US Prisons, The New Jim Crow

Lecture by Michelle Alexander. A former liberal discusses her awakening. Some of what she’s saying here comes dangerously close to the ARV/ATS class analysis that regards the lumpenproletariat as the foundation of class struggle in a 21st century postindustrial society. Her own analysis could also be expanded a bit from her focus on race to a broader focus on other matters like class, culture, managerial liberalism, and the state itself.

Litigator-turned-legal-scholar Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow, argues that we have not ended racial caste in America, we have simply redesigned it: The U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary means of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of color blindness. Her provocative new book challenges the civil rights community—and all of us—to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America. As the United States celebrates the nation’s triumph over race with the election of Barack Obama, the majority of young black men in major American cities are locked behind bars or have been labeled felons for life.

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