Friday, October 14, 2016

Rethinking everything

GUEST: Jeff Golden, political activist and co-founder of the Common Fire Foundation, talks about justice for Samuel Harrell and Beacon Prison Action.

Can leaders like Jeff Golden really change the brutal and racist criminal justice system? Organizations like Beacon Prison Action can embarrass politicians and district attorneys. The death of Samuel Harrell is a good example. The man was killed by a group of prison guards called the "beat-up squad." Harrell was disoriented after coming out of solitary confinement and said he thought he was going home. The Beat-up Squad then punched him, stomped on him and then threw him down a flight of stairs.

How is our prison system a part of a civilized country? Why aren't murders like this ever punished? Reading about Harrell's murder is shocking:

Original NY Times article about Sam Harrell

It is clear that we have perceptions of the United States that don't bear too much scrutiny. We murder millions in our foreign wars. We support the most brutal of racist regimes like Saudi Arabia, Honduras and Israel. Our own CIA tortures innocent people for decades and then destroy the evidence. We live in two worlds. In our fantasy world, the American Empire is a decent, law abiding country we can be proud of. Look beneath the surface and we find something else, the reality of how empires work. They prosper on a sea of blood.

Our US prisons reflect the tortures at Abu Graib and Guantanamo. The brutality, often senseless, reflect the same mentality, and the values of the elites who order these atrocities are probably not going to change very much.

Here is to people like Jeff Golden who fight the good fight. All of us must resist the racism and murder that is so endemic in a country ruling the world by force. America was built on the genocide of one race and the forced slavery of another. We have to rethink everything before a real change is possible.

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