Criminalization of Daily Life

That the charges in the trials often referred to events that had occurred decades earlier, that witchcraft had made a crimen exceptum, that is, a crime to be investigted by special means, torture included, and it was punishable even in the absence of any proven damage to persons and things — all these factors indicate that the target of the witch-hunt — (as it is often true with political repression in times of intense social change and conflict) — were not socially recognized crimes, but previously accepted practices and groups of individuds that had to be eradicated from the community, through terror and criminalization. ln this sense, the charge of witchcraft performed a function similar to that performed by “high treason” (which, signficantly, was introduced into the English legal code in the same years), and the charge of “terrorism” in our times.The very vagueness of the charge — the fact that it was impossible to prove it, while at the same time it evokcd the maximum of horror — meant that it could be used to punish any form of protest and to generate suspicion even towards the most ordinary aspects of daily life.

–Silvia Federici, Caliban and the Witch

RAND: Film piracy, Organized Crime and Terrorism [pdf]

“If it’s not a crime for a mother to intentionally end her pregnancy, how can it be a crime for her to do it unintentionally, whether by taking drugs or smoking or whatever it is?”

Feds Charge Activist as Hacker for Downloading Millions of Academic Articles


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