Archive for the 'mass incarceration' Category

IS THERE ANYTHING TO MEMORIALIZE ABOUT THE UNITED STATES?

Monday, May 26th, 2014

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                             WAR IS HIDEOUS

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DESTRUCTION

Anniversary of Death of MLK: Racism in the United States Today

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

Forty-six years ago Martin Luther King was assassinated and in response a rebellion of Black Americans was launched.  Here is a link to an article that puts this in perspective for today.

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Newark was the site of six days of violence in 1967.  I had never been to Newark then, the year I graduated from college, but in recent years I worked there on a television project for the Sesame Workshop.  The condition of Newark’s black population does not appear to have changed and the city reflects the degradation of the entire country at this time.

There is little doubt that some Black Americans have more opportunities than their counter parts before the 1960’s revolts against white racism.  Still, I think of the black population in New Orleans during hurricane Katrina and since, as well as in Newark today.  I know that many of our black sisters and brothers continue to live less well than white ones do.  The economy is bad for many people in this country now, but the black population is always at the bottom.

I am on my way in a few minutes to work with the current Broadway production of the American theater classic Raisin In The Sun.  I rejoice at the opportunities that the young man actor in that production has, but I deplore the continuation of systemic racism in this country and the continuing failure of the US to value all its people.

I also wonder today what the relationship of systemic racism has to the torture currently inflicted on brown people at the torture center at Guantanamo and in other places around the world.  I note the huge number of black and brown people among the astronomical prison population in this country.  I think of the stop and frisk program aimed at young black men here in New York City.

And I say no more.  Let us stop this, let us do all we can to stop systemic racism.

More on US Torture

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

New revelations about the US torture programs have been made by the Washington Post in the past few days.  It only corroborates what all of us who have been paying attention have heard for a long time. I encourage you to read the details here so that you will know what US taxpayers’ money goes for.  I remind you that there are still prisoners in the torture camp at Guantanamo Bay and that torture still goes on there, most recently in the response to the prisoners’ hunger strikes.  There is good commentary on the Post article at the World Socialist Website here.

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Also, it is important to remember that the vast majority of the prisoners have never done any harm to anyone and were rounded up indiscriminately.  All have been tortured.  In addition, life at Guantanamo and in the black sites is itself torture.

Regardless of what any prisoner at Guantanamo or at any of the numerous US black sites did (and few of them did anything as previous posts have mentioned), their being tortured makes it impossible for them to be fairly tried.  It looks to me as though the only possible just thing is to release them all.  Holding people indefinitely without trial is not legal.  Trying people who have been tortured can never be just.  The US has created an impossible situation where the only solution is to let them all free and indemnify them, which would certainly not make up for their treatment, but would demonstrate that the US is serious about taking responsibility for its heinous practices.

Even Andy Worthington asked me once if I really wanted to let one of the prisoners (I can’t remember which one now) free.  Andy is an authority on who is in the torture camp and believes, with good reason, that a very small number of the men imprisoned there are dangerous.

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Andy Worthington on the steps of the Supreme Court protesting Guantanmo and demanding release of innocent prisoners

The lawyers who represent these prisoners whom I have met and heard speak all say that the prisoners should be justly tried or released.  I have never heard one of them say that since they have been tortured, no fair trial is possible, but I am not willing to think that might not be a legal argument to present.

My statement on this issue is that the choices made by the US have left no just alternative; it should release the prisoners, pay restitution, and take the consequences of its atrocious acts.  The alternative is to continue the torture and abuse.  I, for one, want to go on record as being opposed to that alternative. Nothing ever justifies torture in any form.  The US Constitution, written by persons who knew well about torture and the threat to liberty and justice of its use, proscribed “cruel and unusual punishment.”  Some say that that only applies to US citizens, but we know that US citizens are tortured as well.   I protest the use of torture by the US on anyone, anywhere, ever.

CARL DIX SAYS NO MORE

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Below is a statement by Carl Dix about actions on 26 February 2014.

A MESSAGE FROM CARL DIX ON FEBRUARY 26

Sisters and Brothers,

What we are doing today is critically important. The refusal of the system to convict Michael Dunn for the murder of Jordan Davis, on top of the exoneration of George Zimmerman, the vigilante murderer of Trayvon Martin, amounted to Amerikkka telling us, once again, that Black people have no rights that whites are bound to respect. It was critical that this be responded to powerfully. Gathering at the seats of power and influence in cities across the country, rocking our hoodies, holding targets and raising our fists in silent determination, we are declaring that we will not accept our youth being targeted in this way.

We are saying NO MORE to Black and Latino youth being treated like criminals, guilty until proven innocent, if they can survive to prove their innocence. This is unacceptable. It is illegitimate. It must be stopped, and we are acting to stop it!

And things don’t end with today’s action. We are just getting started. There needs to be a movement of determined resistance to the criminalization of our youth, to the warehousing of people in prison, to mass incarceration overall and all its consequences. We need to go from the hundreds who are acting today to thousands acting soon, to ultimately mobilizing a movement of millions of people saying no more to the slow genocide the criminal “injustice” system in this country enforces on Black and Brown people.

There is a lot of potential for doing this. Tens of millions of people in this country are living lives enmeshed in the criminal “injustice” system. People are suffering, and people are seething with rage. They want to know why these horrors keep happening and are looking for ways to resist. And it is up to US to give people a vision of what we can accomplish by resisting these horrors and saying NO MORE. And it is up to us to give them a way to participate that can organize and give direction to that seething anger, and to inspire and challenge them to act to END this.

We are committed to building this movement of millions, and we have a vision to make a leap toward doing that through a Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration in October, 2014. We envision a month of nationwide rallies and demonstrations, major concerts, symposiums and panels, well known people speaking out, people wearing armbands and ribbons, and more. A month that can change the way millions of people in this society look at mass incarceration.

Cornel West and I have developed a basic vision for October, but we can’t figure all this out alone. There is a whole lot to do to flesh out that vision, to give it life and to make it real. We need people to enlist in this effort now; to join and be a part of hammering out a vision for a Month of Resistance that can change everything around mass incarceration. We need all kinds of people to be part of developing the plans for building up to an October that can have this kind of impact.

We need to be reaching out to students in colleges and high schools, activating them now so that they are primed to act in the fall. We need to raise the funds needed to make this month one that has the power to impact all of society.

Cornel West and I are calling for a strategizing meeting in New York City to launch this effort on April 3rd and 4th. Hold the dates. Details will be announced.

Hoodies Up! Targets Up! Fists Up! Time’s Up! We’re standing

Up! No More Murders of Black Youth!

 We Are All Trayvon Martin; We Are All Jordan Davis—The Whole Damn System Is Guilty!

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Carl Dix, c/o Stop Mass Incarceration Network, P.O. Box 941 Knickerbocker Station, New York, New York 10002

www.facebook.com/carl.dix

See more here.