Good Work — God’s Work? Path to Community or Anarchy?

From All Of Us Or None:

All of Us or None is a national organizing initiative started by formerly-incarcerated people to fight against discrimination faced after release and to fight for the human rights of prisoners.  We are determined to win full restoration of our civil and human rights after release from prison. Our goal is to build political power in the communities most affected by mass incarceration and the growth of the Prison Industrial Complex.

Circles of Redemption Go 'Round and 'RoundCircles of Redemption Go ‘Round and ‘Round

The emergence of All of Us or None is a concrete manifestation of the people most affected by an issue building a movement to combat it.  Because the membership of All of Us or None is predominantly people of color, our emergence as a leading organization in the white-dominated criminal justice/anti-prison movement has a concrete impact on this movement.

We’re committed to organizing formerly-incarcerated people to build a movement in Oakland, by working in coalition with other community groups and organizing campaigns, such as Ban the Box and Clean Slate. We have been very visible in both campaigns in Oakland, doing public education about the
issue through circulating petitions, public speakouts, and involving the community in making demands of the Mayor and City government. We have expanded the original Safer Oakland coalition by organizing other endorsers and activist sponsors.

We are also focusing on implementation of other parts of the Plan, such as opposing immigration raids and the expansion of the Oakland police force.  Because we are comprised of people who have been in prison, our voice in the criminal justice and anti-prison movement is essential and respected.  Our active participation in the Oakland One Table and comprehensive reentry planning, has been essential to highlighting the real needs of people coming back to Oakland and Alameda County after prison.

Beyond Oakland, we’re working in communities statewide and nationally.  We use our coherent program as a tool to organize other criminal justice advocacy groups to support our campaigns. We are actively building a national network of formerly-incarcerated activists and organizers, with a goal of creating consensus on some national campaigns that we can move forward collectively.

The implications for effective mobilization in this area are tremendous.  There are disenfranchised communities all over the United States, from Wyandanch, Strong Island (home of Rakim Allah) to Honolulu where human beings have lost the right to political redemption after paying a cost for spiritual and social redemption.  How much is enough?

The overall benefits to impoverished communities of welcoming in a body of educated, organized and active new voters could be ground breaking.  Is that sufficient?  What about the victims and survivors of crimes committed by felons?  How do we do justice to the victims of crimes who continue to live and grapple with the implications of our inhumanity to one another — long after a sentence has been served?  Is our decision to lock away the keys to political engagement a viable solution?  Are we made whole by this ostracism from the body politic?  Should things remain just as they are?  Should these questions be decided on a case by case basis?

Why?  Why not?

One comment

  1. A “SINGLE VOICE PROJECT” is the official name of the petition sponsored by: The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons (NPSCTAPP)
    THIS PETITION SEEKS TO ABOLISH ALL PRIVATE PRISONS IN THE UNITED STATES, (or any place subject to its jurisdiction)

    The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons (NPSCTAPP) is a grass roots organization driven by a single objective. We want the United States government to reclaim sole authority for state and federal prisons on US soil.

    We want the United States Congress to immediately rescind all state and federal contracts that permit private prisons “for profit” to exist in the United States, or any place subject to its jurisdiction. We understand that the problems that currently plague our government, its criminal justice system and in particular, the state & federal bureau of prisons (and most correctional and rehabilitation facilities) are massive. However, it is our solemn belief that the solutions for prison reform will remain unattainable and virtually impossible as long as private prisons for profit are permitted to operate in America.

    Prior to the past month, and the fiasco of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, Lehman Brothers, and now the “Big Three” American Automobile manufacturers, the NPSCTAPP has always felt compelled to highlight the “moral Bottom line” when it comes to corrections and privatization. Although, we remain confounded by the reality that our government has allowed our justice system to be operated by private interests. The NPSCTAPP philosophy has always been “justice” should not be for sale at any price. It is our belief that the inherent and most fundamental responsibility of the criminal justice system should not be shirked, or “jobbed-out.” This is not the same as privatizing the post office or some trash pick up service in the community. There has to be a loss of meaning and purpose when an inmate looks at a guard’s uniform and instead of seeing an emblem that reads State Department of Corrections or Federal Bureau of Prisons, he sees one that says: “Atlas Prison Corporation.”

    Let’s assume that the real danger of privatization is not some innate inhumanity on the part of its practitioners but rather the added financial incentives that reward inhumanity. The same logic that motivates companies to operate prisons more efficiently also encourages them to cut corners at the expense of workers, prisoners and the public. Every penny they do not spend on food, medical care or training for guards is a dime they can pocket. What happens when the pennies pocketed are not enough for the shareholders? Who will bailout the private prison industry when they hold the government and the American people hostage with the threat of financial failure…“bankruptcy?” What was unimaginable a month ago merits serious consideration today. State and Federal prison programs originate from government design, and therefore, need to be maintained by the government. It’s time to restore the principles and the vacated promise of our judicial system.

    John F. Kennedy said, “The time to repair the roof is while the sun is shinning”. Well the sun may not be shinning but, it’s not a bad time to begin repair on a dangerous roof that is certain to fall…. because, “Incarcerating people for profit is, in a word WRONG”

    There is an urgent need for the good people of this country to emerge from the shadows of cynicism, indifference, apathy and those other dark places that we migrate to when we are overwhelmed by frustration and the loss of hope.

    It is our hope that you will support the NPSCTAPP with a show of solidarity by signing our petition. We intend to assemble a collection of one million signatures, which will subsequently be attached to a proposition for consideration. This proposition will be presented to both, the Speaker Of The House Of Representatives (Nancy Pelosi) and the United States Congress.

    Please Help Us. We Need Your Support. Help Us Spread The Word About This Monumental And Courageous Challenge To Create Positive Change. Place The Link To The Petition On Your Website! Pass It On!

    The SINGLE VOICE PETITION and the effort to abolish private “for profit” prisons is the sole intent of NPSCTAPP. Our project does not contain any additional agendas. We have no solutions or suggestions regarding prison reform. However, we are unyielding in our belief that the answers to the many problems which currently plague this nation’s criminal justice system and its penal system in particular, cannot and will not be found within or assisted by the private “for profit” prison business. The private “for profit” prison business has a stranglehold on our criminal justice system. Its vice-like grip continues to choke the possibility of justice, fairness, and responsibility from both state and federal systems.

    These new slave plantations are not the answer!

    For more information please visit: http://www.npsctapp.blogsppot.com/ or email: williamthomas@exconciliation.com

    To sign the petition please visit: http://www.petitiononline.com/gufree2/petition.html

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!
    National Community Outreach Facilitator
    The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons
    P.O. Box 156423
    San Francisco, California 94115

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