Tag Archive: mass incarceration

Mass Incarceration and Bipartisan Unity: An Anarchist Perspective


From The Agency/ By Kristina Khan

As momentum builds behind the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, I begin to wonder how much time and energy will be pulled away from the revolutionary anti-racist work of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and funnel instead into the fervent campaigning of Democratic candidates. Within the horrific, seemingly endless loss of Black lives, there has erupted a new era of racial justice work, much of it surprisingly and wonderfully radical in nature. Entire communities are calling for localized conflict resolution, the dismantling of institutional white supremacy, and even the abolition of police and prisons.

Democratic presidential nominees are very clearly aware of the power of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and are taking advantage of this momentum to build their platforms and gain votes. And as I correctly predict every election season, I dread that many people around me will fall for the illusion of a better future through the election of so-and-so only to be disappointed just months after inauguration day. In my current work as an anarchist in the small town of Champaign, Illinois, I organize with several other committed people against jail expansion – a local manifestation of institutional racism. As election season nears I am beginning to grow anxious about what direction our group will take.

Just two days after Freddie Gray’s funeral, Hilary Clinton gave a speech in New York where she called for an end to mass incarceration. Clinton, a Democrat who once called for more prisons in the 1990s now joins the growing list of politicians and corporate thugs who are suddenly concerned with the U.S. prison population. Newt Gingrich, Rand Paul, Mark Holden (senior vice president and general counsel for Koch Industries), the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for American Progress, President Obama and many others are all apparently very concerned with the prison industrial complex or at least that’s what they have been saying; and they’re all willing to come together in unity to fix the problem. If you look more closely, however, you will find that many of these “advocates” have supported, both politically and financially, policies and people who are directly responsible for the United States achieving the highest incarceration rate in the world. (more…)

What’s Missing from the Movement to End Mass Incarceration?

prisonsareforburning!From LA Progressive

“If the way we pursue reforms does not contribute to the building of a movement to dismantle the system of mass incarceration, and if our advocacy does not upset the prevailing public consensus that supports the new caste system, none of the reforms, even if won, will successfully disrupt the nation’s racial equilibrium,”

This week California – the state that passed the Three Strikes Law in 1994 – voted 59 to 41 percent in favor of Proposition 47. Proposition 47 will reclassify six non-violent felonies as misdemeanors and redirect the savings in prison spending toward substance abuse treatment, mental health counseling and education.

Is this a movement moment for the long-running campaign to end mass incarceration? There does seem to be a lot of positive activity on the issue. And not just in California.

“Fair Chance Hiring Policies”—also known as “Ban the Box” policies—now cover 70 cities and counties, and 12 states, according to the National Employment Law Project. These policies delay consideration of a person’s conviction history until later in the hiring process, making it easier for those who have felonies on their record to find employment. Big retailers, such as Target, have also banned the box. (more…)