Category Archives: Commentary

Arlington PD Seeks Tolerance for Oppression

I recall that one of the concerns at an early local Peaceful Streets Project organizing event was to what extent actions for police accountability could further the legitimacy of policing as a professional institution. That’s particularly worth noting considering the receipt of a recent letter from the Arlington Police Department.

In a letter to several cop watch participants dated July 24, Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson wrote that he wishes to seek cooperation and extended an offer to discuss “this matter so that you can achieve your goals while we ensure the safety of our officers and the public.”

What Chief Johnson overlooks is that decentralized police accountability organizations like the Peaceful Streets Project and Cop Block aren’t interested in the political reforms he could offer. They are seeking direct action to build alternatives that undermine, not make improvements upon, hierarchical control centers. However, in the meantime, I agree that practical steps can be had. For starters, police accountability would necessitate an elected review board with subpoena power, ending consent searches, no-knock raids, and civil forfeitures, and requiring video cameras on patrol officers.

Genuine police accountability is about bringing the police (with the economic and political special interests they protect hostile to working-class people) to the same level of authority as everyone else. It’s the professionalizing of policing, not the individuals officers, although their actions can be offensive, that offends me.

We are seemingly left with no option but to endure more violations of our dignity, further encroachments on our privacy, and harsher controls on our peaceful behaviors. We are hostage to a practically unaccountable occupying force. Cooperation with such an entity would be construed as nothing less than an abdication of accountability, a tolerance for the institution enforcing our oppression. The police may not responsible for the poverty and constraints of ordinary people, but they are well compensated to enforce the status quo of those conditions.

Open Carry Groups Changing Tactics

I’ve expressed my reservations about open carry demonstrations as they’ve been practiced locally. After some embarrassing nation-wide media coverage for bringing long guns into restaurants and other establishment, the leadership of Open Carry Texas and other gun-rights groups are asking members to keep their long guns outside.

I think it’s a first step toward my earlier activism suggestions for how to practice open carry in a sensible, appealing manner.

Imagining a Market Without Capitalism

[Ed. Note: This is an excerpt from Will Schnack’s speech to the UNT Students for Liberty on April 17, 2014, in Denton, TX.]

A market without capitalism would be very different from the one we have today. A market without capitalism would be one in which everyone is entitled to use land for their personal benefit, where credit distributes capital more equitably, where state-business collaboration no longer exists, and where bosses can no longer remain inflated consumers, buying and selling labor that is not their own. Without the state’s unilateral monopoly on force, aggression would largely disintegrate, and with it the economic returns associated with capitalism.

Such a society would incorporate the positive elements of capitalism and socialism into a form of free market anti-capitalism, wherein there is complete economic equality of opportunity, and freedom of exchange. This society would be a market society filled with competing jurisdictions, each one reflecting the will of its membership. In other words, the free market would be a sea with competing islands of democracies and republics, such as cooperatives and mutual associations. Instead of providing options between bosses, as capitalism provides, a mutualist society would provide options of social contracts, sets of bylaws, regulations. Instead of choosing between bosses, one, in effect, begins to make choices regarding participation in decision-making systems and their prior outcomes. In the free market, if one doesn’t like the way a place functions, one doesn’t move on to the next arbitrary rule of the next capitalist, but instead can find a place which allows them more influence. In this manner, the competition of the free market breeds democracy and cooperation. This should come as no surprise, as markets have always accompanied freer social organization, as seen in ancient Athens and in most maritime societies, as well as in the papal states of the Italian peninsula of the medieval ages, and in our own capitalist republic today.

Instead of forcing democracy on people, as socialism does with its democratic centralism, mutualism allows one to “opt out,” and to belong only to those associations which one feels brings them personal benefit. Mutualism—that is, markets without capitalism—in no way endorses the forcing of people into aggregate compounds, but instead supports voluntary combination from the bottom up, facilitated purely by the force of nature. A mutualist market, in every sense of the word, is free of state interference, and a market free from the state is a market free from capitalism.

Credit: Will Schnack, “Understanding Markets Without Capitalism,” with permission

Update: Dallas Judge Sentences Rapist to 45 Days Because Victim Wasn’t a Virgin

A Dallas County judge who came under criticism for sentencing a confessed rapist to 45 days in jail and five years of probation has recused herself from the case, according CBS 11 News. Well, great, but it seems a bit late.

When scrutinized by the Dallas Morning News for the unusually light sentence, District Judge Jeanine Howard said the then 13-year-old victim “wasn’t the victim she claimed to be,” adding that the teenage rape survivor had three prior sexual partners. As if that should matter or could mitigate rapist Sir Young’s actions, the teenager has denied the judge’s insinuation.

The young woman has been victimized all over again. Still, most victims of sexual violence in Dallas—if they report—will never have their cases meaningfully investigated, let alone lead to a prosecution. Victim-blaming makes it less likely for assaults to be reported, which only serves to shield a legal system that would rather devote resources to revenue generation than pursuing aggressors.

Update

The Dallas Morning News has further reported that the judge initially ordered the assailant to volunteer at a rape crises center.