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Democracy & Prison-Gerrymandering…

Corporate plutocrats and their conservative zombies employ a wide variety of tactics in their goals to defeat democracy. For them, democracy is simply a polite word for “mobocracy.”

Conservative power...

They create legislation, for various segments of the population, including prisoners, to prevent their voting and having representation as a basic right. They do this because corporatists represent less than 1% of the population.

This has been hstorically true. When the major financiers and land owners created the US Constitution (1787), they used certain compromises to get all the colonies to accept federal rule (ratification).

Some of the colonies were small or mostly rural farm populations. In the South, plantations ruled the land with 35% of the population being African slaves.

Three features were thus built into the Constitution: (1) An electoral college to balance the popular vote, (2) a 3/5ths rule to accommodate slave-holders, and (3) a Senate (“House of Lords”) that gave every state equal representation with two. The House of Representatives is based upon state census populations.

(Michele! You sorry caricature… Take daddy’s thumb outta your hole and listen! It’s not too late to learn something…)

Plantation masters got voting representation for the 35% slave population at a rate of 3/5ths each. Of course, the slaves themselves (like many prisoners today) couldn’t vote.

Northern industrialists preferred the laissez faire method of wage slavery. Why should they be responsible at all for the maintenance and survival of the worker? The way they see it, we’re like cockroaches; there’s plenty of us.

Meanwhile, the South continued to chafe under Northern economic domination and interference with their “peculiar institution.”

Seventy years later, the Civil War was fought and the South lost the military conflict (1865). The slaves were “freed.”

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery and involuntary servitude was also passed. Unfortunately, it included an exception clause for anyone convicted of a crime.

Worse than slavery...

Southerners, clever fellows, lost no time enacting Black Codes and Jim Crow legislation to effectively criminalize many of the ex-slaves.  Within a dozen years, North politicians and corporatists abandoned the South allowing them to continue their evil charade unrestricted.

In lieu of prison sentences and fines, the convicted were auctioned out to farmers, plantations and corporate privateers. Their conviction also included disenfranchising them from voting. This remained the status of their law for another century.

One can thus easily see the foundations to modern prison-gerrymandering. Most states adopted laws prohibiting felons from voting. (The US Constitution does not address this matter, so it’s left to the states.)

The modern denial of voting rights to felons, while founded in the US, derives from Southern criminalization of the ex-slaves. But that itself was also in part founded on the older European concept of “civil death.”

States use the census count every ten years to apportion voting districts and the number of Representatives they get in Congress. The Census Bureau counts heads where they reside, not where their homes and legal residences may be.

The vast majority of prisoners, mostly from urban cities, are incarcerated in rural, conservative areas. These districts thus end up with the “representation” of the prisoners.

Nor do these rural areas have any desire to allow these prisoners in their communities. Practically all of them have ordinances prohibiting released prisoners from “lingering” in their towns longer than it takes to bus their ass down the road.

Of course, different states each have their own laws regarding voting. Maine and Vermont allow prisoners to vote. Thirteen states and DC allow voting after incarceration. The remaining states have further restrictions of one form or another up to and including lifetime prohibition.

(Click image to enlarge...)

New York and California are changing their districting policies to count prisoners where they lawfully reside, their homes, not their prison cells.

New rules for the Census Bureau to count prisoners at their lawful home residence are being proposed, but they wouldn’t go into effect until the next census, 2020.

A variety of other laws are employed to restrict majority voting.  In any event, let’s take a page or two out of the conservative playbook. If they believe it’s proper to play these games with democracy, then we propose an antidote:

• Abolish the Electoral College.

• A rule that all citizens be counted by the Census Bureau in their lawful home residences.

• A $100 voucher to be given to all citizens at or below the poverty level who vote in presidential elections.

Dr. Publico

Category: Corporatism, VoteCensus
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