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Posts Tagged ‘circulation of bodies’

“We crave hearing that we’re alright, we’re not alone, we’re accepted in spite of our flaws. Belonging is an essential human need. (Fascists understand this basic fact; neoliberals don’t.) Loneliness, it turns out, negatively affects not only our psychological well-being, but also our physical health. And yet we have apparently chosen, via liberal democracy, to live according to a system of social organization that requires us to be jumpy paranoids, suspicious of everyone and terrified of our own potential mistakes. Believers in capitalist liberal democracies may cluck at the over-the-top Maoist inquisitions devoted to revolutionary self-criticism, but our society encourages us to practice the same extravagant self-loathing, only privately. That’s why America’s vast therapeutic brain trust has steadily eradicated the language of solidarity and class consciousness, honed through collective struggle, and replaced it with exhortations to “do what you love” and “live your best life.” Both aphorisms imply that what we’re currently doing is not enough.

…But here’s the truly wonderful thing about neoliberalism—as it turns us all into paranoid, jealous schemers, it offers to sell us bromides to ameliorate the very bad feelings of self-doubt and alienation it conjures in our dark nights of the soul. Neoliberalism has not only given us crippling anxiety, but also its apparent remedy. It is no coincidence that as we become more nervous, “wellness” and “self-care” have become mainstream industries. Over the last few decades, workplaces have become ever more oppressive, intensely tracking workers’ bodies, demanding longer hours, and weakening workers’ bargaining rights while also instituting wellness and mentoring programs on an ever greater scale.

Occasionally, the contradiction of punitive, intrusive “wellness” becomes too ridiculous to bear and cracks under its own weight. One oft-mentioned catalyst for the recent teacher strike in West Virginia was a proposal to mandate the monitoring of teachers’ bodily movement via Fitbit just as the state government moved to limit pay raises and school funding. Capitalism will deplete you, while letting you think you have the means to improve your lot. Indeed, it will attempt to force its therapy on you. In the case of West Virginia’s top-down Taylorist wellness crusade, the state authorities clearly overplayed their hand; far more common are employer-sponsored initiatives, whether packaged as mindfulness training or meditation classes, that have been inserted into our working lives to help us talk ourselves down. Mindfulness—a state of hyper-awareness tempered with disciplined calm—has become the corporate mantra du jour. By encouraging increasingly put-upon employees to assume tree poses or retreat into an om in the face of frustration, corporate overlords mean to head off any mutinous stirrings before they have a chance to gain momentum. Even if CEOs themselves occasionally adopt these regimes with apparent sincerity, mindfulness serves the companies’ bottom lines first and foremost because it is fundamentally anti-revolutionary. “It’s hard not to notice how often corporate mindfulness aligns seamlessly with layoffs,” Laura Marsh writes. “Employees need a sense of calm too when their employer is flailing. Those productivity gains—an extra sixty-nine minutes of focus per employee per month—count for more when the ranks are thinning.”

…It’s also no coincidence that the politician who presided over the final triumph of neoliberalism as American social and economic common sense was Bill “I Feel Your Pain” Clinton. Clinton threw poor single mothers off of public assistance, but any cost-cutting pol can do that. Clinton’s gift was that he could make even self-identified left-liberals feel good about such punitive policy shifts, by making it appear that they were in fact helping these women help themselves. In many ways, Clinton’s sleight of hand encapsulates neatly the narcissistic feedback loop of neoliberal positivity, which focuses on what feels good, rather than what is gracious and just.”

– Miya Tokumitsu, “Tell Me It’s Going to be OK.” The Baffler, Issue 41. 

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“Every day at about 5pm, 60-year-old Willard Birts has to find a power outlet. Then he has to wait two hours next to it while the battery on his ankle monitor recharges. If he lets the battery drain, or enters San Mateo county, he risks being sent back to jail while he awaits trial.

Birts pays $30 per day – that’s $840 per month – for the privilege of wearing the bulky device. It sucks up all his income, leaving him homeless and sleeping in his Ford Escape in Oakland.

“It’s like a rope around my neck,” he told the Guardian, a cable snaking across the floor from his ankle to the wall. “I can’t get my feet back on the ground.”

The use of GPS ankle monitors in the American criminal justice system is on the rise – up 140% between 2005 and 2015, says the latest data available. The government uses these devices to track the location of individuals to make sure they are complying with the terms of their release, whether that’s being at home every night after a certain time or avoiding specific places. They appear to offer a tantalising alternative to jail and the chance to be with family on the outside.

It pretends to be an alternative but it’s actually a form of incarceration

But wearers described them as digital shackles that deprive them of their liberties in cruel and unexpected ways.

“It pretends to be an alternative to incarceration but it’s actually a form of incarceration,” said James Kilgore, who runs the Challenging E-Carceration project at the Center for Media Justice.

The rules for electronic monitors differ depending on the county and the offence. They are used both pre-trial and during parole and probation. In some cases the county covers the total cost of the technology – after all, it’s saving money on extra beds in prison – while in others fees for the wearer range anywhere from $10 to $35 per day.

Beyond the financial costs, ankle monitors introduce new ways for the wearer – disproportionately, people from impoverished and socially marginalised communities – to end up back in prison.

“The minute you have a device on you you can go back to prison because your bus is late, or the battery dies or there is a power outage,” Kilgore said.

Private companies will sometimes offer their surveillance technology at no cost to cash-strapped counties, instead pushing the cost on to the wearers.

William Edwards, a 38-year-old former office clerk, was made to pay $25 a day to wear a GPS-tracking ankle monitor between January and April 2017.

He had been driving an acquaintance’s car with the owner in the vehicle when police pulled them over in November 2016. Police found drugs in the owner’s bag and a gun in the glove compartment and arrested both men.

Edwards, who suffers from chronic myeloid leukemia, spent December 2016 in Alameda county jail in California, where his health began to deteriorate. He was released on the condition that he wore a GPS monitor.

“You just think about the opportunity of being home with the people who care about you,” he said. “But it was horrible. A living nightmare.”

Although Edwards had no convictions – and the charges were later dropped – he spent months as a prisoner in his own home, constantly harassed for money by LCA, the company that provided the tracking service. LCA demanded to know what his girlfriend earned so they could base their “means-tested” fees on his household income.

“I felt like I was dealing with a mafia loan shark,” he said.

Edwards is using the legal system to fight back. He is part of a class-action lawsuit against LCA and Alameda county, filed in early August, which accuses the county of allowing a private company to make profit-driven decisions about people’s freedoms, denying them due process. It accuses LCA of extorting fees from people through the threat of incarceration, in violation of federal racketeering laws.

The restriction of liberty is a government function, but when that service is provided by a private company there’s no public oversight of decision-making. In the case of LCA there’s no transparency over how it decides the fees to charge nor the techniques it users to ensure people cough up.

“You would never let a public probation officer threaten someone with jail if they can’t pay a fee,” said Phil Telfeyan, the founding director of Equal Justice Under Law, which is bringing the suit. “We’re not going to let a private company do that either.”

LCA declined to comment.

‘These are not silver bullets’
Despite the surge in use of ankle monitors, there’s not much rigorous research to suggest they are effective at preventing people from absconding or re-offending or at keeping the public safe. Some studies have, though, shown they can be useful for ensuring that sex and drug offenders comply with the terms of their parole, such as home confinement orders.

In many cases they add an administrative burden on probation and parole officers who have to deal with thousands of daily alerts, errors and false positives. This “crying wolf” aspect has caused officers to miss or ignore important alerts, meaning the public is lulled into a false sense of security.

In Colorado, a parolee called Evan Ebel cut off his ankle monitor before murdering a Denver pizza delivery man. He then tracked down Colorado’s prisons chief and shot him dead at his home. Parole officers didn’t realise he had gone awol for several days.

In California, the sex offender Phillip Garrido wore a GPS monitor and was visited at his home by parole agents at least twice a month. It took 18 years for agents to discover that he had been keeping Jaycee Dugard captive in his garden, having kidnapped her as a child. During that time Garrido repeatedly raped Dugard, fathering two children.

– 

Olivia Solon, in Oakland, “‘Digital shackles’: the unexpected cruelty of ankle monitors.” The Guardian, August 28, 2018. 

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“Immoral Women Are In The Toils,” Sudbury Star. August 21, 1918. Page 08.

From recent arrests made by Provincial Constable George Grassick there has apparently been an influx of immoral women from Montreal into this district of late. They have been given short shrift by the provincial policeman, however, as two of the number already taken into custody say they have been in the district but two weeks. They have been making their headquarters at Stobie Mine. On the occasion of the police visit to the place, however, only one girl, Cecile Gauthier, was found at home. Ellen Sunden has since been arrested, while a girl named Hilda is still at large.

CLEAN UP THE NEST
The two girls so far arrested have pleaded guilty, but have been remanded for sentence for a week.

‘Clean up the nest,’ Magistrate Brodie told the police when he deferred sentence Tuesday morning.

WANTS TO MARRY GIRL
A young well-dressed Italian, with a brush cut and of a smart appearance, came forward to the dock in Tuesday’s court and offered to marry the Gauthier girl if the Magistrate would release her. The girl is but eighteen years old, well dressed and good looking. After a few questions the magistrate decided against the union, for a time at least.

GAUTHIER GIRL’S STORY
Cecile Gauthier told the court that she came of good people in Montreal and that her step-brother was a Jesuit Father in that city. Addresses were given the court. The girl continued that she had left Montreal in company with two other girls and had told her parents that she had secured a position with a Montreal family as nurse girl and companion. From Toronto they came to Sudbury, which proved to be the end of their journey, the trio running foul of the provincial police.

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“Garson Farmer Faces Charge Of Harboring,” Sudbury Star. August 21, 1918. Page 03.

Dominion Police State Edward Martell Is Hiding Cousin.

The first charge of harboring a deserter to be laid by the Dominion Police at Sudbury was read in Monday morning’s police court, against Edward Martell, Garson township. He is charged with harboring John Martell, his cousin, a deserter from the C.E.F. The case was adjourned until Saturday morning next. It is understood that the court is prepared to take a lenient view of the case providing that in the meantime Pte. Martell, the deserter, is delivered to the military. B. Boutet appeared for accused Monday morning and entered a plea of not guilty.

While this is the first charge of harboring to be instituted by the Dominion Police, there have been many instances where prosecution could have been started for harboring, aiding and abetting. Flagrant cases have been known to the police, in which the mothers of the offenders have played important parts and it was mainly for this reason that no action was taken.

MORE SHOOTING
More shooting is reported from Garson township in addition to that which took place and is daily taking place in Blezard township. The Dominion police last Thursday went out to the Edward Martell farm in Garson township and while making enquiries at the farm house were shot at by some one, presumably John Martell, the deserter, who was concealed in the barn. He later made good his escape to the bush and is still at large.

BOOZE BURIED IN GROUND
The Ontario Temperance Act is no respecter of persons. It may happen that Luigi Augustini, hard working man and the father of five young children, one of whom is very sick, may have to go to jail for three months. There is, however, another side to the story, that of Chief Brown, of the municipal police.

The hardship plea failed to move the court Monday morning when Augustini was fined $300 and costs. A few days ago one Koski, up on a drunk charge, disclosed the source of his supply, a case being later found buried beside the Augustini residence. The plea that some one else had buried the case beside the house was also put forth, the possibilities of which were dwelt upon eloquently and at some length by Mr. J. A. Mulligan, counsel for accused. Magistrate Brodie also turned a deaf ear to this plea.

But all’s well that ends well, and there is a chance now that kind friends will come to the rescue of the poor, hard-working Augustini and pay his fine, the authorities having agreed to a recess until Saturday next.

THREE MEN AND A GIRL
A pretty, young French-Canadian girl of eighteen summers, Cecile Gatien, who originally hails from Montreal and has been in these parts but two weeks, was found in a house Saturday night with three Austrians. Provincial Constable Grassick was out that way on another mission Saturday night last when three autos in front of the house attracted his attention. All lights had been darkened on the autos and he was unable to secure numbers as they scurried away. There is a suspicion that they were licensed jitneys. Several complaints about the house have been made to the police.

Two of the men came from Murray Mine and for that reason the charge of leaving their place of residence without the permission of the police failed. The magistrate held that as there was no registrar at Murray Mine, and as Stobie and Murray are in the same municipality, this charge could not succeed. The third young foreigner, however, come from Garson, which made $10 and costs difference.

On a charge of being frequenters of a house of ill fame and three men pleaded guilty and paid $10 and costs.

The young girl pleaded guilty to being a keeper, her counsel asking a week’s remand, which was granted. She has a lover, a young Italian, it is understood, who is willing to go to the altar with the erring girl, and in case the marriage materializes the leniency of the court for a chance to make good will be asked.

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“City Items,” Montreal Daily Witness, July 12, 1871. Page 03.

Mary Ann Sullivan, a girl of only 10 years of age, who recently escaped from the Reformatory, was arrested yesterday by Constables Armor and Martel, and to-day was sent back to the Reformatory.

Escaped. – Yesterday a boy named Louis Vian, aged 15 years, was arrested by the detectives on suspicion of being concerned in the Gault outrage. The circumstantial evidence against him was very strong, and a handkerchief which belonged to Mr. Gault was also found in his possession. After his arrest, he was put in the cell along with other prisoners to await examination at the Police Court to-day. During the night, however, Master Louis Vian managed to effect his escape by, it is believed, crawling through the ventilator in the cell door. The aperture in question is less than nine inches square, and Vian must have been very dexterous in getting through and afterwards clearing off from the building without being noticed. Three or four persons previously arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the Gault outrage, were to-day shown to Mr. Gault, but the latter failed to recognize any of them, and they were sent to jail as vagrants.

Attempted Imposition By A Carter. – Until cabmen are peremptorily and severly dealt with, their daily tricks and impositions on the public will never be put down. Charles Lapointe, 21, carter, who resides in Craig street, was charged at the Recorder’s Coourt to-day with refusing hire. It appears that on Tuesday morning Mr. Treasurer Black came off the Quebec boat and prisoner was one of several cabmen who solicited hire. Mr. Black hired Lapointe, who on second thoughts wanted to know where he was going, and if to a fire, and finally, with an oath, refused to drive him. Chief Penton gave Lapointe anything but a good character, and His Honor said that this system of carters bullying people and levying black mail must be stopped; and every case proven would be severely punished. Lapointe was fined $8 or one month in jail.

Loafing Vagrants. – At present there seems to be an unusually large number of loafing vagrants about the city. Louis Deschamp, 35, alias Leon Richer, laborer, from St. Urbain street; Michel Dubois, 34, laborer, St. Dominique steet; Xavier Beauvais, 27, carter, carter, Papineau Road, and a disreputable woman named Adeline Lefebvre, 29, were arrested at 5 o’clock this morning by sub-Constables McCormicck and Depatie, who had watched the gang for some two hours previous, when they were in a field off Sherbrooke street. At the Recorder’s Court to-day, it was stated that the prisoners are strongly suspected of being concerned in some recent robberies, and His Honor committed them each for two months; also Joseph Dupont, 20, vagrant, from Campeau street, against whom the detectives are working up a case of burglary.

Sarah Alcock, 44, an old vagrant, Mary Ann Lanigan, 29, and Elizabeth Dunn, 29, both found loitering on Champs de Mars, were each committed for a month; also Mary Ann McDonnell, 45, and Ann Meaney, 23, who were found in a drunken disgraceful state on Logan’s Farm. His Honor said that a law would soon be in force, by which vagrants for second offence may be committed for two years.

Alphonese Labreque, 24, laborer, and who, the police stated, was the ‘fancy man’ of the keeper of a brothel, was arrested along with Joseph St. Jean, 27, stone-cutter, loitering with a prostitute, and they were each fined $2.50 or 15 days in jail.

POLICE COURT – WEDNESDAY. – A woman who was arrested on a charge of breaking a pane of glass in the door of E. Costello, was discharged for lack of evidence.

Edmund Fegan 62, a vagrant from Common street, was arrested for stealing coal on the wharf and was committed as a vagrant for two months,

Eliza O’Brien, wife of James Mourney, of Colborne Avenue, was charged with using insulting language to Catherine Mullins, wife of James Mourney, Jr., and was fined $10.75, including costs, or fifteen days in all.

Damase Piebe, shoemaker for assaulting Augustin Guibord, was fine $7 including costs or 15 days.

George Clarke, Fil, alias Williamson, alias Henderson, charged with stealing four billiard balls belonging to Mr. Chadwick, St. James street, was remanded for examination. The balls were found in his possession, but Clarke says he brought them with him from the United States early in June last.

RECORDER’S COURT – Wednesday – This morning the sheet contained fifty cases, and nearly one-third of those were persons arrested in connection with a house of ill-fame in St. Elizabeth street, where the police made a raid last night. With such a programme before the Court it was no wonder that the place was thronged by those peculiar and miscellaneous personages, the largest proportion of whom are of a vicious character, who watch the rise and fall of the criminal barometer with an interest that is whetted and increasing in proportion as the details are disgusting.

Frederic Lafontaine, 32, agent, or manager of the Toronto House and Edward Rheaume, 24, shoemaker, who got quarrelling and attempted to fight at the door of the above tavern, were each fined $2.50 or 15 days in jail.

Fabien Beaudouin, 22, carter, drunk in Notre Dame street; Daniel Murphy, 40, agent from Quebec, drunk in St. Paul street; François Ganthier, 48, blacksmith, drunk in Panet street; Michael MccGeary, 36, laborer, drunk, in Commissioner street; J. Bte. Deslauriers, 52, laborer, drunk in St Paul street; J. Bte. Braurmter, 58, laborer, drunk in Perthius street; Jos. Power, 19, laborer, drunk in Manufacturer street, and Daniel Gibson, 34, a respectably dressed man, drunk in Cahboulez Square Fire Station, also a woman, were each fined in small sums for being drunk; while Richard McDonnell, 27, baker, drunk in the city cars, was fine $2 or 15 days.

George McNeil, 32, shoemaker, and George McNulty, 55, laborer, both drunk in Lacroi street, and insulting people, were each fined $2.50 or 15 days.

Joseph Howie, 26, shoemaker, was fined $5 or 30 days, for loitering in Campean street with a prostitute, named Adeline Lefebvre, 39, who was committed for a month.

Thomas Cleary, 29, mechanic, residing in Dorchester street, got drunk last night, and was smashing the furniture and threatened to throw his wife out of the window. As the wife failed to appear, Cleary was let off with a fine of $2.50 or 15 days in jail.

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