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

Submitted by Bruce A. Dixon on Wed, 11/18/2009 - 12:00
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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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16 comments

This year's vote gave

Submitted by ddmao520 on Fri, 11/26/2010 - 21:07.

This year's vote gave Republicans control of 29 governorships, including 11 held previously by Democrats. The GOP significantly strengthened its position in many state legislatures.
The GOP won all statewide races on the ballot in Kansas for the first time since 1964. Republicans picked up 16 seats in the state House, giving the GOP an overwhelming 92-33 advantage.Ugg boots,Discount Ugg boots,Cheap Ugg boots;UGG Bailey Button Boots;UGG Tasmina Sandals;
Abortion opponents now plan to make the state as close to an abortion-free zone as possible. Proposed measures would impose new regulations for clinics, restrictions on late-term procedures and increased reporting requirements for physicians. Vetoes by outgoing Democratic Gov. Mark Parkinson and his predecessors blocked such action in the past.UGG Gypsy Sandals;UGG Fluff Flip Flop Slipper;UGG Sundance Ii Boots;UGG Ascot Slippers;
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Is the Black President Black Enough to address disparities? ?

Submitted by Enlightened Cynic on Tue, 11/24/2009 - 17:24.

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

Submitted by Ablack on Fri, 11/05/2010 - 13:25.

"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

Submitted by daveschwab on Fri, 11/20/2009 - 14:08.

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

Submitted by Enlightened Cynic on Thu, 11/19/2009 - 23:25.

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

Submitted by daw13 on Thu, 11/19/2009 - 10:46.

     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.

Submitted by NYCartist on Thu, 11/19/2009 - 15:57.

 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

Submitted by daw13 on Fri, 11/20/2009 - 00:49.

 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

Submitted by NYCartist on Fri, 11/20/2009 - 19:47.

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

Submitted by celestee on Thu, 11/19/2009 - 01:17.

-- 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

Submitted by NYCartist on Wed, 11/18/2009 - 13:50.

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

Submitted by joell on Thu, 11/19/2009 - 00:20.

 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

Submitted by mathrise on Wed, 11/18/2009 - 12:26.

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

Submitted by fionasmith on Thu, 10/21/2010 - 05:57.

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

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