Crimes of War, Crimes of Peace

TitleCrimes of War, Crimes of Peace
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1993
AuthorsMacKinnon, Catharine A.
JournalUCLA Women's Law Journal
Date Published1993

First paragraph: Where, after all universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home Eleanor Roosevelt

IN REALITY BEGINS PRINCIPLE. The loftiest legal abstractions, however strenuously empty of social specificity on the surface, are born of social life: amid the intercourse of particular groups, in the presumptive ease of the deciding classes, through the trauma of specific atrocities, at the expense of the silent and excluded, as a victory (usually compromised, often pyrrhic) for the powerless. Law does not grow by syllogistic compulsion; it is pushed by the social logic of domination and challenge to domination, forged in the interaction of change and resistance to change. It is not only in the common law that the life of the law is experience, not logic. Behind all law is someone's story-someone whose blood, if you read closely, leaks through the lines. Text does not beget text; life does. The question-a question of politics and history and therefore law-is whose experience grounds what law.

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