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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #285 - United States: Chained to Slave History (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Wed, 12 Sep 2018 08:17:41 +0300

In the United States, criminal policies and prisons continue to sing the slavery air. Legally and morally justified, with its sources of supply, its modern slavers, its defenders and detractors, modern American slavery is a circular, private trade that begins with relegation and culminates with prison as a place of production. ---- The Whole Foods chain of stores is a big consumer of forced labor (" penal labor "), still legal in the United States. ---- The social forms and representations of a culture generally crystallize from its founding moments. A paradigm is a vision of the world that determines the decisions, tastes and criteria of a society and forms a fold in the cultural fabric that is imprinted even in mentalities, in the unconscious. Slavery in the United States is such a paradigm: economically and historically based on the ultimate exploitation of the labor force, socially organized on a Whites-Blacks division, psychologically rooted in community fear and mistrust, the United States remain this place of the world where slavery is actualized, although in disguised forms.

The American Civil War and the 13 th Amendment
A fatal and structuring ploy, perhaps sociologically insurmountable despite past struggles and recent police horrors, the United States maintains productive slavery - in new forms - because it still goes through political, police and political logics. economic.

One could believe oneself on the eve of the American Civil War. We are in 2018. Four million slaves were " liberated " at the end of the American Civil War in 1865. However, the same psycho-sociological schemata remain, and no model replaces the puritanism-capitalism couple, or the perception of a " difference in nature " of African Americans. How to solve the contradiction of a state founded on principles of freedom and equality with a reality of lynchings and misery, fundamentally divided socially ?

Blacks must remain slaves to allow the system to maintain itself. Now the 13 th Amendment to the Constitution provides that slavery and involuntary servitude can not exist ... except for criminals. Paradigm again: it is not a question of depriving of liberty only, but of making produce, of making work - the capitalist imprint gives " the black man " in his place of slave who does not belong to himself [1]. That's it. It suffices to criminalize African Americans under the thinnest pretexts (vagrancy, lurching ...) to populate the prisons and " state farms " with an inexhaustible workforce [2]. This is done by the usual legislative and police means, but also by a throbbing and daily propaganda, distilling the image of black people handcuffed, arrested: guilty. Today, the US prison population is the largest on the planet: 2.3 million, or one in four prisoners in the world.

Repression and private actors
As early as 1975, Nixon and then Reagan declared the " war on drugs ", targeting anti-system activists on the one hand, the black population on the other. The equation " Black = drug = criminal " is symmetrical to the addition " judiciarization + repression + privatization ": the two balance perfectly. Foucault's " watch-punish " couple becomes " shut up and produce " in the United States .

In the 1980s and 1990s, large private prison management groups came into play. Corrections Corporation of America, for example, a member of the powerful American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec), provides a slave labor force to companies (Walmart, Boeing, AT & T) whose supply is guaranteed by the states to keep the prisons well filled. The lobbies prepare the laws for the legislator and have them supported by the politicians. Private interference in legal production goes as far as designing bail, so as to prevent the poor from getting out of probation and defending themselves.

The pressure on the people who feed this modern slavery is constant. And the pressure does not stop at the end of prison, all their civil rights are not returned to former prisoners, who remain administratively and socially stigmatized.es - voting rights, parental, access to education ...

The cost is moral and psychological: it results in a structurally fractured, mistrusting society, where apartheid is inscribed in mental patterns and continuously updated. Massively deprived family units of male partners marked as criminals, with reduced incomes, having access only to schools, hospitals and second-rate jobs, and where mental disorders are 20 % more more frequent than for the rest of the country, especially in relation to violence - urban, police, marital. Statistically, one in three African American people will go to jail in her life.

Predictably, the American society wants to make the whole social field an opportunity for profit, The next steps ? Perhaps home incarceration with geolocation, so as not to cut off prisoners from consumer channels. But in this case, how can the mass production potential of millions of incarcerated workers be preserved, this other name of the slave ?

Cuervo (AL Marseille)

The Civil War (1861-1865) contrasts the model of agricultural South, slavery and neo-aristocracy, to that of the North, industrial, urban, bourgeois, where it is the immigrant proletariat of Europe that is exploited. In the aftermath of the war the question arises: " What to do freed slaves ? "

At first, the Blacks remain " hidden ", relegated by contempt and vexations, by a founding Puritan mythology (the black man rapist of white women) keeping them away from any trade with the world. rest of society, and of course by terror (exerted notably by the Ku Klux Klan).

Secondly, the end of the XIX th century in the 1940-1950 years, population pressure and the attraction of the northern states are overflowing African-American population of the destitute rural South. It is the great exodus to the north, from agriculture to factories, from fields to big cities. The exodus concerns four million former slaves, and is like a flight ; African-Americans, at the time, are truly internal refugees.

In a third time, from 1873 to 1964, the establishment of segregation by the laws Jim Crow founded in law a society divided into two parts juxtaposed " by nature ".

The other articles of the file:
Editorial: Security without the security
Judicial Reform: Towards court robotization ?
Europe: The fortress is also a prison
Big Brother: A real public-private partnership
History: Police sometimes, justice nowhere
Rojava: Security and local justice
Chiapas / Zapatistas: Repairing rather than Closing
Practices: Dealing with gender-based violence in a militant environment
Treat the sexual abuser through feminist education
And the " dangerous fools " ? And the " psychopaths " ?

[1] See Ava DuVernay's documentary, 13th (100 min., 2016), and the American Civil Liberties Union's report on mass incarceration: " Banking on Bondage: Private Prisons and Mass Incarceration, " on www.aclu.org .

[2] The 13 th Amendment states: " Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States or in any place subject to their jurisdiction. "

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