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Why Democrats and Republicans Won't Confront Black Mass Incarceration, and Why The Green Party Will

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    Although the phenomenon of black mass incarceration is at the center of African American life, it continues to be obfuscated or ignored. The bipartisan consensus is that the social policy of black mass incarceration may exist only the minds of black people, and is certainly off the table as a political issue. To get this very real concern of Black America on the table then, may require stepping outside the bipartisan consensus. In Georgia, the state with the third highest black population and the largest percentage of its adults in the correctional labyrinth, the Green Party proposes to do what Democrats and Republicans won't --- make black mass incarceration a central political issue.

     

     Why Democrats and Republicans Won't Confront Black Mass Incarceration, and Why The Green Party Will

    by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon

    With less than 5% of the world's population, the US accounts for a quarter of the world's prisoners. While African Americans are only an eighth the population, we account for almost half the locked down. America's widely acknowledged but rarely discussed social policy of black mass incarceration has been a decisive fact of African American family and community life for a generation. Four years ago in Black Commentator, this reporter wrote that

    ...Right now, the shadow of prison squats at the corners of, and often at the center of nearly every black family’s life in this nation.

    Since 1970, the US prison population has multiplied more than six times...  despite essentially level crime rates over the last four decades.  This has only been possible because the public policies which enable and support locking up more people longer and for less have until now been exempt from analyses of their human, economic and social costs or from any reckoning of the relationships of spiraling imprisonment to actual crime rates and public safety.  Most tellingly, while public discussions of these policies are deracialized, their racially disparate impacts are a seldom discussed but widely known fact.  Thus even though the damning numbers are widely reported and well known, mass incarceration is practically invisible as a political issue, even in those heavily black communities which suffer most from its implementation.”

    Little has changed since then. The number of persons in prisons, jails, on probation, bail, parole, pre-trial and post-conviction supervision continues to rise and according to a March 2009 Pew Center report is now one in 31 nationally, including one in eleven African Americans. An astounding three percent of all black Americans are in prisons and jails, the majority for drug charges, although black and white rates of drug use have been virtually identical for decades. While politicians in black constituencies are regularly obliged to wag their fingers at it, their misleading analyses often point to educational outcomes, and job markets as if these were causes of explosive growth of the carceral state rather than its outcomes. In fact, the policy of mass black imprisonment has functioned as a kind of reparations in reverse, curtailing the economic vitality of entire black communities, stressing and destroying the cohesion of millions of families and thousands of neighborhoods, worsening black health outcomes and more.

    The pretense that black mass incarceration is the murky outcome of other social policies rather than a plainly failed and malevolent social policy by itself misdirects public attention and effectively takes the issue off the political table. If black joblessness, lack of family cohesion and health disparities are somehow supposed to cause black mass incarceration, there is no reason to examine the growth of the carceral state itself. Thus the social policy of black mass incarceration never has to justify itself, its costs or its outcomes, never needs to be publicly acknowledged, and can never become a political issue in and of itself. But this may be about to change.

    Making mass incarceration a political issue

    The ninth largest US state, Georgia leads the rest with one in every thirteen adults in its prisons, jails, on parole and probation, and various kinds of pre-trial and post-conviction court or correctional supervision. A generation of white and black politicians from both major parties have built their careers on stoking the fear of crime and the expansion and justification of the state's vast crime control industries. The state's current Republican governor, as well as the top two Democratic contenders who want to succeed him all had a hand in passing the state's three-strikes mandatory sentencing legislation under former Democratic governor Zell Miller. One of those Democrats is the state's African American attorney general, Thurbert Baker. The last Democratic governor Roy Barnes wanted to put a “two-strikes” provision into the state constitution.

    But Georgia's Green Party, BAR has learned, will announce tomorrow that its major focus for the coming two years, including the 2010 election cycle, will be making a political issue out of black mass incarceration. The Green Party of GA intends to do this by running candidates for the state legislature and for district attorney and sheriff, not just in metro Atlanta, but in Augusta, Macon, Columbus, Savannah and elsewhere. Georgia's Green party will expect its candidates to put the fact of black mass incarceration squarely on the political table by advocating positions including but not limited to:

    • opposing in principle the trials of or incarceration of juveniles as or with adults;

    • repealing all mandatory sentencing legislation;

    • an end to all privatized prisons and jails, and the swift phasing out of piecemeal privatization of inmate health, food services and other functions;

    • an end to all privatized probation services --- Georgia has an almost uniquely corrupt and oppressive regime of fines with loan-shark interest payments collected by private sector probation companies;

    • ceasing the incarceration of juveniles for most or all nonviolent offenses and reexamining the “zero-tolerance” policies forced upon many school districts;

    • immediate cancellation of all the private contracts enabling well-connected corporations and corrupt politicians to collect exorbitant tolls on the money sent to and phone calls made to inmates and persons in custody;

    • the extension of meaningful educational opportunities beyond G.E.D. to people in the state's jails and prisons and its extensive community corrections networks;

    I should say how BAR came to know this. We know it because I have been for the last few weeks a member of the GA state committee of the Green Party and its press secretary.

    We know that the effects of the nation's policy of black mass incarceration are among the most deeply felt concerns of millions of African American families. We are confident that vigorous, competent, grassroots political campaigns that bring their concerns to the fore are the key to growing the Green Party in Georgia and bringing into existence a broader and more permanent movement for peace and justice than has ever existed before. With the third highest black population among US states, Georgia is uniquely positioned to lead the way on this issue.

    Below is a 2005 list of US counties in order of their black populations. Efforts like the one we envision in Georgia can probably succeed or make major impacts anyplace the African American population is 30% or more.

     

    Counties by Black Population

    County Name

    State

    Total County Population

    Total Black  Population

    Percent

    Cook County

    IL

    5,376,741

    1,405,361

    26.1

    Los Angeles County

    CA

    9,519,338

    930,957

    9.8

    Kings County

    NY

    2,465,326

    898,350

    36.4

    Wayne County

    MI

    2,061,162

    868,992

    42.2

    Philadelphia County

    PA

    1,517,550

    655,824

    43.2

    Harris County

    TX

    3,400,578

    628,619

    18.5

    Prince George's County

    MD

    801,515

    502,550

    62.7

    Bronx County

    NY

    1,332,650

    475,007

    35.6

    Miami-Dade County

    FL

    2,253,362

    457,214

    20.3

    Dallas County

    TX

    2,218,899

    450,557

    20.3

    Queens County

    NY

    2,229,379

    446,189

    20

    Shelby County

    TN

    897,472

    435,824

    48.6

    Baltimore city

    MD

    651,154

    418,951

    64.3

    Cuyahoga County

    OH

    1,393,978

    382,634

    27.4

    Fulton County

    GA

    816,006

    363,656

    44.6

    DeKalb County

    GA

    665,865

    361,111

    54.2

    District of Columbia

    DC

    572,059

    343,312

    60

    Broward County

    FL

    1,623,018

    333,304

    20.5

    Essex County

    NJ

    793,633

    327,324

    41.2

    Orleans Parish

    LA

    484,674

    325,947

    67.3

    New York County

    NY

    1,537,195

    267,302

    17.4

    Jefferson County

    AL

    662,047

    260,608

    39.4

    Milwaukee County

    WI

    940,164

    231,157

    24.6

    Duval County

    FL

    778,879

    216,780

    27.8

    Alameda County

    CA

    1,443,741

    215,598

    14.9

    Marion County

    IN

    860,454

    207,964

    24.2

    Hamilton County

    OH

    845,303

    198,061

    23.4

    Mecklenburg County

    NC

    695,454

    193,838

    27.9

    St. Louis County

    MO

    1,016,315

    193,306

    19

    Franklin County

    OH

    1,068,978

    191,196

    17.9

    Tarrant County

    TX

    1,446,219

    185,143

    12.8

    St. Louis city

    MO

    348,189

    178,266

    51.2

    East Baton Rouge Parish

    LA

    412,852

    165,526

    40.1

    Orange County

    FL

    896,344

    162,899

    18.2

    San Diego County

    CA

    2,813,833

    161,480

    5.7

    Allegheny County

    PA

    1,281,666

    159,058

    12.4

    Palm Beach County

    FL

    1,131,184

    156,055

    13.8

    San Bernardino County

    CA

    1,709,434

    155,348

    9.1

    Suffolk County

    MA

    689,807

    153,418

    22.2

    Hinds County

    MS

    250,800

    153,297

    61.1

    Jackson County

    MO

    654,880

    152,391

    23.3

    Baltimore County

    MD

    754,292

    151,600

    20.1

    Hillsborough County

    FL

    998,948

    149,423

    15

    Davidson County

    TN

    569,891

    147,696

    25.9

    Richland County

    SC

    320,677

    144,809

    45.2

    Nassau County

    NY

    1,334,544

    134,673

    10.1

    Mobile County

    AL

    399,843

    133,465

    33.4

    Montgomery County

    MD

    873,341

    132,256

    15.1

    Westchester County

    NY

    923,459

    131,132

    14.2

    Jefferson County

    KY

    693,604

    130,928

    18.9

    Clark County

    NV

    1,375,765

    124,885

    9.1

    Wake County

    NC

    627,846

    123,820

    19.7

    Erie County

    NY

    950,265

    123,529

    13

    Guilford County

    NC

    421,048

    123,253

    29.3

    Lake County

    IN

    484,564

    122,723

    25.3

    Clayton County

    GA

    236,517

    121,927

    51.6

    Sacramento County

    CA

    1,223,499

    121,804

    10

    Oakland County

    MI

    1,194,156

    120,720

    10.1

    Pulaski County

    AR

    361,474

    115,197

    31.9

    Maricopa County

    AZ

    3,072,149

    114,551

    3.7

    Cobb County

    GA

    607,751

    114,233

    18.8

    Richmond city

    VA

    197,790

    113,108

    57.2

    Caddo Parish

    LA

    252,161

    112,483

    44.6

    Montgomery County

    OH

    559,062

    111,030

    19.9

    Union County

    NJ

    522,541

    108,593

    20.8

    Montgomery County

    AL

    223,510

    108,583

    48.6

    Charleston County

    SC

    309,969

    106,918

    34.5

    Cumberland County

    NC

    302,963

    105,731

    34.9

    Jefferson Parish

    LA

    455,466

    104,121

    22.9

    Norfolk city

    VA

    234,403

    103,387

    44.1

    New Castle County

    DE

    500,265

    101,167

    20.2

    Monroe County

    NY

    735,343

    101,078

    13.7

    Bexar County

    TX

    1,392,931

    100,025

    7.2

    Hennepin County

    MN

    1,116,200

    99,943

    9

    Hartford County

    CT

    857,183

    99,936

    11.7

    Richmond County

    GA

    199,775

    99,391

    49.8

    Oklahoma County

    OK

    660,448

    99,241

    15

    Suffolk County

    NY

    1,419,369

    98,553

    6.9

    Riverside County

    CA

    1,545,387

    96,421

    6.2

    Chatham County

    GA

    232,048

    93,971

    40.5

    King County

    WA

    1,737,034

    93,875

    5.4

    New Haven County

    CT

    824,008

    93,239

    11.3

    Camden County

    NJ

    508,932

    92,059

    18.1

    Genesee County

    MI

    436,141

    88,843

    20.4

    Contra Costa County

    CA

    948,816

    88,813

    9.4

    Fairfield County

    CT

    882,567

    88,362

    10

    Durham County

    NC

    223,314

    88,109

    39.5

    Jefferson County

    TX

    252,051

    85,046

    33.7

    Fairfax County

    VA

    969,749

    83,098

    8.6

    Pinellas County

    FL

    921,482

    82,556

    9

    Hudson County

    NJ

    608,975

    82,098

    13.5

    Muscogee County

    GA

    186,291

    81,488

    43.7

    Virginia Beach city

    VA

    425,257

    80,593

    19

    Delaware County

    PA

    550,864

    79,981

    14.5

    Forsyth County

    NC

    306,067

    78,388

    25.6

    Gwinnett County

    GA

    588,448

    78,224

    13.3

    Lucas County

    OH

    455,054

    77,268

    17

    Travis County

    TX

    812,280

    75,247

    9.3

    St. Clair County

    IL

    256,082

    73,666

    28.8

    Bibb County

    GA

    153,887

    72,818

    47.3

    Summit County

    OH

    542,899

    71,608

    13.2

    Newport News city

    VA

    180,150

    70,388

    39.1

    Fort Bend County

    TX

    354,452

    70,356

    19.8

    Leon County

    FL

    239,452

    69,704

    29.1

    Mercer County

    NJ

    350,761

    69,502

    19.8

    Greenville County

    SC

    379,616

    69,455

    18.3

    Middlesex County

    NJ

    750,162

    68,467

    9.1

    Anne Arundel County

    MD

    489,656

    66,428

    13.6

    Polk County

    FL

    483,924

    65,545

    13.5

    Hampton city

    VA

    146,437

    65,428

    44.7

    Henrico County

    VA

    262,300

    64,805

    24.7

    Passaic County

    NJ

    489,049

    64,647

    13.2

    Burlington County

    NJ

    423,394

    64,071

    15.1

    Madison County

    AL

    276,700

    63,025

    22.8

    Escambia County

    FL

    294,410

    63,010

    21.4

    Hamilton County

    TN

    307,896

    62,005

    20.1

    Tulsa County

    OK

    563,299

    61,656

    10.9

    Denver County

    CO

    554,636

    61,649

    11.1

    San Francisco County

    CA

    776,733

    60,515

    7.8

    Solano County

    CA

    394,542

    58,827

    14.9

    Dougherty County

    GA

    96,065

    57,762

    60.1

    Chesapeake city

    VA

    199,184

    56,823

    28.5

    Montgomery County

    PA

    750,097

    55,969

    7.5

    Orangeburg County

    SC

    91,582

    55,736

    60.9

    Douglas County

    NE

    463,585

    53,330

    11.5

    Spartanburg County

    SC

    253,791

    52,775

    20.8

    Prince William County

    VA

    280,813

    52,691

    18.8

    Will County

    IL

    502,266

    52,509

    10.5

    Kent County

    MI

    574,335

    51,287

    8.9

    Portsmouth city

    VA

    100,565

    50,899

    50.6

    In Georgia, our Green Party will look a lot like a red, black and green party. We are confident that with black majorities or near majorities in many of the state's largest counties, including several outside metro Atlanta, that some of these contests are eminently winnable by Green candidates willing to place the issue of mass incarceration squarely on the political front burner. We will be recruiting and training those candidates and the people who want to work with them to change this failed and destructive social policy.

    By comparison, the mobilization achieved by the Obama campaigns last year was superficial, a mile wide and an inch deep, its imperatives dictated from the top down rather than from the bottom up, and its activists dispersed and demobilized immediately after the election. Establishment campaigns, such as Democrats usually conduct, are not “movements”. They are where movements go to die, or are betrayed misdirected, and disbanded. To be successful the fight to change and reverse the national policy of black mass incarceration must be closer to a real mass movement than anything seen in a generation, directed and inspired in large part from below. As far as Georgia's Green Party is concerned it will not be the slave of any candidate's political career. It won't go away after a few, or maybe quite a few people get elected, or not. It aims at nothing less than explaining, confronting and curtailing the carceral state with the power of organized people.

    Bruce A. Dixon resides in metro Atlanta and is managing editor at Black Agenda Report. He is also press secretrary for the Green Party of Georgia, and can be reached at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com, and bdixon(at)georgiagreenparty.org.

     

     

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    Is the Black President Black Enough to address disparities? ?

    With the support of federal judges, and others within and without the legal community, with skyrocketing, debt saddling prison costs incurred by States/local gov., with horrendous recividism rates, abject neglect in addressing prison brutality, with prisoner reentry becoming not only a moral/ethical policy position but a fiscally responsible one, will the so-called Black President throw Black folks a bone and at least address crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparities in federal drug sentencing guidelines?
     
    http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1P2-963417.html
     
    http://www.lectlaw.com/files/leg15.htm
     
    I know it kills him to act or appear too Black, other than hoops and Jay Z on the ipod, but can he at least muster enough courage to right this wrong?  And if not, what, if any thing will he accomplish material to the welfare of African Americans?
     
    Thanksgiving for the candidate of "Hope and Change," or lumps of coal in the collective Black Xmas stocking?
     
    p.s. For those who say, "you aid and abet the Far Right" I say the Democrats do, I don't.  I also say, "what is more dangerous?"
     
    a.  An overt Right Wing revolution?, or
    b.  A covert, stealth one, aided and abetted by the Democrats?
     
    If it's coming at me, I want to see it.  That's why the Klan gets my support for 1st Amendment rights.  Ciao.
     
     
     
     

    "if any thing will he

    "if any thing will he accomplish material to the welfare of African Americans"....Based on where? I am just wondering where is the source from...

    Regards,
    Amber
    Project Manager of HP toner Development
     

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    Great news

    I've posted this story at Green Party Watch. Good luck with this worthy endeavour. Please keep us posted as things develop.

    Insightful, provocative reading on the subject matter

    Btw Glen, I don't know if I'm happy or upset that you left my home state out of those stats.  Granted we don't have a lot of folks in general or a lot of blacks specifically (3%), but dammit we are keeping up with the best or shall I say the worst of them:
     
    http://www.blackcommentator.com/146/146_cover_dixon_ten_worst.html
     
    Wisconsin leads the nation in the percentage of its black inhabitants under lock and key.  Just over four percent of black Wisconsin, including the very old and the very young of both sexes, are behind bars.  Most of the state’s African Americans reside in the Milwaukee area, and most of its black prisoners are drawn from just a handful of poor and economically deprived black communities where jobs, intact families and educational opportunities are the most scarce, and paroled back into those same neighborhoods.  So Wisconsin, and in particular the Milwaukee area justly merit the invidious distinction of the Worst Place in the Nation to be Black. 
     
    Iowa, with only a small black population, is not far behind.  The crime control industries in Wisconsin and Iowa seem to have learned to make the most efficient use of the preferred human material available to them, locking up the few black inhabitants of those states at a rate 11.6 times higher than whites."
     
    For more powerful articles on the subject of Black Incarceration and the vile Prison Industries, and the murderous traits of Americans, check out these articles:
     
    Chris Floyd:
     

    Stone Walls and Steel Bars: America's War on its Own Keeps Raging


    Written by Chris Floyd   

    Thursday, 05 November 2009 16:51

    The cruel and unusual punitiveness of American society is a frequent topic on these page. (The most recent piece is here.) No nation on earth puts as many of its people in jail -- both in real numbers and as a percentage of the population. And few if any have "justice" systems so savagely targeted at racial minorities. For the past 30 years -- concurrent with the organized effort by the monied, militarized elite to destroy any and all restraints on their predatory appetites -- the United States has waged an unrelenting war on its black population, and on other minority and marginalized groups as well.

    Punitive incarceration has been turned into a lucrative resource for private profit (and public corruption), and a political tool by which ambitious poltroons in both major parties establish their "toughness," their fitness for power in an aggressive empire. The size and the harshness of the America's domestic gulag have very little to do with the actual level of dangerous crime; they are instead tied far more closely to the agenda of money and power than any reality.

    David Cole lays out the details at the New York Review of Books, looking at three new books on the subject:

     
     
     
     

    Shackles and Chains: America Leads the World Again


    Written by Chris Floyd   

    Tuesday, 04 August 2009 21:01

     
    Prisons, Profits, and the Banality of Evil

    Written by Chris Floyd   

    Shttp://www.pacificfreepress.com/news/1/3851-prisons-profits-and-the-banality-of-evil.htmlaturday, 14 March 2009 14:34
     
    Be sure to check out David Cole's piece in toto.  Last the New Yorker has a great article entitled:
    Rap Sheet:  Why is American history so murderous?, by Jill Lepore, 11-9-09.  This too, is written on a scholarly level.  One interesting insight drawn by many historians, is the role that slavery plays into our homicide rates.  Slavery gave rise to tolerance of murder.
     
    Rap Sheet
    Why is American history so murderous?
    by Jill Lepore

    Read more: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2009/11/09/091109crat_atlarge_lepore#ixzz0XMkSvtVS

     
     Last, as one astute commentor observed, the educational system plays a huge role, I posit that there is a causal connection between racial disparities in school discipline, juvenile deliquency, and rates of adult incarceration.  I too, would love to see more research into this area.
     
    Ciao
     
     

    Prison and Public Education

         Great article.  This sociologist has been in the trenches concerning this issue for more than half a century. Me and my colleagues are well aware of how strongly the white Left has shifted toward libertarianism, or at best a focus on class warfare that deems special attention to racism unnecessary.  Our constant harangue, falling steadily on deaf ears, has been LOOK AT PUBLIC EDUCATION AS THE PRIMARY INSTRUMENT OF INSTITUTIONALIZED RACISM IN THE UNITED STATES. 
         Inner city schools serving largely communities of color, given the perpetuation of housing segregation in this country, systematically warehouse students far more than they teach.  The Harvard Civil Rights Project, vastly underfunded, and still far to cautious, has a wealth of evidence to this effect. 
         What is still missing is any powerful commitment from journalism to explore this issue.  Not in an article or so now and then, but through a series of articles, lasting say a year.  There's plenty of material.
         The Prison Industrial Complex includes the United States Public Education System in ways obscene and powerful.  There is nothing accidental or incidental about this condition.  It needs exposure.  And the so-called radical Left needs to be recruited in creating this exposure.  To relegate racism to a backburner is disingenuous at best.
         I've already covered too much territory in this comment, and taking on the whys and wherefores of white-left silence rejection of racism as a real focus requires an article, probably several articles, in its own right.  Can't think of a stronger voices than Dixon and his colleagues on BAR.

    daw13:I like your comment starting with para.2 to end.

     Going toward Libertarianism of the white left?  Based on reading who/whom?  I am curious why you say that and sources.
    On language: "falling ... on deaf ears" - is ableist language or using a term re disability to discuss negative behavior.  It bothers people with disabilities.
    I like your comment after paragraph 1.  (I'm older Jewish woman. Not libertarian. See my comment below)

    Apologize for deaf ears

     Concerning the rest, please check out
    http://sdw18.com/d/essays_etc/What_Racism_does_to_White_People.htm
    which was published by BAR awhile back.

    daw 13:wow! an apology. Thanks. I've been around many decades

    and I've seen white racism.  I never got to see/hear Jew haiting and baiting until I went to Denver in the late 1960s.   (I grew up in Brooklyn.)  I have heard/read Tim Wise.  I sent him mail about people with disabilites.  In recent years, I've learned about white privilege.  I have lived in integrated rental housing for 41 years - a privilege, yes?  (Unintentional pun, but it works.)
    My tech skills are eh.  Could you give me the title of the article and I'll get it on BAR.
    Correction: (long week and ....) I remembered that I had experience with Jew hating/baiting when I was a student teacher in Baldwin, LI, NYS in the late 1950s.  It went with the racism.  I was told by a 5th grader that blacks had to be out of town at night and no Jew could live there.  I had big trouble with the teacher to whom I'd been assigned.  I had to eat alone.  She hated me.  When I said I was going to my kid brother's Bar Mitzvah, she was nasty.  Can't recall the words.   (I'm atheist Jew.) I failed the assignment, as did my roommate (who was also Jewish, in another school in Baldwin.)  The supervisor from the teachers college I went to, believed me - that the teacher turned over the class to me in week 2 and left the room, totally.  I was swamped.  He put me into the campus school with a pal of his for my next assignment and the guy said I was one of the best he'd ever seen, gave me highest grade.  Was impressed that I took the class troublemaker aside, got him involved and it worked.  The supervisor validated my observation re the teacher didn't like Jews.  I didn't have to repeat the semester but my roommate did.
    There was one sorority at my NYS teachers college that would allow blacks and Jews.  I quit after 1 week.   Racism is more overt. 

    Also need to speak to these prison related issues as well

    -- Ex-offender issues (e.g., access to jobs, sealing/expunging records for non-criminal offenders)
    -- Reducing the depravity and violence that is sanctioned in our American prisons

    A couple of things to bring to your attention (based on pen-pals

    in prison and my own experiences).  Over the years, I have had pen-pals in prisons from the "Grandpa" Al Lewis, and Karen Lewis radio show on WBAI, "Al Lewis Live" then "Al Lewis Lives" after his death.  Show is gone. (Al ran for NYS governor and it's one of the two times I voted Green.  More later on my problem with the Green Party.)  So, it's been around a decade of pen-pals: two for long time: one woman was Latina and 6 years in feds (slight early release due to illness gotten in prison) and one for near 6 or 7 years, African-American, Muslim, in NYS prison system. Others have been from NYS and one from NJ, men, African-American and one Jewish-Italian Catholic from near where I grew up.
    (Kings County, NY in the chart is Brooklyn, NY, where I grew up.)
    Issue #1: disability/disabled prisoners in prisons where there's little or no wheelchair and other access.  My pen-pal, the longest, mentioned above, has been a disability rights activist (as am I).  He became disabled when in process of being arrested:shot in the back.  No gun was found from him.   He has fought for and gotten legal settlements on wheelchair access in vans to move prisoners (his wrist was badly injured because there was no way to "lock" a wheelchair in place in the vans) and housing issues - such as wheelchair accessible toilets/bathing.  Bed bunks are chained to the wall, often, and difficult for a person paralyzed below the waist.   One lawsuit was about having to reuse the plastic tubes used to remove urine if one is paralyzed.  The packaging said, "single use" catheter (tube) and he was forced to reuse them.  Infection is the danger.   There are little or no recreation facilities = yards for wheelchair access, not always wheelchair accessible library (so inmate can't get to legal books in own behalf, nor do any kind of research.  Many people don't know that computer access to internet is NOT ALLOWED in prison.).   Work programs are often not wheelchair accessible.  Same for other programs.  So any education program that is not wheelchair accessible discriminates against wheelchair users.
       As people age, there are more and more wheelchair users.  And people with other kinds of disabilities, including wheelchair use, from diabetes, AIDS and other illnesses.
        Mentally disabled inmates have a whole other set of problems.
    On my relationship with the Green Party: several years ago, I considered going Green.  I checked on wheelchair access at events.  None.  I called (very difficult with CFS/ME, my illness that makes me a wheelchair user) my local "head" Green re are meetings, local, wheelchair accessible?  No. The person, who rean for mayor, was receptive, but said nobody else would be and didn't "push" for meetings with wheelchair access.
    Fast forward to now: I recently had contact with a Green at the national level.  I asked about wheelchair access and was told, no, not at her office but they think about it...."too expensive to rent in accessible space;can't afford it....wonder where they'd meet someone who is a wheelchair user...thinking about" me. And that the Green Party Platform was better than any other party's. (I am old enough to have heard such sweet garbage from men when dating. You know, thinking about me while out with someone...)  I always point out to folks who have events in places that are not wheelchair accessible (the law is not always observed), when they say, "expensive to rent", I say, "would you say to a black person that it's too expensive so you hold your event in a segregated place?" That's my Green story.
    People in prison have similar problems everywhere in the US, I think.If you want my pen-pal's address, B.A. Dixon, let me know and I'll get it to you.  He has lots of ideas, advice, experience.  And great success at getting settlements with the State, so far. 
    Finally, WBAI has had a coup.  See www.takebackwbai.org for more information.  See "latest news" in particular.  If you want to know how it's related, ask.
     
     
     
     
     

    my experiences with the Green Party

     i was  an early member and financial supporter of the GP in my state. over time, i realized it (and other states as well) was  controlled by  small cliques; those with  real  power were white & there was a top down  mentality. many of these "leaders" were  closely aligned with the democratic party. you know, the best  way to control the  opposition is to  be the  opposition.
    its been  years  since i left  & nothing has really changed other  than the "party" has imploded and  is now  irrelevant. the vast majority of states have a few  dozen active members at most. visit www.fec.gov & you'll see that national party is broke(30k in the red). also, visit www.ballot-access.org and  view their dismal state  ballot status.
    hopefully, an alternative to the  democratic-republicians will emerge. thankfully, it will not be the Green Party.
     
     
     
     

    Human Rights And Reparations For Slave Descendants

    Long ago the Honorable Elijah Muhammad correctly identified America's prisons as concentration camps for Black folks.  The U.S. government's expanded use of these camps is just one aspect of an overall strategy of decimating the masses of slave descendants through long-term ethnocide and forced assimilation, amplified today by the intentional nationwide implosion of ghettoes and the fine-tuning of biological-chemical warfare.  We the Afrodescendants will only survive as a self-governing and self-sufficient people if we establish our Human Rights inside the United Nations.  We cordially invite Mr. Bruce A. Dixon and Mr. Glen Ford to interview the first President of our Afrodescendant Government, Ajani Mukarram, on the crucial topic of Human Rights and Reparations for all 250 million slave descendants in the western hemisphere.
    Sincerely,
    Senator Malik Al-Arkam
    www.allforreparations.org

    Your question is very solid

    Your question is very solid and I agree with your about black agenda concept.sometimes positive feedback really helpful.

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