Prison and structural racism

November 12, 2022

From the November-December 2022 issue of News & Letters

George Jackson

Toledo, Ohio—Structural racism and the prison industrial complex thrive on over-policing and racial profiling Black and Brown communities. Amerikkka currently has 2.2 million people incarcerated. Black people make up 13% of the population. However, Blacks make up 47% of the prison population.

This should be disturbing. War has been waged against Black and Brown communities. Africans are sentenced to death at higher rates than whites.


During the Civil War, slavery was abolished except for those convicted of a felony. What happened next stains the hearts of mankind. Convict leasing (the Black Codes) was created in deference to former slave owners who could no longer profit from slave labor. Convict leasing was pivotal in establishing Jim Crow.

President Ronald Reagan signed a bill in the 1980s legalizing private prisons for profit. Structures of racism determine who goes to prison and who gets to go to colleges and universities. Race and class are deeply ingrained in this society.

For example, the far right wants you to believe immigrants are non-white: Mexican, etc. Do we ever think of Russian immigrants as undocumented? Do we ever racialize them as white undocumented immigrants?


So you begin to understand how the ideology of racism infects the very logic of our thought process. “Defund the police” made amerikkka cringe, but we defund schools all the time. Ain’t that what reconstruction is all about?

College in prison was defunded in the mid-1990s as the incarceration rate skyrocketed. Our struggle is real. We need liberation schools and revolutionaries, nothing less!

George Jackson gave us the dragon blueprint: In 2022, What Would George Jackson Do? I always ask how revolutionaries from the 1960s would take advantage of YouTube, Instagram, the Jericho Movement, Bay View newspaper, UN, iPhones, and drones? My favorites are Gandhi’s civil disobedience, George Jackson’s dragon blueprint and Fred Hampton’s revolutionary intoxication.

We got touchscreen Jpay tablets with music and video games and GTL touchscreen phone tablets in prison. Like society, the average prisoner is distracted by touchscreen tablets. Comrades in the streets need to find ways to keep us engaged with the movement and a broader perspective.

—Comrade Easley

A classic of revolutionary history

Dialectics of Black Freedom Struggles: Race, Class and the Needed American Revolution
by John Alan

Oppose the rising tide of counter-revolutionary, genocidal racism with the experience of centuries of Black masses leading revolutions in America. With African and Caribbean thinkers forging a philosophy of freedom.

To order, click on the image


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