Prisons, Wars, and the Lust for Profit


Prisons, Wars, and the Lust for Profit

by Larry Pinkney

“Jails and prisons are designed to break human beings, to convert the population into specimens in a zoo-obedient to our keepers, but dangerous to each other.”

–Angela Davis

“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

–Howard Zinn

In the 21st century the United States of America has rushed head long in to turning the incarceration of human beings into a thriving profit-driven and increasingly privatized business. This nation, in fact, has the the largest documented rate of imprisonment in the world.

Since 1980, the prison population in the U.S. has more than quadrupled. This did not happen by mere osmosis. The same avaricious components that bring us perpetual war and concomitant corporate war-profiteering also fuel the outrageous and increasing amount of prisons and prisoners in the United States.

The people sentenced to prison in this nation are overwhelmingly economically poor irrespective of their color or gender, though the incarceration rate of Black and Brown persons is irrefutably disproportionately high even considering the enormous and egregious rate of incarceration over-all. The reality is, that just as in the case of perpetual wars abroad, there is financial profit to be made by a tiny elite, by incarcerating people.

Noted journalist, activist, and Black Panther Party veteran Kiilu Nyasha, in her detailed and poignantly informative piece entitled, AMERICAN TORTURE CHAMBERS: A Report On Today’s Prisons & Jails, puts it this way:

“Incarceration is not just about slave labor and the prison industrial complex (to be addressed in another part of this series). A majority of prisoners are just being warehoused in torturous conditions for profit — and for social and population control along economic and ethnic or “racial” lines (There’s one human race.). But classism and White supremacy are alive and well. Removing the reproductive years of young Black and Brown captives precludes reproduction, divides families, and destroys poor communities.”

The above-mentioned report by Kiilu Nyasha, though written in late 2006, is even more relevant today in 2011, as the U.S. prison population has continued to skyrocket and prison conditions have become ever more appalling. (Reference

It should be clearly understood that incarceration has nothing whatever to do with so-called rehabilitation. Indeed, to the contrary, imprisonment debases human beings on every conceivable level. Its horrors are often indescribable. Moreover, law should never be confused with justice, as more often than not, laws and justice have little or nothing in common with one another, particularly as applied to ordinary everyday people.

Notwithstanding the ongoing wrongful incarceration of myriads of political prisoners in the United States who were (and continue to be) hideously framed or otherwise set-up to be “neutralized” and imprisoned; the millions of other prisoners in this nation are, for the most part, the cannon fodder of a corrupt, hypocritical, and unjust judicial system that serves the interests of profit and property, not those of everyday ordinary people. The prison-gulag system of the United States needs to be utterly abolished and replaced with a model of real justice, humanity, and reclamation. Of course, this process can only occur when the corporate/military elite (the actual systemic criminals) have been reined in and dethroned by the everyday people of this nation.

As U.S. ‘educational’ institutions and the corporate-stream media continue to disinform, propagate misguided patriotism, and glorify and rationalize perpetual wars abroad; it is absolutely no wonder that this nation has the most violent society on this planet of Mother Earth. The words of Fyodor Dostoyevsky ring ever truer: “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” It is the blood-sucking, avaricious profit motive that fuels the ruthless emaciation of everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people whether in the brutal, debased, U.S. prison gulag-system or as the bloody cannon fodder of corporate/government-sponsored perpetual U.S. wars abroad.

What the corporate politicians of the U.S. government, and its propaganda arm–the corporate-stream media, refer to as ‘globilization,’ is in actuality nothing more than the global economic blood-sucking by the few wealthy elite of the vast majority of the people of this nation and planet.

The connections between incarceration, judicial ineptness and corruption, militarism/war, and corporate hegemony are inextricably linked, while greed and the profit motive remain at the very heart of the hypocrisy and cruelty within U.S. society. Indeed, prisons, wars, and the lust for profit need to be addressed at their very core–and reversed. It does not have to be this way, but only a conscious and a collectively united everyday persons can change this reality in what is a long and protracted people’s struggle.

It is an open-secret that the real and deadliest criminals of this nation are the de facto, corporately-owned, politicians of the Democrat and Republican parties in service to the corporate/military elite. It is time for we the people to organize–each one teaching one, until this corporate plutocracy which is not a people’s democracy is fundamentally and systemically changed.

Onward, then, my sisters and brothers! Onward!

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