In part 4 of a 6 part series, I will start to discuss modern slavery how former President Bill Clinton continued the practice of unjust, racist practices that have kept people of color slaves to a system from which they cannot escape. In previous sections, I discussed how we got to this place, starting with convict leasing after the Civil War.
Next up, Bill Clinton and some of the most racist laws ever passed in this country.
Then along came Bill Clinton, and if you think that people are color would finally get a fair shake from a Democrat, think again. Clinton knew going into the campaign that the past two presidents had won their races by committing to being “tough on crime.” He knew that if he didn’t outdo them, he didn’t stand a chance at winning the election.
He campaigned on promises to crack down even harder than his predecessors. He swore that he would finally win the war on crime and drugs. He knew he had to be tougher on crime than his Republican counterpart to win, and it worked.
After he was elected, he was the one who extended mandatory minimum sentences to the ridiculous extent they remain at today. He was also the one who instituted the ill-conceived three-strikes law. It was all part of his 1994 crime bill.
UNJUST SENTENCING AND THE 1994 CRIME BILL
The crime bill extended mandatory minimum sentences, did away with parole, and enacted a three-strikes law. It also maintained that ridiculous 100-to-1 ratio between crack and cocaine when sentencing. Bill Clinton has since apologized for fo the bill and stated he simply had no idea the damage that it would do.
Bullshit! He was begged by humans rights advocates not to sign the bill because of the inherent racial disparities that would only be made worse by it. He signed it anyway.
Not to mention the three-strikes law. Three-strikes is racist not only because of the arrest rates being so ridiculously unjust and imbalanced but also because judges can use their discretion. Yes, you read that correctly, judges can choose whether or not to apply the law.
Even being arrested enough times can add up to a strike against an individual, so as you can easily see, three-strikes is yet another micro-system designed to keep people of color behind bars and working slave labor for the elite.
Like every other area of the system, whites get a break far more frequently than people of color do.
The ridiculously racist crime bill Clinton signed into law is directly the reason that Alice Marie Johnson is still sitting in federal prison and thousands more like her as well.
Another system that is a product of these unjust laws is plea bargaining. Plea bargaining is when the person accused of a crime is offered a plea so they can avoid a jury trial. Seems like a decent way to help move things along at a faster rate. Right?
First of all, the law states everyone has the right to a speedy trial. However, if that were actually to happen, our legal system as we know it would implode. It would shut down entirely. However, the plea bargain system is corrupt and serves to jail more innocent people than most of these other laws combined.
Because of the mandatory minimum sentencing laws that Clinton enforced, prosecutors can now say, “take the plea bargain, or you go away for life,” and it is true. They know they will serve the maximum sentence and they can’t afford a lawyer to prove their innocence, so they plea bargain, even if they are innocent.
Don’t think for one minute that if you were in their shoes, you would fight. Being innocent hasn’t made a difference up to that point, why would it matter once it goes to trial? They exist in a system designed to keep them oppressed, and they know it.
Ninety-seven percent of all cases take a plea bargain. Almost NO ONE goes to trial because they know the cards are stacked against them even there. So instead of facing life behind bars or any of the other ridiculous mandatory minimums, they cave because they don’t see that they have a choice.
And as you can see, in most cases they do not, in fact, have a choice at all.
Then, of course, as if it wasn’t enough already, came the advent of private prisons, which opened up a whole new can of worms for the industry. Don’t get it wrong. This is an industry. People make billions of dollars on the prison industrial complex, not just the private ones, either.
There are the obvious ones, like the people that prepare the food and provide the phone services. Both of which are abhorrent in their own right. The food is often found to have maggots, and the phone companies charge exorbitant rates.
COMPANIES THAT PROFIT FROM SLAVE LABOR
We now come to the money grabbing companies that profit from the industry less directly. Like the companies that benefit from the labor of the people locked behind bars. Companies like WalMart and even Whole Foods use prison labor to this day with the full knowledge that they are using slave labor.
As mentioned in part 2, slave owners were motivated to take care of their property, modern slaves (prisoners) aren’t cared for nearly so much, as they are easily replaceable.
Private prisons threaten the state when they aren’t full enough. Prisoners are their currency, and it pays to have as much of that as possible in any business transaction. It’s only evil because we are literally talking about human beings with children and mothers and fathers. Many of whom did nothing wrong besides leaving the house while being black.
Some liberals scream about companies using sweatshops overseas, yet they happily shop at Whole Foods without a second thought to the prison labor responsible for making their goat cheese. In many cases, it’s merely because they have no idea it’s even happening.
Below is a video which lists many companies that use prison labor. And now you know, so do something about it.
These systems all serve to set people of color on a path that doesn’t even approach equality or fairness. We can’t continue to lie to ourselves; we live in a country that has kept people of color oppressed by leaders all too willing to continue the trend.
We must stop allowing them to get away with it. Now we know better, we must DO better.
This section was part 4 of a 6 part series on how that has taken place over the last 150 or so years. As you will see in the next section, and I am sure at this point, agree, the problem is indeed systemic. Not only that, but there are now human rights violations happening right here in the United States that are being reported on around the globe.
Click here to keep it real and read some true life stories of injustice in our world.
Featured Image via YouTube Video.