Revolution #251, December 1, 2011
Call for Interns/Volunteers to work on Revolution newspaper project:
Mass Incarceration in the USA:
The history behind it… what it means today… the struggle to put an end to it
The United States—the richest and most powerful nation—has 5% of the world’s population, but 25% of its prisoners. More than 2.3 million people are behind bars in the country that brags it is the "leader of the free world." The courageous prisoners on hunger strikes have shined a light on how they are subjected to the inhumane, mind-crushing torture of solitary confinement—kept in small, windowless concrete cells 23 hours a day and denied human contact. Such mental torture is considered a war crime when carried out against prisoners of war, but the U.S. inflicts this on tens of thousands of prisoners.
If you find this situation intolerable—as you should—then you need to be part of exposing these conditions and joining the struggle against mass incarceration in the U.S. And one important way you can do this is by working on a special project Revolution newspaper is initiating to do research and deeply expose the reality of mass incarceration in the U.S.
Today, mass incarceration concentrates the way Black and Latino people are systematically discriminated against and oppressed by the system. In the U.S. Black people in particular have always filled the prisons in greatly disproportionate numbers compared to whites. But as the forms under which Black people have been subjugated in this country have evolved, the forms of the enforcement of their subjugation have evolved as well. And the massive numbers of African-Americans in jail concentrate that—in terrible ways with ominous implications.
There is an urgent need to raise people's consciousness about this and a pressing need for determined struggle against this outrage. And through this, people can come to see that things don’t have to be this way—that there is the necessity, and the possibility, of a radically different world.
Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, has summed up the positive and negative experience of the communist revolution so far, and drawing from a broad range of human experience, has developed a new synthesis of communism. There really is a viable vision and strategy for a radically new, and much better, society and world, and there is the crucial leadership needed to carry forward the struggle toward that goal. Revolution newspaper takes the work of Bob Avakian as its foundation and framework.
We are building a movement for revolution. We have a strategy. And Revolution is a crucial, pivotal part of this. This newspaper enables people to really understand and act to radically change the world. It cuts to the bone to tell you WHY things are happening... to show you HOW it doesn’t have to be this way… and to give you the ways to ACT to change it. It is a call to action and a means of struggle. It provides a scaffold upon which thousands today—and eventually millions—stay connected and learn to act in powerful and united ways.
The Revolution project around mass incarceration will do important new exposure and connect up with and help fuel mass resistance. Our methodology is to dig deep, to learn about and expose what’s really going on, to get at the facts. It’s not about putting a story together to support what we already think—it’s about getting to the truth. And this approach is both crucial and exciting.
We need high school and college interns and other volunteers to work on this project—which is about understanding and changing the world. Look at the important role students have played in doing research and digging up information that has led to the exoneration of innocent prisoners, many who were on death row. Such work has brought the searing injustice of the U.S. death penalty to the attention of millions of people and spurred others to act.
Good research includes digging up facts and figures—and through doing this to expose the ways in which this is the leading edge in new forms of systematic and systemic oppression of Black and Latino people . To put this all together, the human element of this is something this project needs to really focus on. For example this project will include:
- Having discussions with and learning from lawyers, authors, professors and others who have done work on the issue of mass incarceration. Sharing with them our analysis and what we are learning, including stories of the victims of racially targeted mass incarceration.
- Interviewing former prisoners and their families and friends in order to understand what it actually means in real life terms for someone who has been branded "an ex-con." In terms of unemployment, voting, finding housing, and relationships with loved ones.
- Talking youth who are jacked up by the police everyday for the "crime" of being young and Black or Latino.
- Getting the hidden stories of immigrants—the families torn apart when someone is busted, even for something very minor, and immediately deported.
Other aspects we need to get a deeper understanding of:
- The number of prisoners in the U.S. has grown exponentially in just a few decades. Changes in the law have contributed to this, like mandatory sentencing and "three strikes." Why has this happened? What kind of "secret government memos" can be dug up that really show what is going on from many and varied different angles?
- There is a lot of data and documentation showing the relationship between the "war on drugs" and mass incarceration. But more research and interviews need to be done around this—to get a deeper understanding of the dynamic between the economic, political and social factors of the whole phenomenon of mass incarceration.
People can work on this project with Revolution reporters in different cities, and contribute from anywhere via e-mail and phone.
To apply for this project send us a letter (email@example.com or RCP Pubs PO Box 3486 Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654), telling us about yourself, why you want to work on this project, in what ways you think you can contribute, and what your availability is.
"Taking the Movement of Resistance to Mass Incarceration to a Higher Level Thru Unleashing Determined Mass Resistance" by Carl Dix
Special Issue on Prisons and Prisoners in the U.S.
From the Hellholes of Incarceration to a Future of Emancipation
Special Issue – The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need
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