[Marxism] The morality of American imperialism starts at home: the politics of lock-up terrortory

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at tomaatnet.nl
Wed Feb 4 11:43:24 MST 2004

Writing in the LA Times on February 3, 2004, Robert Scheer said:
"The central sickness of human history is the notion that the ends justify
the means, and it has disastrously gripped political movements from left to
right and from the secular to the religious. It is axiomatic that immoral
means will inevitably corrupt the noblest of ends, as has been displayed
from the fatal hubris of the Roman Empire down through the genocidal
policies of the last century's nationalists, communists and colonialists and
on through the suicide bombers of today." This is true, which is why
everybody should carefully consider the criminality of American


The American Gulag is rivalled only by Russia and Rwanda. The
USA, with 5% of the world's population, houses a
quarter of the world's prisoners (i.e. 2 million of the world's total of 8
million). About 100,000 adult prisoners are incarcerated in
commercial jails, many of which exploit prisoners for profit.
15,000 immigrants are in INS jails. 6.6 million men, women,
and youth are under correctional supervision in America'
every year - in prison, on probation, or or parole.

The total number of people under correctional supervision in
America doubles every ten years. One in every 20 Americans
will serve time in a prison during his or her lifetime. The
US imprisonment rate has risen over three times since 1980.
The proportion of female prisoners is rising faster than that of male
prisoners. Although blacks account for only 12 percent of the American
population, nearly half of all prisoners in the United States are black. In
twenty American States, the percentage of blacks imprisoned is at least five
times greater than their share of resident population. Two million children
in the United States have one or both parents in prison. Ten million
youngsters in the USA have at least one parent who was jailed at some point
in their lives. A third of male prisoners have fathered two or more


Are you safe in an American prison ? No. In 1997, 69 US inmates
were killed by other inmates, and thousands were injured seriously
enough to require medical attention. Extortion and intimidation are
commonplace. Most inmates have few opportunities for work,
training, education, treatment or counseling. Mentally ill inmates,
around one in ten of the prison population rarely correct treatment.
Many States do not have criminal laws against custodial sexual
misconduct by prison guards - there, anybody behind bars is fair
game by wardens.

It's is a terrible indictment for any society, whatever its
merits may be in other respects, and Professors Herbert Gintis and Samuel
Bowles would agree with me absolutely about that. Somebody said once
the humanity of a society can be measured by the way
we treat our most vulnerable citizens, as indicated by the relative size of
the prison population. So does this then mean that black people are
"insensitive" or "moral retards" ? Racist nonsense. Black people like
anybody else want a life, a future, a job, the ability to organise their own
and live according to their own values. How are they going to get it ?
Who in white society understands anything ? Who wants to understand ?
What do they want to understand ? How do they want to understand it ?


In fulltime equivalents, there are 1 million police officers in the USA
(wage bill $4.5 billion a year), 1.1 million resident military personnel,
1 million guards protecting private property, 1.3 million lawyers, judges
and legal assistants, 0.2 million detective staff, and 0.3 million prison
The total law enforcement apparatus in the USA therefore functionally
comprises about 4 million people. This means that one in every thirty
American wage & salary earners works directly in a law enforcement
job. That seems a lot, but the financial costs of this, are still relatively
cheap compared to the amount of profit you can make from this
enforcement apparatus. To make more profits, you need a higher
rate of exploitation of human work, and that takes a bigger repressive
apparatus. But, it can be proved as a societal law that a coefficient
exists, according to which the increment of profit income received
by the wealthy increases much faster than the police and armies
hired by the government, i.e.  hiring more police and armies benefits
the rich more than it costs them, not just to protect their wealth
but because they can make more money faster.


Contrary to popular perception, violent crime is not responsible for the
quadrupling of the incarcerated population in the USA since Ronald Reagan
took over. In fact, violent crime rates were relatively constant or
declining over the past two decades. The exploding prison population was a
direct result of the white "law and order" hysteria under Bush Sr, Reagan
and Clinton which increased the use of prison sentences, as well as
the length of time served, e.g. through mandatory minimum sentencing,
"three strikes" laws, and reductions in the availability of parole or
early release. The costs to the American tax payer are gigantic, it's
pyramids of sacrifice. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics,
the total bill for criminal justice (to arrest, convict, and incarcerate)
in 1999 was more than $146 billion. It takes $24,000 a
year to put one prisoner in prison.

All this was supposed to protect nervous white middle class people from
serious and violent black offenders, but in fact this just results in high
rates of confinement of nonviolent offenders. Nearly three quarters of new
admissions to state prison were convicted of nonviolent crimes, principally
crimes associated with poverty.


The single greatest force behind the growth of the US prison
population has been the "war on drugs." The number of drug
offenders in prison has increased twelve times since 1980, can you believe
that ? It's true. Over a fifth of those in American prisons these days,
are there because of drugs charges. In 1980, about half the people
entering US state prisons were violent offenders; in 1995, less than
a third of state prisoners had been convicted of a violent crime.
In that half decade, spending on state and federal prison increased
five times.

All the white elite does, is talk about the need to set limits to moral
degeneracy, and the "morality of prison reform", but they do not inquire
into why people are taking drugs at all, why they would do it, and what drug
use is harmful as against merely recreational, or how to teach people
common sense about drugs use. Check out for comparison the
gigantic number of tranquilizers and anti-depressants white Americans are
gurgling down everyday. Do they get put in jail for that ? No, because these
are "legal" poisons, even though half the time the medical profession
doesn't even have much of a clue of what the long-term effects of these
medicines will be ! Working class taxpayers foot the bill for
all this, while Bush borrows more.

Every year, there are 17 million doctor's visits in the USA where
antihistamines are prescribed, 9-10 million doctor's visits where
anti-depressants are prescribed, and 16 million doctor's visits where
thyroid medicines are prescribed. Chocolate consumption
in the USA is 4.6-4.8 kilo's per year, as against 7-10 kilo's
in Scamdinavia. Total sales of anti-depressants in the USA
are worth about $12 or $13 billion which is about three times
the amount which the whole world spends on condoms.
Every year American drug companies spend $184 million
just to convince consumers to take madicines to relieve
anxiety, depression and related illnesses.


Holland has a far more tolerant and intelligent drugs policy than the USA,
but vastly less problems resulting from drugs. Why is that the case ?
Because a more egalitarian, socially self-aware social system, which
translates into better personal values, prevents poor people from too much
stupidity, in response to personal alienation and pain.
In addition, better social policy based on accurate information about
the 25,000 addicts in Holland permits the drugs problem to be placed
in proportion. Finally, traditionally family life emphasises
financial, sexual and organisational responsibility. The teenage
pregnancy in Holland is much lower than in the USA, and
the IQ scores of Dutch women are higher than for American
women. American culture dumbs down. Dutch culture
can strip away every sentimentality you might ever have had.
This is explained by the Portuguese author J. Rentes de
Carvalho, in a book called "Where the other God lives".

The incidence of life-time marihuana users is twice as high
in the USA, the incidence of heroin addiction is three
times as high in the USA, the number of cocaine users
is 5 times higher in the USA, government spending on
drug-related law enforcement is three times as high
in the USA, the homicide rate is four times higher in the USA,
and the Dutch imprisonment rate is nearly one-tenth
of the USA.

Dutch society traditionally emphasises social fairness and self-regulation
as important norms, even although the present fake Christian
government of Premier Balkende has forgotten about all that, and wants
to destroy the quality of life we had here. Just as an indication,
leading Christian-democrat luminary De Hoop Scheffer has got
himself a job as NATO chief. Conversely, exploiter and
globalisation expert Ruud Lubbers who, when he was
premier of Holland smashed the trade union movement, is
now helping out the refugees for the United Nations.
That's the kind of "Christians" we are talking about here.
Onwards christian soldiers, the working classes should be
prepared to give their lives in the conquest of new
terrortory. Christianist ideology is a kind of proto-fascism
based on the principle of preventative killing and anti-life


How do these imprisoned Americans feel about themselves after they have done
their stint in jail for drugs ? Are they better as people ? Are they more
able to get jobs ? Do they have less resentment against class justice ?
Seventy percent of released US prisoners will be caught for new
offences and within three years, two-thirds of them are back in jail.

The steepest rise in the prison population occurred from the time that
cowboy-actor president Ronald Reagan, (father to Ollie North, Abram Elliot
and other criminals) assumed office. This rise continued unabated through
the farty, laidback 1990s. Doesn't that tell you something about the
rotting social fabric in the United States ? While a minority gets filthy
rich, a majority see their own real incomes stagnate, and essential
social services priced out of existence, while more and more people
are locked up in jail.

Then these Republican politicians go an fight a war
against Iraq, a place where the US Government unleashed an Armageddon of
blood and gore, first trading weapons for oil with Iran and Iraq, then
standing by while Iranians and Iraqis butcher each other, and then
butchering the Iraqi people when Hussein's aggression no longer fits the
plotline for American imperialist expansion in the Middle East.


I am not an American, I live in Holland, but American policies force Holland
into wars, and into buying expensive military equipment to the tune of
hundreds of millions of euros, which, as the Dutch Socialist Party has made
quite clear, we do not even need, and which cut into other budgets for
essentials such as education and housing which ordinary folks need. Thus,
the American empire directly affects the money spent in Holland, causing
social malaise and demoralisation.

Many Dutch bourgeois politicians are just like apes, if it is made in
America, then it must be good. This aping is not simply a
psychological reflex, but a response to the fact that the Dutch
are the third largest foreign investor in the USA, and that
US corporations have a substantial grip on the employment
situation in Holland, apart from export trade. Just likes
whores, the Dutch bourgeois love the money.

America may have grabbed a lot of young talent from Europe,
enticed by superior salaries and cheaper cars in the US,
but that doesn't tell you anything about civilisation or the
quality of life in the USA. Yet, Bush-Cheney want
to tell the whole world how to behave ! It's nonsense. Americans
ought to look into their own backyard.

The Dutch complain that the crime rate has risen so that
now one in four Dutch people is a victim of crime every year.
That is because they followed the American model of how
you should organise society.


My thoughts on the war
Cause the rule is the law
And the law that we live by is to stay true to self
In this case beady eye
Why try
Everybody lie
About the block
True soldier mentality
This is how we rock and move
Stick and move
Time to show what kinda nigga
Move or get moved on
Lets see whos strong
In the days of the strange
Where nothing stays the same
With new faces come through with similar game
And who you thought them
Really ain't they
Catching deja vu
Of the game people play
It's a call for re-adjustment
Fine tune your positions
You slipping and tripping
Instead of bobbing and dipping
Will never let this world of stress get me
Taking breathing techniques
Slay you with tai chi
What did you change
To get a break
In the world of snakes
And those who fake
Elimination I'm facing
Outlaw till I duck down
>From popo's bustin'
No one to trust in...

- from Tupac, Military Minds

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