology, social justice, reform, Foucault

Latino Immigrant Rights in the Shadow of the National Security State: Responses to Domestic Preemptive Strikes

Susanne Jonas and Catherine Tactaquin

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 31, Nos. 1-2 (2004): 67-91. Buy PDF

Jonas and Tactaquin cover the history of anti-immigrant measures since the mid-1990s and the brief “political opening” for legalization just before September 11, 2001; the effects of September 11 on immigrant rights -- hence the title, “in the shadow of the national security state.” The article emphasizes the effects of the “Patriot” Act(s) and associated legislation for Latinos, although several other immigrant/non-citizen communities (Arabs, South Asians) were much more heavily affected. Once the government begins to strip away the rights of the most vulnerable (Arab and Arab-American communities), the “spillover” effect is very rapid and dangerous for all immigrants and other noncitizens -- and eventually for U.S. citizens as well; defensive and proactive immigrant rights organizing and legalization strategies within the “spaces” that still exist, from the viewpoint of immigrants themselves; longer-range prospects for issues of immigrant rights, legalization, and citizenship. The authors argue that however bleak their prospects — now and for the immediate future -- immigrant rights, legalization, and citizenship are issues that will not disappear. They will remain on the national and hemispheric agendas for reasons having to do with immigrant organizing (“agency”), long-range structural considerations in the Americas, and the gradual construction of “international immigrant rights regimes”; finally, the long-range implications of immigrant rights issues for U.S. society and democracy; in this context, the authors suggest directions for reconceptualizing full citizenship (including the problem of second-class citizenship) that might guide research and organizing during this difficult and fundamentally anti-immigrant period.

Key words: INS (currently the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, ICE), immigration policy, state repression, PATRIOT Act, citizenship

Guest Workers and the New Transnationalism: Possibilities and Realities in an Age of Repression

Manuel Pastor and Susan Alva

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 31, Nos. 1-2 (2004): 92-112. Buy PDF

Guest worker programs have traditionally earned the ire of immigration activists. However, the increasingly transnational reality of many immigrants' lives and the changing political climate regarding immigration have led some activists to consider the key elements that might make such programs acceptable. Pastor and Alva analyze guest worker issues and report on a series of conversations with activists who stress the importance of freeing guest workers from ties to specific employers or industries, allowing guest workers the right to follow a path to permanent residence, and securing adequate rights for guest workers and their families. The authors suggest that the plan emerging from George W. Bush falls short on these counts, but that adequate alternatives could be designed.

Key words: guest workers, immigration, Mexico, activism, transnational

Quiet Constructions in the War on Terror: Subjecting Asylum Seekers to Unnecessary Detention

Michael Welch

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 31, Nos. 1-2 (2004): 113-129. Buy PDF

This article dwells on how asylum seekers entering the U.S. are being subjected to unnecessary detention in harsh conditions of confinement. The detention of asylum seekers suggests that certain aspects of the war on terror serve more to control immigration than to control crime, producing an array of human rights predicaments. Between September 11, 2001, and December 2003, more than 15,300 asylum seekers were detained at U.S. airports and borders. From the port of entry, asylum seekers are transported to jail, with parole contingent on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) criteria (i.e., community ties, no risk to the community, and that identity can be established) that are often ignored. Detaining asylum seekers is not an effective antiterrorist tactic. Their detention suggests that certain aspects of the war on terror serve more to control immigration than to control crime, producing an array of human rights predicaments. Detaining asylum seekers contributes to criminalization since they are stereotyped as being threats to public safety and national security. Their confinement with criminals in county jails, without the possibility of parole, is contrary to the norms and principles of international refugee law.

Key words: political asylum, refugees, Operation Liberty Shield, Blanket Detention Order of 2003, international law and treaties, immigration law, INS/ICE, September 11, torture

Streets of Terror: Marginalization, Criminalization, and Authoritarian Renewal

Phil Scraton

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 31, Nos. 1-2 (2004): 130-158. Buy PDF

Thatcherism and the New Right in the U.K. understood that if the free-market agenda was to succeed, the battle for "hearts and minds" had to be engaged and won. Today, over two decades later, the pillars on which the authoritarian mantle was laid are well established and rarely contested: the "power of the unions," the "overindulgence" in welfare, the acceptance of "permissiveness," the "lawlessness of the streets," the "leniency" of the courts, and the "softening" of punishment. Thatcher’s first administration set its sights: welfare claimants and benefit fraud, local government and public housing, young offenders and the "short, sharp shock" of military-style detention centers, and so on. The populist appeal for tough legislation, hard-line policing, heavy sentences, and uncompromising punishment regimes was fulfilled. The inevitable consequence of authoritarianism was, and remains, the net-widening process of criminalization. Mike Davis on the roots of inter-gang violence. The remarkable degree of consensus about urban violence and its remedies by crime commissions in the 1960s, calling for a balanced approach to crime -- we could never imprison our way out of America’s violent crime problem, requiring instead an attack on social exclusion -- reducing poverty, creating opportunities for sustaining work, supporting besieged families and the marginalized young. So the U.S. chose the authoritarian road. The result: bursting prisons, devastated cities, and a violent crime rate...unmatched in the developed world." Reagan invested heavily in the "war on crime." He initiated a repressive, marginalizing domestic budget alongside increased, pervasive powers of law enforcement, border controls, and prosecution. As with Thatcherism, economic libertarianism could not be delivered without social authoritarianism. Broken windows and zero tolerance policing: matched public fears with a militarized response. As with the global war on terror, in the local war on "terror" agencies and their workers are expected to sign up and participate or endure the public criticism of being apologists for crime and antisocial behavior. The reality of early 21st-century Britain is one in which authoritarian ideology has been mobilized locally and nationally to criminalize through the back door of civil injunctions.

Key words: youth justice system, England, history

The State of Welfare: Crises and Challenges

Tony Platt

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 31, Nos. 1-2 (2004): 159-164. Buy PDF

This essay is based on a talk was delivered to the 2003 Annual Baccalaureate Social Work Education Conference, in which Platt lays the ground for social work to reclaim its visionary foundations. The author gives a brief account of setbacks in welfare policy during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations and offers suggestions on revising the welfare curriculum that would enable students to analyze structures of power, think critically and reflectively, understand the progressive and regressive legacies of social work, and help to create new ways of thinking about social work education.

Key words: social welfare curriculum

Governability and Forms of Popular Justice in the New South Africa and Mozambique: Community Courts and Vigilantism

Jokin Alberdi Bidaguren and Daniel Nina

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 31, Nos. 1-2 (2004): 165-181. Buy PDF

This article analyzes problems of governability in the administration of justice in Mozambique and South Africa by exploring various experiences of popular justice that continue to exist in the new democratic contexts of these countries. The weakness of the South African and Mozambican states is reflected in their judicial systems. In spite of democratic reform, most citizens of these countries, particularly the less well off, have no guaranteed access to justice. This weakness of the state in terms of guaranteeing order and security long since prompted a response from society. In the current context of representative democracy, a distinction may be drawn between (1) responses that directly call into question the legitimacy of the new states (fundamentalist religious groups such as People Against Gangsterism and Drugs, organized crime, vigilante groups, and other ways of taking justice into one’s own hands) or that contribute to the breakdown of society and the state; and (2) those that accept the new constitutional framework and respect human rights (some community courts, religious courts, traditional authorities, and legal assistance projects for conflict resolution set up by various nongovernmental organizations). Authors Bidaguren and Nina provide a context for the current links between society and the state in Southern Africa. They consider theoretical points concerning the consolidation of the state, such as the governability crisis, the globalization of democratic and judicial systems, weak fragile states, and the construction of collective identities in multicultural contexts. Then we look at problems of access to justice in Mozambique and South Africa in terms of the lack of financial and human resources (a characteristic of fragile states) and how ill suited Western legal traditions are to the various conflict-resolution practices of the different communities in these countries. Next, they consider different cases to draw a distinction between responsible community justice and systems that the state should attempt to eliminate. Finally, they stress the need for a redefinition of the values and principles of these states from a transcultural, “non-standardizing” perspective that can help to integrate the values and concepts of African cultures into their legal systems.

Key words: Mozambique and South Africa, popular justice, globalization of democratic and judicial systems, organized crime, vigilante groups

Crack in the Rearview Mirror: Deconstructing Drug War Mythology

Craig Reinarman and Harry G. Levine

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 31, Nos. 1-2 (2004): 182-199. Buy PDF

This article summarizes the history of the media and political machinations that produced the "crack epidemic." In documenting the myths produced, it gives insight into the larger issue of how drug laws in the U.S. have helped to drive the most massive wave of imprisonment in its history since the Depression of the 1930s. It is an important contribution to our understanding of the media-political influence on the definition of acts as criminal and on the labeling process. The article refutes five myths concerning crack: that crack is a different drug than cocaine; that crack is instantly and inevitably addicting; that crack spread to all sectors of society; that crack causes crime and violence; and that crack use during pregnancy produces crack babies. The authors conclude that there are obvious humanitarian reasons why all these myths still matter. They can be read as so many discursive walls imprisoning public understanding of drug problems and drug policy. They helped to create and sustain a drug scare that resulted in an unprecedented wave of imprisonment, disproportionately of poor people of color. But there are also pragmatic, utilitarian reasons why we should rethink the harsh laws and policies that emerged from the crack scare. The scare and the racist repression it fomented have further eroded the legitimacy of the criminal justice system.

Key words: drug policy, media, crack cocaine, myths concerning the "crack epidemic"

A Community Without a Drug Problem? Black Drug Use in Britain

Anita Kalunta-Crumpton

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 31, Nos. 1-2 (2004): 200-216. Buy PDF

Kalunta-Crumpton looks at the impact of drugs on the drug using black population. Through findings from a research study of black problem drug users -- primarily heroin users -- at a London drugs project in 2000/2001, the article presents the black community as a group who are also victimized by drugs, but whose experiences of drug victimization have often been undermined in the "war on drugs" rhetoric about drug trafficking. To date, the drug using circumstances of the black community have remained insignificant and unclear in studies of problem drug use in Britain. Existing major studies have generally aimed at measuring lifetime prevalence rates of drug use in its recreational pattern rather than engage in attempts to explore the actual harm caused by drug misuse on the users themselves. For example, evidence from national studies have shown that while black recreational drug use is either lower than white drug use or comparable to it, the use of crack cocaine is shown to be slightly higher for blacks than whites. Not only is research literature on black people and drug use very limited but also what exists have tended to accord primacy to the relationship between black people and crack cocaine use. Even so, what is yet to be clarified is the extent to which the use of crack cocaine and other addictive drugs affect the black drug using population at both national and local levels. This article prioritizes the place of heroin in the lives of black drug users principally because this aspect of black drug use is severely under-researched when compared to the extensive research literature on white heroin use. In doing so, it draws upon findings from a research study of black problem heroin users registered with a London drugs project with a view to describing the nature of the problems surrounding their drug use. The article engages in a literature review of how the notion of race is rendered visible and invisible in mainstream concerns about drugs.

Key words: black problem drug users, London, United Kingdom, heroin

Black Press, White Press, and Their Opposition: The Case of the Police Killing of Tyisha Miller

Michael Huspek

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 31, Nos. 1-2 (2004): 217-241. Buy PDF

Author Michael Huspek discusses the social and political significance of the black press in this article. In his view, the black press is a significant “counterpoint and counterpart” to the white press. The essay critically analyzes white press practices. The article is a case study of two Southern California newspapers’ coverage of the 1998 shooting death of a 19-year-old African-American woman by four white Riverside police officers. One newspaper, the Riverside Press-Enterprise, is a mainstream daily, and its counterpart is the weekly Black Voice News. The essay provides a brief account of the police shooting of Tyisha Miller in Riverside, California, and its aftermath. It then uses an oppositional thesis to analyze critical differences in the coverage in the black and white press. The essay concludes with a discussion of the significance of the black press as social force and site for critical media study. It discusses how the white press manages issues of race and class in response to ongoing challenges presented by the black press and its readership. The author argues that the white press can offer critical, institutional, historical analyses, but still not get it right if they continue to be conducted in the service of a logic of containment that is bent on perpetuating readers’ ignorance of institutional racism and violence. In its oppositional mode, the black press restores visibility to groups otherwise rendered invisible; it amplifies voice and so militates against caricatured depictions of incivility and criminality; and it reaches out across color and race divides that are maintained by its white counterpart. Importantly, the messages produced and transmitted by the black press are meant as nonviolent correctives to the symbolic and physical violence that results from dominant institutional practices, including those of the white press.

Key words: black press, police killing of civilians, Riverside, California

A Qualitative Analysis of Latinos Executed in the United States Between 1975 and 1995: Who Were They?

Martin G. Urbina

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 31, Nos. 1-2 (2004): 242-267. Buy PDF

Profiles the rising levels of African Americans and Latinos in prison, with special attention to Latinos executed over a 20-year period. A review of the existing literature on death sentence outcomes (i.e., executions, commutations) shows evidence of discrimination against minority defendants. However, since prior research has followed an African American/Caucasian (or execution/commutation) approach, Latino defendants have either been excluded or treated as a monolithic group. Hence, little is known about death sentence dispositions for Latinos, whose experiences differ from those of African Americans and Caucasians, and even less is known about the treatment of the various ethnic groups (e.g., Cubans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans) that constitute the Latino community. Therefore, this study seeks to go beyond the traditional African American/Caucasian dichotomous approach by evaluating existing qualitative information on death sentence outcomes for the entire United States between 1975 and 1995. The findings, which are discussed within an historical and theoretical framework, show that discrimination in death sentence outcomes is not a phenomenon of the past. Race/ethnicity and several legal and extra-legal variables continue to play a role in determining who should die and who should be granted a commutation. Of the 17 executed Latinos in this period, 16 were of Mexican heritage (citizens or non-citizens) and one was Dominican (all in Texas). Diplomatic problems with Mexico, which has unsuccessfully protested the execution of Mexicans in the U.S.

Key words: death penalty -- United States, 1975 to 1995, commutation, discrimination, Latino community (e.g., Cubans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans)

Copyright © 2004 by Social Justice.