Political Prisoners in America's Gulag
Political prisoners wrongfully rot in America's homeland gulag.
by Stephen Lendman
With around 2.4 million incarcerated, America has by far the world's largest prison system. Two-thirds in it are Black or Latino.
Most held are non-violent. Over half are for drug related charges. Around 75% are Blacks or Latinos. On all charges, many are persecuted political prisoners.
In her book titled, "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness," Michelle Alexander called today's Jim Crow a modern-day elitist-designed racial caste system. Believing poor Blacks (and Latinos) are dangerous and economically superfluous, America's gulag became an instrument of social control. According to Alexander:
"Any movement to end mass incarceration must deal with (it) as a racial caste system, not (a method) of crime control. We need an effective system of crime prevention and control in our communities, but that is not what the current system is. (It's) better designed to create crime, and a perpetual class of people labeled criminals, rather than to eliminate crime or reduce the number of criminals."
America's most vulnerable are victimized by racism, poverty, judicial unfairness, get tough on crime policies, a guilty unless proved innocent mentality, three strikes and you're out, bigoted drug laws, and advocacy for social justice issues challenging repressive state policies.
An earlier article called America's gulag the shame of the nation. It reflects mercilessly persecuting its own. At the same time, it wages imperial wars, lets banks commit grand theft, frees other corporate predators to operate extrajudicially, and punishes society's most vulnerable for resisting. It also targets Muslims to facilitate America's global war on terror.
Russell Maroon Shoats
A self-designated "New African Political Prisoner of War," he's serving life/plus for alleged 1970 involvement in a policeman's death and wounding of another.
Incarcerated in 1972, he's spent 40 years in over a dozen federal, state, and local prisons and jails, including over 21 years in solitary confinement locked down 23 or more hours daily. More on that below.
In 1979, he was in maximum security confinement, during which time he was "forcibly drugged and on one occasion hospitalized from a hospital induced overdose...."
In the 1960s, he became politically active. He joined the African liberation movement, and was a Philadelphia-based Black Unity Council founding member. In 1969, it merged with Black Panther Party's Philadelphia chapter.
Compromised of prisoners' families, former inmates, and supporters, the Human Rights Coalition (HRC) calls America's prison system exploitive, punitive and corrupt. It says:
Most people "in prisons are poor, (black or) brown, urban, functionally illiterate, unemployed or under-employed before they were locked down, and are there for (alleged) non-violent crimes. The prison system reflects all inequalities in our society...."