Time’s Up

Now the Republicans have voted to take it all away. The “it” in question is all that money can buy, as well as having more money in their bank accounts. The “it” represents all that earth contains that they can take and make their own. The greedy and powerful have done this little by little over time but now they want it all. They hide their entitlement under the illusion that newly acquired money does good for the poor, but more often call the poor lazy, enjoying joblessness rather than working a 40-hour week and not making enough to basic their basic needs.

Why do the obscenely rich need more? It has nothing to do with growing the economy since the absorbed money will only hoarded in off-shore accounts or used to buy other companies, not to create more jobs, but generally resulting in job cuts to increase revenue. Taking away jobs and potential to earn money will destroy the economy since the middle class needs money to buy its products. The rich seem to promote the feeling that they are a better species than the poor but secretly fear the opposite is true.

The “takers” get to wear a crown of money. They are the new aristocrats. How did we , the majority get into creating royalty, people we are supposed to serve and worship? Is it the child to parent experience reemerging? The rich have a castle on the hill with armed guards to keep us out. We slave for a pittance thrown our way, live in tiny houses or in one large structure divided into sections by families.

You can look at this vast demotion from a positive perspective. We can become a group instead of solitary individuals entranced by shallow TV programs or by newscasts touting war. We learn how to meet our needs when the social system fails. Money now lacks meaning since there is nothing left to buy. We can hate and rob our neighbors for having what we lack. Thinking and acting this way enforces out true poverty. We can do it otherwise.

The newly created royals attempt to get us to turn against each other, white against black against gay against Latino against trans… Getting us to divide and attack each other keeps them safe. The royals are frightened of people impoverished by them. Even slave masters slept with a gun beneath their pillow. It wasn’t enough to separate people speaking the same language, to keep them from learning to read and to work them from dark to dark. It wasn’t enough to insist they all came here on slave ships and had no skills despite the growing evidence that Africans sailed and inhabited the Western world a thousand years before the purported birth of Christ, as researched in depth by Ivan Van Sertima and David Imhotep. It wasn’t enough to lie about black history so that the current “owners” can claim divine right.

We need to think of ourselves as a loving population, to figure out how to grow food, to create natural medications from herbs and plants to share our skills, to trade services and goods. We need to store the food we grow. We need to turn away from the worthless classification passed down to us by the rich. We need to create a life we can enjoy with friendship and mutual support as its basis. We can make music and dance.

 

Advertisements

Education Has to Be Great Fun

Betsy DeVos hates education unless it brings in dollars. She does not know the beauty of schools which help students wander into the great unknown. Dollar signs block her vision so that is what she sees. Her family makes money from collecting student debt.They all have the “Scrooge Disease.”

In Detroit, poor children hate what DeVos has done to their public schools, too few for too many and most of them widely scattered so that the children have to travel a great distance from their front door. Their teachers are frequently ill-trained newcomers who are transferred from school to school so that you do not know if the math teacher will complete the term or even be there the next. Detroit kids often are “taught” by the smarter ones since there is no teacher present. Frightened teachers “teach to the test” which kills the spirit of learning. Obama had something to do with this. Who put the muzzle and blinkers on him?  No money for art and music and drama and poetry and gym and trips. No money for creative freedom. These ill-taught children do not do well on County or State tests so do not get into college. Those with money label the poorly taught stupid. This shows the arrogance of class.

I had a dream about it. A young girl was in a bland and boring class in which she did poorly. Her parents had died in a recent automobile accident and she was growing thin. She lived on what remained in the family cupboard, on things like pretzels and pickles. Her parents had been well-known actors who did not frequent the kitchen and had taught her nothing about cooking. They lived the life of words.

Her English teacher knew nothing of her background and did not think her very bright until one day, the teacher surprised herself by asking students to recite a Shakespearean sonnet. This increasingly skinny girl got up and declaimed some verses by heart. Her volume, intonation, beautiful notes of speech electrified the class who applauded and cheered and asked for more. Thinking that the eloquent child was starving, the teacher was inspired. She dug up poetry about the kitchen, about the lowly potato, the explosive tomato, about making and eating cabbage soup. Everyone joined in. They read and declaimed and wrote about the meaning of “soul food.” They spoke of cooking as revealing the spirit of growing things, went home and cooked the food they had discussed, infused it with their spirit and next day brought it to the classroom to be eaten by all.

The classroom was having great fun. Pretty soon the principal heard about it and arrived one day she said, to evaluate what was going on. Actually, she wanted to join in. The beauty of vegetables was her forte. Other classrooms and other schools heard about it and started doing their own reading and improvising. The school system lost its lifeless rule of “memorize this” in order to pass a test. The skinny girl achieved a normal weight, and eventually went to cooking school on a scholarship. She is famous today for inventing dishes as well as for writing verses about them.

I woke up.

That was my dream. It reminded me of my greatest learning experiences when there was nothing to memorize, no clear path to follow and everything to discover. How can we bring this experience to public school, even if the room is overcrowded and the teacher naive? How can we make it a place for all to learn? We need to get rid of the DeVos types who are only there to make more money by giving the children less. These people are like horses wearing blinders so as to not be frightened by coming traffic. They do not know that they are seeing and feeling and thinking less because they have always worn them. They use words of sympathy devoid of intention to hide behind. They cannot guide education because they do not understand it.

Please read my book Unloved Again. email me directly to get a signed copy at elangolomb@gmail.com or send for a Paperback ($16Squareup.com/store/elangolomb

Get the Losers to Fight

Political statements which support depriving middle and lower classes while holding onto wealth and power are repeated by the writing of corporate funded news. These stir up hatred by stating that one group steals the ever fewer jobs from the other. Those with their hands in the till (of our tax money and their investments) tell us that we are endangered by ….. Muslims, blacks, Jews, women, Indians trying to protect our water, ….  anyone who wants to protect those with power from being accused and punished for their life destructive incursions.

The 1 percent goes up and the 99 percent goes down, down, down. Let us look at Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, who has zero experience, understanding and interest in public schools. She said that public education “is a poor investment.” Part of her family’s great wealth comes from collecting student loans. She stated that she wants to offer vouchers to poor people so that their children can go to the assumed superior charter schools. This stated intention is a scam. After receiving the voucher, poor people still cannot afford to send their child to a charter school so the child does not attend. Children in charter schools are there from the start because their parents have money to pay. Voucher money is taken from the public school kitty for the sole goal of impoverishing it. Look where the money goes when assigning responsibility.

The Trump group is talking about closing the Department of Education (i.e. public schools) in 2018.  Education when effective, creates a thinking person. DeVos has stated her intention is to have the schools endorse religious principles. She called it God’s Kingdom, presumably a Christian enclave. Remember the separation of church and state? Now forget it. Such restricted schooling gets students to submit to the propaganda of millionaires and billionaires who enhance their wealth by getting rid of public services; to end Medicare and Medicaid; to privatize the Social Security they call an “entitlement, a misnomer which is a euphemism for a lie. Social Security is a lifetime investment taken from your “pay check”; Teachers increasingly “teach to the exam” which means suppressing thought. The controlling 1 percent has got its claws in creative teaching. Passing a test does not mean you can think.

We are inundated with the false understanding about what threaten us instead of how we are actually being robbed. Panicked by an imagined history, we ignore the threat of EOs (Executive Orders) one after the other. Recently an EO proposed to end the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) which reveals money-making environmental damage, the EO canceling the CPB (Committee for Public Broadcasting) which supports air time for small and public supported voices. Day after day, on and on and on. All the basic stuff of life is being turned into money. They are pulling up the sidewalks.

I was quite depressed and fearful last night, even of the consequences of my being noticed for writing this. Then I had this dream.

I saw a group of children, perhaps about 50 of them standing together and not of the “same” racial group. One of them did or was said to have said something negative against another. It was stated by the teacher as if being a criminal act. The teacher asked, “…who did it” to the crowd. Asked them to expose that child so that the others would get angry and attack. “Speak up. Talk. What is your reaction to this behavior?” But no one spoke. She tried to up the ante by characterizing the unknown child as “a bad one.” But still, there was no speech. The teacher could not stir up fear and hatred. She was defeated, silenced.

At the end of my dream, there was happiness in the children’s eyes. Also in my own eyes as I awakened. I felt the spirit of love shared by all the children. Love sustains life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Women’s March

I went to a great and wonderful meeting in New York City on Saturday morning, a meeting which started in Australia since Saturday came there first.  I first encountered it on the subway at 9 A.M. Instead of everyone burying their noses in their cell phones or in reading books and papers, they smiled and looked around. Most of them were women wearing signs and carrying posters. Some took photos of the others. Many wore pink hats as well or carried cat signs, a mockery of Trump’s admission of molesting women. The spirit was one of a gigantic laugh which summarized defiance. The women were saying, “you’re not allowed to do that to us….. again.”

The women were young and old, all races and nationalities. There was a reasonable smattering of men. Every seat was taken and the rest were standing. My favorite sign that day which two women independently imagined featured a golden haired man grabbing the crotch of the Statue of Liberty. It pretty much summarized what could happen. My favorite written comment was, If you screw a woman she’ll multiply.

Finally at the UN gathering,  Josie Perez, as MC told us that  when seeking a permit for the event, she told the policeman that she  expected 500. He called the number unrealistic. 500,000 showed. 600 sites were reported around the world. The total number was in the millions.

This huge convergence of women (and men) has to do with the alarm people feel at the Trump crew’s intention to remove social care long fought for and needed to expand. They spoke against the loss of Planned Parenthood, which doesn’t only offer abortions but medical services for those who can’t afford them. Planned Parenthood said they will not accept their closing. People spoke for Medicare for all people  as is found in every western nation. People spoke against our current form of slavery. Blacks up north and down south, part of the school to prison population are arrested for almost anything and then rented out to corporations from their cells. They spoke of student debt and the planned bring down of public education

We were told that New York State and New York City are sanctuaries which means that we will not turn in races, nationalities deemed undesirable by those who want to build racist walls. New York has people from every country speaking every language, artists, scientists, planners, laborers, terrorized escapees. This mix makes New York great (unless the “planners” upscale and make it a city for the rich. Sanctuary says no removing Muslims, gays, Mexicans, Jews…. Sanctuary.

An Asian woman spoke of being kidnapped as a child and sold into prostitution until she escaped. She spoke of child prostitution as a growing racket in the US.  A Mexican man spoke of loving his mother who fled with him across the border, in order to survive. He is the first one in  his family to go to college and now a lawyer. All spoke of the need to say no to the misuse of tax money and the taking away of our rights.

After the speakers and singers ended, we walked down 2nd avenue. It was a slow beginning with people still entering from all the streets around us  as well as a poorly planned if not ill-intentioned too small opening in the hawsers for the crowd to exit. But no one panicked. I had the pleasure of standing next to the Raging Grannies, their hats full of we-stand-against buttons. They laughingly had plenty to say. There were drummers and chanters, call and response: e.g., “What do you call democracy? This is democracy!” There were roars from back to front, a gigantic sound which made us feel our number. There were hawsers to keep the marchers on one side of the avenue. Another laugh at the unexpected. People were on both sides of the hawsers and on the side walk. Uncontainable. The march was very slow, like the initial surge of pushed out earth before the explosive force of an earth quake.

A huge fight lies ahead. The Affordable Care Act which offers coverage to 20 million poor, is currently in the hairs of the ready to fire Trump gun. There is no replacement offered. The presidential website no longer has Climate change on it. Trump stated he “doesn’t believe in climate change, that it is  a myth circulated by the Chinese. His cabinet choices either agree with his climate ignorance or do not care about it like Rex Tillerson from Corporate oil, which has lied about oil destruction for years and for whom nothing counts but profit. There is Betsy DeVos as education secretary, a billionaire who doesn’t believe in public education. All of the people nominated are against functioning of the agency they are supposed to represent.

President Trump seems unable or unwilling to get informed. He may not remember what he has said before and constantly changes his story. He is exclusively focused on image. He is not a reader. Possibly he lacks the ability to concentrate on the written word. He despises the press when they are not in his pocket and will try to keep or eject them from his meetings which have been very few. He labels all journalists as low life and what they say as lies. Tyranny starts with suppressing the press.

Trump is a hypersensitive man who takes every group and individual’s reaction personally and is quickly moved to rage. Destructive decisions follow. Trump has chosen advisors who represent his biases and will quickly move to enact them. There is fear in US citizens, that they will be attacked, jailed, murdered for speaking out. Some take a humiliated “wait and see” approach as if they can ignore what is happening. Hannah Arendt spoke of Germans not seeing the murderous prisons in their midst. She called it  “…the banality of evil.” One turns ones eyes to not see what scares you. You know the saying, “first they came for….” ending with “and then there was me.”

I have heard people say that Trump is right to do exclude and excoriate the press, that they should not be so insulting. These people do not understand that press is our 4th Estate, that a democracy needs to have its faults exposed in order to improve. All of us is capable of the highest or lowest motives and behaviors. We need solidarity to help us choose the high road. In order to survive an onslaught on our civil liberties and our survival needs in the next 4 years, we need to become activists, to join the group which most calls us and to work on locally elected officials to represent us. New Yorkers need to get Chuck Schumer, our Democratic leader, to raise a courageous flag like did Bernie Sanders. Politicians are usually not a courageous group unless their economic and elected position is threatened.

 

Money is the Trump cabinet’s calling. Let us not buy their products, stay in their hotels, save money in their banks. If the Courts and Congress were able to support the law, our president who hides his unpaid taxes and enormous debt, who has all the DC visitors stay in his hotel, would be disbarred for receiving emoluments, money received for favors.

Will we be suppressed by millionaires and billionaires who increasingly own more of everything than the entirety of people beneath them? People will die of starvation, disease, violence; the physical world will enter a state of serious exhaustion from our practice of extraction. All gone now will be the result of our not choosing.

 

Please consider reading my book Unloved Again. Email me directly a elangolomb@gmail.com in order to get your signed copy. Paperback ($16 Squareup.com/store/elangolomb.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life Is Calling You

Survivors of concentration camps were the ones that were motivated to get through great hardship in order to tell their story the starvation and freezing and cholera and typhus, typhoid, and diphtheria; the murder of parents and siblings and children. The weak ones were chosen to go first, the strong ones consigned to back-breaking work half clothed in freezing weather until they succumbed. Some were shot in groups after digging their graves, many perished breathing poisonous gas after supposedly cleansing showers. The survivors see themselves as griots, who sustain their lineage by telling its history. Not knowing your history keeps you from knowing what makes you who you are.

What kind of history created this Anthropocene era, leaders pulling the masses into a murderous spree in which we use up everything possible , consuming all of it now as if there is no tomorrow in which we may need some more of it, no consideration of that object’s right to exist; we kill as an act of power over those we want to subdue like knocking off most of the buffaloes even from train windows to subdue the natives. Currently, we see economic value which turns an earth-object,mineral, animal or plant into money. We exterminate whole species of sea life, as a necessary byproduct of using gigantic nets to harvest certain fish, dumping the rest all dead, overboard, the turtles and sharks and porpoises and….We transform sensate beings and living plants into inanimate objects. We turn everything into nothing.

Since Congress said that money is a form of speech and that corporations are people, everything is for sale. Protective fences can be removed by those who claim ownership often at the point of a gun. The corporation or corporate man buys the local “commons” so that the local dwellers  can no longer graze their sheep, later sheer them for wool which is woven and made into clothing. The man is deprived of the land he needs to raise what he eats. If he buys instead of inheriting his farm, bank interest makes it impossible for him to keep it. He cannot control his destiny. Has no place to call home.

We who argue for the preservation of life have insufficient funds to “persuade” elected officials to support it. Greed and stupidity rule them (rule us as well if we believe what we are told about the wonderful advancement that will soon be ours if we give up our land connection. Greed and stupidity  are driving us all to extinction.

How important are trees in the Brazilian Amazon rain forest, trees that hold onto shallow top soil with their roots and create oxygen from their leaves? Not as important to the “modern man” who wants to raise cattle to sell to McDonald’s. The man is rarely native. He does not love the earth and his connection to it.  His only connection to it is his need for wealth. He and his gang kill natives who object to losing their home and garden; either that or allows them to work as near-slaves. He cuts down every tree in order to plant grass. It is not long before the rainy season washes away the topsoil with its grass. Nothing grows there now. Cows without grass become stringy and unsellable. The cattlemen will have to move on, to destroy a new section of the forest and leave behind a growing desert.

Why are there no magnet-powered trains which can take us to every little town? How did the auto industry take over so that now we only can travel by car on endlessly expanding roads? Corporations that build cars, dig roads, extract, refine and sell gas, have purchased Congressional votes. Lawmakers go deaf whenever a natural approach is mentioned. Those who want non-polluting trains have insufficient funds to get the ear of Congress. Humans are amazingly repetitive. Once some process has been installed, it becomes the only way to do it. Money is the glue for this. A terrible fear of poverty annihilates the possibility of change.

Environmental solutions are called “romantic” by those in power by which they mean unrealistic and unimportant. The Anthropocene “extractors” have the fantasy of a future solution to the damage they are causing. They have no sense of time, no idea that time is running out. Anthropocene means man-created disaster.  If we admit to harming the earth and all its dwellers, to what extent have we come to think our destruction is inevitable? Such an idea is a severe narrowing of vision. The “use-it-up” society is mentally myopic.

Corporations exist in the present. They have cash registers in the place of hearts. Congressmen are on a short leash. When environmentally sensitive people argue against turning trees into paper/plywood; or cutting them down to plant coconut trees for coconut oil, they turn away. Who can convince them of our need for the multiplicity of living things instead of making a profit? The Anthropocene mentality regards the market as its god. All living things which suffer from corporate “taking” and are disregarded.

We feel our loss of a clear sky and pure water, of bird song. We react to starving iceless polar bears and emaciated baby seals and …. How are we to react to these losses? Hopelessness guarantees permitting more destruction especially by denying its existence or its size. Unable to handle hopelessness we give up our morality. Shades fall down between our sense of self and our painful feelings. We become robotic. Or we accept the market mentality, a join them if you can’t lick them approach. It is OK to devour nature.

Indifference is the attitude of those who have given up. They are dead before their body falls. A spirit disconnected from life is into dying. I say no to that. What is our tax money going for? What do we want our government to provide? We want free schools and free medicine, woods to walk in, bird song in the spring, clean air to breath and clean water to drink. We want a living world.

We are told that the great extinction we are causing is a natural thing and that some animals will adapt to their loss of habit. Lies. Feel your pain. Your anger. What are you going to do about preserving life?

Get my book Unloved Again today! Email me directly at elangolomb@gmail.com in order to get your signed copy. Hardcover ($25 including shipping) and Paperback ($16 Squareup.com/store/elangolomb) .

Humor Lifts You Out of Acquiesence

Make a joke of it. Laugh yourself right out of being mired in your culture’s negative perspective, your neighbor’s mindless receptivity , your newspaper’s acceptance of the inevitability of something totally bad  happening as if we have no relationship to the cause. We need to reject, to  fight against submitting to the destruction of all things. We have an important device to do it. It is humor. We can laugh at newspapers which try to shade the truth to the benefit of the owning corporation. We can laugh at the advice (not necessarily to their face) given by frightened  and biased Mom and Dad, laugh at the whole damn world telling  you to join them in an unstated suicide pact when you need to opt out.

The insight about the role of humor came to me last night. I was feeling very sad and helpless upon learning about the disappearance of Julian Assange of Wikileaks from the Ecuadorian embassy in Britain. I feared that he had been captured and possibly killed, possibly tortured  to get him to reveal and submit. The subsequent news silence about where he is either damns or supports hope for his survival.

Then I read about the mistaken spraying with a bee-killing spray of bees in 2 US states. The staff wasn’t supposed to spray infected trees by day when bees are out gathering pollen. But whoever was in charge of spray timing did not know,  did not remember or did not bother to tell the workers so they merrily sprayed by day and spread enormous death. How can we as a group be so stupid, killing those animals on which our food source depends?

Is it due to jobs being made automatic, transformed into parts done by strangers who are not plants lovers, farmers, workers who do not know, see, feel the consequences of what they do? We cannot do it right  by Mother Earth after disconnecting from her. We have to be/feel part of the family of life in order to sustain our “right action.”

US companies are using neonicotinoids,  an insect-killing poison known to kill bees. Neonicotinoids are currently forbidden in Europe where natural survival  is honored. But not in the US where the congressional members get money to run for office from neonicotinoid selling corporations and in turn have to do their bidding.  Congress is not part of the family of life.  It is now a business connected to the living world in terms of power and money.

So they/we are killing bees which spread pollen that fertilizes plants which keeps the plant world growing. Does our education deliberately miss understanding pollen as an essential part of our existence?  Or is this oversight due to ignorance? The bee world is dying due to our propensity for using killer chemicals  against whenever we fear “out there.”  We treat nature as our enemy rather than as our Mother. We believe ads which tell us to that the chemical is not dangerous. We make choices without knowing. We  revert to childhood with frightening parents we had to obey or else. We keep ourselves from seeing the result.

When I originally studied psychology, Freud was said to have theorized 2 basic forces in man, a life and a death instinct. The life instinct leads to sex and procreation, to being social and enjoying life. The death instinct leads to harming/killing others as well as to harming self over and over and over again. We call this the “repetition compulsion.” It is a choice of death.  But why would we choose death over life? Why would we choose to be enemies to ourselves? All matter  is vibrating.  We vibrate. Do we need to re-emerge into the whole and abandon the self as a seemingly separate part? Does energy need to leave its temporary fleshly abode? The why of it, so basic to life should be studied.

I was reading a bit of Krishnamurti, who said that the only thing that will keep us alive is love. It is a matter of what moves us, either love or hate; love or death. Our current leaders are in the pockets of the war machine. They make money by selling war toys and by using them. Every invented object, like small nuclear bombs created to “protect  us” will be used. Children play with their toys.

Armaments make money when sold to others and by us when used to steal other countries natural resources. Corporations have a single objective which is to make money. They go for making more  of it even if the consequence is death. They do not weigh consequences. They are a programmed machine for which humans are treated as pawns on the chessboard of life. Unintended death is “collateral damage.” There is no feeling, no flesh and blood reality to a machine.

I was asking myself how to emerge from my emotional paralysis. I had an inspiration, not for the first time. We often discover the same thing over and over, pushed out of our consciousness by our need to fit in. I thought we need to laugh at what plagues us. We need to laugh at our collective and individual life-destroying behavior. Humor creates a needed separation from our frightening objective. Humor is the basis for our saying, “no.”

When you feel down, defeated and isolated, find a humorous way to depict your plight and then  share it.  Another person laughing with you empowers your separation. It is humor that says “No problem.” It is humor says “keep your madness. I’ll have none of that. ” It is humor that says “…calling me names is a baby act that proves nothing.” Humor leads us to new ways to look at and handle problems.  Humor sets us free.

Slavery in America

I went to see a film called The 19th. Knew it was about something important but not exactly what. Now I know. Seeing The 19th was like a splat of cold water in the face and a stabbing pain in my heart. Seeing what is going on in great number without any of us knowing was like living writer Hannah Arendt’s  “the banality of evil,” the experience of Germans living next to concentration camps and not seeing them, intent on leading “moral” lives. Are we the same? Is there something good about our ability to turn a blind eye to what might alarm us? There is a bit of comfort in denying what is going on until we too fall into the pit. The 19th Amendment has to do with how we run our prisons, their purpose and means. Nothing said about the effect on prisoners.

US prisons are cells with bars, everywhere enclosed spaces watched by often violent guards. The experience for prisoners is one of fear and aggression, hopelessness, boredom and work. There is no training for the future. There is only now. Recidivism is high when the prisoner is released. It is different in Germany where prison is an open place full of teachers and inmate-students, people acquiring important skills and speaking about emotional problems. German recidivism is low. Treat a human as worthy and that is what get. Treat that person like an animal and their behavior follows suit. Would you expect anything else?

Those who wrote the 19th Constitutional amendment after the Civil War were mostly men of wealth and means. The 19th, seemingly well-intended writers kicked slavery out the front door and snuck it in the back. It said that no man could be forced to work for free (or for pitifully little) unless he was in prison. That statement is like a Trojan Horse with bells on it. You commit a crime or are reported to have committed one and you are transferred to the work gang..

This intentional parasitism did not come out of nowhere. Early America grew wealthy on the sale of tobacco , cotton and sugar raised by slaves. Slaves build great mansions for white folks including the White House where they served. Slaves built colleges and slave labor supported these institutions partly built to train missionaries who would to out and Christianize the “natives.” Among the slave-created and salve-supported schools are Harvard and Princeton and Brown and William and Mary and University of Pennsylvania and Columbia and Rutgers and Dartmouth.

Extracting free labor is the fastest way to make a fortune. You rise on another man (or woman’s) shoulders, ignoring their sweat and tears. You labor them an inferior race that does not much feel pain. At one time US jail was associated with making license plates. Now inmates make almost everything in almost every US corporation. Big business receives Federal tax credits for employing inmates in excess of millions yearly. Business is not complaining

The United States Government is the primary guilty party in formulating a slave-based operation. The Federal corporation, UNICOR sets working conditions and wage standards for working inmates. Prisoners are said to work an 8 hour day for wages ranging from .23 cents/ hour to 1.15/hour. Due to the inflated cost in prison of making telephone calls and of purchasing items in the commissary, many prisoners leave jail in greater debt than when they arrived.

Here are some of the companies using slave labor: Whole Foods, WalMart, whose company policies clearly state “forced or prison labor is not tolerated” but get around this restriction by using a 3rd party for almost every item in the store . There are Farms with inmate labor who work under a blazing sun without adequate sunscreen, food and water. There is Victoria’s Secret where South Carolina inmates replace “Made in Honduras” tags with Made in the USA. There is AT&T which laid off thousands of telephone operators who were union members, to increase their profit. They were replaced by inmates who work in Call Centers for approximately $2 a day. There is BP which, after spilling 4 million barrels of oil in the Gulf Coast, used African-American inmates to clean it up instead of the local community of out-of-work fisherman. Other prisons using inmate labor include Microsoft, Nike, Honda, Pfizer, Saks 5th Avenue, JC Penny, Macy’s and Starbucks.
When inmates come before the parole board praying for release after 5 or 10 or 15 or… years of stifling imprisonment and imposed labor, reviewers pay little attention to their work time or to their good behavior. These appointed judges usually revert to the crime which brought that person to jail in the first place and on that basis answer no. The parole officer seems proud of his moral position. He lacks awareness of how prideful behavior becomes abusive.

Prison as a correction institute has been turned into a “tough on crime” torture zone by elected officials who think that repeating this slogan will get them elected by fearful voters. Those in prison have little or no time to spend with their children depending on how far the prison is from their home. When they meet, they are divided by a wall of glass and speak through a phone. Children are not embraced. Prisoners are deprived of almost all that makes life worth living.

Prisoners are beginning to rebel against their slave condition. They want reasonable wages and respectful treatment. Those who recently went on strike to call attention to their mistreatment were seriously beaten by guards, many thrown into solitary confinement including boys as young as 14, a sure way to make them grow insane. The prison’s intention is to break the spirit of its inmates and force them to turn the the wheel of outside profit.

How can slavery go on under our noses without our knowing it? We do not know it because the corporations which use inmate labor do not want us to know. Slave labor spoils their image. We might think twice about buying something made by unpaid or barely paid inmates. We might ask questions and learn that most people are in jail because they lack money for bail as do their relatives. They have not had their time in court, have not been convicted of any crime.

Many think that our prison system is itself a criminal event. It is clear that a functioning society needs no jail. Instead, it needs to create a place to help those who fail and fall between the cracks. Such people need psychological support and job training, not punishment. They need patient models who demonstrate how to live in society, something you cannot learn in a cage. They help inmates learn to get close to people, rather than feel helpless and enraged. This approach for those who fail in any way, would benefit us all.