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Posts tagged with "injustice"

Authority? Who is the Authority?

Probably you have already seen the following video, and if you did not please watch it in order to understand easier the rest of the blog entry:

As you can watch in the video, Penélope Soto goes from an initial fine of 5.000$ for drug possession (leaving aside my opinion on such stupid charge) to 10.000$ and 30 days in jail, just because of her misbehavior during the trial.

When I watched the video, I thought the same as probably any of you: “how can she be so stupid?”. And for some millisecond we also might think that she also deserved the final penalty. 

However, after some more minutes thinking about the issue, a horrible feeling shook my body and I started asking questions to myself: what changed in her original crime (drug possession) from the beginning of the trial to its end, for the sentence to change so dramatically? Considering that the initial cause did not change, the increased 5.000$ and the 30 days jail could only be due to her misbehavior laughing and flipping the judge off. Is this misbehavior then much worse than the drug possession crime itself, in order to deserve a much more severe condemn?  And if it is, how do you measure when are you misbehaving during a trial not to upset the judge? And why only 30 days and not 60? Or 20.000$?

In other words: what can you do against the arbitrariness of an authority? 

The answer is clear: in the current world, and in most of the cases, either you live in a comfortable western democracy, in a theocratic regime or smashed by a totalitarian government, you can not do anything (*).

How many times do you pay a fine/bail/etc., even if you know very well that you are innocent, because you also know very well that appealing would take you much longer and it would be probably also costlier? How many times you accept the violation of your privacy or rights by the airport security personnel just to avoid missing your flight and/or sleeping in the jail?  How many times you have been faced with the police and had to accept charges for reacting bad to their initial violence just because they are “the authority” and “it is your word against theirs”? I could go on ad infinitum. 

There must be few feelings worse than the feeling of injustice and impotence altogether, when facing the arbitrariness of the so-called “authorities”. And in most of the cases, the only thing you can do is to bite your tongue, eat your proud, look down, shut up your mouth and accept the punishment. Well, maybe it is not the only thing that you can do, but at least on average it is the most intelligent one. In other words, the authority forces you to be a coward. They know it. And they (almost) always win.

Either it is the “contempt” for the “authority”, the presumption of veracity of the “authority” over you, or any other arbitrary legal form that can be used to make you feel the fist of the power, the only exit that you will have, if you don’t want to make things worse, is to accept that you have lost. I have seen this many times in my life and I will still see them many more I am afraid. The reason (and evil excuse) for this, that the so called authorities and also many people will argue is obvious: you security! In order to reinforce the law, all these legal figures and the superiority of the authority is needed. As if “your security” could relieve your mind when an innocent is condemned or an injustice done

Therefore let’s establish the following baseline: I do not recognize any authority. I behave politely and with respect to all individuals I meet, I expect the same from them, and I do not concede any degree of authority to any individual, either he/she is a judge, belongs to the Government, to the Monarchy, to the police or to any other organization granted with a special superior status above the rest of the humanity. Anything that I do to them shall be punished in the same way as if it were done to anybody else. And if for anybody else what I did was not an offence, it shall not be either for them.

Therefore, I do not tolerate any misbehavior  arbitrariness or injustice of such authorities. The only and one reason why I might behave like if I were accepting their rules is in order to avoid greater pain for me. I am libertarian, but I am not idiot. However, I will fight with all my efforts everyday of my life for them one day to lose the degree of “authority”.

P.S. 1: I know that all what I described about has to do with the State, the monopoly in the use of force, and all the things that libertarians fight against everyday. But I wanted to talk about it from a different perspective.

P.S. 2: If you want to know how the story of Penélope Soto ended click here. Of course, she behaved in the expected “coward but intelligent” way.


(*) Please, get the point of the comparison. Of course the consequences are different in any of the compared types of systems, and in the democratic ones you may appeal whilst in the other you will probably be killed. But I am talking about the essence of the consequences of facing the authority: unfairness.  

Disclaimer: I am not a legal expert or a lawyer but I suffer everyday the “authorities” so I feel myself empowered to talk about them.

In democracy the majority rules, right? #let #tlot

In democracy the majority rules, right? #let #tlot

Chronicle of the infamy

Finally the Spanish Libertarian Party – Partido de la Libertad Individual (P-Lib) – has been banned and will not be allowed to participate in the next general elections. P-Lib is not the only party that has suffered the antidemocratic attack of the new regulation (Pirate Party also, for instance), but it has been the only one that has been arbitrarily banned after fulfilling all the conditions to participate. Here is the sequence of events, that we would like to share with the entire world to show which kind of “democracy” we have in Spain, and also how Spain is getting closer and closer to pseudo-democratic regimes like Venezuela and Argentina, where basic freedoms and rights are being violated everyday.

On 29 January 2011, Saturday, a new regulation of the Spanish General Electoral Law (LOREG) was published. Nobody made any noise on it, neither the Spanish media, totally submissive to the politic power, nor the political parties in the Parliament (of course). In this new regulation, the political parties that were not already in the Parliament, needed to present before they could participate in any electoral process, a number of endorsements (i.e. signatures) equivalent to the 0,1% of the population of any of the areas in which the country is split electorally speaking. This implies that, for instance, in the case of the province of Madrid, almost 5000 signatures were needed to be collected. The conditions were more challenging that only the collection of the signatures, because the political parties that were not already in the parliament had only 20 days to do it, and with an additional difficulty: the signatures had to be unique per each political party. Hence, the 20 small political parties that usually were participating in Madrid, for instance, needed to obtain for the signatures of at least 100.000 citizens to be able to be present in the electoral process. In 20 days.

But it was not only the difficulty of such conditions. It is also what in a democratic country that implies: citizens were requested to disclose, with name, Id number and signature, their electoral preference. Totally antidemocratic. Logically many, many of them rejected to sign, as vote is, in accordance with the Spanish Constitution, secret.

The reason for this modification in the law was clear: day after day the Spanish citizens are getting more and more pissed off with the Spanish politicians that only rule in their own benefit, far from the real needs of the people and that consider politics as a way to live comfortably without effort and just living from the result of the work of the citizens. Hence, new political parties were appearing with great success that were threatening their comfortable status-quo. They needed to stop it. And they did it.

However, the P-Lib succeeded. People belonging to the party, together with friends and other supporters spent the ruled 20 days in the streets (I did it also a couple of days) collecting (or trying to) the requested signatures. I can not describe with words the personal effort that it implied and how difficult it was, you need to live it in order to know it. But the people had a lot of hopes and wished and they/we considered that it was worthy. 

Monday 17th of October, the last day to present the signatures, the P-Lib presented 5540 (the minimum were around 4600) in Madrid, and around 1000 in Zaragoza (the minimum were around 700) in the Electoral Council Offices of each city. Therefore, in Madrid, the P-Lib presented almost 1000 signatures more than the minimum requested. It was done…

… or not.

On Wednesday 19th of October, the Electoral Council of Madrid communicated officially to the P-Lib that they had discarded more than 900 signatures because they were supposed to be erroneous. However no evidence of this was provided (no evidence could be provided because they never checked the 5540 signatures, but only some and made an extrapolation). Nevertheless the P-Lib was officially given an additional period of 48 hours to collect the 94 additional signatures needed to reach the minimum limit.  P-Lib activated again the people and in 24 hours was able to collect more than 550 signatures

But in the evening of the Thursday 20th of October, when al the new signatures had been already collected ready to be presented on Friday 21st of October, the Electoral Council of Madrid communicated (again) to the P-Lib that, contradicting what they had said the day before, no additional signatures were allowed to be presented to solve the problem

Therefore, from that moment on, the P-Lib was de-facto out of the electoral process. Considering that the Electoral Council never justified exactly which of the 5540 were wrong, the party had not possibility to solve this issue. And in case that they were really wrong (the 900 they stated), the signatures were collected in the street so it was not possible to find the people who signed. The Electoral Council new that it was materially impossible.

On Friday 21st however the P-Lib presented the additional 560 signatures together with a petition to consider the additional signatures as it was stated by the same Council on 19th of October. However the P-Lib was officially communicated that they were out of the elections. 

And this is how we are today. For first time in the democratic history of Spain, legal political parties will be prevented of participating in democratic elections. But not only that. What happened to the P-Lib shows the arbitrariness that you need to face in order to make use of your democratic rights. Improper of a (self-called) civilized country belonging to the “first world”.

Now the only exit that the P-Lib will try is the legal one: P-Lib will go to the Spanish Justice to present their case and, if possible, to try to impugn the whole electoral process. However, considering that in Spain the judges are elected by the same political parties that are present in the Parliament (yes, this is the way the justice works in Spain), there is no hope on the success of this solution.

It is possible that the candidature of Zaragoza will be accepted (no problems have been communicated), but until Monday we will not know this. In any case, considering the population of both cities, deactivating the candidature of Madrid, the Electoral Council has killed effectively any possibility for the party to obtain representation in the parliament.

All the efforts of so many people will have been useless. All the hopes and wishes of dozens of people that worked hard will have been despised. And thousands of Spaniards will not be allowed to vote to the political option they wanted

¿Spanish democracy? 

Update (25/10/11): the infamy is confirmed.