Scott Horton Interviews Joshua Freeman

Scott Horton, April 24, 2012

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Joshua B. Freeman, History Professor and author of American Empire, discusses his TomDispatch article on the “prison-corporate complex;” the late 19th century chain gangs in the South and industrial prison labor in the North; the return of involuntary servitude, i.e. slavery, in American prisons; how low-paid prisoners keep pressure on labor unions and generate profits for Fortune 500 companies; America’s huge prison population relative to the rest of the world; and why it’s time to revamp the criminal justice system.

MP3 here. (20:04)

Joshua B. Freeman, a TomDispatch regular, teaches history at Queens College and at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and is affiliated with its Joseph S. Murphy Labor Institute. His forthcoming book, American Empire, will be the final volume of the Penguin History of the United States.

33 Responses to “Joshua Freeman”

  1. FACT
    All of law enforcement in Empire USA is of the educated middle-class and they spend 95% of their time policing fighting age laboring men. Bingo — 95% of prisoners in America are fighting age laboring men, men age 12 to 40 with no education but some high school.

    FOOT CAUSE
    As we live in an education dictatorship, where people strive to enrich themselves upon the misery of anyone less educated, quite natural is it for the 25% most educated to be the Republican party, the 26% educated middle-class to be the Democrat Party, and together form a 51% monopoly on the voting process.

    CORRUPTION
    (1) The 51% most educated own all the wealth.

    (2) The 51% most educated only ones with great jobs.

    (3) The 51% most educated only ones with terrific homes.

    (4) The 51% most educated only ones with deluxe healthcare.

    (1) The 51% most educated virtual never go to jail.

  2. I do agree with the above commentator that the upper 50% get punished much differently if at all than the lower 50%. So I have not heard of many investment bankers going to be prison slave-labor although if that is the fate of drug dealers it should be theirs also. I do think that those who commit crimes against persons and property need to make restitution some how, not sit around at tax-payer expense.

  3. U.S. empire is on a tear: to find worst aspects of all prior empires & doing them even bigger & badder.

  4. I'm particularly fond of the idea that prison labor takes telephone orders for private corps, so gets access to your credit card numbers. What could possibly go wrong with that.

  5. It's bitterly ironic that a penny-ante hood gets more punishment than someone who really kicks us Americans to the curb.

  6. In JobaKuwait coloniez:99% of Xcorp is in the hand of ONE Sabah family, the rest r TEMP wWwheels.

  7. Walking down the street the other day, I noticed that the North
    Portland Labor Ready is right next to a “community policing” office. I
    went inside and asked about an application and there was a police
    officer sitting right behind the desk, going through the computer. Now
    Labor Ready has always been first in line for workers from parole and
    work release programs (and everyone else who has been Felonized) but
    never before have I seen one that was actually was sharing office
    space with the police and has them sitting behind the desk with the
    manager. A relationship that is usually covert is quite overt here.

    North Portland is a working class black neighborhood currently under a
    relentless assault from a highly racist, militarized police occupation
    that is clearing the way for gentrification as a white yuppie/hipster
    neighborhood. Real estate developers can sell an old slum house to
    California yuppie liberals for half a million when the market is hot,
    so the black community and what other working class people live in
    “NOPO” are being moved out to “develop” the neighborhood. This is
    essentially what happened to the Mission district in SF in the 90s,
    where a “colorful” ethnic neighborhood is turned into a bedroom
    community for rich white liberals.

    The North Portland Labor ready is at 1926 N Kilpatrick Street:
    http://g.co/maps/ke6rc

    The Kenton Community Policing Office is at 8134 N Denver Ave:
    http://g.co/maps/p9ufz
    http://www.portlandonline.com/police/pbnotify.cfm

    From talking to the temps here is the deal:

    The police get full access to the Labor Ready computer and the temps
    working in the hall. They use this to gather information on people
    under investigation and to serve warrants and violate people for
    parole violations. In exchange Labor Ready has a sweetheart deal with
    all the local work release programs as a result, and so they get all the
    workers who have nowhere else to go, and if they give Labor Ready any
    problems the cops are right there behind the desk.

    Keep in mind that they can attach more or less any conditions to parole
    and can violate people more or less at will, thus keeping people in
    the system for decades for crimes with minor sentences.

    This is slavery.

  8. Gold, silver, copper for mankind.

    Historically, gold, silver, and copper were used as monetary based on their
    fair value as exchange medium in fair trade.

    Now, gold and silver are both dismissed from their monetary function. Only copper
    is the only metal still left to be used as money. Even so, the copper monetized
    today is based upon its face value and not upon its fair value. As such, the
    basic form of human ties in transaction is therefore corrupted and not a fair
    trade among us anymore.

    This calculation was intended to bring back the fair trade for the sake of
    just in mankind. Copper will be used as the basic reference, and solely on its
    fair value. In monetary term, USD will be used as unit only because of it
    recognition worldwide.

    Base value = material cost
    Face value = denomination value
    Base value copper = usd 3.71/lb = USD 0.008/g
    Base value nickel = usd 8.15/lb = USD 0.018/g

    US dime face value USD 0.10
    Dime composition copper 91.67% nickel 8.33%
    Dime weight = 2.268g
    Dime copper's weight 2.268g x 0.9167 = 2.079g
    Dime nickel's weight 2.268g x 0.0833 = 0.189g
    Dime copper's base value = 2.079g x USD 0.008/g = USD 0.017
    Dime nickel's base value = 0.189g x USD 0.018/g = USD 0.003
    Dime base value = USD 0.02 ( only 20% or one-fifth from its face value usd 0.10)

    With a dime, based on its face value you can purchase its base metals 5 times more
    than the dime contents ie copper at 2.079g x 5 = 10.395g and nickel at 0.189g x
    5 = 0.945g.
    10.395g copper x USD 0.008/g = USD 0.083
    0.945g nickel x USD 0.018/g = USD 0.017
    Total 10.395g copper 0.945g nickel = USD 0.10, base value

    Dime 2.079g copper 0.189g nickel = USD 0.10, face value

    Total 10.395g copper 0.945g nickel = Dime 2.079g copper 0.189g nickel. Not a
    fair trade! Solution?

    As such, the dime will be pegged to its face value as unit only, and copper and
    nickel price will be adjusted accordingly. (or else fixed the metal base price
    and issue new coinage with fair value weightage/content)
    Base value copper new = USD 0.04/g
    Base value nickel new = USD 0.09/g

    Further to this, all good will be priced accordingly
    Old silver price USD 1.25/g to new silver price USD 6.25/g
    Old gold price USD 56.25/g to new gold price USD 281.25/g
    Old rice price USD 0.75/kg to new rice price USD 3.75/kg

    With the standardisation of all goods, based on dime unit which transpire on
    copper value, gold and silver can now be used as money again against the fiat
    money. Any price fluctuation for any goods now will solely be on its actual
    fair trade with only stock manipulation rather than purely fiat money price
    manipulation based on credit without stock. Stock manipulation is more easily
    apprehended and therefore more risky for the manipulator, other than the
    lifespan/storage/delivery limitation of the goods. Hopefully in the future, the
    rich with whole lot of gold and silver, realised the agony of safekeeping their
    wealth/fort, will not recreate the same fiat system again, but acknowledge the
    real joy of giving with real goods and not fiat IOU paper.

    With the gold and silver standard back again, foreign exchange will now be
    back to fair barter trade again. Gold and silver as the commonly accepted
    exchange commodities will only exchange hand when the nations traded do not
    have common commodities of interest to barter.

    In monetary unit, the gold and silver exchange rate when in foreign countries
    will depends on the other countries base metal money.

    In Canada, Canadian ten cents CAD 0.10 is 1.75g
    92% steel x 1.75g x USD 0.003/g = USD 0.005
    5.5% copper x 1.75g x USD 0.008/g = USD 0.001
    2.5% nickel plating x 1.75g x USD 0.018/g = USD 0.001
    Therefore, Canadian ten cents CAD 0.10 base value = USD 0.007

    Thus, the exchange rate US dime/Canadian ten cents = USD 0.02/USD 0.007 = 2.8
    ( because the dime base value was based on old price, the same applies to the
    Canadian ten cents. Both must be on the same, either old or new will still give
    2.8 )

    New silver price USD 6.25/g = CAD 6.25×2.8/g = CAD 17.5/g

    In Autralia, Autralian ten cents AUD 0.10 is 5.65g
    75% copper x 5.65g x USD 0.008/g = USD 0.034
    25% nickel x 5.65g x USD 0.018/g = USD 0.025
    Therefore, Autralian ten cents AUD 0.10 base value = USD 0.059

    Thus, the exchange rate US dime/Autralian ten cents = USD 0.02/USD 0.059 = 0.3

    New silver price USD 6.25/g = AUD 6.25×0.3/g = AUD 1.88/g

    Good Day! Pls spiral.

  9. Minimum wage theft — Root cause of all wars

    If minimum wage was raised to $15 an hour, enough so that a thrifty family could have a full time homemaker and kids with a full complement of love, then all our wars and most of the crime in America would disappear instantly.

    Problem is, the upper half of Empire USA, the half with all the wealth, they so love to enrich itself upon the misery of the lower half, and poverty is a most effective tool of terrorism to keep the laboring-class in fearful submission.

  10. Minimum wage theft — Root cause of all wars

    If minimum wage was raised to $15 an hour, enough so that a thrifty family could have a full time homemaker and kids with a full complement of love, then all our wars and most of the crime in America would disappear instantly.

    Problem is, the upper half of Empire USA, the half with all the wealth, they so love to enrich itself upon the misery of the lower half, and poverty is a most effective tool of terrorism to keep the laboring-class in fearful submission.

  11. This again eh?
    Answer John:
    1. What will happen to the prices of the goods and services everyone, including you, buy if the labor rate gets raised by government fiat?

    2. What mathematical formula are you using to come up with the $15 minimum?

    3. Why not $30? if $15 is good, wouldn't $30 be better?

    4. If the cost of labor goes up, the prices go up. So wont that put those making the minimum $15, back to where they were before it was raised?

    5. Are you willing to use violence to enforce your minimum wage laws? Will you punish people who agree to work for less?

    6. What will happen to workers whose output doesn't add up to more than $15 per hour?

    The minimum wage has nothing to do with the wars. The root cause of wars is libido dominandi.

  12. Don't worry, the government will protect you…..

  13. Sole purpose of government — Protect society from the 51% most wealthy

    FICTION
    W1nst0n
    “Don’t worry, the government will protect you…..

    FACT
    Surely above is fiction, for either government allows the 51% most educated and wealthy to hoard all the wealth by a majority monopoly on the voting process, or government forces those who own all the wealth to pay a living wage to those who have no wealth.

    For my laboring class is the 49% of society with no education but some high school, and though we should own 49% of the wealth in Empire USA, such excessive wealth is beyond our wildest dreams.

    Just give us a living wage to end our poverty, so that the terrorism ends of having to watch our kids go hungry.

  14. When Fed-Reserve style fractional banking became the law-of-the-land back in 13', the economic enslavement of America's working class became an ultimate guarantee. With any adoption of a single global fiat currency, the whole world gets owned by the banking class, who can create out of thin air any amount of money that it needs to purchase us from our own more local governments.

    DanD

  15. It's called capitalism. That is, the law of the jungle prevails all the time.

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