Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

BLACK AMERICAN GULAG


Just back home from the United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC) conference. During lunch yesterday a plenary panel was held on the topic of "The War at Home on the Black Community: Mass Incarceration, Unemployment, Stop and Frisk." Eight activists from the black community spoke and their messages are worth sharing.

One talked about how the prison industrial complex is now completely interwoven into the national economy in the U.S. Thus it should come as no surprise that while blacks make up just 12% of the population in the U.S., they comprise 60% of the prison population.

In fact 1 out of 8 prisoners on the planet is an African-American.

Seven million Americans cannot vote these days because they have been convicted of felony offenses - a great majority of which are drug related. More than half of America's 6 million prisoners are in jail for drug convictions, with 80% of those in jail for "possession."

As we look at expected demographic changes in the U.S. in the next 20-30 years, blacks and Hispanics will become the majority population. Thus if the oligarchy successfully removes a significant number of those citizens from the voting rolls, the power elite stand a greater chance of maintaining political control.

By locking up vast numbers of people of color the power elite also successfully fragments the social fabric of black and Hispanic communities thus lessening their chance of developing generations of educated, active, confident, and politically powerful people. It's a form of social genocide.

One of my favorite speakers on the panel was Glen Ford from Black Agenda Report. He strongly made the point that while corporate globalization no longer needed many of what have become superfluous populations due to mechanization, computerization, robotics, and job out-sourcing, the central dynamic responsible for the huge black prison population remains to be white supremacy. He named it the "Black American Gulag."

In the end one of the speakers said that the black community across the nation remains in a state of sustained indignation. All of us should be outraged and indignant over the way blacks continue to be "legally lynched" in this country.

The recent shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida is just one more example of this legal lynching. Still the killer of Trayvon has not even been taken in by the police for questioning, let alone arrest. If the situation was the reverse, if Trayvon had shot a white man, he would have been arrested on the spot and a slam dunk case would be well underway ensuring that he would remain locked up for the rest of his long life - or knowing that it is Florida - he would be facing the death penalty by lethal injection.

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