US Prison Empire

The United States has a new form of slavery. SWAT teams are conducting
military ³cleansings² of poor, minority and marijuana-growing neighbourhoods
under the guise of drug raids that particularly target women, black people
and members of the cannabis culture. Prisons are being privatized and
converted into sweat-shops were, for example, pot huffers might find
themselves in an ironic hell on earth a dark cave were they are forced to
answer unending calls for a travel agency for the rest of their lives. The
entire operation is being coordinated by multinational corporate interests
that reach deep into the heart and pockets of the White House.

Imprisoning pot smokers

They weren¹t growing pot. They didn¹t have pot in their possession. Not a
single one of them even had a bong. But when they refused to let the DEA
install cop cameras in their grow store, Southern Lights and Hydroponics,
the Tucker family became targets in the US war on drugs, as did many other
residents of Norcross, Georgia. The DEA watched the store¹s customers and
sent SWAT teams to terrorize them and clean out their grow operations. Some
of those customers traded bogus testimony against the shop¹s owners for
shorter sentences. The Tuckers ­ Gary, his wife Joanne, and his brother
Steve ­ each received 10 year prison sentences when they reached court in

The Norcross, Georgia sting was part of a larger DEA plot called ³Operation
Green Merchant² (OGM), which began as early as 1987, with roots in the heart
of the Reagan drug war a war that still continues today. The operation¹s
goal: to eradicate indoor marijuana grow ops all across the United States
through the surveillance and targeting of hydroponics stores. Literally
hundreds of thousands of Americans have been investigated by agents working
under the umbrella of OGM. And yet even OGM is only a small part of the
larger picture of drug war oppression.

In the excellent book, Lost Rights ­ The Destruction of American Liberty,
James Bovard touches on how, early in the drug war, other towns became DEA
targets. Like Jerome, Arizona, were a small hamlet of hippies was raided by
over a hundred heavily armed police who “dragg[ed] women and children out
of bed, scaring them half to death, to get 9 or 10 pounds of marijuana,” in
1986. Since Bovard¹s 1994 book, military attacks on towns have become almost
commonplace in the US government¹s campaign to destroy cannabis. A campaign
that continues today with the seizure of homes, property and bank accounts
and with the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of innocent plant lovers.

Marijuana smokers fill prisons

Bars aren¹t forged to keep violent criminals off of the streets. They are
forged to build drug-war dungeons. Rapists, murderers and thieves don¹t
crowd US prisons. Rather, thanks in particular to President Ronald Reagan,
it is harmless marijuana smokers who swell the cells to overflowing.

Before the Reagan drug war, prisons were becoming empty. From 1965 to 1975,
the US prison population actually shrank at the rate of about 1% per year.1
The drug war ­ especially against cannabis ­ changed all that, and turned
the failing prison industry into a booming business. US Bureau of Justice
Statistics show that at the beginning of the Reagan era in 1980, there were
220 inmates for every 100,000 people in the US. But by the end of the Reagan
era in 1989, prisons were stuffed to maximum capacity bursting at a record
434 inmates per 100,000 US citizens. During the Reagan era, the number of
inmates per 100,000 US citizens had risen by 214 over a 9 year period when
it had only risen 80 per 100,000 over the previous 52 years!

The trend continues today with over 690 inmates per 100,000 US citizens,2 or
over 2 million behind bars in the year 2000.3 The rate of imprisonment in
the US is more than 7 times higher than any other western country. Holland
imprisons only 51 per 100,000 citizens; Germany, 80; France, 84; the UK, 86;
and Italy, 89.4 If the freedom of a country¹s citizens can be measured by
how many of them are behind bars, then US citizens are the most enslaved
people of the western world largely because of the 80¹s drug war and the
social ills it nurtured.

During the 80¹s, drug-frenzied cops sported a Reagan-inspired spring to
their walk that looked suspiciously like a goose-step, while law makers were
busy engineering new forms of oppression. In the mid-80¹s, federal mandatory
minimums were created to round up and jail the US drug culture. What this
meant was that judges across the US were forced to sentence non-violent drug
offenders for a minimum of five years if they had, for example, 100
marijuana plants, a gram of LSD, or 500 grams of cocaine. The penalties were
increased to ten years for larger amounts.5 Some states also passed
mandatory sentencing laws for drug offenders, the harshest of which were
drafted in Michigan and New York.

In a 1998 report The US General Accounting Office (GAO) ­ a government
organization dedicated to reporting systemic corruption ­ revealed that,
³the growth in… prison populations since 1980 can be traced in part to
changes in sentencing laws that are intended to get tough on crime,
particularly drug offenders.6 From Œ85 to Œ94, Drug offences were
responsible for 36% of the increase in state prison populations and 71% of
the increase in federal prison populations. Overall, the number of drug
offenders in prison increased 510% from Œ83 to Œ93,7 and most of those
offenders were in on marijuana charges.

Even before the Reagan era, marijuana users, growers and dealers were
heavily targeted by the drug war. But the Reagan era made it worse. In 1980,
out of nearly 581,000 drug arrests, 69% were for marijuana, and over 3/4 of
all marijuana arrests were for simple possession. In 1999, out of the 1.5
million drug arrests, 46% were for marijuana, and over 88% of all marijuana
arrests were for simple possession alone.8

Today, non-violent drug offenders serve more time in prison than rapists,
murderers and thieves. The average sentence for a drug offence is 82.4
months; for sexual abuse, 66.9 months; for manslaughter, 26.8 months; and
for theft, 24.6 months.5 A crook that would stab an elderly person for five
bucks is likely to be back on the street before a harmless, peaceful pot

While educational programs and grants to universities are cut, prisons soak
up more and more federal funding. Prison construction costs the US $7
billion a year, and the cost of keeping prisoners behind bars is another $35
billion annually.9 The drug war has crippled America by taking funds away
from programs that could heal and enhance the lives of US citizens and
directing those funds toward an economy of raisorwire, iron bars and

Drug war against women

The drug war simplifies the disposal of undesirable people in a society were
humanity has become a catch-word for ³what we can get away with and still
look clean.² Because a disproportionate number of American women are poor
and disadvantaged, a disproportionate number of them ­ many of them single
parents10 ­ go to prison for drug offences. In the worst US prisons, women
are routinely raped and sold as prostitutes, as though they were nothing
better than slaves waiting to be captured and used.

Anti-drug laws imprison women far more fervently than men. In 1999, one out
of every three women in prison was sentenced for a non-violent drug offence,
compared to one in five for men.11 From the beginning of the Reagan era
until 1996, the number of women in prison for a drug offence inflated every
year at double the male rate, a shocking 888% in total during that period.10
While in prison, women can expect the vilest of treatment from guards. A
1998 GA0 report, ³Women in Prison: Sexual Misconduct by Correctional Staff,²
found that between Œ95 and Œ98 there were 506 allegations of sexual assault
against female prisoners in a small sample study of three unnamed prison
jurisdictions. Because of difficulties verifying prisoners¹ stories, and the
unwillingness of other inmates to come forward, only 14 of these cases
resulted in convictions against prison staff.

³In one of the cases settled, [the Federal Bureau of Prisons] agreed to pay
three women $500,000 to end a lawsuit in which the women claimed they had
been beaten, raped, and sold by guards for sex with male inmates [at the
Federal Detention Center in Pleasanton, California],² wrote the authors of
the report. The GAO report also mentions widespread sexual abuse of female
prisoners in DC prisons.

According to Amnesty International¹s (AI) 1999 report on the USA, the rape
of women prisoners is even more widespread and commonplace than the GAO
report let on. AI found a flood of allegations from prisons in California,
Michigan and New York. In August of Œ99, a UN Special Reporter on Violence
against Women was sent to investigate inmate complaints of sexual abuse, and
was denied entry to three Michigan prisons.

In 1997, the US Department of Justice began an ongoing law suit against
state prisons in Michigan and Arizona for ³failing to protect women from
sexual misconduct, including sexual assaults and Œprurient viewing during
dressing, showering and use of toilet facilities.¹²12 The law suit was filed
the same year that Annette Romo, a pregnant prisoner in Arizona, was
shackled by staff, began bleeding, begged for medical help, and was refused
any assistance. She lost her baby while guards acted as though her screams
were feigned.

Since the Reagan era, the US government has been putting an increasing
number of women in jail for carrying a harmless medicinal herb, but then
subjecting them to conditions that the SPCA would consider inhumane for
animals. Just who are the criminals, anyway?

Drug war against blacks

Police cars and cops with military assault weaponry swept through the sleepy
farming hamlet of Tulia, Texas on July 23, Œ99. They were supposedly looking
for drug offenders to fill the nearby prison. At the end of the day, 40 of
the town¹s 246 black residents ­ mostly young men ­ were behind bars.
Many of those arrested couldn¹t afford legal help, but they knew that what
had happened was wrong. In a small, predominantly white town of 5,000 with
no significant drug problems, the arrest of 40 black residents ­ along with
only one white and one Hispanic ­ was a clear message of racial intolerance.
Especially when the undercover officer conducting the investigation, a man
named Tom Coleman, couldn¹t even remember if he had bought drugs from some
of those on trial.13

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Texas
American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU) became involved immediately, filed
complaints with the US Department of Justice and hired lawyers to defend and
uncover the racial bias of Tulia¹s officials. On September 29, 2000 the
Texas ALCU brought a law suit against Coleman, Sheriff Larry Stewart and
local DA Terry McEachern. According to the Texas ACLU, local sheriff Larry
Stewart had drawn up a list of ³undesirables² ­ specifically targeting the
African-American community ­ officer Coleman had gone out and arrested them,
and DA Terry McEachern had rammed the cases through the legal system.14
Tulia, Texas is but a single pock-mark on a nation that is rotting with
drug-war disease. From the very beginning, the combination of easy arrests
and imprisonment was meant to purge white towns of blacks who would be
forced to work on chain gangs, and to strip black people of their right to

Stealing the black vote

After the Civil War, white politicians in Mississippi, Alabama, Virginia,
Louisiana, and South Carolina led the way in a backlash against freeing
their slaves by passing bills that stole the right to vote from black
people. These bills created what are called ³disenfranchisement² laws.
Disenfranchisement laws meant that if people were charged with certain
offences, they could no longer participate in elections. Especially black

In his ground breaking article, ³Challenging Criminal Disenfranchisement
Under the Voting Rights Act: A New Strategy,² lawyer and researcher Andrew L
Shapiro tells how the scam worked.

³Legislators in these states thought that blacks were more likely to commit
Œfurtive offenses¹ such as petty theft than Œrobust crimes¹ such as murder,²
wrote Shapiro. These were the crimes that legislators punished with
disenfranchisement. It is likely that such Œfurtive offences¹ were
particularly suited to black people only because blacks could be charged for
them without proof that the crime had taken place.

The end result was enormously successful from the perspective of racists
everywhere. While nearly 70% of blacks in Mississippi were registered voters
in 1867, shortly after disenfranchisement laws had passed in 1892, only 6%
of blacks in Mississippi could vote. It was the same in every state that
passed such laws. In 11 previously confederate states, which had elected 324
blacks to congress and state legislatures in 1872, there were only 5 black
politicians elected by 1900.

Today¹s black-targeting Œfurtive¹ crimes are non-violent drug offences.
Black people are 13% of the US population, and 13% of those who use drugs
regularly, which means they use at the same rate as non-blacks. But they are
arrested and imprisoned far more regularly than whites. Blacks are 35% of
those arrested, 55% of those convicted, and 74% of those imprisoned for
simple possession.11

A truly non-biased police sweep of Tulia would have picked up the same
percentage of white people as black. If there were 40 black drug users to
arrest (approx 16% of the black population), there should have also been 800
white people behind bars that same day (or 16% of 5,000 white residents).
With an extremely high percentage of blacks behind bars, US prisons are
beginning to look a little like death camps. Almost one-out-of-three black
men aged twenty to twenty-nine are either in prison, jail, parole or
probation. While the overall number of people in US jails today is a
whopping 690 per 100,000 US citizens, the number of black people in US jails
was an astronomical 6,926 per 100,000 as early as 1995.15 Not since WWII has
any nation imprisoned such a massive percentage of any racial minority.
Every state in the US ­ except three ­ still has disenfranchisement laws,
which have been broadened to include drug offences. And these laws still
steal the vote from black men. Although only 2% of all those incarcerated in
US prisons are disenfranchised, the rate for imprisoned black men is 13.1%,
almost seven times the national average. Three of the five states that led
the way in black disenfranchisement after the Civil War still have some of
the highest rates today: Alabama, Mississippi and Virginia, with 31.5%,
28.6%, 25% black disenfranchisement rates respectively.3 Across the US,
there are a growing number of predominantly black communities where a white
minority decides who will govern.

American recolonization

³European colonization was based on the drug trade,² said Dedon Kemanthi, a
former Black Panther and college lecturer, during an anti-CIA conference in
Eugene, Oregon last year. During his passionate talk, Kemanthi described how
the recolonization of black American neighbourhoods continues through the
drug trade today.

Kemanthi spoke with the tone and conviction of famous black orators like
Martin Luther King, but also with the rhythm and rhyme of a rapster. ³When
you think crack, don¹t think black!² shouted Kemanthi. ³Think CIA!²
Kemanthi¹s presentation revealed how the CIA smuggled crack into black
neighbourhoods in the US during the infamous 80¹s ³drugs-for-arms² scandal,
an operation that used money from cocaine sales to buy arms for US-backed
rebels in Central America. Kemanthi also produced evidence that the
operation may have been coordinated with US trade organizations.
³Two major employers of black youths, Firestone and Goodyear, moved to
Indonesia and Asia, lured by US tax breaks. In Œ83 and Œ84 there were
250,000 lost jobs. At the same time crack-cocaine was introduced to LA and
black communities were suddenly given the opportunity to make money from

While marijuana was the excuse to raid, imprison and disenfranchise blacks
since at least the 20¹s, crack became the drug-war excuse of choice in the
80¹s and 90¹s.

³There is a major attempt to pin drug problems on the black man instead of
the major players,² Kemanthi asserted. ³Class and ethnic position determines
the punishment for crimes. If courts see black, they think criminal.²
Without forgetting for an instant the historical influences of racism and
sexism on American society, Kemanthi sees class as a common determining
factor in drug-war oppression.

³Capitalism and profits does not discriminate based on color,² Kemanthi
asserted. ³Private prison contractors receive $145,000 for every inmate
incarcerated, in one-time profit, to build the cell, etc. The prison
industrial complex is an extension of the drug war, super-profits for the

The lower classes, says Kemanthi, are worth more to private corporations
when they are in prison than when they are free.

Dpt of Urban Cleansing

Like Dedon Kemanthi, Catherine Austin Fitts ­ former Deputy Assistant
Secretary for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) ­
believes that the drug war is a vehicle for SWAT teams to cleanse the
ghettos and convert the poor into a financial resource for private prison

Fitts is a rare commodity a bureaucrat saddled with a social conscience, a
financial genius who refuses to sell out, who understands the system so
complexly that it sometimes seems difficult for her to explain it in plain
terms. When Fitts began with the HUD in Œ89, she believed that she could use
HUD resources to revitalize poor neighbourhoods. The HUD distributes over
$100 billion in mortgage insurance and $20 billion in subsidies for housing
each year. As one of the largest financing agencies in the US, it could
catalyze substantial change if its managers wanted.

Oddly, despite the HUD¹s financial clout, Fitts found that the agency was
$300 million in debt. No accounting had ever been done to explain why. When
she tracked the losses and found the majority of them in Texas and Colorado,
she was fired and her audit halted. Later, she mapped defaults on
HUD-provided loans across a map of LA, and found that they clustered around
areas of high gang-drug activity. From her experience with the HUD, she did
not believe that it was a coincidence.

³In the 50¹s, drugs came into the community at about the same time federal
subsidies came in,² said Fitts. ³Much of the development was left
unfinished. Every home owner within view of those buildings lost money on
their homes. Small businesses in those communities were devastated. In a few
short years, 50,000 homes were empty and boarded up.²
Residents in some of those communities began selling illegal substances when
the neighbourhood economies failed, said Fitts. Many communities became
ghettos. Today, SWAT teams move in to clean out the crowded poor and snatch
up the land.

³I am increasingly persuaded that much of what is happening at HUD relates
to a conversion of the agency to an enforcement operation that ensures broad
access to neighborhoods throughout America to SWAT operations by federal
enforcement teams,² she wrote in a 1998 memo to the Solari Action Network, a
pro-neighbourhood economy group founded by Fitts.

From a brief look at the HUD web site, it becomes immediately apparent that
HUD loans have provided the excuse for repeated SWAT raids to purge
undesirable citizens from the ghettos. The police raids are coordinated
directly with the HUD through Operation Safe Home, an HUD partnership with
local, state and federal law-enforcement officials including, most notably,
the US Drug Enforcement Agency. Between 1994 ­ when it started ­ and 1998,
Operation Safe Home seized ³drugs valued at more than $25 million and
drug-related cash of more than $3.5 million² from HUD-funded housing
projects. HUD officials have even lobbied the government for independent
powers of seizure, so that the HUD can profit directly from stealing poor
people¹s homes.

³Drug dealers and other criminals are entitled to only one kind of
government housing ­ a prison cell,² HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo told the
press in 1997. ³The sooner we can get them out of public and assisted
housing, the better.²

But not all of the tenants evicted have contact with marijuana or drugs. In
1999, the HUD won a US Federal Appeals Court case allowing them to evict all
tenants from any home where one member has been caught with marijuana or
drugs. Now, if a child is caught with a gram of pot in an HUD-subsidized
housing project, his whole family can be chased from their homes by SWAT

SWAT scam

In an exclusive interview with Cannabis Culture, Catherine Austin Fitts gave
an example of how HUD/SWAT cooperation works through the HUD¹s ³Operation
Safe Home.²

³In 1998, the HUD¹s ŒOperation Safe Home¹ dropped a SWAT team into a
Washington, DC community with 200 agents, police and 50 to 100 reporters,²
Fitts told Cannabis Culture. ³The reason for the operation was to arrest
three people that they had been investigating for two years, and that could
have been picked up by local police. Their real goal was to create
headlines. They swept another 17 people in a housing project that night, and
the next morning it was headline news.²

Fitts sees the combination of HUD loans and the drug war as an attack on
local prosperity for the benefit of Wall Street investors. The 1998 DC drug
raid, Fitts points out, came only shortly after the neighbourhood opposed a
development project to build a convention centre that wasn¹t good for anyone
except wealthy developers. ³The spin on the raid was that people in the
community were bad, and that the people building the convention centre were
good. After the raid, the convention centre vote passed.²

The drug-war victims of HUD raids are destined for corporate assembly lines
in private prisons. ³Operation Safe-Home was designed and started at the
same time [1994] as federal and state governments increasingly turned to
private contractors to buy government prisons, or build new ones,² said
Fitts. ³It was a plan.²

A look at history confirms Fitts¹ suspicions. Clinton¹s 1994 Crime Bill,
supported and co-developed by Gore, created the nation¹s federal
three-strikes laws, meaning longer prison sentences for non-violent drug
offenders, and also established a federal commission to study the ³drug
problem.² The two planned to offset the increased cost of imprisoning drug
offenders by widespread prison privatization, which became one of their
platforms in the Œ95 US election, after private prison lobbyists dolled out
$150,000 in campaign funding to both Democrats and Republicans. In 1997 Vice
President Al Gore gave the HUD $217.3 million for its anti-drug battles,to
step up drug-war oppression against poor communities.

³It is critical that black people, minorities, and even women are considered
hopeless in terms of being able to provide productive products and services,
let alone manage other people¹s money,² said Fitts. ³This is how we have
welfare reform, but tremendous opposition to learning centers and business
incubation. We need the welfare population to go to jail and the children of
farmers to guard them. The welfare population provides a low cost work force
and distribution locations for the drug business. Then they are put in
prison and produce the necessary headlines to prove that politicians are
doing something about drugs.²

Indeed, Fitts¹ own plan to provide data servicing jobs for low-income
families was turned down by HUD secretary Cuomo and ridiculed by
high-ranking HUD staff who, according to Fitts, called the plan ³Computers
for Niggers.² Soon afterward UNICORP, a Department of Justice-owned business
that markets prison labour to private companies, used her plan to create yet
more prison jobs.

Government Corruption

Even before 1900, there was staunch opposition to private prisons from
labour groups, business and reform advocates. The horrific conditions on
chain gangs, the negative effects of prison labour competing with industries
and jobs outside of prisons, the feast of bribes fed to politicians for
prison labour contracts ­ these were the reasons that private prisons and
prison labour were originally made illegal, through a series of acts passed
by federal and state governments between 1935 and 1950.16

But in 1979, one year before Reagan¹s expansion of the drug war, the US
government passed The Percy Amendment, legalizing private prisons and prison
labour. Since then, a landslide of federal and state amendments have
guaranteed increased profits for private prison contractors. Legislative
changes are bought and paid for by large ³campaign donations.² During the
1997 election alone, private prison contractors like the Corrections
Corporation of America (CCA) and Wackenhut provided $546,824 to political
campaigns, according to figures supplied by the Sentencing Project, a prison
reform group.

In the early and mid 90¹s, CCA provided a model to which prison corporations
aspired, a kind of business success possible only through a combination
pay-off schemes, nepotism and empty political posturing. CCA, with the
largest market share of any private prison contractor, exuded a constant
flow of campaign funding to politicians who were happy to lap it up. CCA
Chairman Emeritus Thomas Beasley gave $61,250 to politicians between Œ93 and
Œ97. During the same period CCA Board Member of Trust Ray Bell contributed
$26,050, and CCA Chairman Doctor R Crants donated $27,250.17 In 1997, CCA
hired the DC lobbying firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips (MPP). Working with
former long-time DC Councilman John Ray (who began with the firm while he
was still in office), MPP lobbied the state legislature and secured
Washington DC¹s first private prison contract for CCA in 1997.3

Often, politicians and high-level bureaucrats are hired by private prison
contractors to become full-time lobbyists. Just a few examples from CCA
include David Myers, CCA president, who was employed with the Texas
Department of Corrections from 1968 to 1985; Charles Blanchette, vice
president of operations, who worked with the Texas Department of Corrections
for 16 years; and Michael Quinlan, trustee and chief executive officer of
the CCA Prison Realty Trust, who was acting director of the Federal Bureau
of Prisons for five years. Dozens and dozens more examples abound.
The profits to be made from the private prison industry are so enormous it
isn¹t difficult to see why corrupt politicians salivate at the thought of
licking some of it up. While CCA profit is down for the year 2000 due to
poor management, they still generate tens of millions of dollars in annual
income. Wackenhut, another of the largest private prison contractors in the
US, recently surpassing even CCA in its financial growth, generated a record
$2.1 billion in revenue in 1999, an increase of 22.6% over the year before,
resulting in $37.9 million in operating profit for that year alone.18 More
than enough to buy off politicians for the next few decades of drug war
oppression and feed prisons with cheap labour.

Prison Labour

While in a private slammer, drug war prisoners should expect to work long
and exhausting days making circuit boards, valves and fittings, eyeglasses,
water beds and blue jeans. In Ohio, prisoners do data processing, and in
Southern California they answer phones to book vacation flights for TWA.19
Typically, prisoners are paid for their work, but most of the money they
make is taken from them for rent, food, taxes, and a host of other costs.
Most inmates make pennies an hour.20

The drug war equals profits as marijuana smokers fill private prisons with
cheap labour. Between 1980 and 1994 the number of inmates working for big
businesses climbed 358%, generating profits of $1.31 billion.21
As in the early 1900¹s, businesses in regular society are hit hard by prison
labour. When LTI, a circuit board manufacturer, relocated to a Wackenhut
prison in the early 90¹s, they closed their plant in Austin Texas, and layed
off 150 employees. Although, by law, corporations that contract prison
labour are supposed to consult with local unions and businesses, in reality
there were no such meetings when LTI moved shop. Similarly, Honda hired
prisoners to assemble car parts for $2.05/hour (inmates got 35 cents)
without soliciting outside opinion.19

Private prison supporters claim that the revenue generated by inmate labour
converts to lower operating costs. But a 1996 GAO investigation found that
the government pays about the same in subsidies to the private prison
industry as it does to run its own institutions. Private clinks are no less
expensive than public ones, and provide worse services as they cut corners
in a race to increase profits.

The private prison labour system feeds on itself like a snake eating its own
tail. Less jobs in the public sector means more unemployment, which equals
more poverty, more replacement of local economies with marijuana and drug
economies, swelling ghettos, increased drug war enforcement, more drug-war
prisoners, and eventually more private prisons to hold them all.
Dark ironies abound in the emerging corporate feudalism. The CIA imports
cocaine but small-scale dealers are the ones put behind bars. A private
prison is proposed to hold Washington DC¹s predominantly black inmates on a
former slave plantation in North Carolina where they will toil in corporate
sweat shops as their ancestors toiled in the fields.22 America is being
converted into a two-class society, with the labouring masses enslaved in
work camps, and business owners and managers ensconced in newly redeveloped
and cleansed ghetto areas, fortified ³gated communities² similar to medieval
castles with walled villages.

Prison Globalization

The drug-war fueled corporate feudalism of the US is a reflection of the
drug war now being waged in Colombia. In Colombia, death squads destroy
villages that lie on oil and mineral rich lands, call the local minority
populations ³narcoguerillas,² and drive them into cities where they toil in
corporate sweat shops for pennies an hour. In the US, SWAT teams destroy
ghettos and convert the land into a resource by selling it to redevelopers,
call the local minority populations ³drug abusers,² and jail them in
factories where they slave in corporate sweat shops for pennies an hour.
In both cases drug-war tyranny wipes out local economies, replaces it with
global ones, and produces massive profits for multinational corporations,
like Wackenhut and CCA, who have a combined presence in over fifty-six
countries. Around the world, the drug war is the rotten core of a
profit-driven agenda to enslave every nation¹s peoples.

You can do something. Buy locally instead of from big corporations. Speak
out against drug war oppression when you have the opportunity. Attend
demonstrations against the prison/industrial complex and shout a message of
freedom from drug-prison oppression!

€ The Sentencing Project: 514 – 10th St NW, Suite 1000, WA DC, 20004; tel
(202) 628-0871; fax (202) 628-1091;;
€ Families Against Mandatory Minimums:1612 K St NW, Suite 1400, WA DC,
20006; tel (202) 822-6700;;
€ Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants (CURE National): PO
Box2310, WA DC, 20013-2310; tel (202) 789-2126;
€ US Department of Housing and Urban Development: 451 7th St SW, WA DC,
20410; tel (202) 708-1112;
€ The General Accounting Office: 441 G St NW, WA DC, 20548; tel (202)
€ Amnesty International: 322 8th Ave, New York, NY, 10001; tel (212)