Results reflect intentions. Think about that. Results reflect intentions. Nowhere is this clearer than in the school to prison pipeline. If you haven’t done so, please watch 13th tonight. The prison industrial complex which uses legal slave labor and as an extra benefit keeps Black and Latino families divided, literally, by prison walls. The United States has the highest number of incarcerated persons than any country in the world.
This slavery is thoroughly legal, explicitly sanctioned by the 13th Ameendment:
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.
Are we then to conclude that this situation – legal profits from slavery, mass incarceration – these are accidental developments? Or do they reflect a deliberate strategy? Some of the companies profiting from prison slavery are Whole Foods, Walmart, Starbucks, Verizon, and Victoria’s Secret.
It starts with school. Not Pre-school so much (I spent 25 years teaching preschool). But first grade through twelfth is by and large 12 years of child abuse. Just a few examples.
- Making children under 11 or maybe under 99 sit still and listen to someone for six hours a day
- Teaching standards rather than children or students. People learn when someone understands what they know and leads them to the next step.
- Testing children to guarantee that at least 50% of the students get the message loud and clear that they are stupid.
Headstart was a terrific reform, but most of the reforms since then have been essentially focused on a narrow band of students who score between the 40th and 50th percentile. If “we” can move them to 51st, we are a success! Fuck the other 40%. Many of these “failing” 40% wind up in prison.
Is this an accident, completely unrelated to the profiteering off prison slavery? Also related to the increased privatization of prisons with contracts that guarantee numbers of inmates. Coinciding with mass incarceration. Is this an accident?
Prisoners have shown the way out of this cycle
with their amazing multistate strike last fall.