The “Amend the 13th: Abolish “Legal” Slavery in Amerika Movement” is an all-inclusive, coalition-based national campaign and community-based organizing effort which is determined to remove the “legal” and social basis for the dehumanization of those subject to the judicial machinery of the United States – and finally abolish slavery in Amerika once and for all.
The movement has three basic aims:
- To amend the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to remove its “legal” slavery provision for all persons: including those found guilty and sentenced for a felony offence.
- To abolish and/or repeal all “civil death” and social containment statutes and ordinances which do not afford prisoners, ex-offenders and their communities full human, political, economic and participatory rights in social life in Amerika that derive their power from the 13th Amendment.
- To develop and implement as quickly as possible autonomous community-based economic, political and social infrastructure capable of eliminating, mitigating or diminishing to the greatest degree the negative impact of mass incarceration, criminalization and “legal” slavery on our communities.
We will seek to accomplish this end via a three-pronged strategy designed to raise social awareness of and public opposition to the continuation of “legal” slavery in Amerika, while simultaneously undermining its basis.
- Organize a national petition drive to amend the 13th Amendment to remove its “legal” slavery provision at the federal level, and a corresponding petition in each state to rescind all “civil death” and social containment “laws” which derive their powers from the “legal” slavery provision of the 13th Amendment.
- Carry out targeted demonstrations which highlight both the negative social impact and continued existence of “legal” slavery in Amerika.
- Promote and seek formal authority for the implementation of community-based parole, pardon and clemency boards based on the concept of “strategic release.”
The structure of “Amend the 13th,” in keeping with its aim to forge a national coalition inclusive of every group, activist and individual opposed to “legal” slavery in Amerika in all its guises – i.e., criminalization, mass incarceration, disenfranchisement, “civil death,” involuntary servitude, the deliberate applications of poverty, etc. – will seek state coordinators from already existing organizations and/or activists in each state.
These state coordinators will be responsible for creating their own state coordinating committees reflective of the activists, organizations and affected communities in their state. They will also be responsible for recruiting city coordinators to conduct signature drives, organize community participation in development and stability initiatives, organize demonstrations, garner support for community-based parole, pardon and clemency boards – and “strategic release” – and expand political and material support for the movement nationally.
Each state coordinator will coordinate their efforts with the “Amend The 13th” national coordinating committee, which will include founder Joka Heshima Jinsai and an executive director, deputy director, chief inside coordinator, deputy inside coordinator, secretary, national treasurer, community development coordinator, national spokesperson and executive legal consultant.
The primary function of the National Coordinating Committee is to see that the three basic aims of “Amend the 13th” are realized via its three-pronged strategy, and ensure sufficient human and material resources are available to state and city coordinators to realize these goals.
Building a successful movement begins with developing a competent and effective structure capable of being the living counterpoint to the existence of the prison industrial slave complex. We understand conditions and points of resistance differ from state to state.
The struggles being waged in Georgia and Alabama in the 2010s were successfully waged in California and New York in the 1970s. However, what is constant across every state is the “legal” and political basis for all the various forms of abuse, exploitation and dehumanization experienced by those subject to the judicial machinery in the U.S.: the “civil death” and slavery provisions of the 13th Amendment.
Striking at these as one will undermine the entire dehumanization rationale of U.S. penal policy and jurisprudence which stems from the conscious preservation of the slave system in its modern, punitive form. Social attitudes flow from social conditions, and social conditions are influenced by social attitudes; as such, the minds of the people – your minds – are the primary battleground for social progress.
The unfortunate truth is that most U.S. educational institutions teach what to think, and rarely how to think. “Amend the 13th” seeks to provide the people with an opportunity to not only explore critical thought, but to also confront the hate which continues to cast a pall over social relationships at every level of Amerikan society. It allows us to not simply alter the basis for inhumane “laws” and codified hate, but to also alter the institutions and social life in the most desperate and besieged communities in such a way that it strikes at the very origins of crime, criminalization and human misery.
If we can agree the disproportionate distribution of wealth, privilege, access and opportunity in a society is the origin of all crime and the gateway to enslavement in the U.S., then the most prudent course is to invoke its opposite – to create independent wealth, access and opportunity in those communities which enjoy so little of it. Stable and prosperous communities produce stable and prosperous people.
Therefore, “Amend the 13th’s” intent is to empower the modern slave socially, politically and economically in the social interests of society as a whole; conversely, opposition to it would run contrary to those interests.
In the final analysis, the complete abolition of slavery in the United States is a historical imperative. It is our responsibility as principled people to finally end this willful hate, this intentional social containment and the tissue-thin façade that it is not willful and intentional. The U.S. state must be held accountable by the people – and the world – for preserving the vilest practice in the history of civilization in the body of “the supreme law of the land.”