I Will Never Forget What a White Man Told Me in Zimbabwe in 1980

A revolutionary fighter meets the man who sent him to the gallows. They argue: “We have won”, “Political Power & not economic Power”

Thula Bopela I will never forget what a white man told me in 1980

I Will Never Forget What a White Man Told Me in Zimbabwe in 1980.

I have no idea whether the white man I am writing about is still alive or not. He gave me an understanding of what actually happened to us Africans, and how sinister it was, when we were colonized. His name was Ronald Stanley Peters, Homicide Chief, Matabeleland, in what was at the time Rhodesia. He was the man in charge of the case they had against us, murder.

I was one of a group of ANC/ZAPU guerillas that had infiltrated into the Wankie Game Reserve in 1967, and had been in action against elements of the Rhodesian African rifles (RAR), and the Rhodesian Light Infantry (RLI). We were now in the custody of the British South AfricaPolice (BSAP), the Rhodesian Police. I was the last to be captured in the group that was going to appear at the Salisbury (Harare) High Court on a charge of murder, 4 counts.

‘I have completed my investigation of this case, Mr. Bopela, and I will be sending the case to the Attorney-General’s Office, Mr. Bosman, who will the take up the prosecution of your case on a date to be decided,’ Ron Peters told me. ‘I will hang all of you, but I must tell you that you are good fighters but you cannot win.’

‘Tell me, Inspector,’ I shot back, ‘are you not contradicting yourself when you say we are good fighters but will not win? Good fighters always

‘Mr. Bopela, even the best fighters on the ground, cannot win if information is sent to their enemy by high-ranking officials of their organisations, even before the fighters begin their operations. Even though we had information that you were on your way, we were not prepared for the fight that you put up,’ the Englishman said quietly. ‘We give due where it is to be given after having met you in battle. That is why I am saying you are good fighters, but will not win.’

John Henry Clarke Powerful Peoplea and Education

Thirteen years later, in 1980, I went to Police Headquarters in Harare and asked where I could find Detective-Inspector Ronald Stanley Peters, retired maybe.

President Robert Mugabe had become Prime Minster and had released all of us….common criminal and freedom-fighter. I was told by the white officer behind the counter that Inspector Peters had retired and now lived in Bulawayo. I asked to speak to him on the telephone. The officer dialed his number and explained why he was calling. I was given the phone, and spoke to the Superintendent, the rank he had retired on. We agreed to meet in two days’ time at his house at Matshe-amhlophe, a very up-market suburb in Bulawayo. I travelled to Bulawayo by train, and took a taxi from town to his home.

I had last seen him at the Salisbury High Court after we had been sentenced to death by Justice L Lewis in 1967. His hair had greyed but he was still the tall policeman I had last seen in 1967. He smiled quietly at me and introduced me to his family, two grown up chaps and a daughter. Lastly came his wife, Doreen, a regal-looking Englishwoman. ‘He is one of the chaps I bagged during my time in the Service. We sent him to the gallows but he is back and wants to see me, Doreen.’ He smiled again and ushered me into his study. He offered me a drink, a scotch whisky I had not asked for, but enjoyed very much I must say. We spent some time on the small talk about the weather and the current news.

‘So,’ Ron began, ‘they did not hang you are after all, old chap! Congratulations, and may you live many more!’ We toasted and I sat across him in a comfortable sofa. ‘A man does not die before his time, Ron’ I replied rather gloomily, ‘never mind the power the judge has or what the executioner intends to do to one.’

‘I am happy you got a reprieve Thula,’, Ron said, ‘but what was it based on? I am just curious about what might have prompted His Excellency Clifford Du Pont, to grant you a pardon. You were a bunch of unrepentant terrorists.’

‘I do not know Superintendent,’ I replied truthfully. ‘Like I have said, a man does not die before his time.’ He poured me another drink and I became less tense.

‘So, Mr. Bopela, what brings such a lucky fellow all the way from happy Harare to a dull place like our Bulawayo down here?’

‘Superintendent, you said to me after you had finished your investigations that you were going to hang all of us. You were wrong; we did not all hang. You said also that though we were good fighters we would not win. You were wrong again Superintendent; we have won! We are in power now. I told you that good fighters do win.’

The Superintendent put his drink on the side table and stood up. He walked slowly to the window that overlooked his well-manicured garden and stood there facing me.

‘So you think you have won Thula? What have you won, tell me. I need to know.’

‘We have won everything Superintendent, in case you have not noticed. Every thing! We will have a black president, prime minister, black cabinet, black members of Parliament, judges, Chiefs of Police and the Army. Every thing Superintendent. I came all the way to come and ask you to apologise to me for telling me that good fighters do not win. You were wrong Superintendent, were you not?’

He went back to his seat and picked up his glass, and emptied it. He poured himself another shot and put it on the side table and was quiet for a while.

‘So, you think you have won everything Mr. Bopela, huh? I am sorry to spoil your happiness sir, but you have not won anything. You have political power, yes, but that is all. We control the economy of this country, on whose stability depends everybody’s livelihood, including the lives of those who boast that they have political power, you and your victorious friends. Maybe I should tell you something about us white people Mr. Bopela. I think you deserve it too, seeing how you kept this nonsense warm in your head for thirteen hard years in prison.

‘When I get out I am going to find Ron Peters and tell him to apologize for saying we wouldn’t win,’ you promised yourself. Now listen to me carefully my friend, I am going to help you understand us white people a bit better, and the kind of problem you and your friends have to deal with.’ ‘When we planted our flag in the place where we built the city of Salisbury, in 1877, we planned for this time. We planned for the time when the African would rise up against us, and perhaps defeat us by sheer numbers and insurrection. When that time came, we decided, the African should not be in a position to rule his newly-found country
without taking his cue from us. We should continue to rule, even political power has been snatched from us, Mr. Bopela.’ ‘How did you plan to do that my dear Superintendent,’ I mocked.

‘Very simple, Mr. Bopela, very simple,’ Peters told me. ‘We started by changing the country we took from you to a country that you will find, many centuries later, when you gain political power. It would be totally unlike the country your ancestors lived in; it would be a new country. Let us start with agriculture. We introduced methods of farming that were not known in Africa, where people dug a hole in the ground, covered it up with soil and went to sleep under a tree in the shade. We made agriculture a science. To farm our way, an African needed to understand soil types, the fertilizers that type of soil required, and which crops to plant on what type of soil. We kept this knowledge from the African, how to farm scientifically and on a scale big enough to contribute strongly to the national economy. We did this so that when the African demands and gets his land back, he should not be able to farm it like we do. He would then be obliged to beg us to teach him how. Is that not power, Mr. Bopela?’ ‘We industrialized the country, factories, mines, together with agricultural output, became the mainstay of the new economy, but controlled and understood only by us. We kept the knowledge of all this from you people, the skills required to run such a country successfully.

“It is not because Africans are stupid because they do not know what to do with an industrialized country. We just excluded the African from this knowledge and kept him in the dark. This exercise can be compared to that of a man whose house was taken away from him by a stronger person. The stronger person would then change all the locks so that when the real owner returned, he would not know how to enter his own house.

“We then introduced a financial system – money (currency), banks, the stock market and linked it with other stock markets in the world. We are aware that your country may have valuable minerals, which you may be able to extract….but where would you sell them? We would push their value to next-to-nothing in our stock markets. You may have diamonds or oil in your country Mr. Bopela, but we are in possession of the formula on how they may be refined and made into a product ready for sale on the stock markets, which we control. You cannot eat diamonds and drink oil even if you have these valuable commodities. You have to bring them to our stock markets.

‘We control technology and communications. You fellows cannot even fly an aeroplane, let alone make one. This is the knowledge we kept from you, deliberately. Now that you have won, as you claim Mr. Bopela, how do you plan to run all these things you were prevented from learning? You will be His Excellency this, and the Honorable this and wear gold chains on your necks as mayors, but you will have no power. Parliament after all is just a talking house; it does not run the economy; we do. We do not need to be in parliament to rule your Zimbabwe. We have the power of knowledge and vital skills, needed to run the economy and create jobs. Without us, your Zimbabwe will collapse. You see now what I mean when I say you have won nothing? I know what I am talking about. We could even sabotage your economy and you would not know what had happened.”

We were both silent for some time, I trying not to show how devastating this information was to me; Ron Peters maybe gloating. It was so true, yet so painful.

In South Africa they had not only kept this information from us, they had also destroyed our education, so that when we won, we would still not have the skills we needed because we had been forbidden to become scientists and engineers. I did not feel any anger towards the man sitting opposite me, sipping a whisky. He was right. ‘Even the Africans who had the skills we tried to prevent you from having would be too few to have an impact on our plan. The few who would perhaps have acquired the vital skills would earn very high salaries, and become a black elite grouping, a class apart from fellow suffering Africans,’ Ron Peters persisted. ‘If you understand this Thula, you will probably succeed in making your fellow blacks understand the difference between ‘being in office’ and ‘being in power’. Your leaders will be in office, but not in power. This means that your parliamentary majority will not enable you to run the country….without us, that is.”

I asked Ron to call a taxi for me; I needed to leave. The taxi arrived, not quickly enough for me, who was aching to depart with my sorrow. Ron
then delivered the coup de grace: ‘What we are waiting to watch happening, after your attainment of political power, is to see you fighting over it. Africans fight over power, which is why you have seen so many coups d’etat and civil wars in post-independent Africa. We whites consolidate power, which means we share it, to stay strong. We may have different political ideologies and parties, but we do not kill each other over political differences, not since Hitler was defeated in 1945. Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe will not stay friends for long. In your free South Africa, you will do the same.

There will be so many African political parties opposing the ANC, parties that are too afraid to come into existence during apartheid, that we whites will not need to join in the fray. Inside whichever ruling party will come power, be it ZANU or the ANC, there will be power struggles even inside the parties themselves. You see Mr. Bopela, after the struggle against the white man, a new struggle will arise among yourselves, the struggle for power. Those who hold power in Africa come within grabbing distance of wealth. That is what the new struggle will be about….the struggle for power. Go well Mr. Bopela; I trust our meeting was a fruitful one, as they say in politics.’

I shook hands with the Superintendent and boarded my taxi. I spent that night in Bulawayo at the YMCA, 9th Avenue. I slept deeply; I was mentally exhausted and spiritually devastated. I only had one consolation, a hope, however remote. I hoped that when the ANC came into power in South Africa, we would not do the things Ron Peters had said we would do. We would learn from the experiences of other African countries, maybe Ghana and Nigeria, and avoid coups d’etat and civil wars.


In 2007 at Polokwane, we had full-blown power struggle between those who supported Thabo Mbeki and Zuma’s supporters. Mbeki lost the fight and his admirers broke away to form Cope. The politics of individuals had started in the ANC. The ANC will be going to Maungaung in December to choose new leaders. Again, it is not about which government policy will be best for South Africa; foreign policy, economic, educational, or social policy. It is about Jacob Zuma, Kgalema Motlhante; it is about Fikile Mbalula or Gwede Mantashe. Secret meetings are reported to be happening, to plot the downfall of this politician and the rise of the other one.

Why is it not about which leaders will best implement the Freedom Charter, the pivotal document? Is the contest over who will implement the Charter better? If it was about that, the struggle then would be over who can sort out the poverty, landlessness, unemployment, crime and education for the impoverished black masses. How then do we choose who the best leader would be if we do not even know who will implement which policies, and which policies are better than others? We go to Mangaung to wage a power struggle, period. President Zuma himself has admitted that ‘in the broad church the ANC is,’ there are those who now seek only
power, wealth and success as individuals, not the nation. In Zimbabwe the fight between President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai has paralysed the country. The people of Zimbabwe, a highly-educated nation, are starving and work as garden and kitchen help in South Africa.

What the white man told me in Bulawayo in 1980 is happening right infront of my eyes. We have political power and are fighting over it, instead of consolidating it. We have an economy that is owned and controlled by them, and we are fighting over the crumbs falling from the white man’s ‘dining table’. The power struggle that raged among ANC leaders in the Western Cape cost the ANC that province, and the opposition is winning other municipalities where the ANC is squabbling instead of delivering. Is it too much to understand that the more we fight among ourselves the weaker we become, and the stronger the opposition becomes?

Thula Bopela writes in his personal capacity, and the story he has told is true; he experienced alone and thus is ultimately responsible for the ideas in the article.

By Thula Bopela

Abolishing White Capital Monopolization: The construct of Whiteness

Text from the zine:

The white race is a club. Certain people are enrolled in it at birth, without their consent, and brought up according to its rules. For the most part they go through life accepting the privileges of membership, without reflecting on the costs.

Abolishing Whitness Ignatiev

Whiteness is not a culture. There is Irish culture and Italian culture and American culture – the latter, as Albert Murray pointed out, a mixture of the Yankee, the Indian, and the Negro (with a pinch of ethnic salt); there is youth culture and drug culture and queer culture; but there is no such thing as white culture. Whiteness has nothing to do with culture and everything to do with social position. It is nothing but a reflection of privilege, and exists for no reason other than to defend it. Without the privileges attached to it, the white race would not exist, and the white skin would have no more social significance than big feet. Before the advocates

Abolish Whiteness pdf


Noel Ignatiev Abolition of Whiteness

Contingency, History, and Ontology: On Abolishing Whiteness

Michael J. Monahan


One of the truths that emerge rather quickly when one is attempting to theorize race and racism is that ontological questions about the reality of race, or lack thereof, lead quickly to more ethical and political questions about the nature of racism as a social phenomenon and vice versa. This chapter deals with the question of racial ontology, biology and human variation, as well as the history, political and social relations of power, the nature of individual and social identity, and the constitution of meaning within a social world. This chapter also discusses the question of whiteness and how particular immigrant groups in the United States came to have white status, the connection between racial ontology and a corresponding view of racism and racial liberation, the views of Matthew Frye Jacobson and Theodore Allen, the basic argument for the new abolitionism, whiteness and white supremacy, culture, racial essentialism, history, and contingency.

Keywords:   United Statesraceracismsocial identitycontingencyracial ontologywhitenessabolitionismwhite supremacyracial essentialism

Fordham Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Contingency, History, and Ontology: On Abolishing Whiteness 


BOOK CLUB; How the Irish became White

Streamed live on Aug 1, 2019

Book Club; How The Irish Became White with Yvette Carnell

‘…from time to time a study comes along that truly can be called ‘path breaking,’ ‘seminal,’ ‘essential,’ a ‘must read.’ How the Irish Became White is such a study.’ John Bracey, W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies, University of Massachussetts, Amherst

How Irish became white

The Irish came to America in the eighteenth century, fleeing a homeland under foreign occupation and a caste system that regarded them as the lowest form of humanity. In the new country – a land of opportunity – they found a very different form of social hierarchy, one that was based on the color of a person’s skin. Noel Ignatiev’s 1995 book – the first published work of one of America’s leading and most controversial historians – tells the story of how the oppressed became the oppressors; how the new Irish immigrants achieved acceptance among an initially hostile population only by proving that they could be more brutal in their oppression of African Americans than the nativists. This is the story of How the Irish Became White. – Amazon 


Streamed live on Aug 1, 2019

Black white Harpes weekly

When the Irish Weren’t White

“[T]hey steal, they are cruel and bloody, full of revenge, and delighting in deadly execution, licentious, swearers and blasphemers, common ravishers of women, and murderers of children.” Edmund Spencer
“The emigrants who land at New York, whether they remain in that city or come on in the interior, are not merely ignorant and poor—which might be their misfortune rather than their fault—but they are drunken, dirty, indolent, and riotous, so as to be the objects of dislike and fear to all in whose neighbourhood they congregate in large numbers.” James Silk Buckingham

These are not quotes from a Trump rally or an “alt-right” message board. These are historical statements from yesteryear describing a despised race of people in America. They are indicative of the sentiment of white people throughout this country who thought a subhuman species good for nothing but work and servitude might ruin America with their crime, poverty and interbreeding with white women. They were not referring to Africans, Mexicans or Muslims.

They were talking about the Irish.

How the Irish became white closeup

First, we should get this out of the way: One of the favorite recurring themes of racists in America is the idea that the Irish came to America as slaves and had it as bad as, or worse than, Africans. According to these “racialists,” the European blood in the Irish made them pull themselves up by their bootstraps and integrate themselves into the opening arms of American liberty. They never bitched and moaned about their situation, so …

All of this is wrong. In fact, it is too stupid to give space, credence or words, so read where it is debunked here and here.


But as we celebrate the first St. Patrick’s Day of the Trumpian era, we should remember when America passed laws against another group of immigrants. We should recall when this country tried to ban another group of people based on their religion. We should never forget that both “American” and whiteness are sociopolitical constructs that have evolved over a long period of time, always seeking exclusion and supremacy, and it was not so long ago that Irish Americans were on the outside looking in.

In his book The Renegade History of the United States, Thaddeus Russell explains that the first large wave of Irish immigrants worked low-paying jobs—mostly building the canals along the Canadian border—that other Americans wouldn’t do. Like finding out a song you thought was new is actually a 100-year-old remake, the Irish were simultaneously accused of stealing all the good jobs and branded as “lazy” and “shiftless.” They were also thought to be the nonwhite “missing link” between the superior European and the savage African based on stereotypes from the early American media, according to the Boston Globe:

In the popular press, the Irish were depicted as subhuman. They were carriers of disease. They were drawn as lazy, clannish, unclean, drunken brawlers who wallowed in crime and bred like rats. Most disturbingly, the Irish were Roman Catholics coming to an overwhelmingly Protestant nation and their devotion to the pope made their allegiance to the United States suspect.

In 1798, Congress passed three “Alien Acts” based mainly on fears of Irish-Catholic, anti-immigrant sentiment. These new laws gave the president the power to stop immigration from any country at war with the U.S. and the right to deport any immigrant, and made it harder for immigrants to vote. Then, again in the late 1840s, a nationalist political group called the Know-Nothings sprang from a populist movement of poor whites who were dissatisfied with the two-party system and started the American Party, intent on preserving America’s culture by restricting immigration, especially from Catholic countries—including by Irish Catholics. They managed to get candidates elected into the highest political offices in America, including a president.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Continue Reading at the Root.com  

Noel Ignatiev Whiteness


Book Club: When Affirmative Action Was White with Yvette Carnell

According to Katznelson, it had deep roots in the 1930s and played an active role in exacerbating the socio-economic chasm between whites and blacks in the post-World War II years. When Affirmative Action Was White elaborates on this core theme in four stages.

Streamed live on May 23, 2019

Review: When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America

(September Review, 2006)
When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America

by Ira Katznelson (W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2005), preface, appendix, index, 238 pp.
Review by Ryan Irwin

It can occasionally be a difficult issue to finesse. I was presiding over a classroom of about twenty undergraduate students, trying desperately to moderate a discussion on the legacies of the civil rights movement. It started the way it normally does, “The movement gave blacks equality; I don’t see how you can approach it as anything other than a victory. It solved America’s race problem.” I smiled gently and waited for the standard rebuttal, “The United States still has a race problem! Just look at our inner cities and crime among black youth and poverty among minorities. Civil rights was about more than the right to vote!”

The exchange seems so familiar because it cuts across so many of the fault lines that define contemporary public discourse. Call it the difference between red states and blue states, the suburbs and the city, or white individuals and black individuals; many Americans simply disagree over how the United States should remember and interpret the social revolutions of the 1960s and early 1970s.

One can speculate that Ira Katznelson has been listening to some version of this exchange since he first entered academia in 1969. Having written extensively on urban politics and liberalism, his new book, When Affirmative Action Was White (2005), jumps into the fray by analyzing the issue of affirmative action. The book is held together by one overarching theme. As New Deal politicians began constructing government programs to deal with welfare, work, and war in the 1930s and 1940s, they deliberately excluded or treated differently the vast majority of African Americans. The central reason, according to Katznelson, was because Democratic leaders needed the support of southern representatives in Congress to pass their ambitious legislative programs. Framing the entire New Deal coalition as a Faustian bargain between white progressives and white segregationists, the author shows how the South used its influence to gain local control over federally-funded government projects.

The result was that federal aid in the South became contingent on southern Jim Crow. At the exact moment when the “activist” state was giving whites the tools to create a robust middle class, African Americans were being systematically isolated from the benefits of public assistance. Stated differently, “affirmative action” did not emerge as a new program in the late 1960s. According to Katznelson, it had deep roots in the 1930s and played an active role in exacerbating the socio-economic chasm between whites and blacks in the post-World War II years.

Jessica Gordon Nembhard: Cooperative Economics and Civil Rights

– The Laura Flanders Show

Published on Apr 8, 2014
This week on the Laura Flanders Show: What role did economic cooperation play in the civil rights movement? As it turns out, a huge one. This forgotten history is the focus of Dr. Jessica Gordon Nembhard’s recent book Collective Courage: A History of African-American Economic Thought and Practice, out in bookstores in May.–

When Affirmative Action Was White elaborates on this core theme in four stages. First, the author looks at how African Americans were denied access to economic relief during the New Deal. Although many federal officials understood that black sharecroppers were the hardest hit group during the Great Depression, a full 65 percent of African Americans were denied access to social security benefits, government grants, elderly poor assistance, and unemployment insurance. Administered by local politicians throughout the South, New Deal relief programs were simply not given to the vast majority of African Americans. The result was the deepening of black rural poverty.

Similarly, southern segregationists skewed the natural direction of worker reform. Positioning the National Labor Relations Act (1935) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (1938) as key moments in America’s modern labor movement, Katznelson shows how southern congressmen incorporated provisions into legislation that exempted agricultural and domestic labor. Consequently, while white workers throughout the United States gained the means to organize and improve their standard of living, the sectors dominated by African American workers were left to languish in further poverty. When blacks finally gained access to some industrial jobs during World War II, southern congressmen conveniently abandoned labor reform and helped pass the Republican Party’s Taft-Hartley Act (1947). According to Katznelson, Taft-Hartley not only placated the labor movement in the South, but it also decoupled the burgeoning connections between civil rights agitation and demands for economic equality.

The final two prongs of When Affirmative Action Was White look at the wartime experiences of African Americans and the discriminatory dimensions of the G.I. Bill. While white ethnics from eastern and southern Europe experienced a revolutionary transformation in their status as American citizens because of their participation in World War II, blacks experienced segregation in the armed forces. In the years that followed the war this exclusion resulted in a cruel catch-22, as most African Americans were denied access to the resources of the Selective Service Readjustment Act (1944) because they had not served in the military. The federal government stepped in to pay mortgages for white veterans and upgrade educational institutions throughout the country, but most African Americans watched these developments from the sidelines. The cumulative effect of these policies was the widening of the economic gap along racial lines.

When Affirmative Action Was White concludes with the recommendation that contemporary American policymakers deal with these legacies by reexamining Lyndon Johnson’s original vision for affirmative action. Relying heavily on Johnson’s 1965 Howard University Commencement Address, the author posits that the 37th President of the United States understood the importance of ambitiously attacking the root causes of discrimination. Katznelson suggests, toward this end, that rather than providing additional resources for a thriving black middle class, the federal government should create a temporary aid program to uplift the urban and rural poor who have been most afflicted by racial discrimination. An extension of affirmative action, in the author’s mind, would end the need for state-sponsored compensation within a generation and create a truly “color-blind” society.

When workers own companies, the economy is more resilient | Niki Okuk

 TED Published on Sep 11, 2017

Another economic reality is possible — one that values community, sustainability and resiliency instead of profit by any means necessary. Niki Okuk shares her case for cooperative economics and a vision for how working-class people can organize and own the businesses they work for, making decisions for themselves and enjoying the fruits of their labor.

When Affirmative Action Was White offers a worthwhile contribution to the debate over affirmative action, but not without shortcomings. First, Katznelson’s argument would be more compelling with a better exposition of how New Deal and Fair Deal programs secured the social well-being of white ethnic groups. Demonstrating the discriminatory features of federal programs is not necessarily the same thing as proving that they functioned as “affirmative action” for eastern and southern Europeans. The author briefly comments on the experiences of Catholics and Jews in his chapter on World War II; these comments could be elaborated and deepened.

On a more substantial level, Katznelson’s emphasis on the culpability of southern representatives in Congress is not completely satisfactory. As a range of scholarship has demonstrated in recent years, racism has been as prevalent and debilitating in Northern urban centers as in Southern agricultural areas.1 By hearkening upon the specific actions of southern congressmen, the author conveys the impression that a “lost moment” of racial egalitarianism was somehow squandered during the New Deal. His argument is appealing because it suggests that America’s racial difficulties could have been avoided with better decisions at the federal level, but it is too simplistic to be taken seriously. A more complex framework would consider the interaction between government policy and the northern migration of blacks in the middle years of the twentieth century.

Katznelson believes very passionately that robust public policy could have redressed America’s racial chasm. Stated more explicitly, the author longs for a time when liberalism informed the principles of the federal government. It seems ironic, against this backdrop, that Katznelson devotes only a single sentence to the social upheavals that undermined Johnson’s expansive vision for affirmative action during the 1960s and 1970s. By ignoring the events that have reoriented American politics and placed affirmative action supporters on the defensive, the author’s suggestions come off as sincere and well-informed, but somewhat unrealistic. To state the obvious, the principles of liberalism no longer shape policymaking in Washington, DC.

It is unlikely that disagreements over affirmative action will diminish in the near future. When Affirmative Action Was White offers much for those hoping to participate in this debate; its message should be taken as a serious reminder that state-sponsored racial discrimination has affected allAmericans. Whether Katznelson’s book will definitively “turn the tide” against affirmative action’s opponents, however, will remain to be seen. Until then, I will continue moderating my classroom debates and watching the differences between Americans grow.

Review: When Affirmative Action Was White: An Untold History of Racial Inequality in Twentieth-Century America

1 For more complex frameworks see Thomas Sugrue, Origins of the Urban Crisis, Bruce Nelson, Divided We Stand, Martha Biondi, To Stand and Fight, and Matthew Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color

Cooperative Resourcing in Collective Courage

Deciding to Convert into a Democratically run Worker/Owner Cooperative

Introduction to Employee-Owned Cooperatives

Cooperatives are member-owned and democratically controlled businesses that distribute profits based on an equitable patronage system.1

In addition to ownership, control, and patronage-based profit sharing, most cooperatives adhere to the seven internationally-recognized cooperative principles: (1) voluntary membership, (2) democratic member control, (3) member economic participation, (4) autonomy and independence, (5) education, training and information, (6) cooperation among cooperatives, and (7) concern for the community.2

Our Freedom

Deciding to Convert into a Cooperative

Worker cooperatives present economic advantages for worker members, consumers, and the local communities in which they reside. Cooperatives help keep money circulating locally, thus providing communities with a greater degree of economic autonomy, they afford members with greater job security, foster community and worker happiness, and are conducive to environmental responsibility, since they are so rooted in local communities.21 Thus businesses that are trying to foster these values should consider the cooperative form.

Economic Update: Seattle Firm Converts to Worker Co-Op

Published on Dec 3, 2018

The decision to form or convert an existing business into a cooperative typically involves additional considerations beyond future competitive advantages. Business owners considering converting into a cooperative should also consider whether the business’ workers are open and committed to cooperative principles and prepared to assume a more active role in business management.22 Additionally they should assess whether the appropriate financial circumstances exist to enable conversion. In assessing whether and how to convert into a cooperative, professional assistance from legal, financial and accounting professionals can prove essential.

The next section covers the mechanics of conversion, highlighting four possible ways for people to sell a business to their employees, and form an employee-owned cooperative.

  1. Think Outside the Boss, at 1-2 East Bay Community Law Center and Sustainable Economies Law Center (5th ed. 2014) available at https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/theselc/pages/146/attachments/original/1417036445/TOTB5_Manual_FINAL.pdf?1417036445.
  2. Sushil Jacob, Representing Worker Cooperatives in the 21st Century, California Law Practitioner, Winter 2014 at 26-27.
  3. See Peter Molk, The Puzzling Lack of Cooperatives, 88 Tulane L.J. 899, 917 (2014).
  4. Jaques Kaswan, Projecting the Long-Term Consequences of ESOP Vs. Co-op Conversion of a Firm on Employee Benefits and Company Cash at 1 (Democratic Bus. Ass’n of N. Cal. ed. 1992).
  5. See e.g. Key Studies on Employee Ownership and Corporate Performance, nceo.org, http://www.nceo.org/articles/studies-employee-ownership-corporate-performance (last visited March 20, 2015).
  6. See Kaswan. at 11-16 (arguing that for low-growth employee-owned firms, Co-op members should experience increasingly higher benefits when compared with ESOP members, while in high-growth firms ESOP members experience higher benefits during the initial years, followed by a reversal where Co-op members experience higher benefits for the duration of the business’ life).
  7. See e.g. Delivering Responsible Capitalism – The Growth of Employee Ownership, Forbes Opinion (September 25, 2014, 7:32 AM) http://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathanrefoy/2014/09/25/delivering-responsible-capitalism-the-growth-of-employee-ownership/.
  8. See Bruno Roelants et al., The Resilience of the Cooperative Model (CECOP-CICOPA Europe, June 2012) available at http://cecop.coop/IMG/pdf/report_cecop_2012_en_web.pdf.
  9. Sushil Jacob, Representing Worker Cooperatives in the 21st Century, California Law Practitioner, Winter 2014 at 27.
  10. Think Outside the Boss, at 3 East Bay Community Law Center and Sustainable Economies Law Center (5th ed. 2014) available at https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/theselc/pages/146/attachments/original/1417036445/TOTB5_Manual_FINAL.pdf?1417036445.
  11. See Sushil Jacob, Representing Worker Cooperatives in the 21st Century, California Law Practitioner, Winter 2014 at 28.
  12. See 26 U.S.C. 1042
  13. See Sushil Jacob, Representing Worker Cooperatives in the 21st Century, California Law Practitioner, Winter 2014 at 28.
  14. See 26 U.S.C. 1042 (c)(2)(E) (allowing some members to have greater ownership interests); see also infra p. 13.
  15. See Sushil Jacob, Representing Worker Cooperatives in the 21st Century, California Law Practitioner, Winter 2014 at 31.
  16. See Sushil Jacob, Representing Worker Cooperatives in the 21st Century, California Law Practitioner, Winter 2014 at 31.
  17. See Sushil Jacob, Representing Worker Cooperatives in the 21st Century, California Law Practitioner, Winter 2014 at 33.
  18. See Sushil Jacob, Representing Worker Cooperatives in the 21st Century, California Law Practitioner, Winter 2014 at 33.
  19. See Sushil Jacob, Representing Worker Cooperatives in the 21st Century, California Law Practitioner, Winter 2014 at 33.
  20. Think Outside the Boss, East Bay Community Law Center and Sustainable Economies Law Center (5th ed. 2014) at 14, available at https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/theselc/pages/146/attachments/original/1417036445/TOTB5_Manual_FINAL.pdf?1417036445.
  21. Think Outside the Boss, East Bay Community Law Center and Sustainable Economies Law Center (5th ed. 2014) at 4, available at https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/theselc/pages/146/attachments/original/1417036445/TOTB5_Manual_FINAL.pdf?1417036445.
  22. Think Outside the Boss, East Bay Community Law Center and Sustainable Economies Law Center (5th ed. 2014) at 7, available at https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/theselc/pages/146/attachments/original/1417036445/TOTB5_Manual_FINAL.pdf?1417036445.


legal information, best practices, and supporting tools for cooperatively owned businesses and organizations

On Reparations, Albeit a Persistent Slavery

How do we demand reparations without out first demanding an end to the systems and conditions that perpetuate and sustain injury or better put slavery . Chattel slaves were the human capital that made capitalism and wage slaves are the human capital that sustains capitalism.

Abolition first, Reparations after we end slavery. This Representative Democracies Capitalism termed ‘Savage’ continues to ravage us with unconstitutional patterns, policies, practices and procedures doing us harm right now. American Decedents of Slaves remain excluded from the New Deal era constitutional entitlements that built the American Middle Class. We were excluded from the GI Bill, red lined and restricted from growth by the Federal Housing Administration.

Red lining continues today with less transparency with the passing of the Bank Lobbyist Act of 2018. The Drug War on Blacks persist along side Prison Chattel Slavery, along with the help of the Mainstream Media Demonetization of black folk and the manufacture of crimes without victims.

Reparations for what we are going through, have gone through or having to go through, or was forced to go through generationally and ancestrally? It all starts to resembles the paying of restitution while committing an injures act with the hopes of sustainability. My more UN-optimistic thoughts are that of perpetual slavery and genocide are now garnishing a wage.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) explains the history of banks discriminating against minorities, and how that will be become much easier if the Senate passes The Banking Lobbyist act, in which passed in Mar. 2018.

Published on Jan 9, 2019
Before you buy a home from a lender, make sure they still report all HMDA data including Race, Income, Credit Score, Interest Rate and Loan Amount. Also, research your state for prior Redling and ensure you are not being taken advantage of. This public data (HMDA data) is important because they help show whether lenders are serving the housing needs of their communities; they give public officials information that helps them make decisions and policies; and they shed light on lending patterns that could be discriminatory. Racial profiling on mortgage loans has been and is currently happening. Racial profiling is crime within itself and it’s a form of segregation when considering the act of redlining.

Freedom Rider: Scoundrels and Reparations

Margaret Kimberley, BAR editor and senior columnist
10 Apr 2019

Reparations should not be a topic for national discussion until there is something akin to a consensus among black people about what to demand and how to do it. The justness of the cause isn’t complicated but the how and the why certainly are.

We have already seen politicians like former congressman John Conyers propose legislation to study reparationsuntil he was a committee chairman in the majority and had the power to move it. As often happens with Democrats he did nothing when he had the chance to back up what he claimed to want.

Now is the time for serious study among serious people and the wheel does not have to be reinvented. N’COBRA has already delved into the matter and declared that “reparations means full repair.” It is unlikely that those words mean anything to a scoundrel like Al Sharpton. He and his ilk must  stay out unless or until they are invited to have a seat at the table.

Continue to read great article: https://www.blackagendareport.com/freedom-rider-scoundrels-and-reparations

Capitalism reformed from whips and chains to participate or starve coercion is supposed to be a kinder gentler slavery 2.0? “

Capitalism needs economic coercion for its job market to function” (Ontario Coalition Against Poverty: OCAP)

https://theabolitionary.ca/2018/05/25/capitalism-needs-economic-coercion-for-its-job-market-to-function-ontario-coalition-against-poverty-ocap/ via @wordpressdotcom

The Color of Law – Richard Rothstein Interview – Tonetalks

 Tonetalks Published on Dec 20, 2018

Attorney Antonio Moore talks with UC Berkely Professor and author of the book “Color of Law The Forgotton History Of How Our Government Segregated America” on his book, race, and reparations. Moore ask Rothstein to analyze the Cosby Show in light of his book’s findings on FHA redlining. Support at http://www.patreon.com/tonetalks

The Roadmap to Reparations Explained by #ADOS — ADOS101.com

All too often we forget what slavery was as an institution. Slavery, it must be understood, served as the foundational pillar of American free market capitalism and was essential in shaping our core beliefs and attitudes about that economic system. It was one man using governmental legal advantage
Road map reperations

In recent weeks as Democratic candidates have announced their bid for the Presidential nomination of the party, the national discussion is shifting from the U.S.-Mexico border and DACA to a reckoning with America’s original sin: chattel slavery.

Senator Warren is suggesting she would include Native Americans in a reparations package, and Senator Bernie Sanders has put forth a stance that is tantamount to being against reparations altogether. A major driver for this discussion has been the online movement #ADOS, or American Descendants Of Slavery, which was founded by myself and Yvette Carnell.

Our movement aims to make U.S. descendants of slavery whole by foregrounding the necessity of recompense for the wide-ranging damages done to black America throughout our nation’s history. A justice claim beginning with slavery, and encompassing the legacy of disadvantage which reaches right up to the present.

Informative article continue to read: https://medium.com/@antoniomoore/the-roadmap-to-reparations-explained-by-ados-3577db752213

ADOS Shrinks Reparationist Politics to Fit the Cramped Horizon of Tribalism

Bruce A. Dixon, BAR managing editor 15 Mar 2019

ADOS Iceburg

ADOS followers throw away the internationalism of their forbears, embracing instead a sometimes polite, but always frank hostility toward immigrants of all nations on the grounds that they’re either economic competition for native-born blacks…”

Why can’t y’all just decide to be what you already are – more like us – a white co-worker named Travis asked me in the early 1980s. He was a diehard Southern Baptist, Reagan was the newly elected president, and we were working at the Chicago Pullman plant, laying on our sides all day or night, whatever shift it was, routing ducts and cabling in the tiny equipment rooms beneath Amtrak cars, talking politics and history. I’d just brought up the war in Vietnam, in which the US killed 3 million Vietnamese alone, and the murderous wars in Central America which were happening as we spoke. I probably threw in some references to the ongoing wars for liberation in southern Africa as well where the US was backing, financing and arming the wrong side as usual.

But you were born here, Travis insisted. Your parents and grandparents were born here, not over there. You’re an American, just like me. What are those people to you?


A ‘Forgotten History’ Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America


This is FRESH AIR. I’m Terry Gross. We’re going to talk about how continuing racial inequality in America is in part a result of 20th-century policies that mandated housing segregation, including in the North. My guest Richard Rothstein is the author of the new book “The Color Of Law: A Forgotten History Of How Our Government Segregated America.” He writes about federal, state and local policies that help explain why new suburbs were predominantly white while housing projects became predominantly black and so many neighborhoods became – and remain – segregated. He also writes about how this mandated segregation has contributed to inequality in education, employment and income. Rothstein is a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute and a fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

Reparations Means Global Social  Transformation 

Glen Ford, BAR executive editor
21 Mar 2019
George jacson capitalism

Reparations is not a token gesture of concern, apology or even solidarity; it seeks justice and redress of wrongs through the transformation of a people’s condition.

“An all-Black reparations debate is overdue.”

The Democratic presidential race has erupted in incomprehensible babble on reparations. Bernie Sanders says he’s not sure what people mean by the word. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker , the two Black U.S. senators, cynically put forward programs that bear no resemblance to reparations while claiming to be supporters. And Oprah favorite Marianne Williamson’s $100 billion reparations scheme is far too stingy  to “repair” 40 million descendants of slaves.

A $100 billion reparations scheme is far too stingy to ‘repair’ 40 million descendants of slaves.”

It is no wonder that Democratic office-seekers feel free to conjure up their own versions of reparations, to arbitrarily endorse or reject. Although the general concept of reparations for slavery and its ongoing legacy of racial oppression is broadly endorsed by Black America, there has been no Black-wide debate on the issue. Until that happens, there can be no DEMAND put forward that is imbued with the authority of the wronged community — and power accedes only to demands. Therefore, at present, there is no such thing as a Black people-endorsed reparations program, to be supported or rejected by candidates during the upcoming electoral season. Reparations is not a token gesture of concern, apology or even solidarity; it seeks justice and redress of wrongs through the transformation of a people’s condition. Black folks need to study on that, and take all the time that is necessary to produce a coherent set of demands. Of necessity, this community-wide debate must be a deep and broad discussion of the current state of the Black political economy, and our people’s visions for the future.

“There has been no Black-wide debate on reparations.”

Clearly, an all-Black reparations debate is overdue when corporate servants like Kamala Harris and Cory Booker can masquerade as reparationists while campaigning on non-Black-specific programs like $500 per month income supplements (Harris’ tax credit  for all households making less than $100,000 a year) or “baby bonds” for all newborns (Booker’s scheme to narrow the racial wealth gap  by giving children yearly savings bonds, with larger amounts going to poorer kids up to age 18.) These proposals may or may not have merit, but they are not reparations and could only be pitched as such in an environment of abject political ignorance.

The starting signal for the Great Black Reparations Debate has already sounded, with 29 House members co-sponsoring John Conyers H.R. 40 reparations study bill , first introduced in 1989, later revised and improved and now sponsored by Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee. Less than half of the Black Caucus in the House has signed on to H.R. 40, and the actual reparations positions of even the signatories – including Jackson-Lee — are largely unknown. But that’s alright; the bill  provides only “to establish a commission to study and consider a national apology and proposal for reparations for the institution of slavery, its subsequent de jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against African-Americans, and the impact of these forces on living African-Americans, to make recommendations to the Congress on appropriate remedies, and for other purposes.” The Black community-wide debate on Reparations and Black Futures must begin long before H.R. 40 passes in some future session of Congress, and will inform the study, itself.

“The debate must be a deep and broad discussion of the current state of the Black political economy, and our people’s visions for the future.”

Does Color of Law Book tell the Truth on Redlining? – Rothstein Solutions Critique

 Tonetalks Published on Dec 30, 2018

Attorney Antonio Moore talks with award winning urban planner Joshua Poe about his redlining finding, and his view of the book Color of Law by Richard Rothstein.

“There is nothing parochial or provincial about the project to repair four centuries of Euro-American crimes and savagery.”

Most veterans of the reparations movement are internationalists, not narrow racialists or Black American chauvinists. They have played key historical roles in the liberation of all previously colonized and enslaved peoples. There is nothing parochial or provincial about the project to repair four centuries of Euro-American crimes and savagery, in the process of which capitalism was built and brought to its imperial zenith. 

In the most profound sense, reparations means total global social transformation – and you can’t buy that with Marianne Williamson’s $100 billion scheme, or Booker’s baby bonds, or Harris’ $500 a month stipends, or even with trillions of dollars. Real redress can only come when the system that cannibalized tens of millions of Black bodies and underdeveloped most of the world for the benefit of the Lords of Capital, is demolished root and branch and just settlements made among the people’s of the Earth.

We may have come here on a slave ship, but we’re not going down with this Titanic in imperialist decline.

Read the article the excerpts don’t do it justice.



How African American WWII Veterans Were Scorned By the G.I. Bill

Who Controls You? Name the State of Mind

In every instance, regular ordinary people should be empowered to cooperate among themselves to bring about or create the change they need through voluntary democratic association, rather then allowing and even expecting governmental violence, force, coercion, or the carrot and stick penal approach of the state as remedy.

!  !  !  A  A  A  Chains

‘Anyone is a slave if obsessed with fulfilling an image or expectations of the irrelevant rather than cultivating the God force divinely planted within their souls. Slave mentality is defined by what you fear. Master’s mentality is just as easily identified by what you dare.” CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams

Who Controls You?


Published on Apr 10, 2019
Inspirationally triggered by an article by Jeffrey A. Tucker, Jerry Day hits on some key ways we choose freedom or slavery for ourselves and society. Jeffrey A. Tucker is Editorial Director of the American Institute for Economic Research. The article by Tucker referred to in this video is posted at: https://www.aier.org/article/name-state This video is presented by FreedomTaker.com

Name the State

By Jeffrey A. Tucker Thursday, April 4, 2019 Economic Education


The number one problem of all public debate about politics and economics is the failure to name the state. If this would change, so would public opinion.

There is no shortage of examples. People talk about health care for all, solving climate change, providing security in old age, universal educational access, boosting wages, ending discrimination, and you can add to the list without end.

That’s one side.

The other speaks of national identity, protecting jobs, making us more moral, forming cultural cohesion, providing security against the foreign enemy, and so on.


All of this, no matter how fancy the language, is obfuscation. What all of this really means is: put the state in charge. What’s strange is the unwillingness to say it outright. This is for a reason. The plans the politicians have for our lives would come across as far less compelling if they admitted the following brutal truth.

There really are only two ways to allocate goods and services in society: the markets (which rely on individual choice) and the state (which runs on compulsion). No one has ever found a third way. You can mix the two — some markets and some state-run operations — but there always is and always will be a toggling between the two. If you replace markets, the result will be more force via the state, which means bureaucratic administration and rule by force. If you reduce the role of the state, you rely more on markets. This is the logic of political choice, and there is no escaping it.

The above paragraph is the great truth of political economy. I’ve never seen any evidence to dispute it. And yet it is the great unsayable truth. Seasons of political rhetoric fly by with no frank discussion of what precisely this or that proposal would require of the state and how that will affect our lives, much less a serious analysis of the risks of making a problem worse by replacing market forces.

Great article continue reading >> https://www.aier.org/article/name-state

There is no escape: You are either SLAVE or MASTER mindset in this society

No Tyrants no slaves

By Vernon A. Williams, Gary Crusader

It just donned on me this week. There are only two kinds of mentalities in American society, maybe even the world—SLAVE and MASTER. That’s it.

And the revelation is that it has nothing to do with money. It has nothing to do with race. It has nothing to do with education. It has nothing to do with social status. Those things don’t even matter.

It’s so simple that it’s ridiculous. Anyone enslaved by word, thought or deed has – by definition – a slave mentality. Anyone who has the capacity to face his or her demons unafraid, knowing that pain precedes victory, and does it anyway—embodies the master state of mind.

Let me illustrate my point.

Donald Trump, the billionaire who would be president, is enslaved. Think about how he has flip-flopped on issues. Think about people he has poured money into in the past that he now feels compelled to vilify in fulfillment of the marching orders of his puppeteers. He is no more than a caricature of the bigot mindset – a figment of hatred’s imagination – the quintessential slave concept.


Keeping it in politics, Richard Gordon Hatcher exemplifies the master mindset. He came to Gary and fought both the white-dominated Gary/Lake County machine and self-hating Negroes – intent on staying in their place – to maintain City Hall in Gary for two decades. During that time, he constantly rejected selling for “jobs” in Washington D.C., instead opting for self-determination.

Let’s bring this conversation out of the political realm into everyday life.

Anyone is a slave if obsessed with fulfilling an image or expectations of the irrelevant rather than cultivating the God force divinely planted within their souls. Slave mentality is defined by what you fear. Master’s mentality is just as easily identified by what you dare.

Continue reading CIRCLE CITY CONNECTION by Vernon A. Williams

Economic Democracy as One of many Solutions

Democracy & Governance Democratic Ownership
This paper by David Schweickart, published alongside three others, is one of many proposals for a systemic alternative we have published or will be publishing here at the Next System Project. You can read it below, or download the PDF. We have commissioned these papers in order to facilitate an informed and comprehensive discussion of “new systems,” and as part of this effort we have also created a comparative framework which provides a basis for evaluating system proposals according to a common set of criteria.

What is Economic Democracy?

A brief elaboration of each of these key institutions:

Overview and basic model

The big challenges that capitalism now faces in the contemporary world include issues of inequality (especially that of grinding poverty in a world of unprecedented prosperity) and of “public goods” (that is, goods people share together, like the environment). The solution to these problems will almost certainly call for institutions that take us beyond the capitalist market economy.

So wrote Nobel Laureate economist Amartya Sen, sixteen years ago. Needless to say the intervening years have only strengthened his thesis—inequality and environmental degradation have gotten much worse and grinding poverty persists. But does there exist a viable alternative that might take us beyond the capitalist market economy, a new system that would preserve the strengths of competitive capitalism while at the same time eliminating, or at least mitigating, its worst features?

It is important to be clear and unequivocal: the answer is “Yes.” And it is simple enough to state. What we need to do is extend democracy to the economy itself. To formulate the project in terms of slogans, we need to

  • Democratize labor!
  • Democratize capital!
  • Democratize democracy!

Check it out,, Economic Democracy: As a Solution.


Criminal Justice Reform or Incremental Fascist Repression?

Police Accountability and Transparency as a reform?

Instead of the obvious problem with all, legal and illegal Organized Criminal Institutions and operations.

The “New” Criminal Justice System: State Repression from 1968 to 2001

“The new criminal justice system has every thing to do with the needs of capital and the ideology of white supremacy. More specifically, this repression is about two things: creating political obedience and regulating the price of labor. That is what the repression of the capitalist state has always been about, from the enclosures and the Atlantic slave trade, to the many bloody wars against organized labor, to the militarized ghetto of 2001. Capitalism was born of state violence and repression will always be part of its genetic code.”
George jackson fascism one word

The “New” Criminal Justice System: State Repression from 1968 to 2001

Article excerpt

Consider again the numbers: in the last twenty years the Justice Department’s budget grew by 900 percent; over 60 percent of all prisoners are in for non-violent drug crimes; an estimated one-in-three black men between the ages of twenty and twenty-nine are under some type of criminal justice control or sought on a warrant; nationwide some 6.5 million people are in prison, on parole or probation. From the left it is clear that the United States is an over-policed, surveillance society that uses prison as one of its central social institutions.

But how are we to understand this? A common explanation, that spans the spectrum from the radical activists to the mainstream scriveners at the Wall Street Journal, portrays the prison boom as driven by direct and specific economic interests. For example we hear much about private prisons or prison labor. This economistic analysis is attractively simple, all one has to do is connect the dots: bad corporation here, human rights violations there. Unfortunately explaining prison in “anti-corporate” or other directly economic terms requires ignoring the facts. Private prisons are in crisis and losing money, prison labor is not profitable nor widespread, and most guards are not well organized or pushing their agenda on legislators. Nor do prison architects and medical providers, for the most part, mount huge lobbying operations that can be said to control policy. In short, prison is not profitable. [1]

Does this mean prison growth is simply irrational, with no coherent causal link to class exploitation and racism? Hardly. The new criminal justice system has every thing to do with the needs of capital and the ideology of white supremacy. More specifically, this repression is about two things: creating political obedience and regulating the price of labor. That is what the repression of the capitalist state has always been about, from the enclosures and the Atlantic slave trade, to the many bloody wars against organized labor, to the militarized ghetto of 2001. Capitalism was born of state violence and repression will always be part of its genetic code.

To understand the wider political effects of state violence it’s worth contemplating the opposite: state assistance for poor and working people. As Frances Fox-Piven and Richard Cloward wrote in the New Class War “the connection between the income-maintenance programs, the labor market and profits is indirect, but not complicated.” Too much social democracy, and people stop being grateful for poorly paid, dangerous work. So too with the converse, the link between state repression and labor markets and profits is indirect but not complicated. Repression manages poverty. Poverty depresses wages. Low wages increase the rate of exploitation and that creates surplus value, which is what it is all about… at least at one level.

George jacson capitalism

This dynamic works at a macro-scale upon the society and economy as a whole. Policing and incarceration–directly profitable or more likely not–are thus part of a larger circuitry of social control. Incarceration is the motherboard but other components include county jails, INS detention centers, the militarized border, psych wards, halfway houses, hospital emergency rooms, homeless shelters, skid row, and the ghetto. All of these locations share populations and all serve to contain and manage the social impacts of poverty. But what is the specific history of the current crackdown and how does the central question of class struggle shape the story of the new criminal justice system? Answering that question requires a trip back to the late 1960s, because the current build up started then, plateaued briefly in the late seventies, and then began a second phase in the early 1980s, which has carried on into the present.

In The Beginning There Were Riots…

During one of the mid-sixties “civil disturbances,” an intrepid reporter, wanting to know why black people were looting, burning stores, and fighting cops, asked a young rioter: “What do you want? …


Present day Context

As with all Organized Criminal Operations, No Accountability or Transparency is fostered by Illegal Fascist government institutions and operations. They offer that you should just trust them, while crimes are manufactured without victims around and criminalizing you.

Lawmakers and advocates rally in Albany for a set of reforms related to information on law enforcement. Photlo: Dan M. Clark

New York state lawmakers are pushing for a new set of reforms they argue will provide more accountability over members of law enforcement by making the personnel records of those officers available to the public and tracking data on arrest and criminal patterns across the state.


The Perils of Criminal Justice Reform

News at Home
tags: reform, prisons, criminal justice system, advocacy

Tony Platt is a Distinguished Affiliated Scholar at the Center for the Study of Law & Society, University of California, Berkeley.  His most recent book is Beyond These Walls: Rethinking Crime & Punishment in the United States, published by St. Martin’s Press (January 2019).

Living facilities in California State Prison (July 19, 2006)

Living facilities in California State Prison (July 19, 2006)

“When government officials and their allies call themselves reformers, it’s time to look out, and to look deeply and carefully at what is being proposed. Most government-sponsored reforms of criminal justice operations manage and rearrange existing institutions of power.

Not all reforms are manipulative and repressive. There is also a tradition of progressive grassroots reforms that try to make a difference in and empower people’s everyday lives. But these efforts to accomplish structural reforms typically are undermined in practice. Why have there been more failures than successes, and what is needed to reverse this sorry record? ”

I started working on Beyond These Walls: Rethinking Crime and Punishment in the United States during the Obama presidency. I wanted to understand and hopefully explain why no substantial reforms of the carceral state occurred in the second decade of the 21st century, despite militant street protests against police killings and widespread consensus among liberals and libertarians that something needed to be done about the country’s unprecedented rate of imprisonment.


Reform is one of the most overused, misused, and Orwellian terms in the English language. “I am well convinced that it is kind, humane, and meant for reformation,” wrote Charles Dickens in 1842 after he witnessed a Pennsylvania prison’s system of silent solitary confinement. But its outcome, he observed, was to subject prisoners to “torturing anxieties and horrible despair” that left them “dead to everything.”


This combination of benevolent rhetoric and punitive measures is a persistent theme in American criminal justice history. During World War I, for example, the federal Comission on Training Camp Activities claimed to be acting in the interest of “delinquent women and girls” by rounding up and detaining without trial some 30,000 of them suspected of spreading venereal diseases and perversion, while the men received health care and wholesome entertainment.


When government officials and their allies call themselves reformers, it’s time to look out, and to look deeply and carefully at what is being proposed. Most government-sponsored reforms of criminal justice operations manage and rearrange existing institutions of power.


Nth Degree Destruction Agorism: Blockchain Technology

How Blockchain Technology Reduces Wall Street Risk & the Fallacy of Too Big To Fail!

If the root of our economic problem is the tendency toward centralized, globalist bureaucracies (like the EU and the WTO and the IMF and the World Bank) why does anyone believe the solution will be centralized, globalist bureaucracies (like the BRICS Bank and the EEU and the AIIB)? Today we look at a truly paradigm-shattering civilization-wide change taking place right now that has the potential to undermine the status quo: the peer-to-peer economy.

Solutions: The Peer-to-Peer Econom

Solutions-Agorism black and gray

Counter-economics: THIS is what a REAL revolution looks like

Many people have their own theory about the way the world should work, but few combine it with action. Today on The Corbett Report we explore the writings of Samuel Konkin, and how his central idea, agorism, combines the theory and practice of freedom through counter-economic action. Agora! Anarchy! Action!


Solutions: Agorism Counter-economics:

Solutions- 5 Markets

Perpetual Theft


By P. J. Proudhon

If I were asked to answer the following question: WHAT IS SLAVERY? and I should answer in one word, IT IS MURDER, my meaning would be understood at once. No extended argument would be required to show that the power to take from a man his thought, his will, his personality, is a power of life and death; and that to enslave a man is to kill him. Why, then, to this other question: WHAT IS PROPERTY! may I not likewise answer, IT IS ROBBERY, without the certainty of being misunderstood; the second proposition being no other than a transformation of the first? WHAT IS PROPERTY? PROPERTY ROBBERY.

https://kevskewl.com/2019/04/06/what-is-property-property-robbery/ via @kevskewl

%d bloggers like this: