The State, Crime, and Justice


The relationship between the modern State, crime, and justice, is an issue that many from the various isocratic political tendencies have commented on for a number of decades. Among the diversity of arguments there is a common thematic considerations however; (i) that there is a conflict between law and justice, (ii) the recognition that enforcement of criminal law can be part of a repressive State apparatus, (ii) that the very existence of "victimless crimes" are an example of such conflict, and (iv) that behavioural violations often have environmental causes. Of further debate is the methods used to resolve transgressions of behavioural norms; there is popular advocacy for retributive forms justice, involving various punishments from the application of the death penalty to incarceration. More liberal perspectives have argued for transitional incarceration with rehabilitation. A further approach in recent years has been the application of restorative justice principles.

Approaches to crime, prevention, and justice are invariably grounded in assumptions of violent propensity among human behaviour. Certainly various forms of violence (murder, rape, theft) exist throughout human societies, leading some to argue that it is innate or at least there is a degree of innateness. Sometimes such an approach is tied with an interplay between environment; Freud famously argued of an instinct in human beings towards aggression and self-destruction [1] and that the success of a culture depended on the ability to manage violent derangements, especially given that the aggressive outlet often is seemingly independent from tension that contributes to its generation (much has been written about competitive sports as a tension-releasing outlet in this regard, and the evidence of violence-generation as well). What is certain however is the enormous variation in different societies, in time and space, which indicate the massive influence of environmental factors. It is difficult to argue for a perspective of unchanging and universal degrees of violence when there is massive decline in the homicide rate over time and place [2].

Brexit and Deliberative Democracy


by Brad Murray

Well we’ve seen some pretty amazing democratic results in the past few days. The consensus seems to be that democracy is a great thing so I’d like to take a hard look at that in the face of a result that doesn’t seem so great.

First let’s understand that the purpose of democracy is not to ensure the best possible results. No one who implemented the process thought it was going to solve all problems and generate optimal choices for their organization. What they needed was a way to secure legitimacy — to be able to act with the support and investment of the affected populations. Corporations, for example, are very rarely democratic. Sure the board may vote but they aren’t representing the company’s population — the labour pool — but rather shareholders or other external interests. Corporations don’t need to be democratic because they have a totally different mechanism for generating legitimacy: the labour contract. They pay you, you do what they say, or you find another employer. It’s actually a pretty good mechanism in its intended context and is arguably better at decision making than a democracy. Also almost equally not in the case of publicly held companies since it admits to only one genuine objective: constant growth. All other “mission statements” are myths the company tells itself to seem like part of a more complex, more nuanced environment. But nonetheless, the system has almost perfect legitimacy — you can’t argue that the company has no right to tell you to do your job (as agreed in that contract).

Isozoocracy (Equal power for all animals)

by Bruce Poon

Derived from a presentation to the Isocracy Network on May 28, 2016

We here are interested in how best to organise society. But society involves not just humans. For better and worse, society also involves non-human animals.

Animal Protection

Although it has been written about for millennia, the rights of animals is, I believe, going to be the great social justice movement of this century.

The arguments that have been rolled out to explain and argue against racism, sexism, and other ‘isms’ are equally useful to argue against species-ism, the automatic discrimination towards an animal because of its species.

Only in a world where humans are made in the image of god, with souls, and animals are automata placed on earth for our survival and use, would speciesism be acceptable. I don’t accept that worldview.

Animal Welfare and Animal Rights: A Philosophical Approach to a Political Issue


On Saturday the Isocracy Network is holding a meeting with the Victorian convener of the Animal Justice Party on the topic 'Animal Welfare Issues and the [Australian 2016] Federal Election' [1]. Even announcing the meeting has generated some useful debate, as the Isocracy Network has animal welfare issues as one of its major objectives [2]. Now one does not don't pretend for a moment to have any great knowledge on the various legislation relating to animal welfare in Australia. But it is possible to at least begin to consider some philosophical principles from which ethical behaviour and legislation could be informed predicated on the motivation of reducing harm towards others.

Evidence-Based Philosophy and Policy

A first ontological principle is the recognition that animals exist and at least some are capable of suffering. This is the sort of evidence-based philosophical underpinnings that is appropriate for a secular and pragmatic outlook. One does not need, for example, to follow the speculations of the ancient Pythagoras that we should respect animals due to transmigration of souls, nor does one need to follow the mechanistic claims of the more modern Father Malebranche, who denied that animals had souls and therefore could "eat without pleasure, cry without pain, grow without knowing it; they desire nothing, fear nothing, know nothing".

Negative Gearing and Capital Gains: Tax Subsidies for the Landlord Class


As the Australian Federal Election approaches, it is clear that negative gearing on property is destined to become a major issue. In February, the opposition Australian Labor Party announced that negative gearing would only be allowed on the construction of new homes, following some push from that party's left faction. With support from the real estate industry announced (following prior warnings), the Liberal-National Party government has opposed the plan. In a recent interview, the Prime Minister claimed to understand supply and demand in the property market - which is why he didn't need empirical evidence for his claims. Recently he has displayed his understanding even further:

"What they're saying is warning that Bill Shorten's reckless and dangerous experiment with the largest asset class in Australia will drive down home values and drive up rents," Mr Turnbull said.

Animal Welfare Issues and the Federal Election

Unlike many other political groups, the Isocracy Network has always held animal welfare issues as a priority (cf., http://isocracy.org/plan).

Come hear and question our special guest speaker, the Victorian Convener for the Animal Justice Party of Australia, Bruce Poon, discuss animal welfare and rights issues, the AJP, the Federal election and what you can do to give a voice to the voiceless.

Markets for Freedom Rather Than Free Markets

There is a continuing, although increasingly not very persuasive, myth perpetuated by contemporary neoliberals that market relations are the best way to decide allocation of resources in all circumstances. In some cases of course they are correct, and intuitively people see some sense in this. After who, who is the best person to decide what food they should eat, what clothes they should wear, or what music they should listen to? Nearly all people would decide that they are the best person to make such a choice. But it doesn't apply to all markets and all situations.

Submission of the Isocracy Network to the Joint Standing Committee on the Trans Pacific Partnership

Introduction

A Joint Standing Committee on Treaties be appointed to inquire into and report on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) ("the Treaty") between the Government of Australia and the Governments of: Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States of America and Vietnam, associated side letters and proposed Australian notification on tobacco control measures. The first chapter of the Treaty provides for parties and definitions.

The following submission is made by The Isocracy Network, an incorporated association in the state of Victoria (A0054881M) ("the Association"). The submission was written by Lev Lafayette with contributions from Dean Edwards, Daye Gang, and Steve Spirgis.

As a matter of general principle, the Association supports the principles of free trade and comparative advantage, supporting the elimination of tariffs, the facilitation of supply trades, enhancing conservation, and raising living standards [1]. At points where conflicts occur, priority must be given to the latter points of raising living standards and enhancing conservation. To do otherwise would to place ideal positions above concrete reality. We urge the committee to expressly acknowledge this.

The Association is also in favour of public debate and transparency, especially in the formulation of public policy of such an enormous importance. The twelve countries involved a collective population of approximately 800 million and is currently responsible for 40% of world trade. The introduction of the Treaty can be in no way described as having satisfied the requirements of the formulation of public opinion. That in itself is sufficient reason for the Treaty to be deferred.

Impediments to Peace in Syria


The US and Russia have agreed to terms in furtherance of a partial ceasefire in Syria. This could be an important step to bring peace to Syria, but it leaves huge gaps which allow for impunity among the actors currently inflaming the conflict.

(Joint Statement)
1. To take part in the cessation of hostilities, armed opposition groups will confirm – to the United States of America or the Russian Federation, who will attest such confirmations to one another as co-chairs of the ISSG by no later than 12:00 (Damascus time) on February 26 2016 – their commitment to and acceptance of the following terms:
To full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254, adopted unanimously on December 18, 2015, ‑ including the readiness to participate in the UN-facilitated political negotiation process;

A Syrian Refugee Story: Qassem Al Salamat, in Istanbul


Breaking news has been released that the world powers have declared a "cessation of hostilities", reports of some 11.5% of population have been killed or injured, with over six million displaced persons and refugees.

There are over two and half million refugees in Turkey. Many have become 'stateless persons'. They are unable to renew their Syrian passports which expire as they are seeking asylum.

One such person is Qassem Al Salamat, in Istanbul. This is his story.


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