Just A Thought...Toward A Movement for the 21st Century

(Part Two)

by Rick Adams

THERE is one intersection where a multitude of the African American's social, political, and economic problems converge in a powerful mosaic of oppression, exploitation, and human rights violations. This nexus of tyranny is responsible for millions of jobs being lost to the Black community, and for the economic health of Black families to deteriorate. This crossroads of inhumanity is responsible for undermining the sanctity of marriage, the efficacy of child rearing, the state of relations between the genders, and the moral values of generations. This monster robs black people of their potential political power, their very sense of community. This hydra like creature affects the mental well being and security of virtually every African in these United States!

TWO powerful sisters at a meeting I recently attended uttered words that sent a chill down my spine and stirred the "Nat Turner" in my soul. These sisters, one a former Borough Council member, and the other the president of the NAACP in the same Borough, spoke of a truth that we need to confront in the light of day and not whisper about in small private gatherings. A Black male State Representative spoke of his fear. All this occurred because the former Council member told the group of how her son was confronted by the police as he exited his car in front of his home. When he inquired as to why his plates had been run he was told because he fit the profile. To add insult to injury the police office stated, "you were stopped because you were Black"! Shades of 1950's Mississippi! The NAACP president said she and her husband left their fancy car at home when out for the evening to avoid hassles with the police. The State Representative remarked that despite his achieved status and mature age he feared for his life when ever the police stopped him.

NATIONAL oppression is the only description to accurately describe the nazi like conditions that African people are subjected to by the legal establishment/prison industrial complex (LEPIC). Close to 1 million Black people languish in this modern Babylon's jails and prisons. Black men comprise 6% of the nation's population but 40% of its inmate population. Two thousand police murders, of largely unarmed Black citizens are chronicled in the book "Stolen Lives", produced by the victims' families and activists. One should note that this list is incomplete. Driving while Black is a fact of life as is boating, flying and walking while Black! Pregnant Black women are subject to being strip and cavity searched and forced to take an involuntary laxative by fascist airport security goons.

One third of all Black males are intimately involved with the corrections industry either incarcerated, on probation, or on parole. Over 1.4 million Black people are unable to vote because of felony convictions, some of them losing their political franchise permanently. How many other millions are at a competitive disadvantage in the labor force because a hypocritical, vengeful nation forces them to report old felony convictions to employers? From Maryland to New Jersey to Florida Black people may be 10-20% of the motorists on a given roadway but constitute 70% of those routinely stopped by rogue storm troopers (state and local police). In short did the victims of Hitler's Germany, prior to the concentration camps, suffer a more pervasive, state-supported reign of terror? My guess is the good old US of A gives the SS a run for their money.

HAVE I exaggerated the state of gulag Columbia? Let us explore a little more the impact of LEPIC on the quality of life for Black people. How do you calculate the impact of a million Black men unable to be fathers, grandfathers, uncles, lovers, companions, and breadwinners for their families? What are the mental and physical health consequences of the stress most Africans feel when they see a police cruiser in their rear view mirror? What value do you place on the thousands of missing brothers, husbands, and friends lost to police death squads? Black political power is crippled when 13% of your voters are disenfranchised in an insidious campaign that smacks of Jim Crow/Apartheid black codes, poll taxes and grandfather clauses. How many brothers have been denied that job or promotion because they told the truth about a felony conviction? If the truth were told they constitute the only group in the USA that can be "legally" discriminated against! How many children have gone astray because a renegade prison system fractured their family? With the brothers already disproportionately incarcerated the rate for imprisonment of women is skyrocketing, what is to be the fate of the black family now? How many gainfully employed consumers, creative inventors and resourceful entrepreneurs is the Black economy being denied? Who can guess how many powerful intellects that could be put in the service of humanity are MIA? Without all the answers to these questions being quantitatively computed the staggering qualitative toll on African people is as staggering, as it is obvious. The tradition of Dred Scott and the thug slave catchers is alive and well.

RESISTANCE is the only recourse. There is not a Black family in these United States; that does not have an immediate member of their family who has not been unfairly accosted by the police, or unjustly stopped in their vehicle. There is not a family that does not have a relative who is in or has been in jail, or who lives in a sizable Black community and does not know of a neighbor who has been killed by the police.

Resistance to the law enforcement/prison industrial complex (LEPIC) can be organized across all economic, political, and geographical lines. It concerns men and women, all ages, and most people of faith. Potentially a mass movement the likes of which have not been seen since the modern Civil Rights Movement can be built against LEPIC. The Black community cannot build its economic power if a million of its adult members are forced to do slave labor for LEPIC. The Black community cannot achieve full political power if 13% of its voters cannot vote. Full employment with livable wages becomes a pipe dream when millions must write "felony conviction" on their employment applications and be judged adversely. The need for fathers and mothers and good role models is severely hampered when the parent is an inmate. The fear that grips most black adults can become the rage and determination that fuels a movement! The gross violations of the human rights of the African American community can provide the moral outrage that can attract non-Black supporters to join the "civil rights" movement of the 21st century.

Just A Thought...Toward A Movement for the 21st Century (Part 2) by Rick Adams

© Copyright 1999. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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