Sunday, December 03, 2006


This letter was sent to the STAR TRIBUNE but never published.
The Recent outrage over the Dru Sjodin case means the Minnesotans have to face up a clear choice. Do you want to use your finite prison space on imprisoning people who merely offend your moral sensibilities or do you want to use your limited prison space to lock up people who do actual harm and who should be locked up for the protection of the rest of us? A three strikes and you're out law for serious criminal sexual conduct such as rape would have saved the lives of many recent victims of sexual predators since many of the victimizers would have previously had their third strike and have been safely locked away for good. But every time such a proposal is made, we are met with a barrage of objections saying we cannot afford to build the necessary prison space. Yet the January 10, 2003 Star Tribune reported that there were 1,137 drug offenders who comprised 18% of Minnesota's then 7,022 prison inmates. The January 13, 2004 Star Tribune reported Minnesota had 7,500 inmates as of January 9, 2004. At a cost of $80.00 per day to incarcerate a prisoner, the drug offenders were costing the state $33,200,700 per year. If Minnesota repealed its drug laws and released all its drug offenders, we would have had an extra 1,137 prison cells and over thirty-three million dollars to lock up the murderers, rapists, armed robbers, etc who really do hurt the rest of us. Why should I or anyone else care what substances someone else puts in his or her body? To paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, it neither picks our pockets or breaks our legs.
Robert Halfhill125 Oak Grove, Apt 41Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55403-4308Phone: 612-870-8026e mail:


The following post was submitted to the Green Alliance discussion list. From : "" <> To : Subject : Re: [greenallianceus] Being Anticapitalist Date : Tue, Aug 02, 2005 03:16 PM Robert Tice throws in our face that there has never been a socialist society in existence. Whet he forgest is that occasionally there IS something new under the sun. Once, during the entire 100,000 years or so that modern humans had existed on earth, NO ONE had EVER achieved heavier than air flight. In 1903, the Wright bothers achieved it for the first time. New things appear in the way human societies are organized too. For over 90% of human history, everyone lived in small, nomadic, hunting and gathering groups. Human societies had no classes. 10,000 years ago, humans started practicing agriculture, although NO ONE HAD EVER done that before. Around about the same time, or shortly afterwards, humans domesticated animals for the first time. Population grew larger and denser and the first class societies developed in spite of the fact that, if Robert Tice had been there, he could have pointed out that there had NEVER been a class society. Although there were democratic societies instead of societies ruled by kings in some of the ancient city states, and some of the rudimentary parliaments that developed in late feudal Europe, there later developed the innovation of localities electing representatives to a national parliament, so that representative government could exist over areas larger than a city state, even though with the exceptions of the Swiss cantons and, perhaps, Holland, these parliaments were still subsidiary to the authority of monarchs. But the inhabitants of what later became the United States launched the almost unprecedented experiment of a society governed by a representative body instead of a monarch. This "democracy" did not have much reality for those without much wealth, since those with great wealth were the ones who really ran things. But even this formal, capitalist democracy was an hitherto unprecedented social innovation. What those of us who are socialists are proposing is yet another social invention, a society in which democracy is extended into the economic foundations of society and made real instead of being a mere legal formality to cover up the fact that it is the people with great wealth who run things. There would no longer be people with massively disproportionate wealth and the workers in any workplace would elect their managers. In fact, the managers will no longer be managers but elected representatives. Since there will no longer be a hidden ruling class ruling behind the scenes, there is a reasonable expectation that this democracy will be deeply rooted enough to not be subject to the pressures that periodically threatened even capitalist democracy during the abolition of habeas corpus during the Civil War, the suppression of dissent during World War I and the McCarthy period after World War II, and the present pressures leading to dictatorial government after 9/11. I can just hear the sneering contempt of Robert Tice and others upon hearing our proposal for a hitherto untried social system that has never existed anytime or anywhere. But evolution has not stopped with the end of the 20th century so we do know that there WILL be new societal as well as technological innovations. And the present capitalist system is headed towards multiple disasters, among which nuclear war and ecological collapse are only a few, so we will HAVE to try something else. Robert Halfhill Minneapolis