Amend 13!

by Keith “Malik” Washington, deputy chairman, New Afrikan Black Panther Party, Prison Chapter, Texas Region and Cerdell “Yasin” Bennett, cofounder, On Da Verg

This is a public notice to all freedom fighters, activists and community leaders: SLAVERY IS NOT DEAD!

SF Bayview, May 22, 2016

Did the 13th Amendment abolish slavery? Ask anyone in the United States this question and they will answer most emphatically: Yes, of course it did.

If you, the person reading this article and call to action, believe this as well, please allow me to inform you: You are wrong!

Slavery is not dead! Upon careful examination, you will find the opposite is true. Rather than abolish slavery, the 13th Amendment LEGALIZED it!

The 13th Amendment reads: “Neither slavery or involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States or any place subject to their juris­diction.”

This actually is a clever play on words. The Exception Clause in the 13th Amendment was a compromise in order to encourage the Confederate states to cease the Civil War and rejoin the Union. The only thing the Confederate states had to do in order to maintain their slaves was to CRIMINALIZE them.

This was done by legislators who purposely enacted ridiculous laws for the judicial branch of their governments, including the Jim Crow laws and Black Codes. Within six months to a year, newly freed slaves were returned to their former position of servitude.

Slavery was not dead. On the contrary, it was and is still alive in states such as Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas. And some of us know that Texas has perfected the modern slave plantation model via its prison agency, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

From the late 1800s until the present date, the above method of enslavement has been the preferred practice, pattern and collective mindset of the Southern states and various other states all across Amerika. The conspiracy to incarcerate Black, Latino/a, and poor White women and men is no longer a theory; it is a stark reality.

The overwhelming statistics show that slavery is not dead in Amerika. Professor Michelle Alexander expounded on the topic very concisely and eloquently in her trailblazing work, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness.”

Some scholars say Professor Alexander left out the part that describes the main culprit behind mass incarceration in Amerika – capitalism! But this article and plea for action is not about the incarceration of our men and women.

This article challenges the morality of our forefathers and modern day leaders who have allowed the Exception Clause to remain in the 13th Amendment. President Obama, can you hear me? The question we must ask ourselves is: “Should the U.S. Con­stitution allow slavery as punishment for committing a crime?”

If so, how heinous a crime should one commit to rightfully sentence him or her to slavery?

Can slavery be administered as a behavioral “salve” or “ointment” – applying just a little slavery to the “infected person” until the unwanted behavior clears up? Ask yourself: Throughout history, has dehumanization, degradation and abuse ever brought about restoration?

After pondering these questions, we must ask: Why is slavery not dead in Amerika? Who is benefitting from this?

The fact that in 2016 the U.S. Constitution still possesses these words is a great disgrace to our African Ancestors who lost their lives in wars to avoid capture. Just close your eyes for one moment and contemplate and visualize the countless millions who died during the Middle Passage in the hulls of slave ships.

Think about the enslaved human beings who endured untold demonic treatment, those who tried to flee, the abolitionists who fought with intellect, muskets and swords, the woman who refused to stand or to go to the back of the bus, the man who shared his dream and made it ours, the students escorted to schools where they were not welcome, and the million men, women and families who marched upon Washington to confront and combat these injustices and many more.

Can’t you see slavery must die?

Comrades, sisters and brothers, a race began approximate1y 400 years ago; the baton has been passed from hand to hand for centuries. Now it is being passed to you!

What will you do with it? We are asking that you dip the baton in ink – maybe cyber ink – and sign the petition, “End Legal Slavery in U.S. Prisons” at https://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/end-legal-slavery-in-u-s-prisons.  Another version of the petition is “Amend 13!” at https://www.change.org/p/kevin-mccarthy-amend-13?recruiter=11725251&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink#delivered-to. We ask that you sign both petitions and share them with your friends on social media throughout the world, urging them to sign on!

Let us all get involved – Black, Latino/a, Asian, Arab, Indian, Austrian, German, French, Chinese, Japanese, African and Italian … Are there any Irish freedom fighters out there? We need you. I am humbly requesting the unity of the world to finally deliver the blow that puts to death the genocidal practice known as SLAVERY!

Send our brother some love and light: Keith “Malik” Washington, 1487958, Coffield Unit, 2661 FM 2054, Tennessee Colony TX 75884.

Website: Comrade Malik

Malik is Texas inside coordinator for Amend The 13th.