Saturday, 13 February 2016 00:00

"New Jim Crow" Author Michelle Alexander on Hillary Clinton's Embrace of Mass Incarceration

Written by Ansel Herz | The Stranger
Hillary Clinton in 1994: "There is something wrong when a crime bill takes six years to work its way through the Congress, and the average criminal serves only four. There is something wrong with our system." Hillary Clinton in 1994: "There is something wrong when a crime bill takes six years to work its way through the Congress, and the average criminal serves only four. There is something wrong with our system."

Acclaimed "The New Jim Crow" author and Ohio State University professor Michelle Alexander, one of the first to draw the nation's attention to the mass incarceration problem, posted this to her Facebook page yesterday:

If anyone doubts that the mainstream media fails to tell the truth about our political system (and its true winners and losers), the spectacle of large majorities of black folks supporting Hillary Clinton in the primary races ought to be proof enough. I can't believe Hillary would be coasting into the primaries with her current margin of black support if most people knew how much damage the Clintons have done—the millions of families that were destroyed the last time they were in the White House thanks to their boastful embrace of the mass incarceration machine and their total capitulation to the right-wing narrative on race, crime, welfare and taxes. There's so much more to say on this topic and it's a shame that more people aren't saying it. I think it's time we have that conversation.

Hillary strongly advocated for her husband's 1994 crime bill, which built more prisons and extended prison sentences (and which Bernie Sanders voted for). Alexander recounts Bill Clinton's seminal role in creating "the current racial undercaste" in her book:

 

In 1992, presidential candidate Bill Clinton vowed that he would never permit any Republican to be perceived as tougher on crime than he. True to his word, just weeks before the critical New Hampshire primary, Clinton chose to fly home to Arkansas to oversee the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a mentally impaired black man who had so little conception of what was about to happen to him that he asked for the dessert from his last meal to be saved for him until the morning. After the execution, Clinton remarked, “I can be nicked a lot, but no one can say I’m soft on crime.”

Once elected, Clinton endorsed the idea of a federal “three strikes and you’re out” law, which he advocated in his 1994 State of the Union address to enthusiastic applause on both sides of the aisle. The $30 billion crime bill sent to President Clinton in August 1994 was hailed as a victory for the Democrats, who “were able to wrest the crime issue from the Republicans and make it their own. “The bill created dozens of new federal capital crimes, mandated life sentences for some three-time offenders, and authorized more than $16 billion for state prison grants and expansion of state and local police forces. Far from resisting the emergence of the new caste system, Clinton escalated the drug war beyond what conservatives had imagined possible a decade earlier. As the Justice Policy Institute has observed, “the Clinton Administration’s ‘tough on crime’ policies resulted in the largest increases in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history.”

Clinton eventually moved beyond crime and capitulated to the conservative racial agenda on welfare. This move, like his “get tough” rhetoric and policies, was part of a grand strategy articulated by the “new Democrats” to appeal to the elusive white swing voters. In so doing, Clinton—more than any other president—created the current racial undercaste. He signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act, which “ended welfare as we know it,” and replaced it with a block grant to states called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). TANF imposed a five-year lifetime limit on welfare assistance, as well as a permanent, lifetime ban on eligibility for welfare and food stamps for anyone convicted of a felony drug offense—including simple possession of marijuana.

Clinton did not stop there. Determined to prove how “tough” he could be on “them,” Clinton also made it easier for federally-assisted public housing projects to exclude anyone with a criminal history—an extraordinarily harsh step in the midst of a drug war aimed at racial and ethnic minorities. In his announcement of the “One Strike and You’re Out” Initiative, Clinton explained: “From now on, the rule for residents who commit crime and peddle drugs should be one strike and you’re out.” The new rule promised to be “the toughest admission and eviction policy that HUD has implemented.” Thus, for countless poor people, particularly racial minorities targeted by the drug war, public housing was no longer available, leaving many of them homeless—locked out not only of mainstream society, but their own homes.

The law and order perspective, first introduced during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement by rabid segregationists, had become nearly hegemonic two decades later.

Link to original article from The Stranger

Read 37529 times Last modified on Saturday, 13 February 2016 09:49

Latest Zero Climate Emissions News

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6

Latest News

  • Trump administration's voter suppression attempts ahead of midterms are not only 'morally wrong,' they're illegal +

    Trump administration's voter suppression attempts ahead of midterms are not only 'morally wrong,' they're illegal Imagine going to the polls on Election Day and discovering that your ballot could be collected and reviewed by the Read More
  • ACLU Blueprints Offer Vision to Cut US Incarceration Rate in Half by Prioritizing 'People Over Prisons' +

    ACLU Blueprints Offer Vision to Cut US Incarceration Rate in Half by Prioritizing 'People Over Prisons' ACLU Blueprints Offer Vision to Cut US Incarceration Rate in Half by Prioritizing 'People Over Prisons' Read More
  • As Florence Makes Landfall, Poorest Once More Likely to Suffer Most From Storm's Destruction +

    As Florence Makes Landfall, Poorest Once More Likely to Suffer Most From Storm's Destruction "These disasters drag into the light exactly who is already being thrown away," notes Naomi Klein Read More
  • How about some good news? Kansas Democratic Representative advances bill for Native Peoples. +

    How about some good news? Kansas Democratic Representative advances bill for Native Peoples. How about some good news? Kansas Democratic Representative advances bill for Native Peoples. Read More
  • How One Dying Man Changed The Debate About The Tax Bill +

    How One Dying Man Changed The Debate About The Tax Bill What mattered was that he showed up — that he put himself in front of the people whose opinions on Read More
  • Democrats Just Won a Major Victory in Virginia +

    Democrats Just Won a Major Victory in Virginia On a night of Democratic victories, one of the most significant wins came in Virginia, where the party held onto Read More
  • Repealing the Jim Crow law that keeps 1.5 million Floridians from voting. +

    Repealing the Jim Crow law that keeps 1.5 million Floridians from voting. A seismic political battle that could send shockwaves all the way to the White House was launched last week in Read More
  • Nuclear Weapons: Who Pays, Who Profits? +

    Nuclear Weapons: Who Pays, Who Profits? In an interview with Reuters conducted a month after he took office, Donald Trump asserted that the U.S. had “fallen Read More
  • Sessions issues sweeping new criminal charging policy +

    Sessions issues sweeping new criminal charging policy Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned the sweeping criminal charging policy of former attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. and directed Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Featured Zero Climate Emissions News

  • Kerry Would Sue Trump for 'the Lives That Will be Lost' Due to Climate Change +

    Kerry Would Sue Trump for 'the Lives That Will be Lost' Due to Climate Change Former Secretary of State John Kerry, author of Every Day is Extra, predicted that “lives will be lost” due to Read More
  • California to launch its 'own damn satellite' to track greenhouse gases +

    California to launch its 'own damn satellite' to track greenhouse gases Announcement at climate summit comes after former US secretary of state John Kerry warns that international action is slowing Read More
  • 'Major Victory': Landowner's Legal Challenge Halts Construction of Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana +

    'Major Victory': Landowner's Legal Challenge Halts Construction of Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana While celebrating the win, activists noted that "construction of the Bayou Bridge Pipeline continues in other parts of the Atchafalaya Read More
  • DAPL Investors Getting Antsy: If Pipeline Doesn’t Move Oil by January First the Contract EXPIRES +

    DAPL Investors Getting Antsy: If Pipeline Doesn’t Move Oil by January First the Contract EXPIRES Though water protectors have held their ground at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access pipeline for months now, they need Read More
  • WV Supreme Court: No Pipeline Surveys for Private Gain +

    WV Supreme Court: No Pipeline Surveys for Private Gain West Virginia property owners won an important case at the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals on Tuesday when that Read More
  • Report: Combat Vs. Climate +

    Report: Combat Vs. Climate Fifteen of the sixteen hottest years ever recorded have occurred during this new century, and the near-unanimous scientific consensus attributes Read More
  • Corporate Media Silent as States Declare Emergency In Aftermath Massive Pipeline Rupture +

    Corporate Media Silent as States Declare Emergency In Aftermath Massive Pipeline Rupture Since an Alabama mine worker first alerted Colonial Pipeline officials to a massive rupture, more than a quarter million gallons Read More
  • The Big Difference at Standing Rock Is Native Leadership All Around +

    The Big Difference at Standing Rock Is Native Leadership All Around This year’s massive buildup of resistance to the Dakota Access pipeline follows closely on the heels of the victory over Read More
  • Beyond Paris: Finding the Courage to Face the Climate Emergency +

    Beyond Paris: Finding the Courage to Face the Climate Emergency Last weekend in Orlando the platform committee of the Democratic Party added language into their platform acknowledging the official position Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5