NEWARK, N.J.—All attempts to reform mass incarceration through the traditional mechanisms of electoral politics, the courts and state and federal legislatures are useless. Corporations, which have turned mass incarceration into a huge revenue stream and which have unchecked political and economic power, have no intention of diminishing their profits.
The 1% are in the process of turning almost all nations into third world countries as they impose a world, neo-feudal, government through trade agreements, central banks and “full spectrum” military/police dominance. Individuals will only have freedom and influence according to personal wealth.
The capitalist system is what it is. The twentieth century proved that reforming capitalism is impossible as any reforms or regulation are only temporary. Here in the U.S. the “American Dream” was only made possible thanks to the exploitation/slavery of indigenous people(“Indians”) and racial minorities. The large middle class created by the labor movement is mostly gone as is the bubble of U.S. prosperity created by the WWII which left an intact U.S. to exploit a world in ruins.
The “war on drugs” was initiated as a social control mechanism which resulted in mass imprisonment. It ended the activism of the 1960’s that threatened the power of the military industrial government complex. The “war on drugs” has been enormously successful as a social control mechanism and “the war on terrorism” is stage two whereby individual liberty is entirely snuffed out. And with private prisons like the Corrections Corporation of America it is very profitable.
The only way to end “capitalist exploitation” is to destroy the capitalist system itself. Fighting mass incarceration is a way of freeing possible revolutionaries but our eyes must always be on the prize of a socialist revolution to destroy capitalism while we are still free enough to do so. Those of us who are not rich are either wage/debt slaves, prisoners or jobless and impoverished. It is time to revolt while we still can. Nationwide boycotts against the prison-industrial complex and corporatism should be the opening shots of a socialist revolution serving to liberate and empower people.
Ending Capitalism as we know it by fomenting violent revolution, will guarantee a long and bloody battle that will probably end with the end of the human species and the planet we inhabit. Slow, but consistent reforms regulating capitalism, is the non-violent approach we need to take. Unfortunately corporate capitalism is accelerating the enslavement of the 99% as Chris Hedges points out in this article. “The corporate state seeks to reduce all workers at home and abroad to the status of prison labor” is another way of saying that when corporate America brings back slavery, it will be far more encompassing than just enslaving minorities.
Political reforms must occur so that the 99% can actually debate what is happening around them. The corporate controlled MSM refuses to veer off the path that a handful of special interest groups have laid out for them. No discussion about prisons, sentencing of prisoners and rehabilitation of prisoners are some of those topics that our MSM will never address. Until we can set up a functioning democracy here at home, our brethren in chains will find no relief.
Better late than never.
The “war on drugs” as implemented by the US State was also a weapon to be used against the peace movement and those that helped to bring about the end of the War in Vietnam.
Those “pot smoking hippies” many of whom were involved in Antiwar and anti-establishment activites and calling for an end to the dominator model , became a very easy target when it became about the pot they smoked rather then the wars they protested. Indeed John Lennon was initialy going to hold his “bed in for peace” In New York City but was refused entry due to a past conviction for pot possession and decided to hold it in Montreal instead.
This article by Hedges seems to be the absolute inverse of Jon Queally’s recent (4/2) article,
“‘Dear Humanity, We Have a Systems Problem’: New Project Aims to Promote Deep Solutions,
Radical Transformation” — which offered the hope of addressing all our problems, not just al a carte
issues like that the Hedges addresses today…
This column today by Chris Hedges strikes me as a lesson that has to be a learning moment.Not
a learning moment about using only ‘Boycott, Divest and Sanction’
actions, to address only the ‘Corporations’, which only ‘Feed on
Prisoners’ as a particularly oppressed sub-group of the vast majority of
average people (one could say the 99%) ALL of whom are unfairly,
undemocratically, illegally, immorally, and in many ways preyed upon NOT
only by corporations but by the entire corporate, financial,
militarist, media/propaganda, extra-legal, and dual-party phony
political system — which is behind ALL types of oppression of ALL
people, by ALL sectors of this predatory system.
If we, the progressive moral and activist community portion of the 99%, continue,
as Hedges suggests here, to rally around, champion, and try to take
separate actions (like BDS) on each type of oppressed people (like
prisoners), who are being oppressed by separate type of predators (like
these particular prison corporations), which are using different hunting
techniques (like; guile, camouflage, and distraction-attacks) to “feed
on” different human prey, then we will surely be here a very very long
time to defend the vast number (99%) of defenseless sheep from the few
This is surely a ‘system’ in place which appears
today to give all the advantages to the predatory wolves, and insures a
scattered ineffectiveness to the disorganized sheep who don’t know how
to change the ‘system’.
[Disclosure, I once worked in a previous
corporation that one of the founders of Global Tel Link had worked in.
That earlier corporation that we both worked for was a fine technology
company with a number of the best computer hardware and software people
in the world, and the products of which were designed to improve the
drudgery of peoples’ working lives, as well as to make a profit by
advancing technology. Most of the best people of that corporation were
genuinely trying to improve the progress and state of the art in human
engineering and improve our society while also employing their own
creative skills. But some of the corporation’s employees were too
focused on making profits by any means]
The ‘system’ that is
entrenched in the U.S. today has evolved (actually devolved) to a kind
of ‘system’ that overly rewards individuals of the latter, rather than
As early as the 1970s and 80’s, when I was working
in the computer and communications networking industry, it appeared that
such technological advances would be mostly positive — although I
understood, even at that time, that progress delivered both ‘positive
externality benefits’ to society, as well as ‘negative externality
costs’, and that the final balance was sometimes difficult to determine
early on, because of either not looking closely enough at all factors or
because negative externality costs might be intentionally hidden.
In many industries, like cigarettes or cluster bombs, it was pretty obvious
and hard to ignore (for moral actors) that working in a particular
industry was likely going to require a degree of ‘intentional blindness’
not to see the guly side of the supposed balance for society ‘writ
large’ — as Norbert Wiener clearly recognized in his short but
insightful 1964 book, “God and Golem, Inc.: A Comment on Certain Points
where Cybernetics Impinges on Religion” regarding any further work that
he would not do research on, even if the potential negative externality
costs could not be defined with any certainty, but were only probable.
While Wiener’s concerns were quite complex in dealing with information
theory, mine in the office automation and ‘computer game’ were much
simpler and a decade later to concern the inordinate strength of the
‘labor displacement cost justification’ of systems, for which there
might have been an equally attractive ‘energy displacement cost
justification’ to justify sales of systems with a better balance of
societal positive externality benefits vs negative externality costs.
In any case, the overwhelming drive toward near term profits, without
looking too closely at possible negative externality cost impacts, led
to both benignly naive or predatory focus on what’s close at hand and
privately favorable as opposed to prudent and societally safe.
The rest is history.
In fact, history has always tended toward a particular ‘system’ which
matches this trade-off of what most benefits the core of people who
don’t look much beyond their own profits at any cost — and the only
proper name for that ‘system’ is Empire.
It still seems to me
today that the possibility might exist to employ a rather universal
corrective technique, a procedure, or a cure if you will, to the disease
of that ‘system’ called Empire, even as late in the game as we are, and
even as well disguised as that disease is in working its deadly,
growing, and malignant cancer of Empire throughout our body-politic.
There is no doubt in my mind that the Cancer of Empire, once “adequately
diagnosed” as the seminal cause of all our “ailing social order”, all
our individual ‘identity issues’, all our subordinate and more visible
superficial ‘symptom problems’ (like prisoners being cheated and
oppressed by ‘prison corporations’) could be confronted by the remedial
drug of public ‘sunlight’ once this metastasizing Cancer, the Emperor of
all Maladies is ‘exposed’ — perhaps even accidentally through the
mass media, like TV or ‘cell’ phones, to the 99% of people in a
progressive movement of cells of people against this Empire by
“Occupying the Empire”.
As Zygmunt Bauman hauntingly puts it, “In the case of an ailing social order, the absence of an adequate
diagnosis…is a crucial, perhaps decisive, part of the disease.”13
Berman, Morris (2011-02-07). Dark Ages America: The Final Phase of Empire (p. 22). Norton. Kindle Edition.
“The U.S. state is a key point of condensation for pressures from dominant
groups around the world to resolve problems of global capitalism and to
secure the legitimacy of the system overall. In this regard, “U.S.”
imperialism refers to the use by transnational elites of the U.S. state
apparatus to continue to attempt to expand, defend, and stabilize the
global capitalist system. We are witness less to a “U.S.” imperialism
per se than to a global capitalist imperialism. We face an EMPIRE of
global capital, headquartered, for evident historical reasons, in
Washington.” [caps added]
Robinson, William I. (2014-07-31).
Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity (p. 122). Cambridge
University Press. Kindle Edition.
Today what makes “peaceful revolution impossible” is a
less recognizable, not broadly diagnosed, and far better disguised Global
Empire that is highly-integrated and hides behind this dual-party Vichy
facade in its US nominal HQ and primary power base — but which
includes many other former countries, transnational organizations,
international banks and corporations, a global media that the Empire now
controls, and, of course the new “Transnational
Capitalist Class” that drives the new Global Empire for its
Liberty, equality, democracy, and justice
Violent (and Vichy disguised)
[quote=“Space_cadet, post:4, topic:6849”]
Space_cadet, you are correct that the revolution can not be violent (as all from Ghandi to King well understood), and neither can it be against something so vague and unRevolutionary as what Hedges calls the “corporate state”.
The only rallying cry and ‘exposed’ defining term that Americans have ever successfully Revolted against is EMPIRE!.
Exposing this cancer in our midst, this cause of all our 'ailing social order", the metastasizing tumor underLYING all our multitude of ‘identity issues’ and subordinate ‘symptom problems’ from; expanding wars, vast economic inequality, domestic spying and tyranny, … all the way to screwing prisoners on phone calls, IS this fucking Disguised Global Capitalist Empire which only 'poses as, and is HQed in, our former country!
“The U.S. state is a key point of condensation for pressures from dominant groups around the world to resolve problems of global capitalism and to secure the legitimacy of the system overall. In this regard, “U.S.” imperialism refers to the use by transnational elites of the U.S. state apparatus to continue to attempt to expand, defend, and stabilize the global capitalist system. We are witness less to a “U.S.” imperialism per se than to a global capitalist imperialism. We face an EMPIRE of global capital, headquartered, for evident historical reasons, in Washington.” [caps added]
Robinson, William I. (2014-07-31). Global Capitalism and the Crisis of Humanity (p. 122). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.
Best to you and all who have the brains and guts to “Occupy the EMPIRE”,
Liberty, equality, justice, and democracy
Violent (and disguised Vichy)
Profiteering on municipal violations (John Oliver):
Hedges has a good idea. It can and should be enlarged. As the US Government is so eager to sanction and boycott nations which do not follow its directives, so should the citizens of the USA sanction and boycott businesses which contribute to the miseries of the population at large. Certainly, it’s the bottom line for the elites and their interests. It’s an excellent place to begin.
Divesting is not always easy indeed. Last year I was unemployed (and in 2012 as well). The only option in California to get my unemployment money was through Bank of America.