President William Clinton has just signed a bill that requires local notification of persons convicted of a sex offense after their release from prison. The law is an attack that working people and those who support democratic rights should denounce.
The legislation, commonly known as "Megan's Law" after a 7- year-old who was raped and killed in New Jersey, requires all states to notify communities when a person who had been convicted of a sex offense moves into their neighborhoods. The notification ranges from telling local officials to ordering visits with each neighbor, depending on the state's arbitrary classification of the person. The law adds years to a person's sentence without the right to a trial and jury. The law implores vigilantism, and becomes another handle for the police to go after anyone on "the list."
The passage of this law is part and parcel of a series of bipartisan attacks on democratic rights. From the omnibus "anti- terrorist" law and pending anti-immigration legislation, to the Clinton administration's so-called crime bill, the White House and Congress are trying to create a pariah layer who can be denied their rights and held up as a scapegoat for the social crisis that capitalism breeds.
"Megan's Law" has nothing to do with protecting women and children, as the president claims. The arrogance of the rulers' professed concern for children is especially hypocritical given Washington's six-year economic blockade that has starved hundreds of thousands of children in Iraq, as well as the continued attacks on welfare, Medicare and Social Security.
What this legislation does do is attack the presumption of innocence, the right to due process, and other Constitutional guarantees working people have conquered over decades. It is a law that can be used against working-class fighters, such as Mark Curtis. One of the pretexts under which this framed-up unionist has been denied release on parole so far is that he has been branded a "sex offender."
Workers and all democratic-minded fighters should demand the
immediate repeal of this latest legal attack on our rights.
Front page (for this issue) | Home | Text-version home