Human Rights Activist Randall Robinson on Hillary Clinton and the New Jim Crow

Author and activist Randall Robinson, founder of TransAfrica, went on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour last week to promote his new television show — World on Trial.– a show in which world renowned jurists argue both sides of sharply contested international human rights issues.

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But the conversation soon turned to Hillary Clinton and the private prison industry.

“The major owners are The GEO Group  and Corrections Corporation of America,” Robinson said. “Together those two corporations with many prisons around the country enjoy revenues of some $3.3 billion a year.  And the Corrections Corporation of America will avoid $70 million in tax payments by becoming a real estate investment trust.  And the interesting connection here is that Hillary Clinton had gotten significant contributions from both of these companies.  And going back to Bill Clinton’s administration, the pipeline to these prisons was facilitated by the Clinton administration’s three strikes and you’re out policy. When the legislation on the punishment side laid out that crack cocaine was going to require a punishment a hundred times more than that of powder cocaine, it meant you’d have a disproportionate number of blacks from black communities going to jail for nonviolent offenses.

Robinson quoted Hillary Clinton from 1994. “We need more police,” Clinton said. “We need more and tougher prison sentences for repeat offenders. Three strikes and you’re out for violent offenders has to be part of the plan. We need more prisons to keep violent offenders for as long as it takes to keep them off the streets.”

Robinson said that “the reach of the Clinton administration and President Bill Clinton went much farther than that.”

“They were putting people in prison – disproportionately blacks – for minor offenses,” Clinton said. “And the real authority in America on this is Michelle Alexander, a law professor at Ohio State Law School, who has written The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness —  a wonderful book.  And what is remarkable here is that she has virtually been excluded from public discussion about this. She is compelling, authoritative, scholarly; and I haven’t seen her on CNN. I haven’t seen her on Fox.I haven’t seen her anywhere. And there should be a demand.  She has written an article (“Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote,” The Nation, February 10, 2016) saying that Hillary Clinton does not deserve black support for her role in all of this.

Nader says that Michelle Alexander “should be everywhere.”

“And she’s been nowhere.” Robinson said. “And one has to suspect that this has been orchestrated.  I really don’t understand how you could have a panel or discussion without her involvement, if there’s any search for truth at all.”

“She should be in South Carolina,” Nader says. “She should be in Nevada.  She should be everywhere.”

“The book she wrote, The New Jim Crow was well reviewed — even in the New York Times — and was a modest bestseller,” Nader said. “But suddenly, a curtain of censorship has covered her work.”

“Listeners to your program have to call the networks and demand that we hear her voice,” Robinson said. “This is a shame. And it’s this side of the Clintons that blacks in South Carolina don’t know about.”

Nader asks Robinson — “When did Hillary Clinton get the campaign contributions from the two corporate prison corporations?  When she was U.S. senator?  Or she’s getting it now as a presidential candidate?”

“She’s getting it now,” Robinson said. “She was pressured to return some of the contributions — and “returned” has to be placed in quotation marks — in the form of  philanthropic contributions for which she got public credit.  She did not return the money back to the two major corporations that gave her the money.”

“She is still receiving money recently from one of the bundlers, who is putting the money together for her. Richard Sullivan of the lobbying firm Capitol Counsel is a bundler for the Clinton campaign bringing in forty-four thousand dollars in contributions in a few short months.  And he still brings money in that involves money from these private prisons.  Now, she was caused to rethink this thing – at least publicly – because (Bernie) Sanders introduced legislation to outlaw private prisons to his enormous credit.  And now she says she’s against private prisons. But she appears to be still taking money.”

 

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