From the Left: Police-state ‘justice’ is driven by profit
Published: Friday, February 7, 2014
Updated: Friday, February 7, 2014 01:02
The concept of having prisons operate on a for-profit basis is wrong because it creates a demand for prisoners, and the corporate-owned state is able to provide this demand (many times over) by shoving the “unproductive” into prisons. People in prison are disproportionately poor and non-white, and this has biological contingencies. The fact that our modern political system has created an environment conducive to the codification of racist sociology into criminal laws means that we have, unfortunately, created a system of structural eugenics. The fact that we have allowed racism to invade our laws means that we now live under a system of race-based population control, wholly endorsed and financially supported by the capitalist state.
Do not be afraid to call the “war on drugs” what it really is: a class war waged by the rich against the poor. It’s the means through which the ruling is able to use its iron fist (that is, law) to hold down the working class and people of color. The “war on drugs” has nothing to do with justice; it’s simply an illusion created to justify the expansion of the police-state, and that expansion is an economic engine that pumps billions a year into the military-industrial complex.
For-profit prisons don’t magically spring out of thin air; they exist because we currently have a political system that is conducive for them to earn obscene profits at the cost of destroying human lives. The profit motive is one of the basic building blocks of capitalism, and our politics have created a system where millions of citizens are thrown into corporate-owned “correction facilities” simply so that they will earn a profit drawn straight from the taxpayers’ wallets.
The contemporary school-to-prison pipeline is a form of structural eugenics, a means through which working-class and colored individuals who are not judged as being “valuable” or “productive” by the state are siphoned away, forcibly incarcerated, and violently removed from everyone else. Prisons are, as French post-modernist Michel Foucault said, one of the “numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugation of bodies and the control of populations.” Prison is population control, and population control is open totalitarianism. These are policies that both the Democratic and Republican Parties, under one form or another, continuously champion. Neither of them is brave enough to edit its party platform so that it calls for the eradication of for-profit prisons and the construction of an economic system that does not commodify and criminalize human beings simply to generate profit. Neither party is willing to stand up and defend human rights, because human rights often run contrary to corporate profit.
The modern prison system does nothing to promote “justice,” in any sense of the word. It is now a tool used by unaccountable power structures – governments, international corporations, financial multi-nationals, etc. – to enforce totalitarian property laws. “Justice” is the iron fist of the oppressors that acts as the means through which they perpetuate their own hegemony. Do not fall for the romanticized notions of “justice” and “law.” Many of the laws on the books now are not just; many of our judicial institutions do what is profitable and hegemonic, rather than what is conducive for genuine platonic justice.
It doesn’t matter if someone is sitting in a jail cell or outside of one, human rights are independent of governments and are completely inalienable. The rights and liberties that you and I have do not exist because the government says that they do, and they do not vanish when it says they do. Your rights to vote should not vanish the moment you go to jail. The fact that they do is merely because the state is eugenically trying as hard as possible to ostracize you from society in the most absolute way that it can: taking away your ability to create and destroy governments.
The United States locks up a disproportionate number of its own citizens for the sake of population control. Some economists argue that we currently have more human beings in prison than the Soviet Union had in its gulags at the height of Stalinism, and most of them are there for drug-related offenses, something that should be treated as a medical condition rather than a criminal one. If my fellow Americans are destroying their bodies with crack-cocaine and heroin-laced ecstasy being produced in back allies and trailer meth labs, then I want them where they belong: a hospital emergency room, under immediate medical supervision wherein a Medicare-for-All, single-payer, universal healthcare system can provide care around the clock.
It could do what Eugene Robinson from The Washington Post newspaper recommends: have chronic drug addicts placed in hospital care, have specially trained physicians prescribe them regulated, medical-grade drugs (whichever one they were addicted to), and have them be gradually weaned off it over a period of time before they can be released from the hospital and address whatever legal issues their substance abuse might yield. This would require hundreds of new hospitals and clinics across the nation to handle the higher influx of patients, but they could all be built by a nation-wide public works program that puts millions of American citizens back to work overnight. And we could build new medical schools while we’re at it, and triple the number of pre-med and med students by nationalizing education to re-structure tuition payment so that it would cost a fraction of what for-profit universities charge.