chapter  Chapter Seven
10 Pages

The Interaction Between Courts, Strategy and Goals, and Residents

ByJack Spence

In Nueva Habana the Neighborhood Courts were able to establish an effective criminal jurisdiction combined with means of enforcement and the beginnings of alternative means of treatment of offenders. The Neighborhood Courts could offer considerably more effective means of inducing disputants to come to court, and of enforcing judicial decisions or providing mediating services for those with disputes less well solved by judicial decree. The courts had diffuse goals, complex organizations, neighborhood-wide institutional procedures which sometimes used large assemblies, and, in some instances were controversial. In order to facilitate a close, non-hierarchical relationship between courts and residents, judicial power was removed from the too autonomous, too specialized Vigilance Front and placed within the overall levels of the political structure of the campamento. The political participation and learning strategy devoted most of its attentions to issues that had the highest and most immediate stakes—housing, health, provisioning, and to nationally related issues with local relevance, such as self defense.