(FWD) Citizens on the Web: Chains of the World Prison

Graeme Bacque (gbacque@idirect.com)
Sun, 19 Jul 1998 16:46:29 -0700

---------forwarded message---------
To: Citizens@smtp.interlog.com
From: command@interlog.com
Subject: Citizens on the Web: Chains of the World Prison
Date: Sat, 18 Jul 1998 22:16:41 -0500
Break the Chains of the World Prison 
& Zero Tolerance of the Kids   
By Gary Morton for Citizens on the Web

In Toronto and elsewhere in West there has been a trend toward social 
cleansing or pushing poor and low-income people out of neighbourhoods 
and even society itself. Jail is usually their new home.

I am a bit disturbed by some of the latest news in the Toronto media 
and statements from city councilors and business groups regarding the 
poor. The Toronto Sun just posted an article on the New York program 
of zero tolerance for poverty stricken squeegee kids and others and 
how they swept them up with arrests and charges.

The correct view is to have zero tolerance of Poverty. Not zero 
tolerance of human beings living in poverty.

The United States is rapidly changing from the Great Satan to the 
Great Prison because of this zero tolerance of the poor problem. The 
US now has the highest per capita incarceration rate in the history 
of the world. In 1995 alone, 150 new US prisons were built and 
filled. In the District of Columbia 70 percent of black males are 
either in jail or in a court process that may lead to jail. This is 
hardly from just the war on drugs. A police and court system has 
developed there that is just a meat line sending bodies into 
incarceration in privatized prisons. The prison corporations lobby 
for harsher laws all of the time as they profit from more prisoners.

Zero Care for human beings and democracy is having terrible effects 
around the Globe. The real world government is now the Triad -- 
International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the World Trade 
Organization -- and their trade agreements like NAFTA, MAI and GATT. 
It is a government of bankers only interested in protecting the 
rights of international investors. The IMF in its new bailout policy 
for Indonesia just decreed that half of the citizens of that nation 
are not only to be unemployed by year's end, but that they are to 
starve by year's end.

The collapse in Asia came because the first wave of Globalization 
runs counter to democracy. Bankers can't produce democracy, they can 
only try to suppress it. The failure is tied to the fact totalitarian 
systems are not accountable. You can't trust them when they invest 
billions because they are free of public scrutiny. And also free to 
destroy themselves. Take a look at Japan -- 600 billion in bad loans 
that will never be repaid, all because the bankers bet on the 
miracles of cheap labour, free trade and dictatorship.

Free Trade itself is never free. There are no free markets. It is 
mostly multinationals trading with one another and controlling the 
distribution networks, making it so that small businesses in the 
nations can't compete.

The New Globalization is the world movement of citizens groups 
opposing the old Globalization with humanity. We know if we continue 
on the same road nations will lose their sovereignty - democracy will 
be a thing of the past - the world government will be the triad and 
the multinationals. A government that can't be a government of the 
people, as they can only treat people as disposable commodities. It 
will be a world prison. The poverty crises will continue in the same 
way it is now with ten percent of the richest growing richer and all 
the rest of us growing poorer. The only social program in the end 
will be incarceration, as is happening in the US now. And the world 
will be best described as a place of poverty, misery and jail.

The answer is of course democracy and government of the people. The 
choice is clear nowadays. There are really only two systems -- 
Democracy and Police State Poverty.

The bankers and right wing ideologues put us in this situation in the 
first place. Yet we are told by leaders in all political parties that 
globalization is the new order and we can trust the banker 
organizations the multinationals to solve the crisis we face. 
Obviously they cannot. In Canada we pay 20 some percent of the Gross 
National Product as interest on a debt that would not exist had we 
not started borrowing from the private banks instead of the bank of 
Canada. Our social programs were chopped for no reason other than bad 
monetary policy. And it is of the course the banks and the forces of 
the old globalization that created this policy. Nearly all nations 
are being crushed and impoverished by similar policies.

So have no doubt that they are the enemy, strongly positioning 
themselves against all citizens and organizations that want reform.

When they don't starve us the new masters have only one social 
program and institution ---- The Prison, is replacing all social 
programs worldwide under this system.

In New York, where their middle class is declining, none of these 
zero tolerance city councilors have noticed that part of the decline 
has to do with poverty. People slip in and out of poverty; there 
isn't a permanent class of the poor. So when you create a system that 
arrests and criminalizes people at their point of poverty -- a system 
that prevents them from rebuilding -- you prevent them from rising 
back up in society to become useful members of the middle class.

Toronto activist groups are opposing special bylaws, and opposing 
trials of homeless men by the Transit Commission. Even now the TTC 
cops are like a bumstead squad, using a trial system to build charges 
against panhandlers and loiterers and then going into the hostels to 
move them from there to jail.

It is important that all attempts to meat wagon citizens into jail be 
opposed -- we must block the meat wagon or we'll have the Great 
Prison in Canada and a huge number of people hardened by the jails. 
And it is important to oppose privatized prisons or any state prison 
system that profits from incarceration.

The new opposition needs a global outlook, and to be active at all 
levels from the local to the international. A multi-pronged attack 
that includes fighting mass incarceration and fighting for democratic 
reform of the banking systems, political systems and so on.

When I read of councilors with social cleansing plans here in 
Toronto, I wonder if they really know what they are doing and why so 
many groups in Toronto are opposing their efforts.

Activist groups know why they are opposing this American-based idea 
of intolerance. They know what that system is --- and can't give up 
and let mega-city council or any other level of government succeed in 
implementing it.

And even on social programs --- look at the silly comments from some 
politicians. Saying it is discrimination against other poor folk if 
money is spent to help the squeegee kids get jobs, etc. Yet they 
don't think it is discrimination to pass special laws designed to 
arrest squeegee kids.

These councilors along with representatives of the Harris provincial 
government present themselves as progressive but have no problem 
disagreeing with the civil liberties union and no problem with laws 
that may be in violation of the Charter of Rights. The truth is that 
people who won't look at options other than arrest and incarceration 
are not progressive. Especially when they want to sweep people up for 
such minor and trivial things. It is also not very progressive to 
pick a visible group like squeegee kids and use them as an excuse to 
pass laws that will victimize everyone.

People around the world need to wake up and break the chains of the 
world prison before we all wake up -- in JAIL!