This week our readers discussed mass incarceration and slavery and the Sanders and Warren campaigns. We share your letters for “Fight Mass Incarceration Like Our Ancestors Fought Slavery” and “Why the Rich Want to Bury Sanders, the Not Really Socialist.”
In the radio segment “Fight Mass Incarceration Like Our Ancestors Fought Slavery” Kellie Jackson, academic and author of Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence, said today’s activists are looking at “the tactics and strategies of the abolitionists and asking: How can we employ this in our own moment?”
Ti O’Driscoll writes:
“The prison system doesn't look like the institution of slavery, it ISthe institution of slavery, per the 13th Amendment to the U.S. constitution, as follows: ‘Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.’ Prison slavery is legal.’”
Anne-Marie Mazur writes:
“Many people forget the liberationists of the 19/20th centuries were revolutionary Marxists (socialists/communists) and the entire system of the state needs to be REMOVED since THAT is how capitalism/oppression is maintained. George Jackson, a communist, discussed how chattel slavery was turned to wage slavery. Inequality can only be remedied by destruction of the systems that maintain them for the ruling class. And the STATEis the superstructure of capitalism they HIDE BEHIND.”
Jeff Weinberger writes:
“The big dots of racist/capitalist domination that connect slavery to mass incarceration are inked by those whose fundamental motive is profit, in other words by those who also make money on the ink. We need to understand this lest we embark on pursuing what ultimately will prove to be reformist/failed solutions. Just as abolitionism didn't by definition equate to anti-capitalism, neither does our moral horror at the mass incarceration State. This needs to be explicitly fleshed out if we're going to truly f*** this racist shit up. Fred Hampton lives!”
In “Why the Rich Want to Bury Sanders, the Not Really Socialist” Glen Ford argues that the Democratic Party and the nation’s elites will pull out all stops to prevent Sanders from implementing his anti-austerity program, despite its limitations.
Wallace Nixon writes:
“For maybe 30 years bondholders have dominated the economy and insisted on no more than 2% growth. This is not enough to enable the people to have the means to create the jobs and pay for services which are needed. However, it is sufficient to help control inflation and protect profits. Just like last time the Democrats already know who they want and who they don´t want for their presidential candidate but the public thinks that there is really an open competition taking place. Last time Debbie Wasserman manipulated the nominating process so blatantly that she was removed from the leadership of the Democratic party. This time they will have to be more clever.”
Mary Wentworth writes:
“I don’t trust Warren. Right now, she is sticking as close to Bernie as humanly possible. But doing that won’t work in the long run since Bernie will emerge the winner. At some point, Warren will have to distinguish herself from Sanders. She has a few Bernie-lite proposals that she can trot out that will have an appeal because they are less progressive and not as ‘frightening” as his. For instance, she has a healthcare plan that keeps the insurers in the game and seems to cover more at less cost. When the college-free tuition began to be bruited about in 2016, she proposed that it be only for two-year colleges. She didn’t endorse Bernie for that campaign but went with Hillary. Don’t get me wrong. I realize that you are not proposing her as an alternative to Bernie. I will stick with him because I know he will fight for Medicare for All until the last dog dies.”
Though the masses may be engaged in presidential politics above our control, the vanguard must continue to focus on a vision that can shape the horizonof mass politics.
Jahan Choudhry is Comments Editor for Black Agenda Report. He is an organizer with the Saturday Free School based in Philadelphia, PA.
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