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virus234 ANGELA Y. DAVIS
The Prison Industrial Complex
virus234 (1999) CD - $12.00
iTunes
emusic

Over the last generation, the United States prison systems have grown at a rate unparalleled in history, creating what many call a Prison Industrial Complex. What happens to our legal system, our Constitution, our democracy, when a substantial part of the population feel it in their economic self-interest to lock up more and more people for longer and longer sentences? Which industries are a part of the Prison Industrial Complex? How are they profiting from prisons? And how are they using their power to affect criminal law and public opinion? How are people organizing to stop or slow prison growth? What is prison abolition?

To the extent we think about these questions at all, it is because of the tireless work of Angela Davis. She has toured the country for the last decade speaking out against prison expansion, and she was the prime mover behind the 1997 conference Critical Resistance: Beyond the Prison Industrial Complex, which drew over 3,500 participants to Berkeley, California.

This 1997 talk from Boulder, Colorado offers a succinct yet compelling argument that the time to stop prison expansion is now. Angela Davis is a legendary speaker, known for the clarity & subtlety of her thought and the compelling compassion of her delivery.

Aside from talking about the Prison Industrial Complex, Angela Davis discusses the evils of Nike, corporate crimes, the demonization of immigrants, and crimes against the environment, amongst other issues.

Check out her related book, Are Prisons Obsolete?



"Angela Davis deserves respect for honesty, insight and passion. Much of her 60s concern for the development of the prison industrial complex and its function in the control of minority communities was prescient. At the center of Davis‚ argument is an undeniable truth: there is a fear of young black men that emerges from a social irrationalism, one concerned with specifying a form for a specter. To summarize her argument, the fear of communism and fear of crime spring from equivalent psychological processes: the racialized criminal has become the New Enemy... The representation of black men most especially as a social threat is an old American phenomenon that continually renews itself, as the current exhibit of lynching photographs and postcards at a New York gallery evidences in the most graphic and horrible terms. This image of racial violence haunts American life, and prisons have joined lynching as new sites of brutality. Instead of burning humans alive now, the United States buries them alive in prisons. The U.S. prison system functions today in largest part as a disciplinary system for people of color, with little remaining of its correctional ideology. The words of Frederick Douglass introducing Ida Wells‚ On Lynching --- "If American conscience were only half alive, if the American church and clergy were only half Christianized, if American moral sensibility were not hardened by persistent infliction of outrage and crime against colored people, a scream of horror, shame and indignation would rise to Heaven" --- are as equally valid for the U.S. prison system as their original context of lynching.

As Davis argues, "We have learned how to forget prisons." They exist as an invisible world, cut off from the outside.' To counter this social forgetfulness, Davis seeks to make prisons more visible within the community. She calls ultimately for the creation of a new abolitionist movement against prisons that will reshape their form and programs.

Davis integrates her discussion of prisons into the rise of a contemporary social discipline, one that functions through the abuses of transnational capital against Third World labor as much as through creating a profitable domestic architecture building refuse bins for human beings. A broad set of linkages spread out through her discussion. As Davis points out, "Prisons move into the vacuum that has been created as transnational corporations move out." Communities without employment chase after new prison construction projects, and labor from among the two million prisoners in the United States has become as cheap as Third World labor. Fresh labor arrives all the time, particularly from the increasing number of women going into the prison system as welfare services shut down and women enter the largest alternative economies --- drugs and sex --- for lack of a mainstream economic alternative. The prison industrial complex has acquired its own imperial logic and momentum. Ironically, if this observation arrives together with still-radical economic analysis from Davis, its major point has become accepted wisdom among more mainstream political thinking that has watched lobbying by prison guard unions shape criminal codes and seen prison expenditures soar over higher education investments.

If American conscience were only half-alive, it might listen to Davis and others protesting the relentless expansion of the prison systems."
- Bad Subjects On-line

"Over the last generation, the United States prison systems have grown at a rate unparalleled in history, creating what many call a Prison Industrial Complex. What happens to our legal system, our Constitution, our democracy, when a substantial part of the population feel it in their economic self-interest to lock up more and more people for longer and longer sentences? Which industries are a part of the Prison Industrial Complex? How are they profiting from prisons? And how are they using their power to affect criminal law and public opinion? How are people organizing to stop or slow prison growth? What is prison abolition?"
- Monkeyfist

Search:

For:






1. "On Becoming An Activist" (3:37)
2. "Race, Class & Incarceration" (2:34)
3. "Young Black Men & Prison" (2:23)
4. "Technologies Of Punishment" (2:07)
listen to "Technologies Of Punishment"   MP3 (1.9 MB)
5. "The Specter Of Crime" (3:07)
6. "Political Persecution" (2:37)
7. "Enemies Are Needed" (2:21)
listen to "Enemies Are Needed"   MP3 (2.2 MB)
8. "Targeting Women" (1:30)
9. "Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric" (4:27)
10. "Nike" (5:00)
11. "The War On Drugs" (2:45)
12. "Corporations & Patterns Of Immigration" (2:21)
13. "The Prison Industrial Complex" (3:47)
14. "Making A Difference" (3:16)
15. "Who Pays, Who Plays" (2:37)
16. "What Is To Be Done?" (5:39)
17. "Breaking The Silence" (2:32)



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Angela Y. Davis



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