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The 13th Amendment reads in Section One: “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, nor any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Understanding this contradictory character of the 13th Amendment sheds light on the utilization of the criminal justice system in the perpetuation of bondage for the purpose of institutional racism and class exploitation.
Slavery ended in the U.S. after the 13th Amendment was ratified on Dec. 6, 1865. However, disabled slaves were kept on plantations because slavery was connected to the ability to work. Jim Downs, among other scholars, wrote an essay entitled, “The Continuation of Slavery: The Experience of Disabled Slaves during Emancipation,” which explains that disabled slaves were seen as non-workers. Because they could not work, they were kept on plantations to be “taking care of.” But in reality, they continued to work for their “masters.”
The purpose of this press release is to notify prisoners, community organizers and all those who care of the upcoming Millions for Prisoners Human Rights March in Washington, D.C., scheduled for Aug. 19, 2017. This is a national effort to bring world attention to the 13th Amendment enslavement clause, its ramifications, and to solidify organizing efforts to amend it. In essence this is an abolitionist movement to abolish legalized enslavement.
In a society where peaceful resistance is purported to be the correct method of protest, we must ask ourselves why these thousands of prisoners, engaging in peaceful methods of protest, are being retaliated against and punished in the most brutal and inhumane ways? The answer is simple. The actions of these courageous prisoners – however peaceful – are not constitutionally protected.
Sept. 9, 2016, is the day that many people in America are wholeheartedly organizing, mobilizing, taking action, standing and locking arms in solidarity against what we know as prison slave labor – yes, legalized slavery – and people are saying, “No more!” Even though there are many taking action and answering the call to cure this particular ill of society, there is an overwhelmingly larger portion of the U.S. population who are absolutely clueless to the fact that slavery still exists.
Development of the concept and strategy for the “amend the 13th: abolish “legal” slavery in Amerika movement” began in November 2013 following the close of the third hunger strike here in California, after holding discussions and issuing statements with other think tank coordinators on the next logical step for our anti-prison industrial slave complex (PISC) struggle.
On Friday, Sept. 9, on the 45th anniversary of the Attica Uprising in New York, prisoners are calling for a general strike across all prisons in the United States against prison slavery. As the initial call out for the strike stated: “Slavery is alive and well in the prison system, but by the end of this year, it won’t be anymore. ... This is a call for a nationwide prisoner work stoppage to end prison slavery, starting on Sept. 9, 2016. They cannot run these facilities without us.”
This is a public notice to all freedom fighters, activists and community leaders: SLAVERY IS NOT DEAD! Did the 13th Amendment abolish slavery? Ask anyone in the United States this question and they will answer most emphatically: Yes, of course it did. If you, the person reading this article and call to action, believe this as well, please allow me to inform you: You are wrong! Slavery is not dead! Rather than abolish slavery, the 13th Amendment LEGALIZED it!
Prison inmates around the country have called for a series of strikes against forced labor, demanding reforms of parole systems and prison policies, as well as more humane living conditions, a reduced use of solitary confinement and better health care. The strike’s organizers remain anonymous but have circulated fliers listing a series of grievances and demands and a letter articulating the reasons for the strike.
In Texas we know that we are being exploited, mistreated, degraded and abused. Many prisoners in Texas are content with the modern day slave plantation system, which is managed and operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. However, many prisoners are not content; in fact they are frustrated and angry. The strategies utilized by prisoners in other states that have similar conditions to Texas don’t necessarily apply here.
The Central Office of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections upheld the censorship of the book “10 Lessons: An Introduction to Black History” by Mba Mbulu and refused to give me the book because they allege it contained “racially inflammatory material and/or writings that advocate violence against the government or any of its facilities.” The prohibited material outlined Cheikh Anta Diop’s “two cradle theory.”
It is hot enough in Corcoran, California, to melt people. That being said, it still wasn’t hot enough to keep upwards of 400 people from braving 103-degree weather to mobilize and rally at Corcoran State Prison in support of over 30,000 prisoners on hunger strike in California. The immediate goal is to stop the cruelty and torture that being held in isolation represents. The long-range objective is liberation.
For the past two years we’ve heard the state claim it’s reforming its long term segregation policies and practices by implementing a Security Threat Group (STG) Step Down Program (SDP). Officials claim the program is a significant move towards a more behavior-based system, yet they remain extraordinarily vague about the “ultimate conclusion.” What exactly is “gang activity”?
This June 19, millions of Americans, particularly African Americans, will celebrate Juneteenth. Yet slavery’s abolishment, under the 13th Amendment, didn’t really end slavery, as many people believe. The 13th Amendment merely codified America’s “peculiar institution” under penal statutes.