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During the same period I have published several dozen reviews and commentaries on studies and papers in criminality, delinquency, and other forms deviant behavior in urban areas. Mr. McNAMARA. What, Mr. Lerner, do your studies reveal or indicate are the basic subjects or problems which must be considered in any discussion of urban political rioting : Mr. LERNER. There are five or six major sets of problems which can be subdivided further into many categories, depending on our interests. For an analysis of recent urban rioting in the United States, I believe it is convenient and meaningful to consider these problems under the headings of: urban disorganization and poverty; community conflict (social, religious, economic, ethnic, .." et cetera); criminality and delinquency: domestic subversion; and foreign subversion. Mr. McNAMARA. Would you describe what you mean by “urban disorganization and poverty” Mr. LERNER. “Urban disorganization and poverty” refers to all those physical, cultural, social, and economic characteristics of city life which are associated with slums or ghettos. Among these are crowded population; substandard health conditions; uncomfortable and demoralizing living quarters; inadequate food and clothing; feelings of estrangement and hopelessness (“no one cares about us”); unemployment; educational deficiencies: lowincome jobs with high drudgery content; and the presence of what might be called “pathological cultures,” such as criminality, delinquency, drug addiction, alcoholism, and other kinds of behavior which spoil, weaken, or pervert the quality of life—even for those persons who are not participants in these cultures, but who must experience them because they are neighbors. Mr. McNAsso. And what do you mean by “community conflict”? Mr. LERNER. “Community conflict” refers to any strife between two or more groups within a community over social, religious, economic, ethnic, racial, or political issues. Even if the problems of urban disorganization and poverty could be solved overnight, the ethnic and racial contention which has been generated over the past 10 to 15 years probably would itself be sufficent to cause periodic eruption of rioting by Negroes and Caucasians, although by no means on the scale which we have witnessed in recent ear’S. y The pressures for segregation and for integration, the provocative demonstrations, the blacklash, the separatist propaganda and agitation, and the rapid growth in acceptance of white and black racial myths—while related to urban disorganization and poverty—are sufficiently independent, and powerful to constitute a distinct set of problems or “pathologies” requiring its own set of remedies. Mr. McNAMARA. Would you elaborate on the subject of “criminality and delinquency,” which you have indicated as another matter? What must be considered in the study of this problem? Mr. LERNER. The category of “criminality and delinquency” refers to the various forms of antisocial behavior which are in violation of the law. These forms of behavior range from professionally and chronically criminal acts as a way of life—that is, as a full-time or part-time occupation or avocation—to incidental, impulsive, opportunistic, or symbolic acts.
The looting which takes place by backing a truck up to an appliance store, loading it with goods, and transporting the goods halfway across the country—as cited by Mr. Younger—suggests the involvement of a professional burglar. On the other hand, most of the widespread, mass thievery which has occurred during rioting in recent years and which has involved persons who take advantage of the apparent availability of appliances, clothes, food, and so forth, would represent incidental, opportunistic, and impulsive forms of criminality and delinquency. They all have in common an intention to engage in action which violates a law, some sort of actual behavior which constitutes a violation, harmful consequences which have been forbidden by law, and several other technical characteristics of crime, such as the concurrence between criminal intent and criminal action, a causal relation between the action and the harmful consequences, and the existence of legal prohibitions and legally prescribed penalties for the behavior. Therefore, they are all, technically speaking, criminal or delinquent acts. Unlike the problems in the first two categories, those that we have referred to here as criminality and delinquency may not be sufficient in themselves to cause large-scale rioting. Professional criminals and amateur or incidental lawbreakers have been participating in recent rioting usually as opportunists who take advantage of momentary chaos and disorder to benefit in a comparatively petty way. But small-scale, localized disorders can be caused by organized criminals or gangs who plan to exploit the confusion by engaging in burglary; and such disorder also can be provoked by demonstrators who may deliberately violate local ordinances as symbolic protests against real or alleged injustices—sometimes represented by the ordinances themselves—or real or alleged injustices committed by persons in positions of authority. Noteworthy characteristics of criminality and delinquency as related to urban rioting are: 1. They can be provocative of small-scale riots. 2. They are conducive to subversion—both in the near term and the long term. In the near-term situation they provide opportunity for subversive exploitation. In the long term, they depreciate respect for law and authority and thereby reduce community resistance to subversive influences. Mr. McNAMARA. What, Mr. Lerner, is the relation of urban disorganization and poverty, community conflict, and criminality—the first three subjects you mentioned—to “domestic subversion” and “foreign subversion,” the two subjects which are of particular interest to the committee” Mr. LERNER. The first three subjects have two major kinds of significance for subversion: exploitability and fertility. The problems which are represented by those subjects can be exploited by subversives. That is, they provide opportunities and instruments for subversive activity. *. problems related to urban disorganization and poverty are not created by subversives; but these problems themselves do create a tremendous degree of frustration and resentment which can be channeled by subversives into destructive acts such as those which we have experienced in the recent riots.
The racial discord—which is part of community conflict—in the same way can be channeled into acts of rioting, burning, looting—acts which do not resolve the discord, but instead aggravate it. Criminals and delinquents can be utilized as gangs to intensify and prolong rioting which has already begun—and at least theoretically can be used to help initiate a riot in an area which is already riot prone. On the other hand, even if professional subversives did not already exist, the kinds of problems which we have grouped under the first three categories would in themselves breed subversive activity. Without any other class of problems, we should expect that rioting would occur in this country periodically, either because of the resentments derived from urban disorganization and poverty or because of the resentments caused by various forms of community conflict—especially the racial. And we should expect that among the participants in such riots there would be persons whose objectives were not limited to protest, to criminal opportunism, or to solution of poverty or conflict problems within the framework of existing institutions and legal procedures. Persons with subversive goals—bred in the deeply frustrating and embittering conditions which we have referred to-would emerge. Mr. McNAMARA. You have made quite frequent references to subversion and subversives. What do you mean by those terms? Mr. LERNER. Subversion is any activity which has as its objective the illegal displacement of power from one group to another; the weakening or destruction of the social, political, and economic institutions of a society; or the weakening or destruction of national cohesion through propaganda, military and industrial sabotage, or other economic or political measures. The aim of a subversive is not to solve problems, but to exacerbate and create problems; not to improve our institutions, but to destroy them; not to arrive at consensus, but to cause disunity; not to cure, but to control a society through illegal means. While Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, and the various interest groups which are represented by legal political organizations seek to win advantages for their respective groups, they compete for these advantages within existing political institutions and within conventional rules of the game. Debate, strikes, boycotts, legislation, price competition, and specific and workable programs of social and economic change are among the activities and products of legal political action. Among those who en#. exclusively in legal political action, there apparently is no probem of loyalty and allegiance to the Nation. But among those who engage in subversion, the problem is disloyalty and loss of allegiance to our institutions. Subversion is political criminality. Mr. McNAMARA. What distinction do you make between domestic and foreign subversion ? Mr. LERNER. A domestic, or “benign” subversive is a person whose disloyalty, alienation, and illegal activity are directed against our national institutions, including our political structure and the incumbents of power, but whose loyalty and allegiance to the Nation—as a people—are still intact.
He can say truthfully, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States and to the Republic for which it stands”; and presumably he would help defend this country against attack from the outside. A foreign or “malignant” subversive, on the other hand, is a person who is uncommitted to the Nation and who may in fact be an agent of a foreign power with primary allegiance to that power. Although he may have been born in this country and may retain his citizenship, his allegiance to the Nation is minimal or nonexistent. In the first case we have a revolutionary who is genuinely interested in the well-being of the Nation, although he may be misguided. In the second case, we have a revolutionary who is uninterested in the welfare of the Nation and may be bent on weakening or destroying it so as to gain advantage for one or more other nations. Mr. McNAMARA. Why do you make a distinction between these two types of subversion and deal with them separately? That is, the domestic and the foreign. Mr. LERNER. The distinction is made for the same reason that distinctions are made among and within all of the five classes of problems which we have mentioned; namely, that all are separate kinds of problems and therefore may require different solutions, even though they may be related to one another in political discourse and action. Benign and malevolent subversiveness are closely related social and political diseases. But a remedy for the first may be the improvement of the operations of our society, while a remedy for the latter may be entirely different. If we cure or remove the benign, we may do so permanently. If we remove the malignant, it will probably recur. A domestic subversive who theoretically seeks social justice, albeit through illegal means, is quite different from a foreign subversive who—functionally speaking—is an invader and who, in the early stages of the invasion, makes substantial use of the power of ideas o than the force of arms and therefore should be treated accordingly. The former can be acting in good faith where the Nation as a whole is concerned. The latter is more likely to be an instrument of nations antagonistic to ours (although he is also likely to believe that he is merely enlisting their support). A...". distinction between these two types is crudely drawn. We should examine the nature of subversiveness much more closely than we have done customarily. We may find that the chances for rehabilitation of persons in various kinds and degrees of subversiveness will vary. Domestic subversives probably would be more easily retrievable than the others. Mr. McNAMARA. Based on your studies, Mr. Lerner, what are the circumstances under which political rioting occurs? Mr. LERNER. In answering that question, it is helpful to consider . three subjects: the functions of government, how those functions are defined or interpreted by the persons governed, and organized exploitation of real or alleged governmental inadequacies and injustices. Mr. McNAMARA. Would you explain each of those in turn, beginning with the first one you mentioned, the function of government. Mr. LERNER. Although there are many conceptions of the functions of government and how they should be performed, there are certain
kinds of activities which are essential to the existence of a society and which normally are performed by the government in modern societies.
Among these essential activities are: promulgation and enforcement of laws; maintenance of internal and external security; equilibration among conflicting interests when equitable settlements cannot be reached by the conflicting parties themselves; devising and administering programs for the economic, social, and medical health of the nation, and maintenance of enough of a sense of national unity and understanding to permit the nation to operate as a unified system.
Every citizen may be thought of as a party to an implied, quasicontract with members of the government. In exchange for his vote and for the payment of his taxes he expects that a large number of functions and services essential and nonessential-will be performed and that they will be performed with degrees of competence and justice which are greater than he could expect if he found it necessary to perform those functions alone or in the absence of government.
Now most citizens may not think of the existence of an implied contract of this kind and may not express their conceptions of governmental functions in this way. But I believe that this statement is consistent with the positions which most citizens would take.
Regardless of how we may prefer to express it, from a behavioral standpoint, the function of government is to meet the terms of the implied quasi-contract—as defined and interpreted by the citizen.
Mr. MCNAMARA. Would you explain what you mean by the definition or interpretation of the function of the government, as distinguished from the actual function?
Mr. LERNER. This definition or interpretation is usually quite vague and changing. It is based largely on feeling, sentiments, and incomplete information. But it is especially significant because the attitudes which a person has toward the incumbents of government and—under some circumstances—the degree of allegiance which he has toward the government depends greatly on the way in which he appraises the competence and the justice with which governmental functions are performed. It is not the actual competence or the actual justice, but the way in which these qualities are perceived or understood that affects the attitude a person will take toward his government.
One of the indispensable characteristics of American interpretations of just and equitable performance of governmental functions is the idea that there is to be uniformity in the way that Government functions and services are applied.
It is expected that all groups and individuals will be treated by the Government on the basis of the same standards. It is expected also that the benefits or the penalties which a person receives from the Government will depend on what he does rather than on which
group he belongs to.
Another indispensable characteristic of governmental justice as understood in this country is the idea that Government has some responsibility for assuring that there is no gross inequity in distribution of goods, in social status, or in any other aspect of the society.
Poverty, racial and ethnic prejudices, urban blight, educational deficiencies, crime and delinquency, for example, are regarded as concerns of the Government, although there are differences of opinion