Monday, January 16, 2012

Mass Incarceration of Black America

Democracy Now held a  wide-ranging discussion with TransAfrica founder Randall Robinson and author Michelle Alexander about the mass incarceration of African-Americans that has rolled back many achievements of the civil rights movement.

Today there are more African-Americans under correctional control — whether in prison or jail, on probation or on parole — than there were enslaved in 1850. And more African-American men are disenfranchised now because of felon disenfranchisement laws than in 1870. 

Alexander, whose book "New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness," is newly released in paperback, argues that,

 "[n]othing less than a major social movement has any hope of ending mass incarceration in America or inspiring a re-commitment to [Martin Luther] King's dream. ... My view is that this has got to be a human rights movement: it's got to be a movement for education, not incarceration; for jobs, not jails. A movement that acknowledges the basic humanity and dignity of all people—no matter who you are or what you have done."

Democracy and Class Struggle see's potential in the Occupy Movement to be part of a global campaign for racial justice. The banner of social justice held up by the Occupy Movement is a meaningless slogan unless it addresses  both racial and gender inequality. That is why we at Democracy and Class Struggle are impressed by the work of people like Thanu Yakupitiyage and want such work emulated in the Occupy Movement Worldwide.

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