THE JUSTICE OF THE STATE
On June 11, Jeffrey “Free” Luers was sentenced to 272 months (nearly 23 years) in prison on charges related to an arson at the Romania auto dealership in Eugene, Oregon on June 16, 2000 and an attempted arson at the Tyree Oil company that supposedly occurred a few weeks earlier. During his trial, Free claimed responsibility for the fire at the Romania dealership that destroyed three SUV’s, but said that he had nothing to do with the attempt against Tyree Oil. The judge explained the severity of the sentence—a first offence felony in which no one was hurt—in terms of the impossibility of guaranteeing that the fire would not injure anyone.
One could go on about the injustice of the sentence, but to do so would be to speak on the state’s terms—as if there could be any sentence that was “just” in anarchist terms. In fact, the judge simply carried out the state’s justice.
Most of those reading this are quite aware that every time anyone uses an automobile, they are taking a dangerous implement in hand with no way of guaranteeing that no one will be hurt by their use of it. We also know of their environmental effects that most likely cut time off of all of our lives. And this does not take into account work-related injuries stemming from the manufacture of these vehicles. In this light, one could look upon Free’s act as reasonable self-defense. But whatever humanistic rhetoric the judge may have used, as a state agent his decision to give Free such a harsh sentence was not motivated by care for human life or well-being. Free’s action was an attack on a practical level against property, against profit, against the flow of commodity exchange. As such, it could be seen as a blow struck at the heart of this society—at the economy. If Free’s act had not been motivated be a conscious and socially aware rebellion against this society, it is doubtful that he would have been charged so severely let alone sentenced so harshly.
So this is how the state sees Free’s action. Free willingly attacked one of the foundations of this society. The bottom line of state justice is the defense of the economic and political institutions of this society. The state has carried out its justice. Now it’s our turn.