THE STATE IS ONE
On July 1, the International Criminal Court will begin its activities. Its proclaimed purpose is to prosecute "dictators and war criminals". Though the Bush administration opposes it and Congress has passed a law forbidding people at all levels of government from cooperating with it, U.S. lawyers’ associations and human rights groups welcome it.
The current U.S. government opposition to the court can only be looked upon as a conflict over jurisdiction. The U.S. government has made it abundantly clear that it favors global policing and prosecution by carrying out numerous police actions around the world, sending in troops to arrest Noriega in order to prosecute and punish him here, making similar threats against Saddam Hussein and going on an extensive military search to track down Osama bin Laden for prosecution. From this, it is clear that the U.S. simply wants no competition in its current role as world cop, prosecutor, judge and jury. After all, a world criminal court may accidentally prosecute a good dictator or a good war criminal. Or, more significantly, this court may claim jurisdiction over bin Laden – and then where would America’s fine civilized tradition of capital punishment come in?
But in my opinion, Bush and his government lackeys are obviously missing the point. Global state institutions are probable among the best defenders of super-state and corporate power. According to one news story, this new court "closes a gap in international law by holding individuals, not nations or armies, responsible for the most horrific crimes. Here the capitalist/state version of "individualism" is upheld. States, corporations, the current social order are not responsible for the atrocities inherent tin their functioning. Rather specific individuals (each more or less responsible for choosing to carry out the role assigned them by the social order) will provide scapegoats. Specific military and political officials (each, indeed, more or less contemptible) who have become a burden to the great powers will take the rap. Thus, once again, the "individualism" proclaimed so loudly by the democratic states acts as a tool for upholding the power of the state and capital, and so for suppressing real individual freedom.
The International Criminal Court, like the United Nations, the World Court and similar bodies, is an international state institution, which, like all state institutions, strives to maintain social peace by any means necessary. It clearly shows that like capital, the state is global, like capital, the state is one.
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