Sunday, November 27, 2011

ALEC protest Wednesday

Check out for more info.

Wednesday is November 30, which is the 12th anniversary of the WTO protests in Seattle.  It's also the first main day of the ALEC States and Nation's Summit in Snottsdale.  This is the Summit at which two years ago they agreed upon SB1070 becoming one of their many pieces of model legislation, which corporations and legislators collude on propagating across the country.  In the case of SB1070 and legislature before it (three strikes laws, mandatory minimums, etc.), the three largest private prison companies in the country were involved in the discussions.  It also turns out that various companies involved in resource extraction are also involved.

I haven't spent much time on the details about ALEC because ALEC is just an example of what happens on a large scale, everyday and with a long history.  There are many horrible things about ALEC, but they didn't create the border wall, they didn't build the prisons.  Sheriff Joe's jail is as bad or worse than any private prison or detention center, with the temps reaching 117 in tent city this summer.  When I first learned about ALEC last fall, i wrote What came first: the Racism or the Profit Motive? which i would write a bit differently today, but has some important questions within.   Now i would answer that question by describing it as an intricate combination of the two. I do believe that people will try to profit off something that is already happening, as in the case of private prisons, and that they do try to shape how we see different populations so as to justify criminalization (not to mention the ways that other interests seek to justify exploitation- and this is justified partly through criminalization). But i also think that there is a history of racism that this concept of privatized prisons is built upon. Yet at the same time, as i discussed, this racism is built on a desire for stability for the rich and has ultimately resulted in a divided working class that could not rebel in unity, and therefore could not successfully rebel.

Based on this, i was motivated to create this video, which is explained further at this link: Private Prisons in a Wider Context (maybe you watched part one, but did you watch part two?). It brings the focus more towards a historical arc that incorporates colonization, the criminalization of slaves then ex-slaves, and the continuation of criminalization of people of color. This doesn't have to be directly for profit as in the case of private prisons.

Anyway, hope to see you out at the ALEC protest events (there's more going on than just wednesday by the way).

Monday, November 21, 2011

ALEC in context...

This is the text of a flier, which can be viewed or printed, here.

What!? Politicians and private companies get together to create laws that benefit those companies? AZ Senator Russell Pearce and other legislators from around the U.S. meet in a group called ALEC*.
You never thought it would be so blatant as private prison companies** having a say in laws that can create more demand for their facilities and services.  How could people be criminalized so companies can profit from imprisoning them?!?! Not only is ALEC behind mandatory minimums and three strikes laws, they also had a hand in SB1070. When they see immigrants, they see dollar signs, and so they participate with other racists to paint immigrants as a problem--deserving of imprisonment.  This is nothing new...

The deviousness that occurs within ALEC is just an example of how people are criminalized for profit.  But it does not have to be as directly profitable as this. Colonization has of course provided settlers with land and other resources at the expense of those who are native.

Slave codes & convict leasing created crimes that made it easier to exploit the labor of people of color. Criminalizing unauthorized migration did the same thing, specifically affecting the Chinese and Mexicans for many decades.  More recently, the drug war also criminalizes people of color more disproportionately to maintain racist policies without them appearing race-based.

* American Legislative Exchange Council ** Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and Geo Group are the largest private prison companies.

More info:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Satire for Russell Pearce- again, because he's GONE

I haven't posted in a while as things seem somewhat tame for a bit, and I've been working on other projects. 

In celebration of Russell Pearce's ouster, i'd like to repost this piece i compiled/edited/wrote which i have always felt somewhat awkward about, but nonetheless gets the point across in a more creative way.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Satire for Russell Pearce

No more catch and release of the unwelcome male
(or, what if you took the extremist position of our anti-immigrant Arizona Senator Russell Pearce, and put it in a different context?)
by Senator Valerie Solanas Pearce

I sat ashen as I watched the news reports. Several chiefs of police stood at a press conference and publicly refused to enforce the law. Less than a month after the brutal murder of a police officer at the hands of a male, they snubbed the opportunity to make necessary changes and violated their oaths of office for the sake of political correctness. Meanwhile, people are killed, maimed and raped. Men cost citizens billions to educate, medicate and incarcerate, and they take jobs from women.

Life in this society being, at best, an utter bore and no aspect of society being at all relevant to women, there remains to civic-minded, responsible, thrill-seeking females only to prevent the potential crimes that men commit, by destroying or at least repressing the entire male class. I will not stand by and be a spectator to male-perpetrated violence because we refuse to enforce our laws and fail to put women first.

The courts have not identified any policy or humanitarian argument that would negate the fact that men in the United States are more likely to abuse others. The male is, by his very nature, a leech, an emotional parasite and, therefore, not ethically entitled to live, as no one has the right to life at someone else's expense.

Women have a constitutional right to expect the protection of federal laws that prohibit unauthorized activities by men, cluttering up the world with their ignominious presence, and are denied equal protection by law enforcement, police departments or magistrates that fail to enforce those laws.

This is the only law we put conditions on before a police officer can enforce it. Men as a social category are the only criminals we protect by policies. No other crime or criminal gets this protection by our elected officials. The sick, irrational men, those who attempt to defend themselves against their disgustingness, when they see us barreling down on them, will cling in terror to Big Mama with her Big Bouncy Boobies, but Boobies won't protect them against us; Big Mama will be clinging to Big Daddy, who will be in the corner shitting in his forceful, dynamic pants.

Studies and reports have cited alarming statistics: Men commit about 91% of all homicides, and they commit 98% of all sexual assaults. Gratuitous violence, besides 'proving' he's a 'Man', serves as an outlet for his hate and, in addition--the male being capable only of sexual responses and needing very strong stimuli to stimulate his half-dead self--provides him with a little sexual thrill.

Phoenix runs second in the world in kidnappings and third in the United States for violence. Arizona has become the home-invasion, carjacking, identity-theft capital of the nation. These are not statistics Arizona should be famous for.

The elimination of any male is, therefore, a righteous and good act, an act highly beneficial to women as well as an act of mercy. Enough is enough. The laws must be enforced.

I pledge that if we eliminate all men in this state, the result will be less crime and lower taxes. The costs of these crimes are far more than financial to our citizens, and HB 2280 will help make Arizona a safer place.

"What is this?" you must be asking. An op-ed piece taken from a sci-fi novel depicting a feminist semi-utopia? Well, it is a stretch to imagine women's livelihood and bodily integrity being considered valuable, much less a priority, but it is not sci-fi or fantasy. This is a hodgepodge of an editorial by Russell Pearce with some nouns and statistics altered, with some gems from Valerie Solanas’s SCUM Manifesto (SCUM stands for Society for Cutting Up Men).

While I disagree with most of Solanas's manifesto, it is an example of an extremist position. And though Russell Pearce, our dishonorable anti-immigrant senator, would be repulsed by the SCUM Manifesto, I insist that his position is equally unreasonable. He has been advocating for dealing with the crimes committed by some of a certain class of people by removing the whole class of people (undocumented immigrants), even though those crimes are also committed by others. He has praised Sheriff Arpaio for being the only one to do “preventive law enforcement”. What can be made of that other than he prefers to stop crime before it is even committed. What happened to “innocent until proven guilty”?

Of course, Pearce is saying that undocumented immigrants have already committed the crime inherent in being in the country illegally, though clearly he needs to defend this point ad nauseam because crossing a man-made line is just not something most people find important. The satirical piece is a bit of an exaggeration, as Pearce probably wouldn't publish such harsh words about immigrants as Solanas did about men. For one, he learned his lesson when he forwarded out an email from the National Alliance, a white supremacist organization. And two, it's just not politically useful. In addition, Pearce doesn't have to make insults--it is implicit in his position. He unflinchingly equates all undocumented immigrants with murderers and rapists.

The change in references to “illegals” to men in Pearce's op-ed were made so one can see that he is targeting a whole class of people to prevent the violent crimes that some of them commit. No doubt it seemed really extreme to the reader, particularly because men in general are not seen as the "other" like immigrants are. Despite the fact that the statistics about men committing such crimes are true and far worse than the statistics about undocumented immigrants, no one, aside from Valerie Solanas perhaps (tho she seemed less concerned about violence than men’s dullness and egocentricity), would propose that such pre-crime fighting should be exercised to thwart male-perpetrated violence.

What would seem absurd to most people, unfortunately, is to actually get at the root of the problem regarding violent crime. Mental health issues, poverty, social alienation; racist, heterosexist, capitalist patriarchy. But instead, undocumented immigrants are scapegoated for various problems including the crimes that a few commit, usually due to the fact that they must live a criminal, clandestine, and desperate lifestyle, one which is rewarded by exploiting others. Meanwhile there are worse criminals who don't have to be secretive because they are part of the establishment.

Russell Pearce's op-eds which ran with similar tho not exact text in two publications:
The SCUM Manifesto: