This is the third time in history that white dominated state governments in the United States has been charged with slavery:
(1) The first time slavery was on trial was during the Civil War.
(2) The second time slavery was on trial was right before World War II during the period of segregation. The practice was called "peonage" or "punishment for crime" but in a federal directive Circular 3591 issued by former president Franklin D. Roosevelt, he ordered all Department of Justice investigators to entirely drop reference to peonage in their written reports and to instead label every file as related to what it truly was and had always been for the past seven decades: Involuntary Servitude and Slavery.
(3)The third time slavery was on trial is today, as you can see from the news. Again, to keep from being held accountable, enslavers are not calling it slavery but rather criminal justice--the same things they did to freedwomen and freedmen with the Black Codes and Peonage and Convict Lease systems from 1865 to 1941 but was told they had been practicing slavery by another name!
On Tuesday, May 11, Republican members of the Louisiana House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure voted down House Bill 196, which would have prohibited slavery in the state - for good. Currently, the Louisiana state constitution echoes pro-slavery language from the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, permitting slavery "as punishment for crime," and enabling the unpaid, forced labor of thousands of people - disproportionately Black - in LA state prisons.
House Bill 196, sponsored by Edmond Jordan and championed by the Louisiana Coalition to Abolish Slavery, would have created a way to do away with this exception clause, following similar efforts around the country in places like Utah and Colorado. With Republican committee members calling the bill "one of the most dangerous bills we'll see this session," the bill was shot down in committee by a 9-6 vote along party lines.
Read more about the House Committee on Civil Law and Procedure's shameful vote to perpetuate slavery in Helen Lewis's article in Big Easy Magazine:
We envision a world without prisons.
A world where investments in public health, education, housing, sustainability, and true democracy make police and prisons - and the very mindsets that produce them - obsolete. A world where we will keep each other safe and hold each other accountable when we make mistakes or cause harm. A world where our communities will be strong enough to rely on each other without depending on cages and police, which only create a false sense of safety for some while systematically enslaving others.
There is a long legacy of oppression in Louisiana leading to the targeting, criminalizing and imprisoning of racial minorities and poor people. Decarcerate Louisiana started in 2014 when people inside and outside the prison system began supporting one another, organizing, and working for change. Decarcerate Louisiana brings together inside and outside organizers to advocate for abolition and social change.
Our mission is to engage in grassroots organizing and policy advocacy to:
(1) Abolish slavery as punishment for a crime;
(2) Dismantle the Prison-Industrial Complex by eliminating the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act; Life Without Parole sentences, the Prison Litigation Reform Act; and any unjust "tough on crime" laws that marginalize and criminalize people without giving them a chance to engage in restorative justice and reach their full potential;
3) End the historic and ongoing systemic oppression of the People through capitalist exploitation, environmental racism, and other forms of state violence
Our struggle is not new, prisoners throughout Louisiana have resisted for generations. Check out this video to learn more.
This video, created by Ayah Saleh and Dylan Cannatella, sheds light on the history of prisoner organizing inside the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola.
Curtis Davis teach-in for International Day of Abolition
This image was originally published on the website TheAtlantic.com and is republished here with The Atlantic's permission.
Decarcerating does not mean let everyone go and run wild without morals or values or responsibilities. Decarcerate means to break up or break away from systems of slavery and human trafficking, marginalization and criminalization of the people.
Decarcerate means to help impoverished communities and corrupt prison systems repurpose underdeveloped and unproductive land to become developed and rezoned and redesigned to ensure an adequate supply of resources and support systems to help make success possible for all people.
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Angola, Louisiana, United States