mass black incarceration

A Minimal Demand: Roll Back Incarceration to 1970 Levels

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Prison populations have increased more than seven-fold since 1970, when the mass Black incarceration regime was set in motion. If incarceration was rolled back to 1970 levels, 86 percent of current prisoners would be released. Let’s demand it be done – NOW! “Demands are not formulated to woo or seduce Power, or to convince the authorities of the reasonableness of your cause, but to prevent those in power from successfully changing the subject.”

Black Agenda Radio for Week of December 21, 2015

Michigan Water Crisis Rooted in Crisis of Democracy

In majority Black Flint, Michigan, the mayor has declared a state of emergency due to unsafe water, while in mostly Black Detroit tens of thousands of poor people have been shut out of the water system. Both jurisdictions were plunged into crisis under the dictatorial powers of state-appointed emergency financial managers. Thomas Stephens, a people’s lawyer and activist, blames corporate governance. “The problems with water affordability and access in Detroit, leading to a public health crisis, and the problems with lead and other contaminants in Flint actually have the same root cause: treating water, a necessity of life in our communities, as if it were a widget, something to be dealt with pursuant to the corporate bottom line.”

Exploring the Black Radical Tradition

Activists and intellectuals will converge on Temple University, in Philadelphia, for a conference on “The Black Radical Tradition In Our Time,” January 8 through 10. Keynote speakers include Angela Davis, Cornel West, Anthony Monteiro and Charlene Carruthers, of Chicago’s Black Youth Project 100. Larry Hamm, chairman of Newark, New Jersey’s People’s Organization for Progress, will speak at one of the conference panels. “The conference is needed,” he said, “because we do need a theoretical understanding of what is happening, and at the same time, those who are involved in theoretical work need to hear from people who are involved in the actual organizing on the ground, so that we can have a synthesis of the two.”

Prison as an Incubator for Hepatitis C

About 100 supporters of Mumia Abu Jamal gathered at a Scranton, Pennsylvania, courthouse where a federal judge heard arguments to compel the state prison system to treat the nation’s best known political prisoner for Hepatitis C, which caused complications that almost killed him earlier this year. Joe Piette, of Family and Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal, said 8,000 Pennsylvania inmates carry the infection. “People are tested routinely for HIV, but they’re not tested for Hep C,” said Piette. “So they go back to the community when they get out of prison and it just spreads throughout the community.”

Venezuelan Revolution Down, But Not Out

The Socialist Party founded by the late Hugo Chavez was soundly defeated in legislative elections, earlier this month. The voting took place amid raging inflation and deep shortages of consumer goods. “The reality is that this was a deliberately constructed scarcity for the purpose of psychological warfare against the people of Venezuela,” said Eric Draitser, a New York-based political analyst who recently returned from a fact-finding trip to Venezuela. After the victory of the U.S.-backed parties, said Draitser, “all of a sudden, those items began magically returning to store shelves.” Draitser’s most recent article on Venezuela is titled “The Revolution That Will Not Die.”

CLICK BELOW TO HEAR BLACK AGENDA RADIO

 
00:00

Confederate Flag Wavers Arrested Under Law Designed to Imprison Blacks

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

A Georgia prosecutor turned the state’s gang law on a group of Confederate flag-waving white supremacists – the first such use of the statute. But that’s no cause for jubilation. “Its one-time use against racist whites does not change the nature of the law as an instrument of mass Black incarceration.” Rather, it makes the gang statue even more dangerous to Black people.

 
00:00

Black Families Crushed By Prison and Death

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Every socio-economic fact conspires against successful Black family life, beginning with the dwindling pool of available husbands and partners. Mass incarceration and inner city violence have circumscribed Black women’s mating prospects. “Among black male high school dropouts, 60 percent will be dead or incarcerated before the age of 35.”

 
00:00

Black Agenda Radio for Week of September 7, 2015

Solitary Confinement to be Sharply Curtailed in California

A settlement between activist inmates and California prison officials will sharply limit the use of solitary confinement in the state. “I do believe there is a deepening movement away from solitary confinement in this country, and I think this settlement is a key moment in that movement,” said Alexis Agathocleous, of the Center for Constitutional Rights. He credits the victory to prisoners at the infamous Pelican Bay lockup and elsewhere who have staged hunger strikes against solitary confinement and other abuses since 2011. California leads the nation in enforced isolation of prisoners, with nearly 3,000 inmates locked down for months, years or decades at a stretch. Nationwide, about 80,000 inmates are in solitary on any given day – more than the total prison population of most countries.

DC Mayor is a Fugitive Slave Catcher

Muriel Bowser, the Black mayor of Washington, DC, proposes targeting all 10,000 of the city’s residents on probation or parole for surprise day or night searches, in their homes or on the street. Ex-offenders caught breaking any number of rules could be held for 72 hours without charge, before being set on a path back to prison. The mayor claims she’s trying to get guns off the street. However, renowned whistleblower Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo, an activist with the Hands Up Coalition-DC and an editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report, said Bowser’s “recommendation is basically just a warmed-over regurgitation of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1793,” which was based on the dictum “Once a slave, always a slave.” Bowser “is essentially saying, once you’ve been convicted of a crime, you are always a criminal,” said Coleman-Adebayo.

The Afro-Colombian Model for Self-Determination

Blacks in the U.S. can learn something from African descendants in Colombia, South America, the third-largest concentration of Black people outside of Africa, behind Brazil and the United States, said Ajamu Baraka, a founder of the U.S. Human Rights Network and editor and columnist for Black Agenda Report. Baraka lives in Colombia and took part in a conference of the Black Communities Process, or PCN, the country’s premier self-determinist organization. “They have built structures of organization in which they address, not just the political needs of their communities, but the material needs of their communities,” said Baraka. The PCN pursues a “dual power” strategy, building institutions outside of state control to confront challenges in education, culture, employment and food distribution. “PCN provides models that we can take a look at,” said Baraka.

New Film Documents Ferguson Rebellion

Independent filmmaker Ralph L. Crowder III has spent much of the summer screening his documentary Hands Up Don’t Shoot Our Youth Movement in cities across the country. Crowder says he set out to find what was unique to Ferguson, Missouri, that compelled “these strong Black people to make this kind of stand for justice.” But he soon learned that conditions in Ferguson “were the same as in the very city that I drove from,” Minneapolis. “The bottom line is that our youth are intelligent, they’re engaged with their own struggle, and in many ways they’re very disappointed and disengaged from the adults that claim to have leadership in our communities.”

High Stakes Testing Opt-Out Gains Momentum

The movement among parents to opt their children out of high stakes standardized tests is “growing by leaps and bounds,” said Dr. Pete Farruggio, a veteran educator and anti-privatization activist. “Experts in “psycho-metrics” – testing – “uniformly are opposed to the use of standardized tests to make any important decisions” in education, such as closing schools, firing teachers, and handing schools over to the private companies. The testing regime, said Farruggio, “is part of the whole neoliberal program of social control of the population, dumbing down the population, preventing critical thinking, and preventing the development of troublemakers – like you and me.”

 
00:00

Carl Dix: Revolutionary Communist – Fighting the Plague of Mass Incarceration

by BAR editor and columnist Dr. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo

Veteran activist Carl Dix discusses his early incarceration and how he became a revolutionary and a major figure in the fight against mass incarceration. The capitalist system has no place for Black and brown youth in this country. Its solution has been “to unleash its police like occupying armies in the ghettos and barrios across the country, to pass laws that target Blacks and Latinos and to build prisons to warehouse them in.”

Obama’s Takes His Prison Reform Con Game on the Road

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford

Never has a president been so highly praised for fraudulent efforts and fictitious accomplishments than Barack Obama, who now pretends – very late in his presidency – to have discovered the evils of mass incarceration. From crack cocaine to solitary confinement, he has mastered the arts of illusory reform.

 
00:00

How Poor Black Lives Matter to U.S. Capitalism Today: Reflections on “The New Jim Crow”

by Paul Street

The U.S. mass incarceration regime measures Black lives by the value that can be derived from their imprisonment. “The ‘new Jim Crow’ is about disciplining a deindustrialized Black lumpen proletariat and turning it into a largely inert, deindustrialized profit-source whose 'value added' comes mainly from the mere fact of its captive existence.”

America’s Slave Empire: The Resistance Movements Against US Prisons

by Chris Hedges

“We are not looking to politicians to submit reform bills,” say prisoners in Alabama, withholding work until they are paid wages. “We aren’t giving more money to lawyers. We don’t believe in the courts.” The penal slave order must be broken. “The kryptonite to fight the prison system, which is a $500 billion enterprise, is the work strike.”

40 Reasons Our Jails and Prisons Are Full of Black and Poor People

by Bill Quigley 

There are many paths to prison in the United States, the undisputed world leader in incarceration. The process begins with hyper-surveillance that can last a lifetime. “Not until Black men reach 50 years old do their rate of police stops for this kind of treatment dip below those of white men twenty five and under.”

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - mass black incarceration