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.
WATCH: Sacha Baron Cohen pranks Pence in upcoming ‘Borat’ sequel
Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen pranked Vice President Mike Pence as part of a bit in his forthcoming sequel to the 2006 film "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan."
The long-rumored comedy will premier Oct. 23 on Amazon Prime Video, and features a scene filmed at the 2020 Conservative Political Action Conference held back in February, just before the coronavirus lockdowns, reported The Daily Beast.
‘I’m tired of it’: Furious Fox News’ John Roberts blows up on the White House after contentious press briefing
Fox News' John Roberts was enraged after the White House press briefing on Thursday in which Kayleigh McEnany refused to denounce white supremacy or explain why the president refuses to do so.
During Tuesday's debate, Trump hammered former Vice President Joe Biden on denouncing violent protesters, which Biden did, saying that violence is not the answer and anyone who induces violence should be prosecuted. President Donald Trump, by contrast, refused to condemn white supremacists and militias who are trying to stir up more unrest to help Trump craft a narrative that Democrats are dangerous and create violence.
‘Where is this river?’ Kayleigh McEnany’s press briefing goes haywire as she’s pressed over bizarre Trump rant
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany struggled on Thursday to back up President Donald Trump's claims that several ballots had been found floating in a river.
The trouble started when Fox News Radio reporter Jon Decker asked McEnany to justify some of the president's wild claims being thrown around about mail-in ballots.
"The other day he said, 'They found a lot of ballots in a river,'" Decker began. "Who is they?"
McEnany claimed that the president was referring to reports that a bag of mail in Wisconsin, which included some absentee ballots, had ended up in a ditch.