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View Diary: The Constitution and the laws. Who do they serve in a plutocracy like ours? (13 comments)

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  •  Allow me to embellish your essay (4+ / 0-)

    ...with an example of the way in which our obsolete constitution -- written to appease slave holders -- continues to subvert the lives of the American people.

    American slavery is alive and well -- and stealing your jobs:

    Commercial prisons in the United States today hold 220 thousand people behind bars. In American literature, this phenomenon is dubbed «prison slavery». This refers to the use of prison labor. It should be clarified: it is the use of prison labor for profit by private capital (as opposed to, say, such work as cleaning areas and facilities in prison, or the execution of any work in the public interest).

     he privatization of prison labor in the U.S. is carried out in two main forms: 1) The lending of state prison inmates as labor to private companies. 2)The privatization of prison institutions, turning them into private companies of various forms of ownership (including stock ownership).

    The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits forced labor, contains a caveat: "Slavery and the forcible compulsion to work, except for punishment for a crime properly convicted, shall not exist within the United States." Thus, in U.S. prisons slavery is legal.

    How legal is it?
    By 2008, 27 states already had 100 private prisons. These prisons are operated by 18 private corporations. The largest of them are the Correctional Corporation of America (CCA) and G4S: they controlled 75% of all private prison inmates. In 1986 shares of CCA began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2009, its market capitalization was estimated at 2.26 billion dollars.
    American slavery is big business for US corporations with the slaves earning about four cents per hour. In case anyone is wondering where their jobs went, this is the answer.

    Private prison companies sell the American slaves' work product and pocket the profits for themselves and their shareholders. And the slaves are never released. They live their short lives in slavery and die in prison.

    In prison, in contrast to industrial companies, there can be no talk of a strike, trade union activities, holidays, or sickness. To encourage prison slaves to work the employers promise early release for good work. However, it applies a system of fines, which can actually lead to life imprisonment.
    So, what American jobs do they replace, and what do they produce? It's a long, long list, but here's an example:
    Today, American prison slaves produce 100% of all military helmets, uniforms, belts and shoulder belts, vests, ID cards, shirts, pants, tents, backpacks and flasks for the country`s army. In addition to military equipment and uniforms, prisons produce 98% of the market in installation tools, 46% of bulletproof vests, 36% of home appliances, 30% of headphones, microphones, megaphones, and 21% of office furniture, aircraft and medical equipment, and many more.
    Thank you US Constitution, the oldest, stingiest, and most obsolete of the currently active contracts in the known universe.
    The prison industry is one of the fastest growing industries, and its investors are on Wall Street.

    This multi-million dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and online catalogues. It has direct advertising campaigns, has design and construction firms, investment funds on Wall Street, building maintenance firms, food supply companies, it has armed security, and soundproofed rooms.

    Our transnational corporations (TNCs) no longer have the incentive to transfer their production from the U.S. to economically backward countries. It is even possible that the process can go in the opposite direction.

    This is the least of the damage our retrograde Constitution does to the asset-stripped American Colonists.

    ::

    I used to ask folks:

    Why does the US have more incarcerated prisoners per capita than any other nation on the face of the earth -- by far.

    1.  Because the United States is a police state.

    OR

    2.  Because Americans are the type of people who produce massive numbers of criminals.

    Which IS it, I would ask. But I see now, I wasn't thinking large enough.


    A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

    by Pluto on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 04:39:08 PM PST

    •  Pluto (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, Pluto

      I just checked, and the text of the 13th amendment doen't read as written in your first box quote.  I am on an iPad, so I can't link...but it basically says

      Slavery and Involuntary servitude, except for those convicted of crimes,...

      This is critically different from your quote, and the subcluase about those convicted of crimes clearly refers to involuntary servititude.

      Yes, prison labor is a big problem, and there are tons of problems here, I just think the box quote is over-emphasizing the constitutional element of the argument.  And whatever else, rewriting the actual text of the 13th amendment.

      "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

      by Empty Vessel on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 04:48:23 PM PST

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    •  Prisons as slave camps?....n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pluto

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 04:49:03 PM PST

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      •  It's perfectly constitutional (0+ / 0-)


        A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

        by Pluto on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 05:02:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  as I asked...who does the constitution serve in a (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pluto

          plutocracy?

          An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

          by don mikulecky on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 05:06:25 PM PST

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          •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            don mikulecky

            Private capitalists offering for-profit government services -- such as prisons, schools, standard health care, and defense.

            Any of these are fantastic investments for the plutocrats because they are paid top dollar by the Federal government.


            A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. -- Groucho Marx

            by Pluto on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 05:19:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

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