I believe it is true to say that the American establishment is the most brutal, savage institution on the planet. It has invaded more countries than any other country on the planet, and it runs its own country with the same ruthless brutality. In doing so it has incarcerated a greater percentage of its population than any other country, and it runs that prison system with the same brutal inhumanity and savagery, and runs the prisons as one massive slave labour camp for the profit of its corporate moguls.
The American criminal justice system holds almost 2.3 million people in 1,833 state prisons, 110 federal prisons, 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities, 3,134 local jails, 218 immigration detention facilities, and 80 Indian Country jails as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories.
Yet it sits at the head of the table of those nations that go by the name of the most developed and peaceful nations. The greatest illusion ever perpetrated on the human race.
40 Years A Prisoner.
Eight-year-old me couldn't imagine not seeing my dad's smiling face on Christmas morning, or drawing my mom a cartoon-filled card covered in thank yous for Mother's Day, or the thousands of other memories small kids get to share with their parents. These types of memories make up the foundation of our traditions and are the things that we pass down to our kids. Mike Africa Jr., who was born in prison, was robbed of the chance of creating those in-person memories with his parents. The Philadelphia police department forced him to figure out life on his own.
Africa Jr.'s journey is brilliantly related in the new HBO documentary film, "40 Years a Prisoner," directed by Tommy Oliver and available now on HBO Max. Featuring an all-star ensemble of producers including The Roots, Common and John Legend, "40 Years A Prisoner" is a compelling film about the horrors of America's criminal justice system. The story begins in 1978 when Philadelphia police raided MOVE, a back to nature organization based on love, among other peaceful principles. Africa's parents, two MOVE members, were arrested during that raid on trumped up charges and convicted before he was born. In the film, Oliver documents Africa Jr.'s life pursuit of freeing his parents, along with other MOVE members, and a decades-long battle with the Philadelphia police department. I recently got a chance to talk with Africa Jr. and Oliver about the film on an episode of "Salon Talks."
"40 Years a Prisoner" is streaming on HBO Max.