Many people mistakenly believe that slavery ended in the United States with the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment. I understand why so many people make that mistake, it’s taught in all of America’s public schools (at least the ones that still teach history, which is an ever decreasing number of them). What isn’t covered is the fact that slavery wasn’t ended, the rules were simply changed. Previously white individuals were able to own individuals of African decent as slaves; today the state and those it grants special privileges to are able to own individuals who have received the label “criminal”, which, ironically, is a label that is entirely defined by the state (but I’m not saying there’s a conflict of interest or anything).
Today there are two major slave owners in the United States. The first is the United States government, which owns slaves through it’s wholly owned corporation Federal Prison Industries (also known as UNICOR). The second is the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), an entity given the legal right to own slaves by the federal government. Anonymous is planning to go after the latter:
The oldest and largest for-profit prison company is not what it would have you believe, at least according to Anonymous. A faction of the hacktivist group released a report Tuesday morning concluding that the publicly traded prison operator Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) is not an efficient, profitable free-market solution — but a bad investment for shareholders.
Companies like CCA currently profit from America’s addiction to incarceration – converting a bloody trail of prison riots, deaths, and general human misery into black balance sheets. The conventional financial wisdom is that CCA will be reliably profitable in the future because of its strong history of growth over the past thirty years. But this growth has been fueled by a historical anomaly. Between 1970 and 2005, the U.S. prison population grew by 700 percent, far outpacing both population growth and crime. As a result, our country now has 5% of the world’s population but 25% of the world’s prisoners.
The only reason the CCA has been a reliable growth industry is because the state has continued to create new jailable offenses. Let’s face it, the war on drugs (not produced by politically connected pharmaceutical companies) has been a boom for slave holders in the United States. It has ensured that any poor schmuck found to be in possession of a certain verboten weed is eligible for slavery. When your business makes money by employing slave labor, and the slave labor pool you draw from is constantly increased by the state, there’s nowhere to go but up.
It’s nice to see that somebody has an issue with the prison-industrial complex. Although I can’t imagine Anonymous will be able to cause any significant long-term harm to the CCA it will be entertaining if they are able to cause some short-term damage. Furthermore, through their targeted activism, Anonymous may be able to raise public awareness of the slavery institution still practiced in the United States. Someday this country may even be able to move away from the barbaric practice of imprisonment and find a more effective alternative.