We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Policing and Profit

Click here to access article from the Harvard Law Review. (Note: I was alerted to this article by a reader of the Real-World Economics Review Blog and posted on the latter blog. I am posting the article from the original source as a matter of policy, because it is free of errors, and contains very valuable references which the secondary posting lacks. Because the article is unsigned, the "About" section of this leading scholarly law journal indicates that it was written by a member-student or students who consist of 2nd and 3rd year law students at Harvard.) 

I was rather shocked by the extent of privatization of the legal system and the gross injustice and exploitation that poor citizens experience who become entangled in it. My second reaction was my astonishment that no one in alternative media had alerted us (as far as I know) to this kind of material last year, and my third reaction was astonishment that the ruling class are fully aware of their system of injustice for poor and minority people: much more so by coverage like this that targets the elite than ordinary citizens who have not had such experience with the judicial system.
When residents of Ferguson, Missouri, took to the streets last August to protest the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager killed by a white police officer, the events dramatically exposed an image of modern policing that most Americans rarely see: columns of police pointing military weaponry at peaceful protesters. But the ongoing tension between residents and police in Ferguson was also indicative of another, less visual development in how the police are used to oppress impoverished communities: using law enforcement to extract revenue from the poor.
Also, on the same subject, view this chart and read the brief explanation in a posting entitled "Charged with Immigration Offense" that shows how many private companies profit from the detention of immigrants to the US.

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