Wednesday, July 15, 2015

On Obama's Release of 46 - Let's Respond with Demands

 Black Agenda Report

brings a weekly dose of reality each Wednesday of facts and critical analysis.  It is a dose of reality that tries to cut through the mainstream debate that ranges from far right of republican extremism to the more moderate right wing politics of the mainstream Democratic Party including of the Obama Administration. 

This week, Margaret Kimberley takes on the release of 46 non-violent offenders from federal prisons by President Obama and the media blitz the Whitehouse is conducting around the release:

Do the math:
Margaret Kimberley :
Barack Obama attempts to create a phony legacy as the prison “reform” president by extending clemency to 46 non-violent drug offenders – not all that many, by presidential standards. Yet, he went to the U.S. Supreme Court to keep 5,000 non-violent crack-cocaine offenders locked up. Obama’s “sudden desire to look like the Great Emancipator is an ongoing publicity junket.”

Me: Let's not be fooled that we are any where near winning anything in our decarceration fight by posturing. We need to continue to press clear demands for sweeping massive release - in NJ - 50% - including non-violent offenders, those who have served lengthy time, the elderly and very ill, those that have served substantial portions of their terms, etc - for starters.

Nice sounding words and less than 4 dozen actual releases - after the administration argued AGAINST the release of 5000 and after 6 years of non action on this issue . . . does not mean that we have won anything.
I am not saying this to "dis" Obama - it is not about him - but it is about the policies of this government and the corporations it serves that he among many many others of both parties have dutifully implemented on behalf of their corporate clients.

Lets use this opportunity and respond to the rhetoric with not only demands - but concerted effective action to press the demands - good for the 46 - but there are 2.5 million behind walls and many millions more under some form of correctional control and millions more whose lives are stymied by past involvement with incarceration.

Margaret Kimberley's piece is timely and should be widely aired.

Keep in mind that in 2011 (no reason to think it has changed much) there were an estimated estimated at 1,531,251 arrests for drug violations!

Let the battle be joined and DO NOT be hoodwinked by half measures and sound bite pleasantries. The agenda for decarceration needs to be determined by the communities targeted by these policies and not be set by the servants of the powers that be.

Others are starting to offer their feedback to Obama's apparent posturing on the issue - here is from former Paterson, NJ resident Max Parthas (now of South Carolina) who edits New Abolitionist Radio :

"By focusing on prison reform as the president has clearly done it leads us to believe reform is the best if not the only option, and in doing so we are eliminating the focus from slavery abolition.

This is why there was no mention of policing for profit, prison for profit or the prison slave labor industry. No mention of the well documented constitutional violations against the private prison industry. Not a word.

No mention of the entire prison system of Mississippi being corrupt under the leadership of now prosecuted and convicted commissioner Epps.

No mention of cases like Kaleif Browder who was thrown into an adult prison and never charged with anything. They simply stored his body for 3 years at a price tag of 1 million dollars and then unceremoniously released him without explanation or reason for his entire ordeal of abuse and the ultimate destruction of his life.

No mention of police quotas. No mention of the Kids For Cash scandal where judges have been convicted and jailed for selling thousands of children to private prisons.

No mention of the 10 million a week generated by ticket schemes in NYC or the systemic, unconstitutional exploitation of citizens in ‪#‎ferguson‬.

You can not reform slavery. Kidnapping men, women and children under false accusations, throwing them in cages for profit, warehousing their bodies and exploiting their labor to make or provide commercial goods and services on the open market is a crime. It should be looked at as a crime.

And now so many are applauding him when you should be demanding he call this what it is and not stand there before the world giving slavery legitimacy and implying that all black people are criminals by placing the burdens on us "breaking laws".

Sandra Bland was stopped for an alleged traffic violation. She was assaulted by a police officer and then charged with assaulting him. Taken to jail where normally her and her family would have been extorted for fines, bail and a dozen other financial burdens. Where her freedom, youth and her new job would have all been stolen without a concern.

Instead she was murdered and the killing made to look like a suicide.

How are you going to reform this?

Max Parthas
Maximum Impact Poetry
New Abolitionists Radio
Move To Abolish 21st Century Slavery

Another recent piece at Black Agenda Report on the true nature of the current administration policies toward mass incarceration:

1 comment:

  1. 8 PM EST US Tonight on New Abolitionists Radio there will be fireworks.

    July 15th 2015
    Our stories tonight include:
    • On July 18th from 12 noon and also 3-5 PM in Columbia, SC the KKK and other white supremacist terrorist groups will be allowed to hold a huge rally at the statehouse capitol grounds exactly one month after 9 innocent Charleston, Sc AME church parishioners including a state senator were murdered by a disciple of such groups. By all reports this could end up as a national event and a possible flashpoint as many opposing groups and individuals are coming from all across America to stand in opposition to this form of state sanctioned terrorism.

    • The president just commuted the release of 46 nonviolent offenders. He will also be visiting an Oklahoma prison and recording for a documentary. We’ll talk about that as well as his speech yesterday at the NAACP’s 106th National Convention.

    • In our #Ferguson is America series, today we focus on the state of Kentucky. A state that practices human trafficking, is ranked 7th in the top ten most racist states and recently released a police union open letter to activists threatening their lives and freedom if they dare call police racists. Week after week the patterns and practices become clearer and clearer. America is #Ferguson.

    • This week’s Rider of the 21st Century Underground Railroad is Levon Brooks who served 16 years in Mississippi prisons for a 1990 rape and murder of a three-year-old girl that he didn’t commit. In 2008, DNA testing cleared another man, Kennedy Brewer, who had been sentenced to death for a nearly identical murder that happened in the same town less than two years after the crime for which Brooks was convicted. The DNA results implicated the perpetrator of that crime, and he confessed to committing both murders, clearing Brooks.

    • Our Abolitionist in profile is Sojourner Truth (c. 1797-1883)
    An evangelist, abolitionist, and feminist.

    Expect all of that and more tonight on New Abolitionists Radio.