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Liberation Forum: Mass Incarceration Timeline - From Slavery to Now
The United States has the largest prison population in the world. According to a Bureau of Statistics report, over 2.3 million people are in U.S. prisons. With another 5 million people in the “justice” system, there are over 7 million people on parole, probation or incarcerated. The official justification for the expansion of prisons is to bring down the crime rate. Yet crime is at an all time low, and poor and working class people are incarcerated for petty crimes while killer cops and white supremacists walk free. These contradictions reflect those of the larger capitalist system: while our prisons and police departments are bloated with funding, our social safety net has been gutted over the last 50 years.
The expansion of the prison system remains a symptom of capitalism’s need to control oppressed populations; a weapon the ruling class wields against the poor. The 13th amendment outlawed slavery except as punishment for a crime, so more laws were created to criminalize freed slaves during the post civil war reconstruction era. In the 1970s prisons were used to house more working class people suffering from the ill effects of economic decline. Today, the methods of surveillance and control used inside prisons are being implemented outside for a growing population of parolees and oppressed communities as a whole. Brooklyn organizer Shaniqua Pippen will speak on the historical roots of the racist mass incarceration system and resistance to it.
Purchase a copy of PSL’s book on Mass Incarceration: http://store.pslweb.org/Shackled-and-Chained-Mass-Incarceration-in-Capitalist-America_p_11.html
Intro to Socialism
With more and more young people embracing and identifying as socialists, it’s becoming clear that poor and working people are seeking an alternative to the capitalist system. The establishment tells us that all we need to do is reform capitalism and make it “fair”, but how do we reform a system that is programmed to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of a few at the expense of the majority of people? Right now, 8 men own the same amount of wealth as 3.6 billion people. Billionaires now have enough money to end global poverty 7 times over, but the majority of the world’s people still suffer from the ill effects of poverty, environmental degradation, racism and imperialist war.
Under socialism, the economy is planned for in a meaningful and sustainable way to benefit the people rather than simply increasing profits for corporations. Come and hear from socialists why we believe it is essential to grow the movement for socialism as a major political force in the United States. Learn about how the socialist vision connects to the movements to increase the minimum wage, for Black lives, immigrant rights, and environmental justice; and find out what it means to be in a socialist party.