Systematic Injustice Against Sundiata Acoli - by Stephen Lendman
In her book titled "The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness," Michelle Alexander cites Martin Luther King in 1968 highlighting the need to shift from civil to human rights advocacy, saying initiatives for it just began. In fact, it's truer now than then with Blacks and Hispanics comprising two-thirds of America's prison population, by far the world's largest at around 2.4 million, most incarcerated for nonviolent or political reasons.
Focusing on the war on drugs, Alexander characterizes the New Jim Crow as a modern-day racial caste system designed by elitists who embrace colorblindness. Believing poor Blacks are dangerous and economically superfluous, America's gulag became an instrument of 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."
Overall, America's most vulnerable are victimized by judicial unfairness, get tough on crime policies, a guilty unless proved innocent mentality, three strikes and you're out, racist drug laws, poverty, and advocacy for social justice issues challenging repressive state policies.
As a result, figures like former UN ambassador Andrew Young believes "(t)here are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people (in America incarcerated as) political prisoners." Including undocumented Latino immigrants and other aliens, it's tens of thousands, an April 2011 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report saying Washington annually spends over $1.5 billion imprisoning them.
Currently, around 55,000 are in federal prisons, another 75,000 in state facilities. At a November 2010 Workers World Party conference, International Action Center organizer Gloria Verdieu said:
"Freeing all political prisoners, prisoners of conscience and prisoners of war" tops America's social justice struggle, "because the state uses the criminal justice system to lock up those who sacrifice their livelihood for freedom and justices for the masses."