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Republicans & Democrats and Mass Incarceration (8 parts)

Part 1:


"Any Negro who registers as a Democrat or a Republican is a traitor to his own people." Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary (pp.23)

Madison Carter of NBC 29, a local Charlottesville affiliate, did a three part series on parole in Virginia that reminded us of the continual Democratic & Republican collusion in the Governments Counter Insurgency Programming to quash Black resistance to colonialism here in Amerikkka. During the series which aired over three days, from December 27th - 29th 2017, then Governor elect Ralph Northam stated that he quotes, "supports Virginia's Truth-In- Sentencing (TIS) laws." Northam went on to express his belief that repealing the state's TIS laws would be sending Virginia backwards. Northam's statements place him on a long list of Democrats that have supported Mass Incarceration as a Counter Insurgency strategy against the black community.

Part 2


The Great Depression of the 1930's caused many Americans to question the validity of Capitalism. Communist ideology quickly spread throughout the trade unions motivating government forces to prepare for a communist rebellion. This phenomenon became known as the "Red Scare." From March 1947 to December 1952 some 6.6 million people were investigated in the U.S. to see if they were Communist. Democratic President Harry Truman issued what became known as the "Truman Doctrine" in which he declared that, "the U.S. must free people who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures." This set off what would eventually be known as the Cold War. In 1954 Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin began hearings to investigate supposed communist traitors living in the U.S. During that same period Democratic Senator Hubert Humphries from Minnesota introduced a Bill to make the Communist Party an illegal organization. Black Leaders who spoke out in anyway against the Government were labeled as Communist. W.E.B. Dubois was an early organizer against and critic of America's use of Nuclear Weapons. As a result Dubois was labeled a Communist traitor, criminalized, and refused reentry back into the country. Both Paul Robeson and Robert F. Williams were also investigated by the FBI under suspicion of being communist traitors. Then in 1955 the Montgomery Bus Boycott lead to what became known as the Civil Rights Movement and black leaders like Dr..King, Medgar Evars, Ella Baker, and Stokely Carmichael (to name a few) were linked to communist. During this same period those in what would become known as the Black Power Movement were also labeled Communist. Most notably Malcolm X who the FBI accused of having ties with Communist heads of states. Malcolm's relationship with leaders such as Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, and Fidel Castro placed him at the top of the list.

Part 3


In the last year of his life Malcolm X became increasingly critical of U.S. Imperialism. Malcolm's belief that all Afrikans worldwide must unite and fight a global revolution against European Imperialism made him a domestic threat to the American State of the highest order. After Malcolm X was assassinated in 1965, a young crop of Black leaders who'd grown up studying him began organizing around his ideas. The term Black Power was adopted by these men & women to mean Black political, economic, and cultural self-determination. These activists had also adopted Malcolm's Philosophy that Black Power should be obtained By Any Means Necessary. This growing sense of Militant Revolutionary Consciousness lead to Black rebellions in American cities as a reaction to enduring incidents Police Brutality in those community. This signaled to the American elites and their government apparatus that Black America was becoming much more radical and leftist I'm their ideology. Consequently in 1968 FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who'd roughly five(5) years earlier instructed COINTELPRO agents that the goal was now to prevent the rise of a Black Messiah, was now calling the Black Panther Party, quote, "the greatest internal threat to the security of the United States." The FBI then went on to use extremely aggressive tactics to "neutralize" the panthers and other groups like them as part of their Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO).

Part 4


While the FBI is used as the Domestic Political Police here in the U.S., the CIA is used as the international political police of the U.S. around the world. Both typically operate in secret, and despite the specific functions of these two agencies they oftentimes work together to neutralize what the state deems "dissidents." Yet, because CIA operations focus on foreign threats it hasn't always received the support or funding needed to carry out its operations by the U.S. Congress. Consequently, the CIA many times has had to find its own ways to fund covert operations unfunded by Congress. One of the more popular ways they've financed these operations is through their involvement in the International Drug Trade. During the Vietnam War in the 60's CIA operatives were on the ground controlling heroin production and distribution to Mobsters in the Americas. In the 50's the CIA worked hand and hand with organized crime bosses to have heroin trafficked to the U.S. through Cuba before the popular regained control in 59. In the 60's CIA used private co. American Airlines to ship smack into the country. These drugs were then smuggled into black communities purposely with two specific goals in mind: The first was to accumulate money for their slush fund and, the second was to quash the Militant Revolutionary Consciousness pervading Black communities in cities across America.

Part 5


By the late 60's Heroin was destroying black communities in urban America. For the first time in American history Blacks victimized each other in unconscionable ways. Robbery, Assaults, Larceny, and even murder increased exponentially as a result of the Heroin epidemic. These unprecedented crime waves in Black communities solicited two main responses from leaders across the country. The first was from the government who wanted to focus on treatment over criminalization. Jerome Jaffee, the director of The Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention under the Nixon administration was the chief proponent of this response. Jaffee advocated what he called "Methadone Maintenance" which consisted of providing addicts with a free synthetic alternative to heroin in the form of 40-to-80 milligrams of methadone. Jaffee claimed that the government wasn't concerned with ending addiction but rather in ending crime, and that the best means for achieving this goal was to give addicts a daily fix to keep them from withdrawal. The second response consisted of a two-part strategy from local leaders of the Black communities who wanted their communities to be restored. First they asked for a very limited dose of methadone only for a few months with the goal of ending addiction all together. Next, they wanted law enforcement to go after drug dealers aggressively. These drug dealers were seen as traitors by community leaders who deserved no mercy for poisoning their brothers and sisters. The problem with the Black community's response was that heroin was being placed in the communities and given to dealers by the same government that they were asking to criminalize them. Second the purpose was to in fact destabilize the communities who were seen as hotbeds of insurgency by the government. Racist police departments across the country had become accustomed to neglecting the Black community and allowing crime to continue as long as it stayed within those communities. Moving into the 70's nearly a decade of this epidemic of Black victimization by Black perpetrators led Blacks to coin the term "Black on Black Crime" to describe this phenomenon. Black leaders desperate for a solution to this crisis also began demanding that lawmakers impose tougher penalties for drug possession and distribution. This included mandatory minimum sentencing for both heroin and marijuana possession. Black community leaders created the slogan "Revolving Door Justice" to describe the ease by which dealers and addicts received bail and light sentences. The goal was to rally White popular support in America who until then were more concerned with criminalizing militant revolutionaries than drug dealers. Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts became a national advocate for Revolving Door Justice in the 70s. When President Nixon established the slogan Law & Order during his Presidential campaign from '67 to '68 he used images and code language to suggest that Black resistance should be viewed as criminal. In several campaign adds Nixon pleaded with what he called the "Silent Majority" (Whites from Middle America) to help him bring Law and order back to "our" country. In 1971 Nixon launched what he called the War on Drugs as a response to American soldier’s increased use of marijuana while in combat. In 1973 the U.S. Congress created the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) two new agencies to help fight this war. Then on September 9, 1971 1300 prisoners at Attica Prison in New York had a 4 day rebellion which garnered international attention. The rebellion ended in a massacre in which both prisoner and hostages were killed. This caused many in the bourgeoisie to believe that getting tougher on these militant criminals was essentially for the stability of the nation. Thus, in 1973 Governor Nelson Rockefeller who ordered the massacre in Attica two years earlier established mandatory minimum sentences for drug possession and distribution that locked black criminals away for longer sentences. States around the country followed the model of what became known as the Rockefeller Laws.

Part 6


Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States in November of 1980. Reagan entered office in the wake of an El Salvadoran Revolution in which Marxist Sandinista rebels had overthrown the corrupt Somoza government. CIA operatives had been in Nicaragua for years training, "advising," and arming Contra rebels as part of the U.S. struggle against communism, which was dubbed the “Cold War”. However, in 1982 Congress refused to continue financing CIA operations in Nicaragua & El Salvador. This forced then CIA director William "Bill" Casey to find an alternative means of financing the Contra operation. Reagan’s National Security Advisor Oliver North was tasked with this project. What came about was a scheme that saw CIA operatives facilitate cocaine trafficking operations from Columbia through Panama to Los Angeles where "Freeway" Rick Ross (Not the rapper from Miami) was the point man. Ross then set up trafficking operations that in many cases used members of Crips & Bloods, to dispense crack to Black communities across the Continental United States. Over 500 tons of crack was shipped to Black communities to pay for the Contra war. This was a second wave of Chemical Warfare on Black communities by the CIA to pay for their Cold War operations. However it wasn't enough for President Reagan and Vice President Bush to ravage the Black community by ordering this chemical agent be released on Black communities. They then pointed to the pestilence that developed as a result of their abuse on the community and used it to play on the racist sentiments that were being espoused by the Silent Majority. Reagan used slogans like, "Welfare Queen," "Street Hoodlums," and "War on Drugs," to drum up popular support among white Americans to advance his Neoconservative agenda of rescinding the gains made by Blacks during the 60's. The Reagan administration propelled a legislative agenda that included welfare reform, military expansion, and an aggressive crime policy. Yet it was the latter that continues to haunt Virginia prisoners today. Beginning in 1984 until the end of his Presidency, Reagan passed a succession of Crack laws that punished black crack dealers severely as part of his enhancement of the WAR ON DRUGS. Of that legislation one statue would establish a method of containing poor criminals, specifically poor Black criminals who possessed crack the most. The 1984 Sentencing Reform Act phased out the 75 year old parole system in the Federal Prison System while also mandating that all felons serve 85% of their sentence. While other key pieces of legislation enacted in the 80's would also start to weaken the Black Community thanks to the Democratic Party, none had the long term consequences (of the 1984) Sentencing Reform Act.

Part 7


By the early 1990's the devastation the CIA's chemical campaign had on Black American was clear. A decade of family and community destabilization had reduced many Black communities to war zones. The CIA/FBI Counterinsurgency Program that had first been waged in the 1960's operations with heroin had reached its apex by the 90's as a result of crack operations. The revolutionary fervor that once permeated Black youth throughout the 60's was long gone. What replaced it was a street level petty bourgeois consciousness that was willing to destroy anyone and anything for personal gain. There was also a despair, hopelessness, and nihilism at the heart of many Black communities. However, in the spring of 1991 when the broadcast of four white police officers beating Rodney King was aired on national television it threatened to disrupt the government's Counterinsurgency program. The acquittal of those four white officers a year later set off the largest U.S. riot in decades. The 1980's War on Drugs turned local police into paramilitary forces that brutalized inner city Black residents. Rodney King's televised beating confirmed for many Blacks their claims that their communities experienced police violence much more frequently than whites. Yet when those four white officers were acquitted a year later many Blacks perceived that the government would never hold the police accountable for their abuses. Another major, but often overlooked event that took place during that time, was the truce between the Crips & Bloods. Civil Rights Activists and former Panthers had set up a "truce meeting" several days before the riots in which the largest gang chapters in L.A. called a truce. At this meeting gang members vowed to fight racism instead of each other. This truce was active throughout the riots and reports got back to the CIA/ FBI that during the riots gangs weren't killing each other but rather working together in their reactionary violent actions. This posed the greatest threat to the hitherto 30 year CIA/FBI counterinsurgency program. This was the environment in which Bill Clinton was elected President in November 1992. Clinton was the first Democratic President since Jimmy Carter (1977-1981). The previous twelve years was marked by Neo- Conservative policies that dismantled all of Lyndon B. Johnson's "Great Society" initiatives. So Clinton campaigned on Neoliberal policies that focused on "creation" over "redistribution" of wealth, free trade, strong defense, and a tough on crime policy. Clinton wanted to show the silent majority, which had won four of the previous five presidential elections that he could and would lead a New Democratic party into the 21st century. Clinton was behind welfare reform, increased military, spending, NAFTA, and The Violent Crime Control & Law Enforcement Act dubbed the "crime bill." The crime bill gave States federal funding that adopted Reagan's 1984 Sentencing Reform Act measures. These measures were called “Truth in Sentencing” by Clinton and the Neo Liberals. The pitch, harkening back to the 1970's, was once again to stop the alleged "New" Revolving Door Justice that resulted now when violent criminals were released early. All of this was coded language for urban Black youth whom Hillary Clinton, at the time, described as "Super Predators." In one speech Clinton talked about inner city drug dealers claiming that they quote, "sold crack to kids who while hopped up on crack got their assault weapons and killed each other." In 1995 Virginia adopted TIS in response to the Democratic call for a nationally uniform tougher crime policy.

Part 8


For twenty years Virginia's TIS policies went unchallenged by either this State's Democratic or Republican parties. During that span Virginia elected three Democratic Governors, none of which came into office with criminal justice reform on their agenda. However, the entire criminal justice debate was reignited when an unexpected event in 2012 that forced then President Barack Obama to address the nations race problem. The murder of Trayvon Martin sparked protests and demonstrations across the nation. Both the grass roots and the "so called" national Black leaders continued to demand that president Obama comment on the murder. Finally, Barack Obama was forced to acknowledge the long history of abuse and neglect by law enforcement in Black communities. Obama's famous, "if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon" caused a debate about the circumstances around Martin's murder. In fact, this began what liberals called a "National Conversation" on race. However, before this "conversation" could really take off a succession of killings of unarmed Black men & women being was being constantly featured in the national media on an almost daily basis. And like the first nationally televised beating of an unarmed black man 20 years earlier some of those incidents lead to riots. Initially the so called debate on what to do about the issue of police killings of unarmed Black men and women fractured along party lines. Republicans argued that police needed better training on how to "deescalate" hostile situations. While Democrats called for more police body cameras so that we can see police interactions with Black suspects so we could hold those "bad cops" accountable. However, grass roots activists, spearheaded by a then independent "Black Lives Matter" movement, indicted the entire criminal justice system as racist. Their argument was that the police killings weren’t new but rather the continuation of racist policies and racially biased implementation of those policies by law enforcement agencies, judiciaries, and corrections agencies dating back to slavery. These arguments forced the Democratic Party, under the leadership of a Black president, to acknowledge the intersection between race, class, and punishment in America. In 2015 Barack Obama became the first U.S. President to visit a prison. That same year here in Virginia Governor Terry McCauliffe signed executive order 44 establishing the Parole Review Commission to examine Virginia's implementation of TIS laws from twenty years earlier. However, while all of these efforts looked and felt good, even inspiring hope among many Black Americans, the Democratic Party continued to disappoint with minor reforms. Obama pardoned several hundred Black prisoners over sentenced under racist crack policies, but not once did he ever criticize Bill Clinton's "crime bill." McCauliffe's Parole Commission made twenty three recommendations of minor reform, but as of 2018 the General Assembly has made little effort to create legislation around those recommendations. Furthermore, McAuliffe's Parole Commission stopped short of recommending reinstating parole claiming that the issue was "too complex" to gain consensus. In 2016 Ralph Northam was running against Tom Periello from Charlottesville in the Democratic primary. Periello forced Northam to debate the issue of race and criminal justice in Virginia because those issues headed his campaign. During the debate against Periello, Northam continuously acknowledged that Virginia's criminal justice system was flawed and needed reform. Northam went on to beat Periello in their Party's Primary and then Republican Ed Gillespie in the General Election to become the Governor elect in Virginia. Thus, Ralph Northam's claim on December 29th, 2017 that he supports TIS laws in Virginia proves that Northam is just another chip off the old Neo Liberal Democratic bloc. Whether it be Lyndon Johnson, Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, Terry McAuliffe, or Ralph Northam the Democratic Party is just as committed to the ongoing government imposed counterinsurgency program being waged on the internal black colonies of America. We must never forget the lesson of brother Malcolm X who taught that when you think of the Republican & Democratic parties think about the Wolf and the Fox. Both want to eat you but just employ different methods during the hunt

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