The Left and Crime

Dissident Voice : Should We Take Crime Seriously?
The Left is more out of touch with public opinion on crime than on almost any other issue. A perfect illustration of this was provided by an article in Socialist Worker last month headlined “Capitalism and Rape”. After criticising judicial and police attitudes to rape, the writer points out that rape is a “social problem” and “Socialist Worker has no tradition of calling for more arrests or harsher sentencing to deal with social problems.” The root cause of this social problem, we are told, is the alienation brought about by capitalism. As for the solution, we read:

Abusers should receive treatment and counselling to help them to live normal lives and prevent them repeating their behaviour. But to eradicate all forms of sexual violence we need to fight together to create a very different kind of society.

There are several things wrong with this analysis. To argue that there will be no rape after the revolution dodges two very important issues. Firstly: how should we deal with sexual violence until we abolish capitalism (assuming this is a long way off)? Should we console rape victims with the news that there will be no rape in the new socialist society? Secondly, it is utopian to argue that sexual violence will not be a feature “after capitalism”. While removing alienation might dramatically reduce instances of rape, it is unlikely to completely abolish the crime. All societies are faced with the problem of how to deal with anti-social behaviour, of which rape is an extreme example.