In an interview with GRITtv’s Laura Flanders, linguist and political analyst Noam Chomsky discussed how the events in Ferguson, Missouri and the protests that followed demonstrate just how little race relations in the United States have advanced since the end of the Civil War.
“This is a very racist society,” Chomsky said, “it’s pretty shocking. What’s happened to African-Americans in the last 30 years is similar to what [Douglas Blackmon in Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II] describes happening in the late 19th Century.”
Blackmon’s book describes what he calls the “Age of Neoslavery,” in which newly freed slaves found themselves entangled in a legal system built upon involuntary servitude — which included the selling of black men convicted of crimes like vagrancy and changing employers without receiving permission.
“The constitutional amendments that were supposed to free African-American slaves did something for about 10 years, then there was a North-South compact that granted the former the slave-owning states the right to do whatever they wanted,” he explained. “And what they did was criminalize black life, and that created a kind of slave force. It threw mostly black males into jail, where they became a perfect labor force, much better than slaves.”
“If you’re a slave owner, you have to pay for — you have to keep your ‘capital’ alive. But if the state does it for you, that’s terrific. No strikes, no disobedience, the perfect labor force. A lot of the American Industrial Revolution in the late 19th, early 20th Century was based on that. It pretty must lasted until World War II.”
“After that,” Chomsky said, “African-Americans had about two decades in which they had a shot of entering [American] society. A black worker could get a job in an auto plant, as the unions were still functioning, and he could buy a small house and send his kid to college. But by the 1970s and 1980s it’s going back to the criminalization of black life.”
“It’s called the drug war, and it’s a racist war. Ronald Reagan was an extreme racist — though he denied it — but the whole drug war is designed, from policing to eventual release from prison, to make it impossible for black men and, increasingly, women to be part of [American] society.”
“In fact,” he continued, “if you look at American history, the first slaves came over in 1619, and that’s half a millennium. There have only been three or four decades in which African-Americans have had a limited degree of freedom — not entirely, but at least some.”
“They have been re-criminalized and turned into a slave labor force — that’s prison labor,” Chomsky concluded. “This is American history. To break out of that is no small trick.”
Watch the entire interview via GRITtv on YouTube below.
Ex-FBI official: ‘We’re going to learn truths after this administration is over — and it’s going to curl our hair’
This week it was revealed that the director of national intelligence downplayed the approved statement warning Americans that Russia was trying to destabilize the American election. What John Ratcliffe did instead, was saying that Iran wanted to "damage Donald Trump" by sending out emails threatening Democratic voters in Florida.
MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace asked how it was possible that the DNI could outright lie about an intelligence report in a speech to Americans while with intelligence officials who knew the truth.
Closing ad for ‘Republican Voters Against Trump’ celebrates ‘countless’ number of videos ridin’ with Biden
The final ad from Republican Voters Against Trump has been posted by the group celebrating the "countless" numbers of video submissions they got from those talking about why they've abandoned President Donald Trump.
Flashes of Republican faces filled the screens saying that they were Republicans and that they simply can't bring themselves to vote for Trump.
"The guy that's in there now is a slow-moving train-wreck and guess what? We're all on the train," one man said.
There was a string of comments from people angry that Trump has torn their family apart and fostered the division and hate between Americans.
Melania Trump brags her husband ‘sees potential’ in the gays
In a bizarre moment, the first lady announced that President Donald Trump is all for gay people.
Speaking to a crowd in Atglen, Pennsylvania, Melania Trump described the president as someone “who sees potential in everyone he meets, no matter their gender, race, religion or sexual orientation.”
She didn't use the typical term LGBTQ or even mention transgender people. But mentioning LGBTQ voters likely isn't a good idea in the Trump administration because of the laundry list of things they've done to hurt the community.
“Donald loves helping people and he loves seeing those around him and his country succeed,” Mrs. Trump added, claiming he has a “very big heart and a great sense of humor.”