Mass incarceration, rooted in the foundational white supremacy of this country, is a response of the ruling class to the driving dynamics of capitalism-imperialism. The drive for ever greater profits has decimated inner-city communities as factories uprooted and set up sweatshops abroad where they can even more brutally exploit workers than they can here—leaving generations of principally Black and brown youth, already locked out of society, who will never be meaningfully employed. It is also a conscious response to the revolutionary upsurge of the 1960s—implemented to contain and repress millions who this system has no future for and who could become the backbone of the struggle for a radically different and more liberated world for all humanity.
Last year Carl Dix, Clyde Young, and I issued a call—”An Appeal to the Brothers and Sisters Locked Down in this Society’s Prisons: Bear Witness to Torture in U.S. Prisons and to All Law Enforcement Abuse.” I’d like to reiterate that call, which read in part:
“The world needs to know of the sadistic, systemic horror of long-term solitary confinement, which is enforced on more than 80,000 people in the U.S. prison system. We know that revisiting this can be difficult for those who are facing or have faced these conditions, but the truth must be laid bare for all. All of society needs to know of the racial profiling that sucked you into the pipeline to prison, of the horrific conditions everyone in prison endures and of the open discrimination formerly incarcerated people face after release. You are in a unique position to expose the lying justifications given by the authorities for what they are.
“Send these stories to the Bear Witness Project of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Through this you will be opening the eyes of those who are shielded from the real situation in the inner cities and the actual conditions enforced in prison. And letting those caught up in the cycle of going in and out of prison know that what they’re up against are social problems, not individual ones, and that by standing up and resisting them together, we can change the way mass incarceration is looked at in society and contribute to bringing forward a movement that can end it.”
And I call on all people of conscience to support the prisoners and to step forward and follow the courageous example they are setting. Much love, respect and support to the brothers and sisters rising up from deep within the depths of this criminal system of injustice.
-Gregory Koger, from Rising From the Pit: Illinois Prisoners Join National Upsurge of Resistance to Torture and Dehumanizing Conditions in U.S. Prisons. Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us (Jan. 2014).