The occupy movement has began to shine light on the exploitation, racism, control, and destruction that capitalism both creates and relies on. The project of building a new world not based on profit, exploitation, and dominance involves recognition of the role prisons play in our current system. Prisons isolate us from our communities and our own lives. Prisons function to keep money in the pockets of corporations and politicians at the expense of our lives. Prisons epitomize business and the government’s control over individuals and destruction of communities. In other words, prisons rely on and create the same fucked up world that capitalism does.
We are fed the idea that prison is a place for ‘others’, however when we break the isolation of prisons we recognize the label of ‘criminal’ is created by those who profit of the prison system This profit is made by the continues expansion of prisons and the compliance of those on the outside, as well as societies continues belief in the judicial system. Prison is ‘legal’ slavery, both institutions are isolating and reinforce power structures and racism. They destroy communities and exploit individuals for profit. In a very real way prison had simply replaced slavery.Slavery and prison exist because of the myth propagated by elite that the only way people, in particular people of color and poor people, can contribute to society is by force and enslavement. By punishing us and our community members for disobeying laws made by the elite few, prisons take away the ability to create community and autonomy.
How is this relevant to occupy ?
The same people who benefited from slavery, are the same fuckers who benefit from prisons: the capitalist, the police, the corporate media, politicians, the corporations so on: these are the enemies of the occupy movement, the “1%”. Prison has a long legacy of providing the capitalist class with its means. To capitalism, prisoners are raw material. Prisons have provided the upper class white people, who couldn’t use slavery, a new cheap work force, as those in prison are forced to work for little to no wages. This trend still continues today. Prisoners, mainly people of color and poor, are rendered dispensable on the outside but major source of profit in the prison world. Through the use of prison labor, the production of prison products (food, clothing, etc.) many corporations benefit from prisons. The prison is an industry that profits off the caging of individuals. It’s no doubt why convict labor is hidden in our history unlike black slave labor: government and corporations don’t want us to recognize that forms of slavery still exist. The prison industry also benefits politicians, who promise to build new prisons and protect the people from an unseen evil: crime. But in reality these prisons function to isolate us and further control us-for their benefits.
The rise of prison sentences came about with the rise of industrial capitalism. As human value became quantified by wage labor, so did our freedom, or lack thereof. Therefore if we wish to resist the quantification of our lives, whereby money is equal to time and life, were our value is measured by time and wage, prison must be destroyed.
In the early 80s global capitalism emerged its no coincidence that a major prison boom also took place then. In this context poor people ability to survive became constrained by the looming presence of the prison. Prison building project started in 80s created means of concentrating and managing what the capital system had declared to be a human surplus.
Without capitalism and power, prisons would be called what they are: abusive, racist and isolating. Like capitalism we cannot reform prisons because at the essence of prison and capitalism is domination and power over communities and individuals, so let’s destroy capitalism and free our communities by exposing prisons for what they are; revolting.