OPINION: Prison Reform and the State: The Impending Confrontation

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The prison-reform rallies held at the Mississippi Capitol on Jan. 24 and Feb. 1, 2020, at the Governor's Mansion are evidence that dubious government-approved rallies don't just happen in "communist" countries. Neither were these rallies like older gatherings where white folks took picture postcards in front of hanging and smoldering black bodies with the aid of the redneck sheriff.

Speakers of a different curl pattern and hue marked these rallies.

They spoke of "our prisoners" and "our government" and wish to reform the conditions under how these bodies now swing as they proudly sing freedom songs. These theatrical performances wish for community control of the police sponsored by the state and ruling class, while the black police chief and black nationalist mayor collaborate with right-wing elements that criminalize toiling and poor blacks.

These recent rallies for reform were not designed to disturb anyone responsible for the maintenance of degradation. The state is not just the government as in the federal, state or municipality. It is the monopoly of the means of coercion: the prisons, police, the military and surveillance apparatus.

Official society doesn't control all coercion or organized violence. Outside of politicians, bankers and real-estate developers, there are a handful of people termed "criminals." Some will welcome the impending confrontation that the establishment will call anarchy after they have presided over the homelessness, hunger, brutality and death under a hierarchy of social classes that they call civilization.

These rallies were sponsored by sly foxes in sheep's clothing that support the state that, normatively, maintains suffering and death inside prisons. These activists speak about shutting down Parchman as if it is an aberration and anomaly within the Mississippi Department of Corrections. Did members of the Mississippi Prison Reform Coalition forget that rebellions occurred recently in the South Mississippi Correctional Institution and the Chickasaw County Regional Correctional

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