Thursday, September 15, 2005

The New Slavery

This dude Joe at Waiting to Die has a good summary of how he is getting fucked by his credit card companies.

Now, for just a second, I want you to consider this:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

What is that? It's the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution.

It's one of the more important ones too, given the ruling class in this country's utter affection for slave labor. I want to point out that the Amendment was not just a footnote to emancipation through the Civil War.

Needing slave labor, the South quickly shifted to "sharecropping". The newly freed blacks had no property since the federal government gave land back to the treasonous plantation owners and those owner simply instituted a new system of slavery in which blacks were "loaned" the same land that they had worked for generations as slaves and took a large cut of their production. They had to live in terrible poverty, but often any objections were met with lynching.

At around the same time, debt peonage systems were also instituted in the Southwest to enslave Latin America immigrants. Basically, they were loaned land and had to work that land until they paid off their debt or died, whichever came first. Usually death came first. Often landlords would increase the rent on the land to the point where it was not possible to pay off the debt.

You see, the thing to realize is that the affluent in this country have never gotten over their love of slavery--cheap labor is just too alluring to worry about issues like free agency and equal opportunity. What they have finally figured out is that it doesn't matter if you require people to do specific work or not; if you can merely ensure that all of the gains from their work go in your pocket, then you have successfully enslaved them.

Today we have two major forms of domestic slavery: We have the indentured servitude to banks and other creditors and we have the prison industrial complex. Internationally, we have also forced inflation in overseas markets so that in order to survive, folks in those areas must work as cheap labor for our corporations.

There's constructive responses I would like to see to this status quo. First of all, I want to encourage everyone to avoid being trapped in these systems of slavery. Don't have anything to do with high rate creditors, or be sure to only charge what you can already cover. Don't commit crimes, even if rich white people are committing them as well because let's face it, they aren't going to have to spend the rest of their lives in prison like you probably will.

Secondly, let's work our asses off to fix these inequities. The Bible forbids usury for a good reason--it's scary stuff. Let's update our definitions of "slavery" and "indentured servitude" to include the contemporary systems that have been developed by the exploitative upper-class in their newest attempts to spend others' lives to make themselves richer.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Listed on