[Pnews] U.S. Prisons are Concentration Camps

Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Fri Jul 5 11:45:35 EDT 2019


https://www.blackagendareport.com/freedom-rider-us-prisons-are-concentration-camps?fbclid=IwAR0osId5Kp4pnPZrR_2dPI3qGTlfzGHdopoTfOc5pTuXO-3DJqchF5R_EfM 



  Freedom Rider: U.S. Prisons are Concentration Camps

Margaret Kimberley - 03 Jul 2019
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Freedom Rider: U.S. Prisons are Concentration Camps

There were already thousands of concentration camps in the United States 
before Donald Trump began his reign of terror over asylum seekers. They 
are called prisons.

*/“All of the horrors meted out to Hondurans fleeing the government 
imposed upon them by the United States are already experienced by the 
two million people living behind bars.”/*

Most Americans are loathe to condemn their own country. Even when they 
do they refuse to acknowledge its vast history of criminality and prefer 
to behave as if the latest outrage is an outlier event.

The disgraceful treatment meted out to asylum seekers at the southern 
border must be condemned unequivocally. Congresswoman Alexandria 
Ocasio-Cortez and other House members performed their due diligence when 
they witnessed the horrible conditions first hand.

But Ocasio-Cortez is also the source of confusion on the subject. Her 
assessment that these facilities can be called concentration camps 
created consternation and debate. That reaction isn’t surprising 
considering that Americans are in a permanent state of denial about 
their nation. Those very loaded words are commonly associated with Nazi 
Germany, the country we are told was the ultimate embodiment of evil. It 
is difficult for most people to connect the country they think of as 
being good and virtuous with Hitler’s atrocities.

*/“Americans are in a permanent state of denial about their nation.”/*

The discussion should not revolve around the question of whether or not 
the term concentration camp applies in this situation. There is a larger 
problem in assuming that an entirely new condition has suddenly been 
established when that is not the case.

There were already thousands of concentration camps in the United States 
before Donald Trump began his reign of terror over asylum seekers. These 
concentration camps are usually referred to as prisons.

More than two million people are locked up for serious crimes but more 
often for more minor cases that should be adjudicated otherwise. There 
are people serving life sentences for non-violent offenses under the 
notorious “three strikes” sentencing laws. A black woman in Alabama was 
recently indicted after she was the victim of a shooting which caused 
her to miscarry.

That kind of draconian sentencing and punishment for its own sake is the 
hallmark of an authoritarian regime that is full of concentration camps. 
Juveniles are tried as adults, pregnant women given birth in shackles, 
and prisoners work for a pittance or are even charged for their 
incarceration. Private corporations run prisons and turn a profit. Other 
companies make money by selling products made by prisoners. Call centers 
are staffed by inmates and everything from clothing to furniture ought 
to be labeled Made in Prison.

*/“Juveniles are tried as adults, pregnant women given birth in 
shackles, and prisoners work for a pittance.”/*

There is nothing new going on at the border. All of the horrors meted 
out to Hondurans fleeing the government imposed upon them by the United 
States are already experienced by the two million people living behind 
bars.

The term concentration camp could have been used long before in 
describing the world’s worst prison state. Unfortunately even liberals 
succumb to the urge to defend their country. The use of nonsensical 
expressions such as, “This is not who we are,” are created by wishful 
thinking and are an effort to disappear a very ugly history.

The country that began with the attempt to exterminate the indigenous 
population and continued with the enslavement of millions of people was 
obviously the site of many concentration camps 
<https://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php/brief-history-us-concentration-camps>. 
Native Americans were held in them before being sent far from their 
homes. Slave markets and plantations were concentration camps as were 
the chain gangs which followed. The internment of Japanes Americans fits 
the same description.

That sordid history culminates in the mass incarceration state which 
disproportionately impacts black people. The group represented by a mere 
13% of the total population comprises half of those caught behind bars. 
It is important to speak truthfully about this country, even if tender 
sensibilities are hurt in the process.

*/“Slave markets and plantations were concentration camps as were the 
chain gangs which followed.”/*

The days of pretending that evil deeds are anomalous must end. The 
rampant injustices in this country must be called out and there is no 
better place to start than with the prison state. It is commendable that 
workers at the Wayfair corporation protested the sale of furniture to 
detention centers. Yet there is no similar action directed towards the 
rest of the prison industrial complex.

Anti-black racism is so firmly entrenched in the system and in the 
national psyche that it continues to be unaddressed even by those who 
claim non-racist credentials. Every other group in need of redress may 
become the topic of national discourse while the elephant in the room is 
unnoticed.

If concerned people want to call the migrant detention centers 
concentration camps they should do so. They shouldn’t forget that this 
institution is not a new one. It is as they saying goes, as American as 
apple pie.

*/Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and 
is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog 
as well at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com . Ms. Kimberley lives in New 
York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at 
Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com./*

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