The United States of Perpetual Slavery
At this present time, the United States prison population stands at a current 2.3 million in totality (Wagner and Sawyer, 2018), making this land bear the largest prison population in the world. That does not include the 3.7 million people on probation and the other 840,000 who are on parole, which combines the number under direct state authority and supervision to a population of almost 7 million; which is almost the entire population of New York City. With, it’s important to realize that slavery was never abolished in the United States in 1865, but merely amended. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution declared that “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. “The 13th amendment to be exact disallowed the sales of chattel slavery aka human property designated as private property, however this did justify slavery in the context of committing a crime as a form of punishment.
The creation of the would be Prison Industrial Complex stemmed from the ‘Holy Wars” being fought between Christendom (which is the militaristic aspect of Christianity) in human form of the Crusaders and Conquistadors, and the Moorish/ Moslem, Hebrew/Jewish populations of the European Countries closest to the Mediterranean i.e. Iberia/ Spain, Sardinia, Corsica, Spain, Greece etc. Bey, Uriel (2008) Once the conflict over boiled and the Romanus Pontifex Papal Bull which was a religious war edict stating that issued by Pope Nicolas V on Jan, 8 1455, authorizing King Alfonso of Portugal to conquer Africa and beyond, and to engage in the slave trade to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery, and to apply and appropriate to himself and his successors the kingdoms, dukedoms, counties, principalities, dominions, possessions, and goods, and to convert them to his and their use and profit.” Dr Evers, Sandra Mackinnon, David (2014) The above mentioned was to give an understanding when the term Prisoner of War or POW is used interchangeably with slaves within this narrative. In addition, to define perpetual lawfully is; Never ceasing; continuous; enduring; lasting; unlimited in respect of time; continuing without intermission or interval.” Black’s Law Dictionary.
Under those circumstances, that ideology crept its way into the jurisprudence of the United States Law. “In Johnson v. M’Intosh, 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 543, Chief Justice Marshall directly traced the English title to land in America to the “discovery” of America by the Italian explorer John Cabot, acting pursuant to Letters Patent issued in 1498 by King Henry VII’s royal commission Ultimate sovereignty in Johnson v. M’Intosh is derived from the Letters Patent of 1498; By virtue of his feudal bond to the pope as subditi Prince, and the express wording of the Letters Patent, Henry VII incorporated by reference the papal bulls Inter Caetera and Romanus Pontifex. However, by relegating indigenous peoples to a lower tier of humanity as homo animals aka 3/5s a person, the bulls created an ideological template for conquest, but one which has no place within the contemporary case law of the United States”. Dr Evers, Sandra Mackinnon, David (2014) This case took place in 1823, in the state of Illinois which reflected a standard that was set by other European governments who were in conflict at this time. The transgression of this ruling played out within the next thirty years with the Dred Scott v John F.A Sandford supreme court ruling which was argued February 1856 and decided March 6th, 1857. The argument was that former “slave” or POW Dred Scott was suing for his freedom from bondage based upon the fact that he migrated to a state that abolished slavery under the Missouri Compromise Act and the people ruled against him stating “Persons of African descent cannot be, nor were ever intended to be, citizens under the U.S Const” (Chief Justice Taney). A few years later the Emancipation of Proclamation was passed which created the 14th and 15th amendment, in which corporatized the people who would never intended to be citizens into persons. Another interesting factor is the lawful definition of parole in military law. A promise given by a prisoner of war, when he has leave to depart from custody, that he will return at the time appointed, unless discharged. Webster. An engagement by a prisoner of war, upon being set at liberty, that he will not again take up arms against the government by whose forces he was captured, either for a limited period or while hostilities continue.
With that in mind, to subdue a people because of their affluence and clear distinction in pigmentation led to the human and monetary exploitation of a people by writing them off as heathens, infidels, non-believers and pagans in order to justify theft and genocide Historians have riddled that relation into various shapes. Some have argued that slavery was built out of race, that culturally based bias against “Blackness” and a religiously determined desire to dominate ‘heathen” Africans underwrote the economic exploitation of the Atlantic slave trade the American slavery. Others have argued that slavery was first and foremost an economic system, that exploitation preceded racialization and the racism presumed inferiority became important only when an existing system relation faced novel assertions of human equality.
Walter, Johnson (2009) The confusion amongst historians is simply that some refuse to acknowledge the connection between the exploration of African labor and the contribution of African societies in European countries prior to chattel slavery. Seeing that Morocco was the first nation that recognized the United States independence, many conflicts arose around the enslavement of both Europeans and Africans which led to the Barbary Wars. Out of which the United States created their Navy which became the protection for the investment of their chattel slaves as they entered international waters. The antebellum Southern slave trade by the Louisiana port sits right within the Gulf of Mexico, significantly interesting to note the U.S NAVY’s slogan “From the shores of Tripoli to the halls of Montezuma”. This is pre-military industrial Complex in cohesion with the pre-prison industrial complex, and that is because slavery and war went hand in hand like bread and butter. This idea was to preserve the institution of slavery and keep those people branded as slaves or POWS in perpetual slavery. The prison industrial system is the perpetual slavery from Medieval Catholic Empires, which stretching to the shores of the Americas by way of the Spanish Inquisition/Crusades. These unfolding events in which can be later described set the tone for the antebellum south slave trade that existed in “Colonial” America or the European colonies on the continent. Comparatively, these consecutive events of imprisonment and hostile takeover would ultimately breed the format for corporatizing slave labor as a form of judicial punishment. “The old plantation was a prison. The new prison is a plantation” (Wacquant, 2001).
The Prison industrial complex can be understood by breaking down the term in itself and define it. Prison can be lawfully defined as “an institution usually under state control for confinement of persons serving sentences for serious crimes” and in short can be summed up to confinement. A few words that are synonymous with prison are labor camp, work camp and even concentration camp. In other words, when we etymologically define the word prison we find it stemming from Latin; prehensio act of seizing from prehendere to seize. With this intention in mind we can now define industrial to enhance our perception of the connection. “First known use of industrial was in the 1600s. Whereas, the definition of industrial is; one that is employed in industry a company engaged in industrial production or service a stock or bond issued by an industrial corporation or enterprise” Webster. It is important to point out that apart of the definition of industry included the role of bonds or stocks issued, which exactly constitutes the value of a person being sold in the slave market. That going in accordance with the word industry basically means business of in layman’s terms. The Economic Impact of Prison Labor can be seen with the fact that corporations, states, and the federal government now have easy access to an enormous supply of workers who often command little more than pennies per hour means that, today, a full eighteen federal prisons are in the business of making furniture and none are paying prisoners the $13.04 an hour that furniture factory workers on the outside can command. Thompson, Heather (2012).
Lastly, we can now define complex for proper analysis which is; whole made up of complicated or interrelated parts a complex of welfare programs the military-industrial complex. A building or group of buildings housing related units an apartment complex. the verb use is the oldest of the three, with an original meaning of “to join or unite.” (Webster). Considering this dual definition, it can be now understood how connotative linguistics and semantics can shape our interpretation of a word thus influencing our perception pertaining to it. When we now say Prison industrial Complex, it can be understood now when it is called a business of housing slaves for profit in a manner which is hard to pinpoint. What kind of hypocrisy is this where the United States is picking up people for working without documents, but it’s perfectly legal to work for a private corporation for $1.00 a day? Francisca Porcha (2015).
In light of the fact it’s mentioned that this was for profit, the role of privatizing a sector in the Prison industrial complex brings truth to the matter considering how “Private prisons are a $70 billion industry.” Black, Ashley (2015) It is crucial that we establish a proper context in the semantics of “private prisons” due to the numerous ways it can be interpreted. In detail, the legal definition of private. “intended for or restricted to the use of a particular person or group or class of persons : not available to the public, not related to, controlled by, or deriving from the state, owned by or concerning an individual person or entity, not having shares that can be freely traded on the open market affecting the interests of a particular person, class or group of persons, or locality” With this in mind, we now have a lawful interpretation of the word in the context of discussing the legal matters concerning the definition of private. This gives a comprehensive view of this compound term “private prisons”, to properly dissect the component that this essay is being asked to convey. The private prison industry emerged merely 100 years after the abolishment of slavery officially in 1865. This technically goes against the 13th amendment itself as subcontracting private firms for housing inmates is slavery when we revisit the definition of private as previously affirmed. “Thanks to President Donald Trump, America’s private prisons appear to be entering a gold age.” Long Heather (2017) Alongside companies such as the Tennessee based company Corrections Corporation of America, and Florida-based GEO Group (GEO), are publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Friedmann, Alex (2015).
The prison industrial complex is the core of the United States capitalist nature, the very nature of having a necessity to keep prison beds full when in similar fashion seeks to keep hospital beds empty shows the inhumane lack of empathy for the life in governs. Similar to the Visigoth Kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. However, the inhumanity is stemming from the militaristic aspect that is used to “control” these populations. “The birth and development of the American police can be traced to a multitude of historical, legal and political-economic conditions. The institution of slavery and the control of minorities, however, were two of the more formidable historic features of American society shaping early policing. Slave patrols and Night Watches, which later became modern police departments, were both designed to control the behaviors of minorities.” Kappeler Victor E., PhD ICE and the Police force are the modern-day slave patrols at no exaggerations whatsoever, from the past militarized aspects mentioned before from actual armies of European countries to slave patrols of European colonies, and ultimately arming “police officer” who are no other than domestic soldiers. Through the department of Homeland Security and the fraternal Order of the Police, these organizations pull authority through federal jurisdiction.
The United States has had in intentionally criminalizing a would be innocent in a form national entrapment. The Post Civil War era brought about many legislative means to demand and denationalize a target people from Jim Crow, Black Christian Codes, Subversive sharecropping contracts alongside segregation laws that would legitimately criminalize a person’s natural being if they fall under the said constructs and jurisdictions. The consolidation of the MIC (Military Industrial Complex) and the PIC (Prison Industrial Complex) was brought to light by a reporter named Gary Webb, who introduced to the public that the US Government purposely imported Drugs into the inner-cities of the Americas for multiple reasons. One being to fund international war efforts with South American militia known as the Contras, however the other more unspoken part was to fuel the War on Drugs campaign which was designed to fuel the PIC with extended efforts of the MIC. Republicans called for an ever more punitive “war on drugs,” while many Democrats offered little beyond nebulous calls to eliminate the “root causes” of crime. Yassky, David (2016). Simply meaning the military brought the drugs to the neighborhood, the “drug dealers” sold the contraband which turned urban areas in to police states. Grim, Sledge, Ferner (2017). New York City in the 1990’s, specifically Brooklyn, Harlem, the Bronx and Lefrak City Queens as well as Southside could easily be compared to a third world country under military occupation, such as an Iraq, Syria, Libya etc.
The Clinton Administration was the federal authority in charge at the time of these accusations being brought against the State. The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 contained an expansion of the federal death penalty to include drug offenses, the “Three Strikes, You’re Out” rule, and billions in funding for police, prisons, and states that made it harder for people to get parole. Young, Yolanda (2016). Prior to the Clinton’s pushing this War on Drugs, before it was the Reagans. One of their prominent officials to push the agenda was the Charles Rangel, a “African American” politician who aided Reagan in the War on Drugs. Even then U.S. Representative Kweisi Mfume, then chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) who understood the bill was a means to “find better ways to incarcerate people” eventually buckled, not only supporting the bill, but was ultimately responsible for its passage by rallying a majority of CBC members to vote for it after the bill was nearly derailed on a procedural issue. Young, Yolanda (2016).
In short, the idea of keeping a person in a state of servitude has been long standing in this country for many centuries. The effort made in this essay were to answer the said questions by connecting this stream of thought and making apparent what wouldn’t be normally discussed when this topic is brought to attention. “The criminal justice system was strategically employed to force African-Americans back into a system of extreme repression and control, a tactic that would continue to prove successful for generations to come. Alexander, Michelle This age of incarceration can be considered to be the New Age Crusades or the Inquisition of the Inner Cities of America, the target and intention did not change one bit. The world in incarceration, with over 2 million people behind bars; that is a 500 percent increase over the past 40 years. Moreover, the United States has just five percent of the world population yet holds approximately 25 percent of its prisoners. Jones, Aristotle (2016). In contrast, that couples with the 5 ½ million people on parole and probation makes this population bigger then the country of Denmark. It is clear how this complex is perpetuated and the perpetuators, and a system reform is a clear and recognized understatement.
The United States of Perpetual Slavery