Archives for the month of: January, 2015

by Harold M. Frost IV

The American policing, legal, and penal systems are badly in need of revolutionary reform; the current system is an inhuman and inhumane monstrosity. The currently existing cruel injustice system must be reformed according to principles of love, compassion, and fairness, in order to provide for keeping society safe and secure without violating peoples’ human rights and civil rights.

Policing in America needs reform! Police must protect and serve, and enforce what is right, and not brutalize and oppress people, and not be guardians of a cruel and unjust status quo. Police officers should be highly trained professionals; they should all have four full-time years of training, including training in law (including Constitutional law) and in how to be loving and compassionate in the execution of their duties, as well as necessary training in other aspects of policing; and they should be paid accordingly. This should be phased in over a fifteen year period. They must not harass and oppress and disproportionately arrest people of color. All cops who are racist, homophobic, misogynistic, egotistical, violent, or cruel should be fired at once, and be given three months’ wages severance pay (for the sake of their families). “Stop and frisk” policies must immediately end, and police must not interfere with peoples’ right to demonstrate and protest.

The legal system also needs reform. Draconian laws and mandatory minimum sentencing must end, and be replaced by laws that are both fair and merciful. No person should be subjected to excessive punishment. Marijuana must be legalized, and the “war on drugs” must end. The drug problem should be dealt with by education, treatment, and providing meaningful opportunities for all people, not by policies of mass incarceration. Mass incarceration must end! America imprisons more of its people than almost all other countries- this must end! It is unacceptable that people of color are disproportionately sent to prison. A great many prisoners should be released immediately, and some of those on house arrest/probation/parole should be released from the system. Prosecutors should only prosecute cases where a person is probably guilty, and they must not withhold evidence that would be in favor of a defendant. Jurors should be permitted to vote according to their consciences, and they must have the right of jury nullification (that is, to refuse to convict if they deem a law to be unjust in general or unjust as applied in a particular case). Defendants must be provided with adequate and competent counsel in all criminal cases. Capital punishment must immediately end; it is barbaric.

The prison system as it exists now is very cruel and barbaric and must be reformed. Loving rehabilitation must replace cruel retribution. Prisoners must be loved—this will in most cases make them better people. Prisoners should not be deprived of any necessity, including adequate and competent dental and health care, and they must not be mistreated in any way. All prison guards and wardens who are cruel, racist, homophobic, misogynistic, violent, or egotistical must be fired at once and be given three months wages severance pay, for the sake of their families. Prison guards should all have four years training, including training in love; this should be phased in over a fifteen year period. Solitary confinement is extremely cruel, and must end immediately.

If the above changes are made to the American system of policing, and the legal and penal systems, our country would be a better and more humane place, and there might even be less crime. Let us all fight for the cause of love, in these and all things, for the betterment of our country and our world!

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Dear Occupy Catholics,

Blessings and peace to all!

We—a team of Occupy Catholics who helped found the group in New York City—have a proposal. Many of us feel that the Occupy moment has passed. We are finding ourselves and our movements going in new directions, with new language—from Keystone XL blockades to #BlackLivesMatter, from worker-owned co-ops to sanctuary for immigrants, from contemplative activism to debt abolition. We see these developments as part of the same story as Occupy, even if they take different forms and belong to a different time. We want to adapt our Christian witness in tune with them. One of the ways that we’ve been doing this is through Guerrilla Communion, a new, slowly growing group of Catholics supporting one another in their faith, and supporting the movements for justice around us, through a network of small groups in different communities. Here’s our fledgling website.

What we propose is to transfer the Occupy Catholics online networks over to Guerrilla Communion, thereby using the momentum Occupy Catholics has continued to build for an organization that will keep its spirit alive in more adaptable ways. This would include our Twitter account, our Facebook page, and our mailing list. This website would remain as is, standing as a record of Occupy Catholics’ work over the past several years.

Meanwhile, we invite Occupy Catholics supporters everywhere to consider starting their own Guerrilla Communion groups to help foster safe space for the intersection of faith and justice in your communities. If you want to explore doing so, please let us know at info@guerrillacommunion.org.

Please offer your thoughts and responses below. This is just a proposal, and we won’t proceed without widespread agreement.