We Are All Criminals. No One Deserves To Be A Slave.

Please read the following article: http://theinfluence.org/a-call-to-action-against-slavery-why-were-about-to-see-the-largest-prison-strikes-in-us-history/

This is important.

The control of black, brown, and poor white bodies by the State for the profit of wealthy white people, for the profit of businesses & corporations, and for the profit of the government, itself, is a tradition that has founded, expanded, and maintained the wealth and dominance of the United States. Slavery and genocide (genocide, generally, to aquire what the US wants – land, oil, wealth, power, position, etc.) have been going on since the beginning of the US and are more American than proverbial baseball and apple pie.

Slavery and genocide continue to this day. State sanctioned modern day slavery in the United States has largely manifested as the mass incarceration of black and brown (and poor white) people for the purpose of putting money into the hands of the corporations who own those prisons, corporations and business owners and governments who benefit from prison labor and the maintenance of control over despised demographics within the United States.

Prison labor is exempt from labor laws, can be compelled against the will of the inmate, is often paid pennies an hour or unpaid, and in no way prepares one for a life outside of prison. It is slavery.

People may say, “But those people are criminals. They deserve it.”

We are all criminals.

Who among us has never broken any law? Who has never crossed against a light, speeded, taken something that wasn’t ours, photocopied a book, burned a CD for a friend, used a recreational drug or a prescription drug off-label, driven with a rear light out, lied on our taxes, pushed or hit somebody when we were really upset, done something when we were desperate that we wouldn’t do if we weren’t desperate, or made a choice that harmed somebody that we would regret later?

We are all criminals, but not all of us have had our freedom taken away. Not all of us have been killed in the street for it or been taken into slavery. That honor generally goes to the least privileged classes of people in the US:  to black folks, to brown folks, to poor white folks, to homeless folks, to undocumented folks, to people whose first language is not English, to people dealing with mental/physical disabilities, to people struggling with addictions.

No one deserves to be a slave.

Prison abolition may sound radical, but so did the abolition of Slavery 1.0, back in the day. Let us work towards the abolition of Slavery 2.0: The Prison System. In the meantime, I would like for us to support and amplify movements that raise awareness of what is happening within the prison system and contribute to diminishing the reach of this current form of control of black, brown, and poor white bodies for the profit of wealthy white ones. These upcoming prison strikes are revolutionary and deserve our attention and support.

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Prison is for Poor Black Men, Right? Not Educationally Privileged White Women.

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/a29775/cecily-mcmillan-grad-school-to-jail/

I just read this article. It’s quite good. I was glad that I had read it. I also feel conflicted. I, too, am a woman and a I, too, went to graduate school. As a well-educated woman who is not (on the basis of gender and educational privilege, as opposed to, for example, race) a member of the main population targeted by the oppressive system of mass incarceration in this country, I feel very confused about things like “Orange is the New Black” and even this Cosmopolitan magazine article.

It is really helpful that the oppressive prison system is coming more into the attention of the wider culture. In both of these cases, it is through the vehicle of someone female and white and privileged, someone who is not supposed to be in that situation. Prison is for poor Black men, right? Not educationally privileged White women.

So, when educationally privileged White women get swept up into the prison system and they get out and write articles and books about it, people pay attention. However, this situation is going on all the time and our country, in general, turns a blind eye to it. It disproportionately oppresses and disenfranchises Black men. I don’t know if a poor, educationally-under-privileged Black man writing a book about the prison system would turn into a major television program or if a poor, educationally under-privileged Black man writing an article about the prison system would end up in GQ. It feels really complicated.

Yet, this person’s situation is just as deserving of attention (she got a felony conviction for elbowing a man in the face when he had violently grabbed her breast; the man was a police officer) and this person using her situation to draw attention to the incarceration situation in our country is a good thing.