Counter Current News
For decades, the Soviet Gulags under Joseph Stalin had been considered some of the worst prisons in all of history. But now things have changed.
The United States has far exceeded the horrific tolls of the gulags. In the Soviet example, there were more than 18 million victims during the gulags’ use over four decades.
Around a million people died in the gulags over the years.
Now, as of 2009, the United States tolls soar higher than 7 million in prison, on probation or in some way caught up in the American prison system.
On the surface that might sound like a lot less than the gulag total above. But when you factor in all who have been put through the US prison system, we find a total that is higher than 19 million. That’s more than the 18 million locked up in the gulag system over those forty years.
Just like the Soviet Gulag System, the American Prison-For-Profit industry sells itself with the pitch that it is about “rehabilitation.” The government even has the audacity to call the prison system the “U.S. Department of Corrections.”
In the former Soviet Union, they called this vospitaniye and perevospitaniye, meaning essentially: “re-education.”
Oddly, however, in the Soviet gulags, prisoners were forced to learn the arts – playing in orchestras and the like. In the United States Gulags, prisoners are forced to make uniforms for McDonald’s and Applebees, or to harvest produce for Whole Foods.
The private prison companies, well-known for profiting off of incarceration and crime, is now saying that the state’s they have contracted with aren’t keeping up their end of the bargain. The private prisons rely on a certain number of inmates for free and virtually-free slave labor.
That labor is used for a variety of trades, including making uniforms for popular restaurants like McDonalds and Applebee’s. But if the private prisons don’t have enough inmates locked up then production goes down correlative with the decrease in free labor (i.e. slavery).
It comes as a surprise to many Americans, but slavery was never actually abolished in the United States. That’s not a metaphor, it’s a matter of careful reading of the 13th amendment to the Constitution. That amendment – often lauded for abolishing slavery – actually makes an exception for prisons. Slavery is still completely legal as “punishment for a crime.”