Notes on a Theory…

Thoughts on politics, law, & social science

The point is to attack the whole foundation

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Here then lies the final significance of a mass political movement to expose the prisons and free the prisoners. The issue is not only reform, but also to mount a struggle to abolish the present functions and foundations of the prison system, an effort which can finally succeed only with the abolition of capitalism. For, as Engels observed more than a century ago, the prison system under capitalism is overwhelmingly a repressive institution, an appendage of its state apparatus employed to maintain exploitative and oppressive social conditions. Of course, what reforms can be won in day-to-day battle on the legal and political front will be important concessions. But the point is to attack the whole foundation–all the assumptions–involved in maintaining a rehabilitative prison system which must assume the moral and mental defectiveness of its victims, in the midst of a morally bankrupt, racist, defective and generally deteriorating social order.

– Bettina Aptheker, The Social Functions of the Prisons in the United States

Written by David Kaib

October 20, 2020 at 6:26 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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