Violence

 

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Social problems: violence, crime and war

(Excerpts taken from Universal Income for a Sustainable future by Patrick Danahey copyright 2003)

 

Table of Contents

Introduction

bulletOur current situation and the need for change

Effects of a universal income 

bulletCrime and violence

Wars

bulletGeneral issues

 

Introduction:

Our current situation and the need for change

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?; pp. 62–63 (1967).

We are witnesses to a dramatically changing world in which our old concepts of international peace and security, human rights and democracy have been challenged by the perverse logic of terrorism and the inflammatory rhetoric and violent responses of anti-terrorism. A growing concern, supported by a vast array of validated information, has also been surfacing as to whether these two apparently opposite poles are in fact somehow actually linked.

This includes the documented facts on public record of September 11th as follows:

Members of the Bin-Laden family held a stake in the Carlyle Company, the same military arms company as George Bush Senior-both ex president of the USA and a former director of the CIA was a paid advisor for.

The younger Bush made his first million 20 years ago with an oil company partly funded by Salem Bin Laden's chief US representative. Young George also received fees as director of a subsidiary of Carlyle Corporation, a little known private company which has, in just a few years of its founding, becomes one of Americas biggest defence contractors. His father, Bush Senior, is also a paid advisor. And what became embarrassing was the revelation that the Bin Ladens held a stake in Carlyle, sold just after September 11 (4).

Osama Bin-Laden was recruited by the CIA--and therefore, the U.S. government--as well as Saudi Arabia in order to fight the Russians in Afghanistan (5).

The official FBI and independent investigations into the anthrax scare in the U.S. stopped at the highest levels of the U.S. government's bio-security establishment USAMRIIDS. Approximately 50 million people were exposed to the virus. The perpetrators had prior knowledge of September 11th and were working in concert with it. They left clues to implicate Iraq as the source for the anthrax but the strain was conclusively proven to have originated in USAMRIIDS. The perpetrators were also determined to have worked there as well. The investigation has been officially stopped and blocked at this point (6).

The justification given to the public for invading Afghanistan was that the Taliban were not cooperating with the USA and were supporting al-Qaeda. This information runs contrary to the following evidence that was suppressed from the public:

Former BBC correspondent in Kabul, Kate Clark, reported on 2 September, 2002 that "An aide to the former Taleban foreign minister, Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil, has revealed that he was sent to warn American diplomats and the United Nations that Osama bin Laden was due to launch a huge attack on American soil". "The minister was deeply worried that the US military would react with deadly vengeance against Afghanistan. As he put it, 'al-Qaeda, the Taleban's guests were going to destroy the guesthouse'." Neither organisation heeded the warning, which was given just weeks before the 11 September attacks. One US official explained why: "We were hearing a lot of that kind of stuff," he said. "When people keep saying the sky's going to fall in, and it doesn't, a kind of 'warning fatigue' sets in." (7)

George Bush, not winning the popular vote in the USA, came into power under investigation for using a variety of intimidation and voter corruption practices. In the state of Florida where his brother Jeb Bush was governor many blacks were not allowed to vote because George Bush's state of Texas, of which he was governor at that time, had sent official papers to Florida claiming that many of their blacks were criminals and that they must be disqualified from voting. As such a high percentage of blacks' votes were disqualified from voting even though it was later proven that these people were not criminals. In Florida particularly and throughout the USA many of the voting booths of the poor districts were not functioning correctly and were set up so that it was easy to vote for the wrong candidate. Most of the poor traditionally vote for the Democratic Party and not the Republican Party of George Bush since he represents USA's ultra-wealthy elites.

These issues, which are not even the tip of the iceberg, are a matter of public record. They do not prove personal guilt of crimes, but they do point to highly suspicious circumstances in extreme want of proper investigation. If this were any other country belonging to the UN, the international community would intervene to help facilitate the re-establishment of proper voting practices. On the contrary, the international community is almost mindlessly being intimidated into accepting at face value everything that the present regime controlling the U.S. is spoon feeding to the world, even to the extent of going to war in these unprecedented circumstances.

The devastating atrocities of September 11, 2001 and the global reaction to them have raised many new issues for human rights defenders and advocates of democracy alike. The use of terror and the unbridled response of military force, without effective legal structures for public oversight, combined with the negation of dialogue--in a world which depends on peace and human development--demands attention and needs to be addressed. Yet there is no existing forum, mechanism, or tool by which the public can effectively do so. The only tool the public has is one of world wide protest which is largely ineffective to save lives since by nature it is reactive. For a protest to really gather momentum a war must already exist in which case people are already dying and being killed. Further the entire corpus of alternative possibilities is reduced to either a yes or no vote from the public to largely unresponsive governments. By the time the public has gathered enough momentum to protest and stop a war the objectives of the war have already been achieved.

Governments cannot claim public mandates for their actions based on responses to spoon fed information given to their employers, the people, via the entertainment industry: the media. Thousands of people in Afghanistan have been killed and maimed including children, women, elderly and the infirmed. Most of these people have probably never flown in an airplane, conversed with westerners, and would be hard-pressed to point out where the Twin Towers were on a map. Much less, these people, many of who were living day to day on subsistence levels of resources, could be described as a threat to global security. Even in a country like the USA that has the death penalty, one cannot kill a person unless it is in self- defence, and it must be tried in a court of law utilising due process with all the evidence revealed for scrutiny and cross examination. Nor could you justifiably kill bystanders or an attacker’s neighbours, family members, and so forth and still claim self-defence. In fact you would be guilty of murder if you had done so. This is not a problem of living in a democratic society as some would have it, but rather, it is a problem of not having an effective democracy that responds to the will and wisdom of an informed people.

Although we now realize that the world is not as safe as we may have once believed, we must not allow fear, suspicion, prejudice, and military might to be the defining features of international relations. Rather, we must redouble our efforts to create optimal conditions for lasting international peace and security; namely, respect for human rights, justice, the rule of law, and the effective empowerment of the people: the re-establishment of a functional democracy. The eradication of war and its causes was the principal reason for setting up the United Nations. The violation of human rights has been found by a consensus of experts across the planet to be one of the major causes of war. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is drafted and signed by countries around the world acknowledging this link.

 

Effects of a universal income 

Crime and violence

In a functional democratic society where everyone is the boss or sovereign there is no unemployment. Physical and psychological poverty would be rendered almost obsolete. The stress issues associated with inability to live and provide adequately for a household with dignity as well as the power conflicts that lead to violence between races, sexes and the various other classes of people would dramatically decline. Everyone would share the highest status attainable in a free society and would have equal access to essential life resources like education and health.

The cause(s) of violence have been the source for debate for many years. The debate has focused on the nature of violence being either learned--a product of environmental/social causes--or biological. The evidence has almost unequivocally been recognised in recent years now as being fundamentally learned or acquired from the social environment with biological factors being secondary in importance. One of the major contributors to the learning--or social acquisition of violent behaviour--has been that of low-socio-economic status: poverty. A summary of the issues are quoted by three experts in the field as follows (2):

Dr. Gerald Patterson, Child Psychologist, Oregon Social Learning Center

Adverse conditions can set in motion a process that will produce delinquent children… And the studies done by the sociologists Sampson and Loeb show beautifully that extreme poverty produces a kind of a chain reaction that leads to this outcome.

Dr. Eric Taylor, MRC Child Psychiatry Unit

All those biological causes are, as best we know, relatively unimportant by comparison with the very important impact of social and psychological factors. If I wanted to make a child anti-social, then I wouldn't start with their biology. I would start by bringing them up in a very harsh, deprived environment.

Dr. Klaus Miczek Psycho-pharmacologist of Tufts University

It is absolutely true the effect of poverty and lower socio-economic status has on increasing violent behaviour. The statistics on this are overwhelming. The important issues here are that [the stresses of] poverty and lower-economic status can impact on neural chemistries. Behaviour experiences alter neural chemistries. The street is really a two-way street, not just neural chemistry determines behaviours but behaviours feedback to neural chemistries.

For example, in the case of domestic violence, where women may find themselves entrapped within dysfunctional or violent relationships, they would have the financial resources readily available to easily leave and start their own lives. This would be likewise true in the reverse cases for males. Many youths who have been excluded from society economically may join gangs for acceptance, support and survival. The acknowledgement of the youth as equals in deed, not just in words, accepts and values them as human beings. They will no longer need gangs and will model more socially appropriate bahaviours. Crimes of violence would then be more related to mental health issues and would be treated accordingly, not through the criminal justice system.

It was a crime to single out the poor as a primary source for the targeting of budget cuts in welfare spending during the 1990s in New Zealand. The society robbed from those who were in highest need and were the most vulnerable and gave their income to those with the most resources (See Ph.D. Srikanta Chatterjee's Sharing the National Cake in Post Reform New Zealand: Inequality Trends in Terms of Income Sources ). This action was a primary crime that caused the secondary effect-crimes of violence and stealing by some of the poor who used the only skills they had to cope with their discriminative ostracism from society. They were denied their equal right to a job of their choice that would pay them enough to raise a household, their right to free health care, their right to a free education that would help them learn how to effectively and peacefully pursue their rights as well as participate in the creation of a society in which they would most like to live.

A Universal Income would reduce crimes that are based on stealing. In Auckland, up until the late 1980s, "honesty boxes" with large amounts of money use to lay unattended on main streets of the major vendors of newspapers. During those times people had reasonable incomes and therefore had no real need to steal: so they didn't. The Universal Income would become a tangible symbol of the society’s restoration of the values of self-worth and respect of those days similar to the parallel of the Semai tribe studied by Robert Denton in Malaya when they returned home (3).

Strong evidence that violence and aggression are learned rather than instinctive forms of behaviour comes from the Semai of central Malaya. Left to themselves, the 13,000 Semai are so gentle that not a single murder has ever been recorded among them and they do not even feel the need for a police force.

According to anthropologist Robert Dentan, who spent more than a year living with them, the Semai learn to be non-violent from the time they are children. Youngsters see gentle behaviour all around them. Although they hunt and kill animals for food, they also raise large numbers of animals as pets and for trade; the animals they raise they treat tenderly and rarely kill. Adults never hit each other, and if two children appear to be on the verge oŁ a fight, their parents quickly separate them.

Such Pacific behaviour may change drastically if the Semai are transplanted to a culture in which they are exposed to violence. In the early 1950s, the British recruited and trained them for a force to fight Communists in Malaya. When some of them were killed in battle by the Communists, their comrades reacted with great ferocity. So aggressive can they become that a veteran later recalled, ‘We killed, killed, killed. We only thought of killing. Truly we were drunk with blood.’

When the fighting was over and the Semai soldiers returned to their homes they quickly reverted to their old non-violent ways. At home and abroad, the decisive factor in their behaviour was what they were taught.

It should be added that the US government, in order to avoid investing in social spending on the poor as they see it, are continuing to fund researchers at the National Institute for Health in order to find a genetic cause for violence.

 

Wars

General issues

Wars have been recognised, by experts internationally, to have as their root cause violations of human rights (See the Preamble " Universal Declaration of Human Rights"). The motivation for the establishment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was founded on this common understanding.

Universal Income Systems are an acknowledgment of this. They have at their root the recognised parameters outlined by the UDHR as well as its recommended follow-up legal extensions the International Bill of Human Rights. They ensure the education, resourcing and empowerment of the people to meet the needs of human rights, sustainability and peace everywhere.

UI systems shift the power of a country back to the people. As such wars waged, like today, by elite groups for their own special interest concerns--usually to maintain the disparities--without proper consultation with the public, would be far more difficult to do. The public would have the time, skill and resources to get more involved in understanding the issues. If the war is pushed through anyway, the people who are opposed to it could financially afford to simply choose not to go to war. It is much more difficult to incite a war when the people they are sending to kill and be killed for reasons they don’t understand--or agree with--do not need the wages.

 

Footnotes

 

1. For more information on some of these stress factors see " Social Inequalities in Health: New Zealand 1999" on page42" .

2. Wot you lookin at?, video, written and produced by Oliver James and David Malone, London: BBC Videos for Education and Training, 1993, http://www.sprachenzentrum.hu-berlin.de/med/katalog/ englisch/e613gese.htm. Available at Humboldt University Berlin.

3. Violence and Aggression, Ronald H. Bailey and Editors, Human Behaviour, Time-Life International (Nederland) B.V. 1977, ch 2, p 48.

4. Has someone been sitting on the FBI?, BBC News | NEWSNIGHT | Greg Palest report transcript - 6/11/01 http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/ english/events/newsnight/newsid_1645000/1645527.stm.

5. Centre for Research on Globalisation, by Michel Chossudovsky, Professor of Economics, University of Ottawa, Canada, http:// www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO109C.html.

6. The Hunt for the Anthrax Killer, documentary written and produced by Martin Wilson, BBC News and Current Affairs, 2002.

7. BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/2242594.stm.