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Red BritainThe Russian Revolution in Mid-Century Culture$
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Matthew Taunton

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198817710

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198817710.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 21 September 2021

Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

(p.112) 3 Crime and Punishment
Red Britain

Matthew Taunton

Oxford University Press

Marxist predictions that in a Communist society crime would cease to exist were not borne out in the Soviet Union, leading G. K. Chesterton to quip that ‘the Socialists used to say that “under Socialism” nobody would lose his temper or quarrel with his mother-in-law’. Instead the Communist government presided over a redefinition of the concept of law, inventing categories such as ‘enemy of the people’ and holding trials that simultaneously aped and travestied notions of ‘bourgeois justice’. The question of the law’s supposed objectivity, and the validity of normative theories of justice, were particularly important questions. These were some of the most visible and widely debated features of the Soviet regime, and this chapter explores British intellectuals’ engagements with Soviet justice. Writers discussed include Arthur Koestler, Stephen Spender, D. N. Pritt, and the Duchess of Atholl.

Keywords:   Marxism and law, Socialism and law, Moscow Trials, literature and law, trials, show trials, Arthur Koestler, Communism and law

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