[sixties-l] Re: Plantation to the Penitentary.

From: Maggie Jaffe (mjaffe@mail.sdsu.edu)
Date: Wed Jun 21 2000 - 13:38:47 CUT

  • Next message: Mark Bunster: "Re: [sixties-l] Patterns"

    Dear Sixties People:

    Good to see / read a number of friends.

    I must take issue with the statement below
    >In a recent post, Lynne Patrick Doyle recently submitted the following to
    >the list:
    >>The American abolition of slavery was an extraordinary moment in the
    >>history of humanity of a people taking a united stand against the
    >>enslavement of their fellow human beings.
    >>It is indeed a starkly moral, an incandescent, moment.

    With the abolition of slavery, the labor pools were filled by "emancipated"
    slaves who were arrested on various charges like vagrancy, for example,
    because they didn't have the requisite 50 dollars. Freed slaves became
    part of the shackled road gangs. All of the roads in Georgia were laid out
    by prison "slaves." I really need to go back to Zinn on this, but to
    paraphrase Malcolm X: African-Americans "moved up" from the Plantation to
    the Penitentary. The policy of using cheap and replaceable prison labor is
    very much in effect today where the most volatile and rebellious segment of
    our society-young males-are incarcerated over antiquated and cynical drug
    laws (Barry McCaffery, our drug "czar," executed Iraqui soldiers and
    civilians *after* the ceasefire in the Persian Gulf. I digress).
    According to Joe Grant of Bookzen, 650,000 people were arrested on
    marijuana charges in the last year alone. Quite rightly, there is almost
    world-wide condemenation of the death penalty in the U.S.-and those ghastly
    cells are mostly filled with men of color, the poor, and the retarded.

    A "starkly moral, an incandescent, moment" sounds lovely, but it just
    brings to mind of the contrasting worldview between the wretched and the

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