In a recent interview with GRITtv, Noam Chomsky, Linguist, Author and Political analyst, discussed the rise of ISIL and 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. He goes on to make points that only someone who has lived and or studied the subjects could make. Checkout the entire interview as well as some excerpts below.
“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.”