Emergency Situation:

Act to Stop Mass Incarceration and Racist Murders of Our Youth Now!

by Carl Dix | May 19, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Tens of thousands of people imprisoned in this country are held in conditions that fit the international definition of torture. People held in solitary confinement are locked down in tiny, windowless cells for 22 or more hours per day, denied exposure to sunlight, denied visits from loved ones and lawyers, and often are not allowed any human contact. People are placed into solitary confinement arbitrarily with no way to challenge this. People have been held under these conditions for months, years and even decades. This is illegitimate and unacceptable, and it must be stopped!

In the Security Housing Unit at Pelican Bay State Prison, California
Photo: AP

The murder of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman is about a hell of a lot more than a lone racist vigilante who saw a Black youth and decided he was looking at a criminal who was "up to no good." It's about more than just a small southern town's good old boy police force letting a racist murderer go free. It concentrates an ugly reality in this country, that this white supremacist society has placed a bulls-eye on the backs of Black youth; criminalizing and demonizing them; declaring that it's open season on them. This is illegitimate and unacceptable, and it must also be stopped!

The widespread torture in the prison and the racist murder of Trayvon Martin form a challenge for everybody who hates what this country does to Black and Latino youth. The people must act to say NO MORE to the torture going on in U.S. prisons and NO MORE to racist murders like what happened to Trayvon Martin.

If we fail to meet this challenge, Black and Latino people, especially the youth, will be left alone to face the brutal suppression the system unleashes on them. And the capitalist rulers will continue to get away with beating down and locking up a section of people they hate and fear, weakening our chances to make revolution to end all the horrors capitalism enforces on humanity.

But if we meet this challenge, if we DO band together and act powerfully, in many different ways, to stop these horrors, it will make clear that there is a growing section of society that is standing up and saying WE WILL NOT TOLERATE THIS ANY LONGER!!! These actions have to be a major step in changing how society thinks—and if we want to change how people think, we need arguments but we also need ACTION!!!! We have to mobilize people who face this brutality to stand up and resist, and we have to bring other sections of people to join us in the fight. And the goal of our resistance has to be STOPPING these horrors, not reforming or slightly improving them, not to mention letting things stand as they are.

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Read the article, "Cal Students Support Prisoner Hunger Strike"
Photo: AP

The mass incarceration, widespread torture in the prisons, open discrimination against former prisoners who have paid their so-called debt to society and the racial profiling that criminalizes and demonizes Black and Latino youth—all this is rooted in the white supremacy that's been built into the fabric of U.S. society from the very beginning. As BA so aptly put it:

The book by Michelle Alexander, The New Jim Crow, Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, has shined a bright and much needed light on the reality of profound injustice at the very core of this country.

And this brings me back to a very basic point:

This system, in this country, in the whole history of its treatment of Black people, what has it been?

First, Slavery... Then, Jim Crow—segregation and Ku Klux Klan terror... And now, The New Jim Crow—police brutality and murder, wholesale criminalization and mass incarceration, and legalized discrimination yet again.

That's it for this system: Three strikes and you're out!

All this means there is an emergency situation. Millions of Black and Latino youth in the inner cities across the country face futures of hopelessness, their choices limited to pursuing a "career" of employment in fast food joints, going in and out of prison or joining the military and becoming killing machines for the U.S. global empire. The response of the authorities to these millions of people having no future under this system has been to criminalize, demonize and suppress them.

This is the backdrop for the mass incarceration and all its consequences that is breaking the bodies and crushing the spirits of countless millions of people. This amounts to a slow genocide targeting Black and Latino people on the bottom of this society. And as Bob Avakian says in the movie, REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!, "Those this system has cast off, those it has treated as less than human, can be the backbone and driving force of a fight not only to end their own oppression, but to finally end all oppression, and emancipate all of humanity."

March 2012. Houston, Texas, at a march protesting the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Photo: AP

The capitalist rulers of the country are criminalizing and incarcerating millions of people to suppress sections of people they hate and fear. The rulers are in effect launching a counterinsurgency before people have a chance to rise up and fight for real change.

This can't be allowed to go down. We must meet the attacks being launched on this front with a determined fight that can beat them back; a fight that can lay bare the illegitimacy of this society which enforces torture on a wide scale in its prisons and that declares open season on Black and Latino youth. And as we build this determined fight, we must bring to people the need for, and possibility of, revolution aimed at bringing a totally different, liberating world into being and bring to them ways to join the fight for that world right now.

Look at the fight to stop torture in prison. Thousands of people locked down in California's prison segregation units (called SHUs), who have been condemned by prison officials as the worst of the worst and held under the most repressive of conditions, took part in a hunger strike in 2011. Now, prisoners in the SHUs have declared that they will restart the hunger strike on July 8, 2013, if the authorities continue to refuse their demand for improved conditions in the SHUs.  They can't be left to fight this torture on their own. We must take up the fight to stop this torture, joining with those from the bottom of society who are already in the fight and bringing to their side many more people from different backgrounds thru exposing to them the very real injustices being perpetrated here.

Look at the fight to get justice for Trayvon Martin. When his murderer walked free, tens of thousands all around the country took to the streets in protest, forcing this system to arrest and bring charges against George Zimmerman. And now, as Zimmerman is set to go on trial on June 10, it will take the renewed actions of thousands from all walks of life if there is to be any chance of getting justice in the courtroom.

This is an example of what's at stake on this front—whether the capitalist rulers will get away with suppressing a crucial part of the backbone force that could be part of making a revolution in this country, or whether the movement for revolution is able to make a big leap forward in changing the way people are thinking and what they're doing in ways more favorable to the cause of revolution.

There is serious potential for making this leap; the recognition of this potential by the powers-that-be can be seen in the brutality and viciousness of the attacks being brought down on millions and millions of people. And this potential can be glimpsed in the stirring of resistance to these attacks—the widespread protests to the legal lynching of Troy Davis, the outpourings in the wake of the vigilante lynching of Trayvon Martin, the determination of people locked down in the SHUs in California prisons to put their lives on the line to demand humane treatment and resistance to police murder in places from Anaheim, California, to the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn in New York City.

The calls issued by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and others to fight to stop torture in the prisons and to mobilize nationwide outpourings on June 10, the first day of the trial of Trayvon's murderer can tap into this potential and give it broader and more determined expression. Thru acting on these calls, thru fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution, we can take huge strides forward in building what humanity truly needs, a powerful movement for revolution here in the belly of the beast.

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