An analysis of the reparations comparison

Revenge Getting Even The passion for revenge is strong and sometimes almost overwhelming. But our intuitive logic about revenge is often twisted, conflicted, parochial, and dangerous.

An analysis of the reparations comparison

His statement resounds with a long tradition of prisoners, particularly African-American prisoners, who have used the language and narrative of slavery to describe the conditions of their imprisonment. In the yearas the punishment industry becomes a leading employer and producer for the U.

This year the U. Recent studies of the prison boom stress the persistent disparities in sentencing according to race -- prison populations continue to be disproportionately African American and Latino.

With longer sentences being imposed for nonviolent drug offenses, with aggressive campaigns aimed at criminalizing young people, and with the growing number of children left orphaned by the criminal justice system, the carceral reach of the state and private corporations resonates with the history of slavery and marks a level of human bondage unparalleled in the 20th century.

Scholars and activists have plunged into an examination of the historical origins of racialized slavery as a coercive labor form and social system in an attempt to explain the huge increase in mass incarceration in the U.

Drawing these links has been important in explaining the relationship between racism and criminalization after emancipation, and in connecting the rise of industrial and mechanized labor to the destructive effects of deindustrialization and globalization.

The point of retracing this history is not to argue that prisons have been a direct outgrowth of slavery, but to An analysis of the reparations comparison the persistent connections between racism and the global economy.

Mass imprisonment on the level seen in the U. As many scholars of the punishment industry have shown, regardless of the labor prisoners do to service the larger economy either private or publicprisons increasingly function in the U. The immediate post-emancipation period is a key place to start in outlining the investment of the U.

Related to the above is the growth of new abolitionist movements whose goals are the elimination of mass imprisonment as a method of treatment for addiction and mental illness, as an economic ameliorative, and as a method of social control -- what one scholar has termed "the carceral management of poverty" Wacquant, The connections between slavery and imprisonment have been used by abolitionists as an historical explanation and as part of a radical political strategy that questions the feasibility of "reform" as an appropriate response to prison expansion.

As a leader in the creation of this new abolitionist movement, Angela Davis The 13th Amendment, when it abolished slavery, did so except for convicts. Through the prison system, the vestiges of slavery have persisted. It thus makes sense to use a word that has this historical resonance. Although a fully conceptualized abolitionism is starting to emerge, it may be useful to outline some of the historical antecedents to current anti-prison and antiracist movements.

As prison construction and the crime frenzy continue around the U. The state, as it is currently configured in the U. In rural and urban areas crippled by the slow decline in manufacturing and skilled jobs, the punishment industry has emerged as the new jobs program, a role it plays with the military.

Yet it is precisely now, when prisons crowd the physical and psychic landscape, that imagining abolition is most critical. Thus, the new abolitionism has arisen out of the communities most affected by the prison state -- those least able to conceptualize anything other than a transformation of the state as it is currently configured.

Studies of the relationship between slavery and mass imprisonment have a long history in the United States and internationally. Tracing this history and the relationship between slavery and prison expansion can help inform current efforts toward prison abolition and provide a context for moving beyond reforms that have usually boosted the carceral state through a rejuvenation of the prison system, rather than clearing a path for true liberation and transformation.

From the vantage point of post-slavery emancipation, it seemed like the possibility of genuine freedom and democracy for freed slaves was a reality in the making. Although the roots of 19th-century abolitionism were varied, the popular understanding is that it was a middle-class movement led by whites and a few ex-slaves.

In reality, much of the scholarship on abolitionism conflicts with this limited conception of the coalitions that powered the move to end slavery Aptheker, ; Robinson, Whether rushing over Union lines to fight against the Confederacy, planning slave revolts, or resisting slavery through countless individual acts, freed blacks and slaves challenged the foundations of a labor and social system based on racialized slavery.

Anti-slavery efforts spearheaded by slaves pushed emancipation as they refused to accept the terms of gradual emancipation. African-American slaves and anti-slavery activists sought not only the abolition of slavery as a labor form, but also a broader realization of slaves' dreams of freedom, alive despite hundreds of years of violence and coerced labor Du Bois, ; Foner, ; McKelvey, These visions of freedom rarely conformed to the narrowly articulated parameters defined in the Constitution; yet to make their ideas plausible to the state, freed slaves often had to frame their arguments for freedom in the language and categories constructed by the formal state.

Although the creation of African-American free communities and institutions during Reconstruction were almost immediately threatened by new configurations of white power and supremacy, freed slaves continued to exercise their right to vote and hold office in order to enact their own plans for education, land ownership, and self-determination.

An analysis of the reparations comparison

This incomplete transformation was cut short by vigilante justice and racialized violence, as well as by the state-sponsored criminalization of African Americans. In the past decade, several influential studies of this period have revealed the relationship between emancipation, the 13th Amendment, and the convict lease program Lichtenstein, a; Mancini, ; Davis, Built into the 13th Amendment was state authorization to use prison labor as a bridge between slavery and paid work.

Slavery was abolished "except as a punishment for crime. During this period, white "Redeemers" -- white planters, small farmers, and political leaders -- set out to rebuild the pre-emancipation racial order by enacting laws that restricted black access to political representation and by creating Black Codes that, among other things, increased the penalties for crimes such as vagrancy, loitering, and public drunkenness Davis, As African Americans continued the process of building schools, churches, and social organizations, and vigorously fought for political participation, a broad coalition of Redeemers used informal and state-sponsored forms of violence and repression to roll back the gains made during Reconstruction.The passion for revenge is strong and sometimes almost overwhelming.

But our intuitive logic about revenge is often twisted, conflicted, parochial, and dangerous. The Case for Reparations. Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy.

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An analysis of the reparations comparison

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Colombia’s “Invisible Crisis”: Internally Displaced Persons – COHA