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Law in Class Society

Living Without the Law

'Living Without the Law'
Ruskin Hall, Oxford
Summer School 1994

Recorded: 
Saturday, 13 August 1994

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Should the workers obey the law? The working class viewpoint

The Capitalist Ideal ... 'a law-abiding citizen'

Those four words constitute the very highest eulogy than can be pronounced by capitalist lips. A man may be a poltroon or a hero, a rogue or a fool, a Christian or an atheist, an abstainer or a sot, a prince or a porter, but the finale for all worthy men alike, at the end of the day’s workless pleasure or pleasureless work, is this sententious approval – “He was a law-abiding citizen.”

On all other matters appertaining to the conduct of other people capitalists may be divided. One is monarchist, another republican, a third a teetotal fanatic, and a fourth a devotee of the hop and the grape, and the convictions of each play their part in the appraisement of the merits of their fellow men; but, whether they fill it with wine or water, not one would refuse to drain a glass and turn it, empty, down, to the memory of “a law-abiding citizen”.

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