quinta-feira, dezembro 16, 2004
o regresso dos Irmãos Metralha
Duas ou três notas (por ora, finais) sobre este tema:
Desculpas aceites, caro Anonymous, e espero vê-lo com assiduidade por aqui. Estamos em desacordo, mas gostei do debate.
O nosso amigo, leitor assíduo, e membro honorário Ian Watts escreve-nos da Virginia, EUA, dizendo o seguinte: «regarding the penal system here in the united states, and to america's credit, for a while it was indeed thought that prisons were meant as a place not only of punishment, but also a locus for reforming the delinquent. prisons were given libraries, places for the exercise of honest work - so as to promote a work ethic - and also spiritual enlightenment and growth. prisons were places where a human was seen just as that - a human.
also growing in this period were ideas of the american myth, the romantic cowboy, that labor liberates (an interesting phrase we also find over the entrance to nazi dachau) and the concept of 'pulling oneself up by the bootstraps'. in this era the middle class also spread.
unfortunately in the years that followed the second world war, the basic fabric of american society underwent a series of great upheavals. if i'm to continue to speak in vague abstractions, the middle class found itself under immense pressures from a group which it had used for cheap labor - blacks. other groups too were vying for recognition after the war as well: asians (japanese in california & hawaii) and emerging latino communities.
progressivism stopped. jails stopped becoming places of rehabilitation, along the lines of old workhouses, rather dumping grounds for society's alleged refuse.
we'll find in today's prisons many of those suffering from economic woes, and those who happen to be at the bottom of the economic pyramid - namely the nation's blacks and latinos. in time, perhaps the ethnic make-up of the nation's prison may change in time, if racial-economics allow as such, but this is hightly doubtful.
one thing, that as an american which does bother me is that prisons have lost their previous role as places of rehabilitation. for a long while, i'd believed that those people who acted against society deserved to be ejected from society, as rosseau had once suggested in his 'social contract'. but, denying one their basic rights of life and liberty are things society has no right to take from man. regarding the death penalty in the united states, it is very saddening that such measures are taken in the name of the state. no person has the right to take the life of another, and in having the state take the life of a person, means that each citizen of the state are guilty of having executed someone. regarding prisoners - a prisoner, i can understand can have his civil liberties suspended in prison; but prison is still to have the role as a place for rehabilitation (as the penal system still claims that prisons still have a function as), then his rights as a citizen should also be returned.
on another interesting tangent, american prisons represent very much the mentality of how the united states views the rest of the world. prisons and schools mirror our popular conscience, if we are to invoke foucault... prisons are places where we place people society no longer wishes to deal with nor see; they are convenient receptacles for problems that continue to fester on the national scene. schools are engineered very much in the same fashion - racial-economic classes are mirrored in our systems of 'tracks'. it is all quite disturbing, especially looking at it all while living within the system itself.
America prides itself on being an egalitarian society; but americans forget that our constitution orginally had written in it that only those who owned property could vote. this was later striken... but the intent and spirit still remains.
i think it is interesting that the concept of race was born of economic classes in england...»
E remato com um convite para clicarem aqui e verem o que isto significa na prática.