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Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Fighting for Justice (Geocities Rescue)

Establishing the rule of law is essential for protecting any development scheme in either the Third World or in economies emerging from state control. Corrupt regimes otherwise attempt by fiat to protect their own interests at the expense of their citizens, as current experience in Russia and China so amply prove.

As economic conditions improve due to the adoption of Cooperativism in the developing and formerly socialist world, a middle class emerges that demands basic human rights. Their aspirations should be supported by their employers and by people of good will everywhere. A worldwide consortium of attorneys is formed to assist in this effort. The need for such a consortium is not limited to the developing world, as the state of justice in the so-called developed world leaves much to be desired. This consortium is called Justice Advocates International, with the appropriate suffix given the customs of the nation in which it arises.

Legislative Advocacy

The consortium works in the areas of both legislative advocacy and legal representation. Legislative advocacy is essential, especially in nations with a less than developed common law. In these nations, the first function is to organize support for the rule of law and the right to injunctive and tort relief.

In many nations (including this one), the criminal code is particularly oppressive and is often used as a tool to oppress racial and sexual minorities. Many criminal felonies that are regarded as fodder for late night talk show humor are, or have been used in the American South to disenfranchise African-American males. Drug laws are also used to fulfill that function. Justice Advocates concentrates on the repeal of such oppressive legislation. Especially in the area of drug abuse, a shift is sought from criminalization to medicalization, as described in other essays. JAI also seeks the repeal of laws that reflect religious dictates, especially if their purpose is to place non-believers in an inferior status, as well as laws that are used to perpetuate slavery or slave-like conditions. Much immigration legislation in this country has this effect, since undocumented aliens fear that seeking relief results in sanctions against them, rather than their oppressors. Laws criminalizing prostitution often serve the interests of pimps more than they serve the interest of public morality. Rather than punishing prostitutes, mandate that they be tested for drug and alcohol abuse and referred involuntarily to treatment. In many places, laws against prostitution are used to advantage by corrupt police or military officials. This must end. Economic arrangements also come under scrutiny, especially when these involve usury or predatory financing, including check cashing services, sub-prime mortgage lending and exploitive car financing arrangements.

Litigation

Justice Advocates International represents citizens against exploitation at the hands of both governments and employers. It develops a foundation for the representation of anyone who is the target of organized oppression, especially those instances that demand less media attention. There are many organizations that already do this sort of work. Justice Advocates reaches out to them for inclusion in our efforts. JAI does not attempt to reinvent the wheel, but to seeks a coordinated partnership for all of its spokes. Instances where peonage is practiced come under intense scrutiny, especially when it is undertaken with the support of local law enforcement. Judgments are also sought against those who engage in usury or predatory financing.

Justice Advocates facilitates the move to economic justice. They represent employees who seek ownership in their place of employment, including workers in the former Soviet Union or in China who have been cheated by Oligarchs and party bosses. They also represent the interests of those in the developing world who have been blacklisted and seek damages in those cases where violence and murder have been used. Multi-national corporations who seek to exploit rather than empower workers are held responsible in U.S. courts of this nation for any support of activities that violate the rights of their overseas employees. Firms with exclusive supply arrangements which attempt to mask ownership are held accountable for the actions of their supplies and subsidiaries, as are firms who do business with Russian and Chinese firms who have cheated their workers or who rely on slave labor.

Justice Advocates also represents communities who are victimized by environmental pollution. Injunctive relief is sought to force the installation of adequate pollution controls. Tort relief is also sought, including relief against parent companies in the developed world. While the fights against deforestation, global warming and acid rain are commendable, as long as gross violations of reasonable restrictions on point-source pollution occur such causes seem trivial.

Justice Advocates seeks to guarantee the rights of native peoples to tribal and ancestral lands, both in the United States and in Latin America, where land reform has long been denied.

Justice Advocates proactively lobbies and litigates against political corruption in the United States, including electoral and campaign finance reform, which is discussed in the next chapter.

Finally, JAI is to be guided by a new International Bill of Rights, which is also proposed as the Bill of Rights for the Alliance described in the essay on Allied Government. Unlike the Universal Declaration of Human Rights enacted by the United Nations, violations of these rights are to be actionable.

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