The Case for a Coalition Against Consensual Crimes

Resolved:Opposition to so-called “victimless crimes” or “consensual crimes” has long been a hallmark of libertarian and anarchist thought. It’s time the ball started rolling a little bit faster on this question. These kinds of laws are the primary reason why the U.S. police state has grown dramatically in recent decades, and are the primary reason why the U.S. prison population is so large. While some progress has been made in the areas of medical marijuana and marijuana legalization in recent years, for the most part there has been very little traction on the issue of consensual crimes. This is because neither the Left nor the Right has adopted it as a primary issue in the way that the Right has adopted gun rights and the Left has adopted abortion rights and gay rights. It would appear that this is a natural issue for libertarians and anarchists to take up, and essentially make this into a definitive issue for all enemies of the state.

We need to begin organizing a political coalition of all those impacted negatively by consensual crime laws for the purpose of repealing all of these laws across the board and at every level of government. It would be a mistake to focus on some of these laws on an individual basis (for example, focusing solely on drug legalization or solely on repealing seat belt laws). Rather, it is best that opponents of these laws unite and take up each others’ banners in the name of unity of those persecuted by the state. The first order of business might be to make up a list of specific laws to be repealed and policy actions to be pursued. My recommendations would be these:

-Repeal of all laws criminalizing the possession and/or sale of drugs by and for adults, an end to drug prosecutions and arrests, and the release of all drug war prisoners.

-Repeal of all laws barring consensual adult prostitution, an end to all consensual prostitution prosecutions and arrests, and the release of all prisoners incarcerated for consensual prostitution offenses.

-The same set of recommendations as above with regards to gambling.

-The same set of recommendations as above with regards to the illicit production of alcohol (“moonshining”).

-The repeal of all laws pertaining to vagrancy, panhandling, or sleeping in public where this does not involve obstructing traffic, undue harassment, or trespassing on other people’s property.

-The repeal of laws barring consensual assisted suicide.

-The repeal of all laws banning smoking on private property if the owner wishes to allow smoking.

-The repeal of all nanny state regulations pertaining to foods, beverages, seat belts, or motorcycle helmets.

-The repeal of all laws barring sexual relationships between consenting adults (to the degree that any of of these remain).

-The repeal of all laws barring voluntary, consensual practice of polygamy.

-The repeal of laws criminalizing underage drinking or smoking.

-The repeal of compulsory school attendance laws.

-The repeal of mandatory Selective Service Registration for eighteen year olds.

-The repeal of laws criminalizing or banning alternative food or medical practices such as the use of raw milk or midwifery.

-An end to state harassment of unconventional religious sects.

-An end to the involuntary psychiatric incarceration of persons labeled “mentally ill” but who have not been convicted of a crime.

-An end to mandatory minimum sentencing.

-Dismantling of police SWAT teams.

-Informing jurors of their nullification rights.

This would seem to be a pretty good list to start with. Of course, there is always gray area when discussing consensual crimes. Some libertarians argue drunk driving is a victimless crime as long as you don’t actually hurt anyone. Statutory rape is another gray area issue as it involves people who are not considered adults. Advocating legalizing all sex between consenting adults spills into taboo topics like incest that would make many people uncomfortable. Advocating legalizing polygamy would certainly be controversial, but much less so now that gay marriage is about to be legalized nationwide. There are also those who argue that mere possession of child pornography should not be criminalized. Again, some gray area there. Building an effective coalition of this type may require leaving out a few things that would be the most offensive to the public and to other coalition members.

But all things considered, the creation of a coalition against consensual crimes would seem to be a very practical, viable, and strategically beneficial means of building the leftist and libertarian wings of the pan-secessionist radical alliance and the pan-anarchist struggle against the state.

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5 replies »

  1. CACC: Coalition Against Consensual Crime. Similar advocacy groups on the left and right canvass the neighborhoods of their respective demographic’s strongholds and phone bank their supporters for donations to fund their work. I worked for one such outfit when I was younger.

  2. The more I think about it, the more I think anarchists and libertarians need a set of “wedge issues” that are important issues but are not presently being addressed and that they can use to fully distinguish themselves from both the left and the right.

    Support for gun rights and the pro-life cause is a hallmark characteristic of the Right, and support for gay rights and the pro-choice cause is a hallmark characteristic of the Left. It’s natural that opposing consensual crime laws would be the variation of this for anarchists and libertarians, and it allow us to stake out a position for ourselves that was in opposition to left and right and in opposition to the establishment simultaneously.

  3. What I love about the repeal of prostitution is that it will freak out the moral prudes on the left and the right.

    To move forward with such a project:

    • Develop a body of research that lists the costs of enforcing and or incarcerating the perpetrators of each victimless crime across the country
    • Develop a standard persuasive argument for the repeal of each crime
    • Demonstrate the negative impact of these crimes as reasons for the police state to exists. “X number of SWAT raids are conducted each year to combat Y law. Z number of citizens are killed as a result of these raids.
    • Take all of the above and apply it to the state level and start a state level organization (OCACC for Oregon Coalition Against Consensual Crime, VCACC for Virginia or whatever.)
    • Identify specific state and federal laws that need to be repealed and build campaigns around repealing these laws
    • Use a website or street canvassing to build support and get people to write letters, testify before state legislature, etc.
    • Eventually build a base of grassroots donors to support this sort of work

    It’s a tall order. I’d suggest anyone interested in this kind of project set up there own state specific website. I’d be willing to work on a template for Oregon. The initial phase of setting up a site/organization would be to recruit enough dedicated people to keep the organization running and expand it. For instance, with a body of research at the National and state level I could set up a slick site for Oregon to serve as a template, update it weekly, and recruit a handful of people to take over the project. Then I could either stick with the project or move to a more advisory position and help someone else in another state set up shop.

    Maybe after Free Nations Day….

  4. The number one topic that directly affects well over 10% of the population is felony disenfranchisement. The extended families of those labeled felons by our criminal government probably make up an even larger percentage of the population. The label of felon prevents people from earning a living, taking part in the “democratic” process and possessing a firearm to defend themselves and family in an increasingly dangerous America. What kind of justice is it that punishes a man forever for an offense that he has already paid his dues? In our American police state it’s not hard to unwittingly commit a felony. The justice system needs grist for it’s mill. How else will the parasitic class eat? This is the topic that will unite a plurality of Americans across race and class lines. Yet neither Democrat nor Republican would dare raise it. The people yearn for an alternative. We should give them one.

  5. Given that many of those who are labeled as “felons” are in fact those who have been persecuted by the state under consensual crime laws, it seems like the issues you are raising would be a part of opposing consensual crimes in general.

    Although I also think it’s not enough to attack the legal system by merely opposing consensual crimes. The entire apparatus and process of “criminal justice” needs to be opposed, from “three felonies a day” bullshit laws, to police brutality, to paramilitary policing, to mandatory sentencing, to prosecutorial misconduct, to judicial incompetence, to private prison profiteering, to prison conditions, to the death penalty.

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