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samedi, 14 décembre 2013

The Over-Policing of America


The Over-Policing of America


TomDispatch.com & http://www.lewrockwell.com

If all you’ve got is a hammer, then everything starts to look like a nail. And if police and prosecutors are your only tool, sooner or later everything and everyone will be treated as criminal. This is increasingly the American way of life, a path that involves “solving” social problems (and even some non-problems) by throwing cops at them, with generally disastrous results. Wall-to-wall criminal law encroaches ever more on everyday life as police power is applied in ways that would have been unthinkable just a generation ago.

By now, the militarization of the police has advanced to the point where “the War on Crime” and “the War on Drugs” are no longer metaphors but bland understatements.  There is the proliferation of heavily armed SWAT teams, even in small towns; the use of shock-and-awe tactics to bust small-time bookies; the no-knock raids to recover trace amounts of drugs that often result in the killing of family dogs, if not family members; and in communities where drug treatment programs once were key, the waging of a drug version of counterinsurgency war.  (All of this is ably reported on journalist Radley Balko’s blog and in his book, The Rise of the Warrior Cop.) But American over-policing involves far more than the widely reported up-armoring of your local precinct.  It’s also the way police power has entered the DNA of social policy, turning just about every sphere of American life into a police matter.

The School-to-Prison Pipeline

It starts in our schools, where discipline is increasingly outsourced to police personnel. What not long ago would have been seen as normal childhood misbehavior – doodling on a desk, farting in class, a kindergartener’s tantrum – can leave a kid in handcuffs, removed from school, or even booked at the local precinct.  Such “criminals” can be as young as seven-year-old Wilson Reyes, a New Yorker who was handcuffed and interrogated under suspicion of stealing five dollars from a classmate. (Turned out he didn’t do it.)

Though it’s a national phenomenon, Mississippi currently leads the way in turning school behavior into a police issue.  The Hospitality State has imposed felony charges on schoolchildren for “crimes” like throwing peanuts on a bus.  Wearing the wrong color belt to school got one child handcuffed to a railing for several hours.  All of this goes under the rubric of “zero-tolerance” discipline, which turns out to be just another form of violence legally imported into schools.

Despite a long-term drop in youth crime, the carceral style of education remains in style.  Metal detectors — a horrible way for any child to start the day — are installed in ever more schools, even those with sterling disciplinary records, despite the demonstrable fact that such scanners provide no guarantee against shootings and stabbings.

Every school shooting, whether in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, or Littleton, Colorado, only leads to more police in schools and more arms as well.  It’s the one thing the National Rifle Association and Democratic senators can agree on. There are plenty of successful ways to run an orderly school without criminalizing the classroom, but politicians and much of the media don’t seem to want to know about them. The “school-to-prison pipeline,” a jargon term coined by activists, isentering the vernacular.

Go to Jail, Do Not Pass Go 

Even as simple a matter as getting yourself from point A to point B can quickly become a law enforcement matter as travel and public space are ever more aggressively policed.  Waiting for a bus?  Such loitering just got three Rochester youths arrested.  Driving without a seat belt can easily escalate into an arrest, even if the driver is a state judge.  (Notably, all four of these men were black.) If the police think you might be carrying drugs, warrantless body cavity searches at the nearest hospital may be in the offing — you will be sent the bill later.

Air travel entails increasingly intimate pat-downs and arbitrary rules that many experts see as nothing more than “security theater.” As for staying at home, it carries its own risks as Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates found out when a Cambridge police officer mistook him for a burglar and hauled him away — a case that is hardly unique.


Overcriminalization at Work

Office and retail work might seem like an unpromising growth area for police and prosecutors, but criminal law has found its way into the white-collar workplace, too.  Just ask Georgia Thompson, a Wisconsin state employee targetedby a federal prosecutor for the “crime” of incorrectly processing a travel agency’s bid for state business.  She spent four months in a federal prison before being sprung by a federal court.  Or Judy Wilkinson, hauled away in handcuffs by an undercover cop for serving mimosas without a license to the customers in her bridal shop.  Or George Norris, sentenced to 17 months in prison for selling orchids without the proper paperwork to an undercover federal agent.

Increasingly, basic economic transactions are being policed under the purview of criminal law.  In Arkansas, for instance, Human Rights Watch reports that a new law funnels delinquent (or allegedly delinquent) rental tenants directly to the criminal courts, where failure to pay up can result in quick arrest and incarceration, even though debtor’s prison as an institution was supposed to have ended in the nineteenth century.

And the mood is spreading.  Take the asset bubble collapse of 2008 and the rising cries of progressives for the criminal prosecution of Wall Street perpetrators, as if a fundamentally sound financial system had been abused by a small number of criminals who were running free after the debacle.  Instead of pushing a debate about how to restructure our predatory financial system, liberals in their focus on individual prosecution are aping the punitive zeal of the authoritarians.  A few high-profile prosecutions for insider trading (which had nothing to do with the last crash) have, of course, not changed Wall Street one bit.

Criminalizing Immigration

The past decade has also seen immigration policy ingested by criminal law. According to another Human Rights Watch report — their U.S. division is increasingly busy — federal criminal prosecutions of immigrants for illegal entry have surged from 3,000 in 2002 to 48,000 last year.  This novel application of police and prosecutors has broken up families and fueled the expansion of for-profit detention centers, even as it has failed to show any stronger deterrent effect on immigration than the civil law system that preceded it.  Thanks to Arizona’s SB 1070 bill, police in that state are now licensed to stop and check the papers of anyone suspected of being undocumented — that is, who looks Latino.

Meanwhile, significant parts of the US-Mexico border are now militarized (as increasingly is the Canadian border), including what seem to resemble free-fire zones.  And if anyone were to leave bottled water for migrants illegally crossing the desert and in danger of death from dehydration, that good Samaritan should expect to face criminal charges, too. Intensified policing with aggressive targets for arrests and deportations are guaranteed to be a part of any future bipartisan deal on immigration reform.

Digital Over-Policing

As for the Internet, for a time it was terra nova and so relatively free of a steroidal law enforcement presence.  Not anymore.  The late Aaron Swartz, a young Internet genius and activist affiliated with Harvard University, was caught downloading masses of scholarly articles (all publicly subsidized) from an open network on the MIT campus.  Swartz was federally prosecuted under the capacious Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for violating a “terms and services agreement” — a transgression that anyone who has ever disabled a cookie on his or her laptop has also, technically, committed.  Swartz committed suicide earlier this year while facing a possible 50-year sentence and up to a million dollars in fines.

Since the summer, thanks to whistleblowing contractor Edward Snowden, we have learned a great deal about the way the NSA stops and frisks our (and apparently everyone else’s) digital communications, both email and telephonic. The security benefits of such indiscriminate policing are far from clear, despite the government’s emphatic but inconsistent assurances otherwise. What comes into sharper focus with every volley of new revelations is the emerging digital infrastructure of what can only be called a police state.


Sex Police

Sex is another zone of police overkill in our post-Puritan land. Getting put on a sex offender registry is alarmingly easy — as has been done to children as young as 11 for “playing doctor” with a relative, again according to Human Rights Watch.  But getting taken off the registry later is extraordinarily difficult.  Across the nation, sex offender registries have expanded massively, especially in California, where one in every 380 adults is now a registered sex offender, creating a new pariah class with severe obstacles to employment, housing, or any kind of community life.  The proper penalty for, say, an 18-year-old who has sex with a 14-year-old can be debated, but should that 18-year-old’s life really be ruined forever?

Equality Before the Cops?

It will surprise no one that Americans are not all treated equally by the police.  Law enforcement picks on kids more than adults, the queer more than straight, Muslims more than Methodists – Muslims a lot more than Methodists — antiwar activists more than the apolitical. Above all, our punitive state targets the poor more than the wealthy and Blacks and Latinos more than white people.

A case in point: after the 1999 massacre at Columbine High School, a police presence, including surveillance cameras and metal detectors, was ratcheted up at schools around the country, particularly in urban areas with largely working-class black and Latino student bodies.  It was all to “protect” the kids, of course.  At Columbine itself, however, no metal detector was installed and no heavy police presence intruded.  The reason was simple.  At that school in the Colorado suburb of Littleton, the mostly well-heeled white families did not want their kids treated like potential felons, and they had the status and political power to get their way. But communities without such clout are less able to push back against the encroachments of police power.

Even Our Prisons Are Over-Policed

The over-criminalization of American life empties out into our vast, overcrowded prison system, which is itself over-policed.  The ultimate form of punitive control (and torture) is long-term solitary confinement, in which 80,000 to 100,000 prisoners are encased at any given moment.  Is this really necessary?  Solitary is no longer reserved for the worst or the worst or most dangerous prisoners but can be inflicted on ones who wear Rastafari dreadlocks, have a copy of Sun Tzu’s Art of War in their cell, or are in any way suspected, no matter how tenuous the grounds, of gang affiliations.

Not every developed nation does things this way. Some 30 years ago, Great Britain shifted from isolating prisoners to, whenever possible, giving them greater responsibility and autonomy — with less violent results.  But don’t even bring the subject up here.  It will fall on deaf ears.

Extreme policing is exacerbated by extreme sentencing.  For instance, more than 3,000 Americans have been sentenced to life terms without chance of parole for nonviolent offenses.  These are mostly but not exclusively drug offenses, including life for a pound of cocaine that a boyfriend stashed in the attic; selling LSD at a Grateful Dead concert; and shoplifting three belts from a department store.

Our incarceration rate is the highest in the world, triple that of the now-defunct East Germany. The incarceration rate for African American men is about five times higher than that of the Soviet Union at the peak of the gulag.

The Destruction of Families

Prison may seem the logical finale for this litany of over-criminalization, but the story doesn’t actually end with those inmates.  As prisons warehouse ever more Americans, often hundreds of miles from their local communities, family bonds weaken and disintegrate. In addition, once a parent goes into the criminal justice system, his or her family tends to end up on the radar screens of state agencies.  “Being under surveillance by law enforcement makes a family much more vulnerable to Child Protective Services,” says Professor Dorothy Roberts of the University of Pennsylvania Law school.  An incarcerated parent, especially an incarcerated mother, means a much stronger likelihood that children will be sent into foster care, where, according to one recent study, they will be twice as likely as war veterans to suffer from PTSD.

In New York State, the Administration for Child Services and the juvenile justice system recently merged, effectively putting thousands of children in a heavily policed, penalty-based environment until they age out. “Being in foster care makes you much more vulnerable to being picked up by the juvenile justice system,” says Roberts.  “If you’re in a group home and you get in a fight, that could easily become a police matter.” In every respect, the creeping over-criminalization of everyday life exerts a corrosive effect on American families.

Do We Live in a Police State?

The term “police state” was once brushed off by mainstream intellectuals as the hyperbole of paranoids.  Not so much anymore.  Even in the tweediest precincts of the legal system, the over-criminalization of American life is remarked upon with greater frequency and intensity. “You’re probably a (federal) criminal” is the accusatory title of a widely read essay co-authored by Judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals.  A Republican appointee, Kozinski surveys the morass of criminal laws that make virtually every American an easy target for law enforcement.  Veteran defense lawyer Harvey Silverglate has written an entire book about how an average American professional could easily commit three felonies in a single day without knowing it.

The daily overkill of police power in the U.S. goes a long way toward explaining why more Americans aren’t outraged by the “excesses” of the war on terror, which, as one law professor has argued, are just our everyday domestic penal habits exported to more exotic venues.  It is no less true that the growth of domestic police power is, in this positive feedback loop, the partial result of our distant foreign wars seeping back into the homeland (the “imperial boomerang” that Hannah Arendt warned against).

Many who have long railed against our country’s everyday police overkill have reacted to the revelations of NSA surveillance with detectable exasperation: of course we are over-policed!  Some have even responded with peevish resentment: Why so much sympathy for this Snowden kid when the daily grind of our justice system destroys so many lives without comment or scandal?  After all, in New York, the police department’s “stop and frisk” tactic, which targets African American and Latino working-class youth for routinized street searches, was until recently uncontroversial among the political and opinion-making class. If “the gloves came off” after September 11, 2001, many Americans were surprised to learn they had ever been on to begin with.

A hammer is necessary to any toolkit.  But you don’t use a hammer to turn a screw, chop a tomato, or brush your teeth. And yet the hammer remains our instrument of choice, both in the conduct of our foreign policy and in our domestic order.  The result is not peace, justice, or prosperity but rather a state that harasses and imprisons its own people while shouting ever less intelligibly about freedom.

Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch.com.

00:05 Publié dans Sociologie | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : sociologie, système carcéral, prisons, états-unis, justice | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

mercredi, 01 mai 2013

Le "Goulag" américain


Une affaire qui marche :

le Goulag US

Ex: http://www.dedefensa.org/

L’ensemble pénitentiaire US s’est lentement transformé, depuis le début des années 1970, en un Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) qui s’avère être une des plus étonnantes trouvailles du Système dans la recherche d’une activité à la fois industrielle et génocidaire, – faisant passer au second plan les problématiques de la justice et de la délinquance qui, d’ordinaire, définissent la question des prisons. L’établissement du PIC est en général daté de 1973, avec une loi de l’Etat de New York passée par le gouverneur Nelson Rockefeller, rendant passible de prison tout détenteur et utilisateur de drogue. Depuis, les peines pour ces délits, jusqu'aux plus ridiculement mineurs, n'ont cessé de s'alourdir, mettant en évidence la participation active à l'entreprise du système législatif et du système judiciaire US.

L’analyste politique et photographe Nile Bowie, collaborateur de Russia Today, publie ce 23 avril 2013 un article sur «[A] Moral monstruosity : America’s for profit Gulag system» Il y décrit les conditions de développement, de fonctionnement et d’existence du PIC, dont la population a augmenté de 772% entre 1970 et 2009, et dont la part du privé a été multipliée par 17 durant les deux dernières décades. Le PIC est effectivement devenu une part intégrante du Système, notamment dans sa division économique, comme un effet presque naturel et évident de la doctrine capitaliste développée dans les conditions du Système. Actuellement, la population carcérale aux USA approche les 25% de la population carcérale mondiale, alors que la population US se situe entre 4% et 5% de la population mondiale. (D’une façon qu’on devrait juger assez significative de l’implication du système capitaliste, et dans tous les cas certainement symbolique, ce rapport 4%/5% versus “près de 25%” est également celui du pourcentage de la population US par rapport au pourcentage d’émission de CO2 pour l’activité industrielle par les USA.)

L’emploi du terme Goulag (ou GOULAG, puisqu’il s’agit d’un acronyme russe) pour qualifier le système pénitentiaire US apparaît en général assez délicat. Pourtant, la description du PIC tel qu’il est aujourd’hui écarte les dernières réticences : il s’agit bien d’un système de Goulag, puisque son opérationnalité permet l’usage d’une main d’œuvre à si bon marché qu’on peut la considérer comme quasiment gratuite, tandis qu’elle neutralise et élimine des catégories très précises d’individus dont le Système se méfie.

Durant ces ces quelques décennies depuis l'institution du PIC, la population carcérale a été de plus en plus alimentée par trois grands courants sociaux et ethniques : la population dépendante de la drogue sous tous ses aspects, jusqu’aux cas les plus mineurs ; la population des immigrants clandestins capturés essentiellement à la frontière entre les USA et le Mexique ; la population des minorités ethniques, essentiellement les Africains Américains. (Bien entendu, les diverses catégories de “déviants” du Système, comme les “prisonniers politiques” sous la forme de contestataires divers, sont inclus dans ces courants.) L’auteur compare le système actuel des prisons au système de prisons, également privé, qui fut mis en place aux USA après l’abolition de l’esclavage, de la Guerre de Sécession jusqu’au début du XXème siècle, et d’ailleurs nullement cantonné à une seule région du pays, pour regrouper des populations fournissant de la main d’œuvre à bon marché, sinon à coût quasiment nul, pour le travail traditionnel de la cueillette de coton, mais aussi pour les travaux d’infrastructure de modernisation (routes, chemins de fer, etc.). Ce système est ainsi reproduit aujourd’hui, avec la privatisation maximale, les “travailleurs-esclaves” recevant des sommes ridicules sinon symboliques et les entreprises privées gérant les prisons (il y en a trois principalement, CCA, GEO Group, Cornell) sous-traitant des travaux divers pour l’extérieur. Ce système rassemble tous les attributs habituels du capitalisme américaniste, notamment une organisation de corruption maximale du monde politique avec une organisation très puissante de lobbying, pour obtenir certaines lois favorisant les activités rentables du complexe, aussi bien que des lois qui favorisent directement (sévérité des peines) et indirectement le “recrutement” des populations carcérales. Dans ce dernier cas, par exemple, les lobbies du complexe luttent avec acharnement contre la dépénalisation de la marijuana, la consommation de cette drogue mineure fournissant un nombre appréciable de “travailleurs-esclaves”.

Dans tous les cas envisagés, les peines sont extrêmement lourdes, de façon à obtenir une stabilité de “la main d’œuvre”. Les prisonniers vivent dans des conditions de plus en plus dégradées, parfois dans des conditions stupéfiantes de promiscuité dans des immenses hangars organisés en dortoir, puisque les entreprises privées ne cessent de restreindre les budgets d’entretien et que les quelques interventions publiques sont restreintes à cause de la crise. Bien entendu, tout cela se passe dans un climat de contrainte et de violence internes constant, qui favorise indirectement la soumission des prisonniers. Lorsqu’ils sont libérés, puisque la chose arrive, les prisonniers sont le plus souvent privés de leurs droits civiques et d’accès aux services sociaux et au marché du travail, ce qui fait que le complexe espère les récupérer rapidement sous la forme de l’un ou l’autre délit de survie aussitôt transformé en une peine de prison maximale (récidive). Ainsi le système est-il complet, avec comme premier incitatif le profit. Enfin, toutes ces conditions excluent toute vie sociale et familiale des détenus ; elles suscitent une dégradation rapide de leur état de santé au sens le plus large avec des soins médicaux réduits au minimum, si bien qu’on peut considérer qu’il s’agit également d’une entreprise d’élimination “douce” (!) de type génocidaire, portant sur des populations dont le Système en général ne veut pas. Le circuit est ainsi bouclé et la capitalisme, parvenant à son essence la plus intime, rejoint complètement les caractères généraux du Goulag stalinien.

Voici un extrait important du texte de Nile Bowie, de ce 23 avril 2013, dont l’intérêt est de développer la description des conditions de l’action du complexe pour assurer sa position de puissance au sein du Système, notamment dans le monde politique US.

«The number of people imprisoned under state and federal custody increased 772% percent between 1970 and 2009, largely due to the incredible influence that private corrections corporations wield against the American legal system. The argument is that by subjecting correctional services to market pressures, efficiencies will be increased and prison facilities can be run at a lower cost due to market competition. What these privatizations produce in turn is a system that destroys families by incentivizing the mass long-term detention of non-violent criminals, a system that is increasingly difficult to deconstruct and reform due to millions paid out to state and federal policymakers. According to reports issued by advocacy group Public Campaign, the three major corrections firms –Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the GEO Group, and Cornell, have spent over $22 million lobbying Congress since 2001.

»As a means of influencing policymaking at the federal level, at least $3.3 million have been given to political parties, candidates, and their political action committees, while more than $7.3 million has been given to state candidates and political parties since 2001, including $1.9 million in 2010, the highest amount in the past decade. Senators like Lindsay Graham and John McCain have received significant sums from the private prison corporations while Chuck Schumer, Chair of the Rules Committee on Immigration and Border Enforcement, received at least $64,000 from lobbyists. The prison lobby thrives off of laws that criminalize migrants and submit them to mandatory detention prior to being deported, sometimes up to 10 months or more; private firms have consistently pushed for the classification of immigration violations as felonies to justify throwing more and more immigrants behind bars. The number of illegal immigrants being incarcerated inside the United States has risen exponentially under Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency responsible for annually overseeing the imprisonment of 400,000 foreign nationals at the cost of over $1.9 billion on custody-related operations.

»The private prison industry has become increasingly dependent on immigration-detention contracts, and the huge contributions of the prison lobby towards drafting Arizona’s controversial immigration law SB 1070 are all but unexpected. Arizona's SB 1070 requires police to determine the immigration status of someone arrested or detained when there is “reasonable suspicion” that they’ve illegally entered the US, which many view as an invitation for rampant racial profiling against non-whites. While the administration of Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer is lined with former private prison lobbyists, its Department of Corrections budget has been raised by $10 million in 2012, while all other Arizona state agencies were subject to budget cuts during that fiscal year. The concept of privatizing prisons to reduce expenses comes at great cost to the inmates detained, who are subjected to living in increasingly squalid conditions in jail cells across America. In 2007, the Texas Youth Commission (TYC), a state agency that overseas juvenile corrections facilities, was sent to a West Texas juvenile prison run by GEO Group for the purpose of monitoring its quality standards.

»The monitors sent by the TYC were subsequently fired for failing to report the sordid conditions they witnessed in the facility while they awarded the GEO Group with an overall compliance score of nearly 100% - it was later discovered that the TYC monitors were employed by the GEO Group. Independent auditors later visited the facility and discovered that inmates were forced to urinate or defecate in small containers due to a lack of toilets in some of the cells. The independent commission also noted in their list of reported findings that the facility racially segregated prisoners and denied inmates access to lawyers and medical treatment. The ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center have also highlighted several cases where GEO Group facility administrators turned a blind eye to brutal cases of rape and torture within their facilities, in addition to cases of its staff engaging in violence against inmates. According to the Justice Department data, nearly 210,000 prisoners are abused annually (prison personnel are found responsible half the time), while 4.5 percent of all inmates reported sexual assaults and rape.

»It’s not possible to conceive how such institutionalized repression can be rolled back when the Obama administration shows only complicity with the status quo – a staggering $18 billion was spent by his administration on immigration enforcement, including detention, more than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined. Under Obama’s watch, today’s private prison population is over 17 times larger than the figure two decades earlier. Accordingly, Obama’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, has condemned the recently passed state laws in Colorado and Washington that legalize the possession of marijuana in small amounts. The Obama administration is bent on keeping in place the current federal legislation, where a first-time offender caught with marijuana can be thrown in prison for a year. It’s easy to see why common-sense decriminalization is stifled - an annual report released by the CCA in 2010 reiterates the importance of keeping in place harsh sentencing standards, “The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws. For instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.”

»Such is the nature of a perverted brand of capitalism, and today’s model bares little difference to the first private prisons introduced following the abolishment of slavery in the late 1800s, where expansive prison farms replaced slave plantations where predominately African-American inmates were made to pick cotton and construct railroads in states such as Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. Today, African-Americans make up 40% of the prison population and are incarcerated seven times more often than whites, despite the fact that African-Americans make up only 12% of the population. Inmates are barred from voting in elections after their release and are denied educational and job opportunities. The disproportionate levels of black people in prisons is undeniably linked to law enforcement’s targeting of intercity black communities through anti-drug stipulations that command maximum sentencing for possession of minute amounts of rock cocaine, a substance that floods poor black neighborhoods.

»Perhaps these social ills are byproducts of a system that places predatory profits before human dignity. Compounding the illogic is that state spending on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education over the past two decades. Mumia Abu-Jamal, America’s most famous political prisoner, has spent over three decades on death row; he was convicted in 1981 for the murder of a white police officer, while forensic experts say critical evidence vindicating Jamal was withheld from the trial. In an interview with RT, Jamal relates his youth activism with the Black Panthers party against political imprisonment in contrast to the present day situation, “We could not perceive back then of what it would become… you can literally talk about millions of people incarcerated by the prisoner-industrial complex today: men, women and children. And that level of mass incarceration, really mass repression, has to have an immense impact in effect on the other communities, not just among families, but in a social and communal consciousness way, and in inculcation of fear among generations.” The fear and immortality the system perpetuates shows no sign of abating. Being one of the few growth industries the United States has left, one can only imagine how many people will be living in cages in the decades to come.»

Ce qui est remarquable dans cette description du complexe, c’est la façon structurelle décrite d’une organisation systématique, très rentabilisée, très bien contrôlée, qui dépasse très largement en efficacité et en rentabilité le système stalinien (Goulag). On rejoint alors des considérations beaucoup plus larges, qui doivent alimenter la réflexion sur la nature profonde d’un Système qui génère, presque naturellement, presque de lui-même, de tels ensembles dont les moyens de fonctionnement sont l’esclavagisme (dans des conditions pires que l’esclavage originel), la déshumanisation et la destruction psychologique, l’extermination organisée, “collectivisée” d’une façon rampante et indirecte. Grâce aux conditions de communication du Système, ces ensembles ont la caractéristique d’être présentées et perçues (supériorité indiscutable sur les dictatures d’extermination) comme de bien public et de participation efficace à la protection normale de la loi et de l’ordre démocratiques. L’effet de ces phénomènes rejoint la production naturelle du Système comme élément représentant le “pire de tous les maux”, ou le Mal parvenu à un état de fonctionnement maximal et exclusif ; il s’agit de la production maximale de déstructuration, de dissolution et d’entropisation, dans ce cas de la société et de populations diverses.

Il faut noter que certains auteurs ont également rapproché le fonctionnement du système nazi gérant, organisant et développant le système d’extermination (Holocauste), de la référence du capitalisme américaniste (pour nous, produit du Système), avec sa branche bureaucratique et sa branche de productivité et de rentabilité. Ainsi en ont-ils fait un produit direct de la modernité, ce qui correspond assez justement au jugement naturel qui nous vient sous la plume. Le 7 décembre 2005, parlant alors du seul système de prisonniers de la CIA dans la Guerre contre la Terreur, nous écrivions ceci, qui citait un de ces principaux auteurs, le professeur Richard L. Rubenstein :

«Pour ce qui concerne le système nazi, qui présente un autre cas, il faut lire La perfidie de l’Histoire, de Richard L. Rubenstein (né en 1924, professeur d’histoire et de philosophie des religions à l’université de Bridgeport, dans le Connecticut). Ce livre, publié en 2005 (éditions Le Cerf), comprend le texte original de Rubenstein, datant de 1975 (avec un ajout de circonstances, datant de 2004, traitant du terrorisme islamique). L’originalité de l’approche de Rubenstein est qu’il fait porter l’essentiel de la responsabilité de l’Holocauste dans son ampleur et dans la réalisation de son aspect systématique non sur l’idéologie, qui est l’élément déclencheur, mais sur la bureaucratisation et les méthodes industrielles modernes de gestion et de production. C’est introduire comme principal accusé de l’ampleur et de la substance du crime les méthodes et les contraintes modernistes au travers de l’expansion et de la gestion industrielles, et de la bureaucratisation systémique.

»La caractéristique finale est un montage systémique s’apparentant moins à un complot qu’à l’évolution “naturelle” (c’est-à-dire logique dans ce cas, de la logique interne du système) d’un système de conception moderniste à la fois de cloisonnement et de dilution de la perception des responsabilités. L’effet mécanique du montage est de cacher l’ampleur et le motif du crime aux exécutants, et d’assurer son efficacité complète sans prendre le risque de l’illégalité qui constitue une transgression des lois difficilement supportable pour un esprit conformiste (la bureaucratie implique un complet conformisme de l’esprit ; — il faut donc ménager leur conformisme). Rubenstein observe qu’à cause de diverses dispositions et situations, l’Holocauste ne peut être tenu pour “illégal” selon les lois allemandes en vigueur à l’époque. Rubenstein laisse clairement voir qu’il considère la bureaucratisation de la puissance américaine comme une évolution de même substance que les structures qui permirent l’Holocauste...»

lundi, 27 avril 2009

Biribi: les bagnes coloniaux de l'armée française

Biribi : Les bagnes coloniaux de l'armée française

Ex: http://ettuttiquanti.blogspot.com/
Présentation de l'éditeur
Biribi, c'est le nom donné à la fin du XIXe siècle aux nombreux bagnes militaires que l'armée française installa en Afrique du Nord pour se débarrasser de ses " mauvais sujets " : on y envoyait les fortes têtes, les indisciplinés, les condamnés des conseils de guerre, les jeunes qui sortaient de prison, mais aussi parfois les opposants politiques, les homosexuels ou les faibles d'esprit. Ce livre retrace, pour la première fois, l'histoire tragique de ces " corps spéciaux " : compagnies disciplinaires, bataillons d'Afrique ou ateliers de travaux publics. Il décrit le sort terrible réservé aux milliers d'hommes qui y furent envoyés, les brimades, les sévices, parfois les tortures infligées par des sous-officiers indignes, le travail harassant sous un soleil de plomb, la violence des relations entre hommes dans ce qui était considéré comme les bas-fonds de l'armée. Mais il montre aussi comment le courage de quelques-uns, condamnés, médecins, militants ou journalistes comme Albert Londres, contribua à faire peu à peu prendre conscience au pays de l'horreur quotidienne vécue dans ces camps disciplinaires. Les derniers " corps spéciaux " de l'armée française furent supprimés au début des années 1970.

Dominique Kalifa,
Biribi : Les bagnes coloniaux de l'armée française, Perrin, 2009.
Commande possible sur Amazon.fr.