Justice as…

As part of my Nuremberg: 2027 series on future war crimes trials (1, 2, 3, 4,5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16…)… I’m wondering what sort of justice works for the sorts of crimes a functioning international order might prosecute following international torture and rendition, domestic police brutality and killings with impunity, discriminatory drug policy, effectively legalized sexual violence, global mass surveillance, due process-free drone assassinations, and tens of millions of preventable deaths due to climate breakdown and hundreds of millions of displacements (disproportionately of black and brown people).

What’s the point of these future war crimes trials? Are we trying to deter more-future misbehavior—and if so, where’s the evidence for how extant processes or punishments do that? Are we trying to privatize the costs of these crimes on the people who profited from them—e.g., punishing the individual corporate leaders responsible for covering up climate change evidence when we had ample time to act on it as a civilization(and socializing the corporations)? Or is the first priority restoring quality of life to future survivors of international law violations that institutions today are failing to prevent—and if so, where’s the evidence for what works to do that? And are these questions on the right track for a Left version of the Shock Doctrine—or what is? 

“Justice as…”

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

“Justice as Retribution,” gouache on 28 x 35.6 cm paper.

“Justice as Retribution,” gouache on 36 x 48 cm paper.

A boot on the face takes care of your kind.

“Justice as Dominance,” gouache on 28 x 35.6 cm paper.

“Justice as Dominance,” gouache on 36 x 48 cm paper.

Same starting gun for people starting from difference places?

“Justice as Fairness,” gouache on 28 x 35.6 cm paper.

“Justice as Fairness,” gouache on 36 x 48 cm paper.

Or a more complex machine for making fair and equal races?

“Justice as Due Process,” gouache on 28 x 35.6 cm paper.

“Justice as Due Process,” gouache on 36 x 48 cm paper.

The death penalty for murder isn’t proven to deter.

“Justice as Deterrence,” gouache on 28 x 35.6 cm paper.

“Justice as Deterrence,” gouache on 36 x 48 cm paper.

And damages for violence can’t repair what you were.

“Justice as Reparation,” gouache on 28 x 35.6 cm paper.

“Justice as Reparation,” gouache on 36 x 48 cm paper.

The angel of history cannot awaken the dead and make whole what’s been smashed.

“Justice as Restoration,” gouache on 28 x 35.6 cm paper.

“Justice as Restoration,” gouache on 36 x 48 cm paper.

The blindest justice of amnesia denies what’s been slashed, has been slashed.

“Justice as Amnesia,” gouache on 28 x 35.6 cm paper.

“Justice as Amnesia,” gouache on 36 x 48 cm paper.

If you find and tell the truth, alone—what good’s a sleuth who speaks to no one?

“Justice as Investigation,” gouache on 28 x 35.6 cm paper.

“Justice as Investigation,” gouache on 36 x 48 cm paper.

Nothing left for justice but going on? Accept justice as injustice—and you’ve “won”?

“Justice as Injustice,” gouache on 28 x 35.6 cm paper.

“Justice as Injustice,” gouache on 36 x 48 cm paper.


7 thoughts on “Justice as…”

  1. Hi, Vera!!

    I HeArt the “Justice” painting series!!!
    Curious: how inspired by Rorschach are they??
    I particularly Like, “Justice As Reparation.”

    Glad you’re enjoying Berlin. . .
    When will your persona be making a Boston Visit next??
    The photos of you are Delicious: you are definitely coming into your own.

    Keep In Touch!!

    Best Wishes,

    (Englishman, Boston, MA)

    1. Hi Nick,

      Thanks for following my work. 🙂 I love this series too, and hope to get it into a more final shape soon. I’m thinking of ironing it, re-photographing it, and putting the images and poem lines together in a poster. I wonder if it’s something Syracuse Cultural Workers might be interested in… https://www.syracuseculturalworkers.com/

      Sure, Rorschach is one of many influences at work here. See also O’Keeffe as an inspiration for “Justice as Reparation,” where the dollar sign in the original (first painting of those two) echoes into a take-off on her cow skull in the reflection (second painting of those two) https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/52.203. In other words, you can’t take it with you when you go.

      As I told you in Boston, I didn’t feel safe there. I don’t plan to return to the US because of the harassment, intimidation, threats, and retaliation I experienced that it impossible for me to live and work in my own country. I’ve written several accounts of and reflections on these experiences over the years, since leaving America in 2015. A few of them are here:

      It’s nice to live in a place where I feel safe, among people who understand that the US is a police state, where I can make art and not worry that if I blog the wrong thing, my devices will be owned and I won’t be able to use my phone to make calls. If you feel like lending a hand, most of my stuff is still somewhere around Boston, and I’m having trouble coordinating getting it back. But it’s just a small bit of what I lost when I was attacked there, and I have built a better life here now.


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