Tag Archives: criminal justice system

The Beatles v The Rolling Stones: Legal trouble

image courtesy of buzzgrinder.com

Personally, I have weighed in on the debate many times. Only once on this blog have I even approached the subject. It’s usually a non-starter. I am growing more confident, however, that my preference is also defensible: The Rolling Stones were/are a superior band to The Beatles. This series of posts is merely a collection of arguments in the debate.

“[T]he dark side of this [the drug busts and conviction in 1967] was discovering that we’d become the focal point of a nervous establishment. There’s two ways the authorities can deal with a perceived challenge. One is to absorb and the other is to nail. They had to leave [T]he Beatles alone because they’d already given them medals. We got the nail. It was more serious than I thought. I was in jail because I’d obviously pissed off the authorities.” (Richards 2010, 227)

There is some room for explanation of why this quotation falls within this debate, but only if you do not already have a healthy skepticism of government and the criminal justice system. In which case there is no hope for you.


Richards, Keith. (2010). Life. NY: Little, Brown and Company.

Notecard of Knowledge: peal

peal – 1. a loud, prolonged ringing of bells  2. a set of bells tuned to one another  3. a series of changes rung on a set of bells  4. any loud, sustained sound or series of sounds, as of cannon, thunder applause, or laughter

Hence the importance of habeous corpus, or freedom from imprisonment without due process of law, the deepest tone in freedom’s peal and fundamental to sailor, slave, and citizen.  (Linebaugh & Rediker 2000, 236)

If anyone is interested in revolutionary thought and history I highly recommend the Linebaugh & Rediker book.  It is not a book that would jump out at you, but it is well worth it. I am so glad Dr. Greene made it required reading. The Haiti discussions are particularly interesting and revealing.

The problem, of course, with habeous corpus is its reliance on due process.  Sometimes there is nothing due about the process.  It can be capricious and arbitrary.  Just because it has been vetted doesn’t make it just.  There are some particular cases I am thinking of in this case.  But there is an important lesson for radicals in my rant: we need political capacity and cannot rely upon fundamental protections.

In many cases this concern for political capacity can be considered a ‘base’.  It used to be that a jury would acquit in the kinds of actions we carry out.  Now that is in doubt as the nation falls deeper into fear: fear for our children, fear of terrorism, fear of immigrants.  The state has even outmaneuvered dissent to disallow a jury in some cases.  And these cases NEED NOT be violent.

Peal.  The problem is that radicals used to be part of a series of ongoing dissents.  Now, however, those dissents are dampened into Tea Party anger at life’s disappointments instead of real struggles.  The peal is now those people living afraid in their gated communities fearing those of us outside the fence.  My little rant, hardly a peal in and of itself.

Linebaugh, Peter & Marcus Rediker.  (2000).  The many headed-hydra: Sailors, slaves, commoners and the hidden history of the revolutionary Atlantic. Boston: Beacon Press.