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Thread: Innocent until proven guilty?

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    Default Innocent until proven guilty?

    I've been following the Trayvon Martin shooting, and I've noticed something interesting that seems to happen with all these high profile court cases: in the press and eyes of society the idea of innocence until proven guilty goes right out the window. In the case of Trayvonn Martin, the evidence seems damning enough against Zimmerman, but you never know, the evidence seemed damning against the Duke Lacrosse team too. But my point is not to defend George Zimmerman but to bring up a broader question for debate: should communists uphold the principle of innocent until proven guilty?

    In a revolutionary scenario, I don't even know how this would be possible. Members of the bourgeois are essentially guilty until proven innocent. And hell the more extreme radfems consider men accused of rape to be guilty until proven innocent. As I said before the attitude is often the case during high profile rape/murder cases, but from what I've seen they're the only ones who take it as a political position rather than an emotional one, although I guess you could say communist attitudes towards the bourgeois is similar. What's your opinion on the principle of innocent until proven guilty?

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    Innocent till proven guilty has nothing to do with opinions, but with the burden of proof with regards to the trial. In other words, he is legally innocent till the state proves in a court of law he is guilty. They can't hold him in prison and demand he prove his own innocence to be released.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Machine View Post
    I've been following the Trayvon Martin shooting, and I've noticed something interesting that seems to happen with all these high profile court cases: in the press and eyes of society the idea of innocence until proven guilty goes right out the window. In the case of Trayvonn Martin, the evidence seems damning enough against Zimmerman, but you never know, the evidence seemed damning against the Duke Lacrosse team too. But my point is not to defend George Zimmerman but to bring up a broader question for debate: should communists uphold the principle of innocent until proven guilty?

    In a revolutionary scenario, I don't even know how this would be possible. Members of the bourgeois are essentially guilty until proven innocent. And hell the more extreme radfems consider men accused of rape to be guilty until proven innocent. As I said before the attitude is often the case during high profile rape/murder cases, but from what I've seen they're the only ones who take it as a political position rather than an emotional one, although I guess you could say communist attitudes towards the bourgeois is similar. What's your opinion on the principle of innocent until proven guilty?
    Well if people take a factory and hold the managers as prisoners, it's not really a case of trial. The same in a full on revolution, workers would have to empower themselves to stop the bank accounts of the capitalists, and hold any who are captured without first holding a trail to see if they are a capitalist or not. That's detaining people under war conditions.

    Then once someone has been detained, workers will have to devise some method for finding out if the individual is a threat and what they should do with them. If someone is detained and accused of trying to organize counter-revolution and workers felt that this person had to be held more permanently because they were possibly too dangerous to allow them the freedom to continue organizing against worker's rule, then I think workers would probably need to have some kind of trial in which it was clearly shown that this person was in fact actively trying to undermine worker's democracy in a direct way and that they are too dangerous to merely take away their online chat privileges or put them in house arrest, but that they were so dangerous that they needed to be held under guard.

    As far as "innocent until proven guilty" under capitalism though - I think it's important to see the social context. When people are tried in the media essentially I generally strongly oppose it because it's like the Casey Anthony case where a bunch of reactionaries basically demonize people and pin social problems onto these "monster" criminals. It feeds into the war on crime and all this hysteria that helps the ruling class oppress us better.

    However, there are some cases which are different because of the context. If a cop like Mehserle (who shot Oscar Grant) is actually arrested and tried, then I do want him to do time, not because it's "justice" or because I blame him personally or because I in any way think that the prison system has any beneficial use. I want him to go to prison because of the circumstances. Police never get arrested and it was community pressure and a movement that forced the system to grudgingly arrest him.

    It's the same in this Florida case. If the situation was different and a black guy shot a "suspicious" white guy in a gated community, then the trial would have been over long ago and the black kid would already have his prison cell decorated. Rather we see that this guy is still waling around free and if he ever is arrested it will only because regular people make the city take action. Whereas most sensational trial rush to condemn as part of the "war on crime" frenzy, his being allowed to walk free also is connected to this war on crime logic. The ruling class needs us divided, needs the war on crime as a social control tool, and needs the racism that glues it all together and so that's why their representatives in government and the media have been hesitating over this situation. There's too much pressure now, so they'll have to do something, but unless a real movement develops it will probably just be enough to try and make some of the messy questions this story brings to the light go away.

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    The guy confessed to killing the kid how can he be innocent?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Borz View Post
    The guy confessed to killing the kid how can he be innocent?
    He hasn't been proven guilty.

    I could confess that I killed the bloke, you could confess that you killed the bloke. (For the record i'm fairly sure neither of us have!). It wouldn't prove that we did it.

    The concept of innocent until proven guilty is an important one to respect, even if we can have our own opinions outside of the judicial process; I for one think that this Zimmerman bloke killed him. Still, we have to respect this fundamental principle, otherwise society will break down - and not in the good, revolutionary way that we want it to.

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