From MOVEON … It is fair that American corporate bu$$ine$$ make$ obscene profit$$$$$ by employment of prison labor while the prisoner gets nothing or slave wage$$$…????

…From MOVEON … It is fair that American corporate bu$$ine$$ make$ obscene profit$$$$$ by employment of prison labor while the prisoner gets nothing or slave wage$$$…????

Across 17 states, people in prison just completed an unprecedented two-week strike that has involved sit-ins and work slowdowns. This was one of the largest prison strikes organized in U.S. history. And they did it because they are being subjected to unconscionable conditions, relentless violence, and forced labor that is a form of modern-day slavery.

Watch and share this short video on Facebook to hear from formerly incarcerated people and prison rights organizers on what’s happening.

(Not on Facebook? Click here to watch the video on YouTube.)

Many incarcerated people are often forced to work with minimal or no pay in strenuous jobs. Just last month, there were incarcerated individuals fighting fires in California for just $1 an hour—though they won’t even qualify to get jobs as firefighters in California once they’re out of prison.1

In states such as Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, and Texas, incarcerated people receive no pay for their labor.2 And there are public buildings and state legislatures that often use prison labor without paying the workers a fair wage.3

Everyone assumes that slavery ended with the 13th Amendment, but the amendment reads as follows:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution actually created an intentional loophole that legitimized slavery—and is used to this day to force people in prison to work with little to no pay. And courts have continued to uphold this view.4 

Just as teachers fought for higher pay in West Virginia through a strike, I see these people as fighting for their rights as workers and as people who should be treated with dignity under a truly unjust system.

These were the 10 demands of the prison strike:5 

  1. Immediate improvements to the conditions of prisons and prison policies that recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.
  2. An immediate end to prison slavery. All persons imprisoned in any place of detention under United States jurisdiction must be paid the prevailing wage in their state or territory for their labor.
  3. The Prison Litigation Reform Act must be rescinded, allowing imprisoned humans a proper channel to address grievances and violations of their rights.
  4. The Truth in Sentencing Act and the Sentencing Reform Act must be rescinded so that imprisoned humans have a possibility of rehabilitation and parole. No human shall be sentenced to Death by Incarceration or serve any sentence without the possibility of parole.
  5. An immediate end to the racial overcharging, over-sentencing, and parole denials of Black and brown humans. Black humans shall no longer be denied parole because the victim of the crime was white, which is a particular problem in southern states.
  6. An immediate end to racist gang enhancement laws targeting Black and brown humans.
  7. No imprisoned human shall be denied access to rehabilitation programs at their place of detention because of their label as a violent offender.
  8. State prisons must be funded specifically to offer more rehabilitation services.
  9. Pell Grants must be reinstated in all U.S. states and territories.
  10. The voting rights of all confined citizens serving prison sentences, pretrial detainees, and so-called “ex-felons” must be counted. Representation is demanded. All voices count.

As we get closer and closer to the election in November, I can’t help but have their last demand—the right to vote, to participate democratically in the fundamental act of how we shape our society—anger and inspire me. 

Watch the video created by MoveOn’s very own Video Lab team and see if it inspires you too. 

So often, when we think of democracy—and creating the democratic society we all deserve, not the imperfect one we were handed—we often forget those who are excluded from participating at all. Across the country, there are states that completely bar any formerly incarcerated person from voting.

Some states are making progress—New York recently granted many parolees the right to register to vote, and in Florida, the "Second Chances" ballot initiative this November could restore voting rights to over a million people who have a lifetime ban on voting because of prior convictions. But there is so much more we can do, starting with learning about the conditions within prisons, hearing from the people most impacted, and sharing the story of this historic strike.

At this moment, I have intense hope, because there are people envisioning a more perfect democracy that we all deserve. And as progressive candidates seek election across the country and some even look toward 2020, let’s help ensure they’re paying attention to this new vision too.

Sources:

1. "$1 an Hour to Fight Largest Fire in CA History: Are Prison Firefighting Programs Slave Labor?" Democracy Now!, August 9, 2018
https://act.moveon.org/go/49529?t=7&akid=215957%2E1236173%2ESFJqn3

2. "Everything You Need to Know About the Prison Strike, One of the Largest in U.S. History," The Cut, August 29, 2018
https://act.moveon.org/go/49530?t=9&akid=215957%2E1236173%2ESFJqn3

3. Tweets by Samuel Sinyangwe, May 19, 2017
https://act.moveon.org/go/49521?t=11&akid=215957%2E1236173%2ESFJqn3

4. "Slavery is still legal in the United States," Newsweek, August 25, 2015
https://act.moveon.org/go/49531?t=13&akid=215957%2E1236173%2ESFJqn3

5. "Prison Strike 2018," Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee
https://act.moveon.org/go/49532?t=15&akid=215957%2E1236173%2ESFJqn3

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PAID FOR BY MOVEON.ORG POLITICAL ACTION, http://pol.moveon.org/. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

TRUMP may likely find out first hand at some point just how “superfluous

…I have a feeling TRUMP may likely find out first hand at some point just how “superfluous” the court in the Hague truly is…

Trump Administration Will Declare ‘Superfluous’ International Criminal Court at The Hague ‘Illegitimate’

By David Badash, The New Civil Rights Movement

"After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us," National Security Adviser John Bolton says. READ MORE»

are a fast vanishing breed and thank

…Thom Hartmann for the moment may be correct is his assessment about “white” America though reading between the lines those “white” Americans still buying into “slave” mentality are a fast vanishing breed and thank god for that

The NFL’s Ongoing Kaepernick Controversy Shows Much of White America Is Still in ‘Slave Patrol’ Mode

By Thom Hartmann, Independent Media Institute

There’s a long history of whites trashing blacks when they protest the systems whites have put in place to keep them downREAD MORE»

Americans now have it ass-backwards

imageFostered from the days of our nation’s revolution to attain freedom from oppressive treatment, it is readily apparent, Americans now have it ass-backwards … as succinctly noted beginning with Thomas Jefferson:

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty. Furthermore Thomas Jefferson inferred, people should NOT be afraid of their government, government should be afraid of the people...

Quotingfrom Tony Benn’s interview with Michael Moore in SICKOI think there are two ways in which people are controlled. “First of all frighten people and secondly, demoralize them.”

 Moreover Benn highlighted poverty and healthcare inequality as democratic issues. “The people in debt become hopeless, and the hopeless people don’t vote… an educated, healthy and confident nation is harder to govern.”

Approaching the November 2018 Presidential election, America finds itself transfixed as two larger than life individuals vie for the office of President of our nation.  One, a woman whose legacy with many Americans is at best, mixed, and not genuinely warm and fuzzy, tainted as pushy and bitchy…

The other, a huge personality, a self-proclaimed billionaire financial genius, with media stage presence, loud, boisterous, shoots from the hip … portraying what he hopes sells him as a different breed of politician…

With each candidate’s ego fully engulfed and enflamed the rhetoric too is enflamed, vitriolic, misogynic, lively, loud, but lacking substance, soul, meaning and unfortunately – truth…

This presidential campaign evolved and eroded into a contest of name calling, finger pointing, back-biting, wherein the substantive issues of social security, health care, education, civil injustice, economic inequity became nothing more than an opponent’s punch-line attacking joke…

Every viable issue was marginalized into vicious attack ads hurled inessentially back and forth and no one yelled … STOP… what’s the truth…???

The candidate’s crowd appeal, ability to dominate the vaunted “news-cycle” become the paramount “talking-point”…  And in this contest, the female candidates’ legacy of her 30 plus years of politics, coupled with the demeaning underhanded manner in which she manipulated her nomination to be her party’s candidate, became an albatross around her neck dooming her from being elected the first female President in American history…

Our American “free” press loved it … it was a free-for-all … no-hold-barred … made for TV mud wrestling match with comic characters playing out non-stop on internet social media dominating and out scouring corporate print and TV…

When the smoke cleared there was some shock and surprise as the man … Donald J Trump … emerged from this mud wrestling match the new President-elect of the United States … even though he was out slugged by some two million votes by “we” the people…   Nonetheless as established by our nation’s founders, he won the Electoral College, thereby winning the presidency…

On that night in November 2018, a new political era began as no longer did a candidate need prior political experience, money’s power was supreme coupled with one’s ability to manipulate any message… 

“Spin” was, with President-elect Trump to become not only acceptable … but …  truth decreed as “alternative fact” … subject to interpretation depending upon circumstances as declared by our newly elected President…

In blitzkrieg fashion, Trump, altered definition of words, labels, concepts solely by decree and our vaunted revered free press corps dutifully capitulated…

What was or should have been unquestioningly apparent from the outset is in TRUMP America it is his way or the highway…no discussion needed, wanted or tolerated.   If one needs proof, suggest you view the Trump TV series and appearances.

… “If you’re going to make sense of politics you have to have a historical perspective and also recognize that you have to work with people you don’t agree with”…Tony Benn

This re-defining of truth began at Trump’s inauguration as the size of the crowds were deliberated altered making sure they projected support superior to that of his predecessor … Barack Obama … that “black” man Trump used to foment his “birther” campaign…

…And so it began, and to date has not ended, and you thought George Orwell’s …1984 … was just a book…???

Why is anyone doubting as “mother-nature” has successfully been altering, transforming, adapting itself since the “big-bang”…

…Why is anyone doubting as “mother-nature” has successfully been altering, transforming, adapting itself since the “big-bang”…

Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs Are Getting Deadlier

By Bryan Gibb, Salon

It may seem absurd to fight disease with viruses, but bacteriophages could be the fix for a growing problem

…There are it appears many Americans still buying into and drinking the TRUMP brand Kool-Aid he so successfully peddled to win the presidency in 2016…

...There are it appears many Americans still buying into and drinking the TRUMP brand Kool-Aid he so successfully peddled to win the presidency in 2016…

Trump Is Running America like His Failed Public Company — And The Rules of Corporate Governance Can Save It

By Bert Spector, The Conversation

What does Trump’s Cabinet have in common with a company’s Board of Directors? READ MORE»

With our election of Mr. Trump America has chosen to allow our current sitting President to essentially establish policy that thumb’s it nose at current rules, regulations, policies, protocols, laws instead buying into “alternative-fact”…

…With our election of Mr. Trump America has chosen to allow our current sitting President to essentially establish policy that thumb’s it nose at current rules, regulations, policies, protocols, laws instead buying into “alternative-fact”…

Sarah Huckabee Sanders sends Trump’s fans to attack New York Times, breaks federal regulations