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black mass incarceration

Time For A Political Response to the Crisis of Mass Incarceration: Join the Campaign To End Mass Incarceration

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

  • Because the U.S., with 4.5 % of the world's population, has 25% of the planet's prisoners.  We are the world's first prison state.

  • Because African Americans, who are one eighth the nation's population, are almost half it's 2.3 million prisoners, and because Latinos, also an eighth of the U.S., are more than a quarter of the locked down.

  • Because prisons do not make us safer.  Incarceration rates DO NOT match rates of crime or drug use.  Whites, blacks and Latinos have nearly identical rates of drug use, but the "war on drugs" is almost exclusively prosecuted in nonwhite and poor neighborhoods.  Local police funding is often tied to drug arrests, and nonwhites are universally charged with more serious crimes, convicted more frequently, and sentenced more harshly than whites.

  • Because former prisoners are viciously and almost universally discriminated against in housing, employment, health care and the right to vote for the rest of their lives.

  • Because if Dr. King were alive today, he too would oppose the prison state the U.S. has become.

Listen to Black Agenda Radio on the Progressive Radio Network, with Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey

Carol Moseley-Braun Last Major Black Candidate Standing in Chicago

The former U.S. Senator finally emerged as the Black “consensus” candidate in the city’s mayoral race. But labor activist James Thindwa says Moseley-Braun brings lots of baggage, having “managed to alienate major Democratic progressive constituencies" during her 1993-99 term. “Some energy is firming up around her now,” says Thindwa, “but that’s because there is no alternative.”

Retaliation Against Inmates in Georgia Prisons

Attacks against inmates by prison guards “were carried out in retaliation for the statewide prison work stoppage, and were not isolated,” said Georgia State NAACP President Edward O. Dubose, speaking for the Concerned Coalition to Respect Prisoners Rights. Some assaults on inmates occurred after visits to prison facilities by the Coalition delegations.

200th Anniversary of Largest U.S. Slave Rebellion

The 1811 slave revolt near New Orleans was the biggest and most organized slave uprising in U.S. history, but “because of the power of slaveowners in Louisiana, information about the rebellion was largely suppressed,” said community historian Malcolm Suber. Over 100 slaves were killed in battle and more than 60 others were executed, their heads “placed on pikes that lined River Road between St. John’s Parish and New Orleans.”

Cuba has been biggest medical helper to Haiti both before and after last January’s massive earthquake, says journalist and community activist Ray LeForest.

The Tea Party is about “putting white people first,” says BAR senior columnist Margaret Kimberley. “The whole notion of a post-racial United States is a farcical one.”

The “For the People” Summit in Washington, January 20-22, will confront the idea that “corporations are, somehow, persons with certain inalienable rights,” says Backbone Campaign leader Bill Moyer.

The Wikileaks controversy is an excuse for governments and corporations to perfect their own cyber weapons, says Prof. Christopher Simpson, of American University, in Washington.

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Medical Neglect Stalks Georgia Prisons

Can't breathe? Crushing chest pains,... creeping up the side of your neck? See a doctor? In prison? Don't bet on it.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution and New York Times Twist GA Prison Strike into a Scare Headline & Profit Opportunity

Where most of us saw poor people reaching across lines that divided them to take a courageous stand against long odds, corporate media see something else....

Brutal Reprisals Against Peaceful GA Inmate Strikers Confirmed. Was One Victim Hidden For Weeks By Prison Authorities?

By BAR Managing Editor Bruce A. Dixon

Why was Macon State Prison inmate Terrance Deane brutally beaten by prison authorities, and his condition and whereabouts concealed from his family and the public for almost two weeks? How many other inmates have been savagely attacked by correctional authorities in retaliation for the prisoner strike of December 2010?

Community Coalition Meets With GA Corrections Officials, Visits First Prison. What Would Dr. King Say or Do?

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon, with assistance from Ingemar Smith

Last Friday members of the Concerned Coaltion to Protect Prisoner Rights met with Georgia correctional officials. The following Monday they commenced the first of a series of fact finding visits to the state's correctional institutions, seeking the reasons and right response to the stand of inmates demanding their human rights. Dr. King's annual holiday is coming up too. What would he say about the prisoners and the nation's misguided public policy of mass incarceration? What would he do, and what should we?

GA Prison Inmate Strike Enters New Phase, Prisoners Demand Human Rights, Education, Wages For Work

Story by Bruce A. Dixon, audio interview by Glen Ford

Georgia prisoners who began a courageous, peaceful and nonviolent protest strike for educational opportunities, wages for their work, medical care and human rights have captured the attention of the world. Black Agenda Report intends to closely cover their continuing story. Glen Ford recorded a conversation with activist Elaine Brown and one of the striking inmates in Georgia on Wednesday, December 15.

Update story on the strike and support efforts of the newly formed Concerned Coalition to Protect Prisoner Rights below the fold. Click the flash player below to listen.

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GA Prisoner Strike Continues a Second Day, Corporate Media Mostly Ignores Them, Corrections Officials Decline Comment

by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

The peaceful strike begun by inmates of several Georgia state prisons continued for a second day on Friday, according to family members of some of the participants. Copyrighted news stories by AP, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and local TV stations in Macon and Atlanta quote state corrections who say several institutions were placed on lockdown beginning Thursday in anticipation of the inmate protest, on the initiative of wardens of those prisons.

GA Prison Inmates Stage 1-Day Peaceful Strike Today

By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

In an action which is unprecedented on several levels, black, brown and white inmates of Georgia's notorious state prison system are standing together for a historic one day peaceful strike today, during which they are remaining in their cells, refusing work and other assignments and activities. This is a groundbreaking event not only because inmates are standing up for themselves and their own human rughts, but because prisoners are setting an example by reaching across racial boundaries which, in prisons, have historically been used to pit oppressed communities against each other. PRESS RELEASE BELOW THE FOLD

Dyson's Message to Black Youth: You Are Cowards to Be Blamed, Beaten and Jailed!

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR columnist Jared A. Ball

Michael Eric Dyson, who claims to have recovered from Obama-ism, blames Black youth for failure to save the Democrats from themselves in the past election. Perhaps Dyson and his ilk should consider that non-stop police beatings, imprisonment and frameups of young Black people may “have had something to do with Obama’s 'enthusiasm gap.'” He should also ponder whether “45% unemployment for Black teens might be part of it.”

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The Incarceration Capitol of the US: A Struggle Over the Size of New Orleans’ Jail

by Jordan Flaherty

The people that rule the “new,” post-Katrina New Orleans want an even bigger jail, which is partially explained by the fact that “The more people locked in Orleans Parish Prison, the higher the funding Sheriff Gusman.” However, a growing community-based movement says No. “Louisiana’s incarceration rate is by far the highest in the world – more than ten times higher than most European countries, and twenty times higher than Japan.”

The Real Expendables: Austerity Is Community Choking

by BAR editor and columnist Jared A. Ball

The great euphemism of the day is “austerity” a word deployed by the rich and their servants, like President Obama, “to distract people from the fact that the country’s so-called ‘economic and deficit crises’ could be easily corrected if the wealthy are appropriately taxed and the military budget cut.” Austerity distinguishes between the rich and powerful from the poor and expendable.

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by Dr. Radut