“Justice, dignity, nobility, freedom … these words that yap and howl, are they anything other than household pets whose masters have calmly awaited their homecoming since the time when heroic lackeys won the right to walk them on the streets? To use them is to forget that they are the ballast that enables power to rise out of reach.” – Raoul Vaneigem
JUSTICE does not mean fairness, rightness or equity, as most people think it does, implying something good they should seek for themselves. Quite the opposite, it means ritualized punishment or retribution. Most people in prison can tell you that, once arrested, your cry for justice will only be answered by the “yap and howl” of a dog on a short chain – the masters’ “household pet.”
One of the biggest public secrets in America – and the world today – is the true meaning of the word justice and its use as a tool of oppression. Even Black Panther Party chairman Huey P. Newton was fooled into thinking it’s a good idea to seek out justice and wrote, “It is difficult for an ordinary citizen to get justice in the courts when those who are trying to convict him break the law to get him convicted.” (emphasis supplied). Talk about taking a dog for a walk. Huey should have known better because he, also, wrote, “Words are another way of defining phenomena, and the definition of any phenomenon is the first step to controlling it” (Huey P. Newton, Revolutionary Suicide (1973), 317-18, 163).
The word justice is rooted in the Latin jūs, which originated in the terminology of the Roman state’s religious cults and signified sacred formula or ritual. As such, justice is, by definition, a religious, or quasi-religious, ritual or formula for state-administered punishment or retribution that has been adapted from the Roman state’s religious cults.
This religious aspect is especially revealing, considering the word religion originated in the Latin religiō, “obligation” or “bond,” which likely derived from the verb religāre, to “tie-back” or “tie tight”. Re meaning “back,” ligāre meaning “tie.” (John Ayto, Dictionary of Word Origins (1990), 310, 438).
Well-known attorney Clarence Darrow once said, “I don’t believe in God because I don’t believe in Mother Goose.” I don’t believe in “God” either, nor do I believe in justice, at least for myself and my friends, because I don’t want us to be tied-up and punished via ritual or anything else. I prefer the masters keep their household pets to themselves.
It’s no accident, the courthouse of the United States Supreme Court looks like a Roman temple. It is simply a tacit recognition of the “gift” of justice from the Roman Empire, the seminal Western state, to the American state. A gift that comes replete with all the trappings of state power, including a raised dias, or “the bench,” the black robes of priests and medieval executioners, and a bureaucracy that allegedly follows the quarter-million plus volumes of law that fill American law libraries!
Many people go to court relying on those quarter-million volumes to get justice, which they mistakenly interpret as the proverbial American “fair shake,” only to be confounded by one of the first principles of “New World” colonialism, the Spanish Empire’s legal aphorism, Se obedece, pero no se cumple (The law is to be obeyed, not followed). All the law will ever give you is justice, and justice is exactly what you don’t want – a household pet or tool of the masters. This is exactly what Audre Lord was talking about when she wrote:
The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change.
A court in session in America today is not little more than a legal lynching, only the robes aren’t white, there are no burning crosses, or ropes hanging from tree limbs, but there’s always a Bible you can swear on.
It is a commonly held belief, but an erroneous one, that you only get as much justice as you are willing, or able, to buy. Any truly wealthy person, i.e. a member of the 1%, could tell you, but won’t, that the goal is to buy your way out of the justice system, not seek justice. Depending on the amount paid, the black-robed priest-executioners known as judges will twist the law, according to the amount paid. One judge, Baron Parke, admitted as much and stated his greatest joy was to write “an opinion in which by reasoning with strict legal concepts, I arrive at a result no lay person could conceivably have anticipated.” Today, Parke would be a member of the Federalist Society, as are at least four sitting justices on the United States Supreme Court.
As in the Roman Empire, the wealthy and powerful in America, and the world, today are not held accountable by justice, the law, or anything else. Least of all the United States Constitution. Justice merely serves to preserve the status quo. Thereby, giving license to do what they will to the criminals, thieves and mass murderers, who run the transnational corporations, that in turn run America in a zero-sum race to loot and pillage a dying world.
And yet, I still hear the howl for justice, more of a whine really, from all and sundry, even in the so-called “left wing” press, when justice should be the last thing they want. Justice, like “dignity, nobility, freedom,” etcetera, inevitably returns home to lay at the feet of its masters, no matter how long or how far the dog-walker walks it on the streets. We’ve known this, or should have, since the 1960s when Raoul Vaneigem first wrote the epigraph that began this essay.
I’ve been in prison for the past 19 years because of justice, and it’s certainly the last thing I wanted for myself. I’m just as certain, that all those people who asked for got justice, then rotted in prison for years upon years, until finally exonerated by DNA testing, no longer wanted it once they got it. Particularly, those exonerated post mortem. So much for the myth of being innocent until proven guilty.
In America, you’re guilty upon arrest and you cannot be found innocent at trial. The best you can hope for is a finding of not guilty. Exonerated convicts, suing for false arrest and malicious prosecution, quickly learn that a finding of not guilty is not proof of innocence, and probable cause, that is as little as one person pointing an accusing finger at you, is enough to absolve the police, prosecutors and the courts of their act of railroading you into prison. This explains why out of 2.2 million prisoners in America, a third are innocent, a third were only convicted due to police, prosecutorial and/or judicial misconduct, and only a third are guilty of something according to the masters’ laws. This, my friends, is justice well-served! None for me, thanks, but I will have a little of that injustice if you don’t mind.
17 July 2017
(original version 5/24/2010)