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As America Argues Over Juneteenth, Remember Slavery Didn’t End in 1865—It Was Reinvented For Everyone

Matt Agorist
July 8th, 2021
The Free Thought Project
Comments (16)

While both sides continue to argue, however, they are missing the point entirely — slavery never really ended, it was merely redefined.

On Wednesday, lawmakers voted 415-14 to pass legislation that would make Juneteenth a federally recognized holiday, meant to celebrate the end of chattel slavery in the country. The vote has stirred controversy because of the name of the holiday — Juneteenth National Independence Day. 

Critics say “independence day” was deliberately chosen to stoke divide by diminishing the actual day Americans declared independence from the crown. Those who opposed the bill said it would have been a unanimous vote had lawmakers simply named it  ‘Juneteenth National Emancipation Day.’

Indeed, calling it independence day is not fully accurate as emancipation is literally defined as “the freeing of someone from slavery” — which is what happened on that day.

While both sides continue to argue, however, they are missing the point entirely — slavery never really ended, it was merely redefined.

According to the National Registry, Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863.

Though the official end of slavery was declared on June 19th, it would be many years until Americans were willing to give up their free labor. This is in spite of the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution which declared that slavery shall no longer exist in the United States.

Despite the 13th Amendment vestiges of racial discrimination and inequality would continue to exist in America well into the 20th century. What’s more, thanks to the language included in the amendment coupled with the subsequent criminalization of normal behaviors over the next century, the 13th Amendment would eventually be used to expand the potential for slavery to all United States citizens.

The 13th amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified on December 6, 1865, provides that:

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Pay attention to the bold text above and now think about all the things that are considered “crimes” in the land of the free in 2021. This is not some covert conspiracy theory either. The Louisiana State Penitentiary of Angola operates exactly like a slave plantation did 150 years ago. In fact, the slave plantation which occupied the land previously was converted into the prison. As a report from the Atlantic titled ‘American Slavery, Reinvented’ points out:

Angola’s farm operations and other similar prison industries have ancestral roots in the black chattel slavery of the South. Specifically, the proliferation of prison labor camps grew during the Reconstruction era following the Civil War, a time when southern states established large prisons throughout the region that they quickly filled, primarily with black men. Many of these prisons had very recently been slave plantations, Angola and Mississippi State Penitentiary (known as Parchman Farm) among them. Other prisons began convict-leasing programs, where, for a leasing fee, the state would lease out the labor of incarcerated workers as hired work crews. Convict leasing was cheaper than slavery, since farm owners and companies did not have to worry at all about the health of their workers.

This prison labor has since morphed into a slavery-for-all type scenario, which is why the ostensible land of the free has more prisoners per population than any country in the world. In fact, about 1 in every 110 U.S. adults is currently incarcerated and 1 in every 38 U.S. adults is under some form of correctional supervision. The prison industry is booming and so are the profits from forced labor.

Prisoners across the country make little to no money to do everything from processing poultry to making license plates. One such product that prisoners make, however, is utterly disgusting and speaks to the nature of modern-day slavery.

The very people who kidnap and cage people over victimless crimes like marijuana possession or unpaid traffic citations are reaping the benefits of prison labor in the form of propaganda. Prisons in Massachusetts are using prisoners to make Blue Lives Matter merchandise and sell it for profit.

When the prison industrial complex ensnares its victims through the enforcement of immoral drug war laws and predatory policing and then forces them to make propaganda for that very system, there is no other word to describe this other than depraved.

Thanks to the war on drugs and the criminalization of damn near everything in this country, the US now has 2.3 million people locked behind bars, with many of them forced into labor. In fact, as Diego Arene-Morley, president of Brown University Students for Sensible Drug Policy stated in 2014, “There are more African American men in prison, jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850.”

At any given time, a little less than half of the entire US prison population is behind bars and forced into slavery for crimes which have no victim. In fact, the criminalization of American life has become so profitable, that it’s spawned an entire prison industry dedicated to enslaving Americans.

Though the term Private Prison is a farce from the get-go, it is these corporations that continue to lobby the government to make more things illegal, thereby increasing their prison and de facto slavery populations.

A truly Private prison would not be solely funded by taxpayer dollars. These Private prisons are nothing more than a fascist mixture of state and corporate, completely dependent upon the extortion factor of the state, i.e., taxation, as a means of their corporate sustenance.

A truly Private prison would have a negative incentive to boost its population for the simple fact that it is particularly expensive to house inmates. On the contrary, these fascist, or more aptly, corporatist prisons contractually require occupancy rates of 95%-100%.

The requirement for a 95% occupancy rate creates a demand for criminals. Think about that for a second; a need or demand for people to commit crimes is created by this corporatist arrangement. The implications associated with demanding people commit crimes are horrifying.

People, who are otherwise entirely innocent are labeled as criminals for their personal choices and thrown in cages. We are now witnessing a vicious cycle between law enforcement — who must create and arrest criminals — and the corporatist prison system that constantly demands more prisoners. And people are clearly growing tired of it!

Sadly, many people dismiss the fact that there are nearly a million people in prison for victimless crimes saying things like, “well they shouldn’t have broken the law.” Ironically enough, the people who say these things simply don’t even realize they are likely breaking the law too.

Former NSA official William Binney sums this myth up quite accurately, “The problem is, if they think they’re not doing anything that’s wrong, they don’t get to define that. The central government does.”

Attorney Harvey Silvergate argues that the average American commits three felonies a day without even knowing it. Most of these crimes have no victim either — like possessing marijuana, driving a car with dark windows, or a burned out license plate light.

So, while it is certainly heartening to celebrate the “official” end to slavery in the U.S. this Juneteenth, we would be irresponsible not to continue fighting for freedom by ending the drug war and prosecution of victimless crimes, which allow modern slavery to continue without protest.

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    Author: Matt Agorist
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    Date: July 8th, 2021
    Website: https://thefreethoughtproject.com/

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    16 Comments...

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    1. Woogie says:

      Government Slavery still exists when people work 3 to 6 months without getting paid. A form of slavery is when some entity (government) owns people and if they work, they have for work for nothing for them.

      Its called taxes. Any action you take to evade an assessment of tax can get one to five years in prison. They own you for those months you work and when you are in prison.

      • Bill says:

        In the days of the USSR, there were long lines where people had to queue for everything, absolutely everything. This was not only because consumer items and basic necessities were rationed and always in short supply, but citizens spending hours everyday in lines also served a purpose for the State. The lines occupied a great deal of a citizen’s time, the State realized that lines for consumer items served as a means of control. The State knew citizens had to stand in line for everything, and in the time spent for such the citizens activity was known and could be accounted for. The State was largely unconcerned about the colossal loss of productive time, control was much more important.
        This is just one more example how the State will do ANYTHING to acquire and maintain control, no matter how wasteful or damaging to its citizens. Whether it’s your money, your time, your resources, and soon your rights, it makes little difference. These are all techniques to disempower citizens.
        The State will deploy any means it takes to control. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and lots of other despots and political movements had different ideologies, but their techniques used to maintain power were all the same.

    2. Darth Skippy says:

      The 13th amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified on December 6, 1865, provides that: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

      Captives were purchased from foreign administrations. If you can believe in the legitimacy of black people, they were duly convicted.

      • Frank Thoughts says:

        Few people know this but black people are not and never have been considered free. They are still by law considered a possession of the state. That is why they are never allowed to create inter generational wealth, never allowed to leave the welfare plantation or to get free from the prison system.

        And it will only get worse as AI and big data ensure ALL blacks will be tuned to the priorities of the government, from cannon fodder for wars, prison labour, to being cheap Labour for Chinese companies. A few will get to be sports and music celebrities to keep the rest in line and worshiping their African kings and queens.

    3. Frank Thoughts says:

      Very thought provoking piece. Americans need to challenge lazy notions about the “land of the free”.

      The elite ALWAYS win and when slavery, serfdom and tithed feudalism ended people were just made landless, penniless and in put into debt.

      Fast forward to today and we have most of the population either in debt or dependent on the government for survival. With black families broken and most women unmarried mothers, the government is the DADDY.

      Throw in all the laws and national security drag net, combined with 24/7 surveillance, and you can be assigned your role at anytime.

      If business needs your hide, then you will be assigned, be it to work for Uber, as a paid BLM protester or a prisoner.

      You may not be a slave but you are a slave to the machine.

    4. Descendants of slaves still want reparations for crimes committed against us then and now.

      • Darth Skippy says:

        Firstly, it was admitted that the plantation system was unprofitable. Would slavery have resolved itself.

        Secondly, Lincoln himself said they were selfish for wanting equality with whites and offered “16 Tons / factory store” working conditions, in the jungles, where he said they would be most comfortable. (Manifest Destiny having extended into the Caribbean Golden Circle of agriculture.)

        Reparations have already been given by radical Republicans, leftover from Lincoln’s administration. It was called Reconstruction, and was considered a perverse form of psychological abuse against a Southren, conquered enemy, against whom, war crimes had already committed by their own brothers.

    5. Randy says:

      Before ANYONE starts spouting off about an alleged Constitution, violations of it, etc, they need to read Lysander Spooner’s works on the matter.

      Randy

    6. Jocko says:

      Every continent except Antarctica, and every race has experienced slavery.
      Peasantry was slavery. Just modified a bit in favor of the slave owner. The peasant was tied to the land, owed his labor to the landowner, were unable to move, punished on the whims of the landowner, and if they ran away and were caught they could be punished up to and including death.
      What changed was when the Roman Empire fell, landowners saw reduced income. To keep more of their money they resorted to peasantry. Slave owners were responsible for food, shelter and clothing for their slaves. Now those responsibilities fell on the peasant (slave themself) while the labor was still the landowners.

    7. Genius says:

      Neee Gers make bad slaves. They are lazy and stupid. Get some Chinese slaves instead!

    8. Confederate Bill says:

      Most working people are slaves to various degrees, and don’t know it. Working people don’t realize not only are they slaves, but also work against there own interests all their lives. We have to support slaves who don’t have to do anything but vote. These voting slaves always vote against the interests of working people. These kinds of slaves don’t have it so bad, they just vote for a living. The Dem. party of post 1964 created these type of slaves. All these slaves have to do is keep voting Dem. and in return get everything they need, generation after generation. There are now tens of millions of them whose parents and grandparents have perpetuated this caste. These slaves don’t ever want to leave this plantation.
      Thee is another scenario playing out as we speak. This plantation is no longer economically sustainable. The well is dry, it is being sustained on borrowed money, the fed. debt alone is 29 trillion dollars, with more than 150 trillion in unfunded liabilities. Something sooner or later will have to give. So, the question is not if it gives, but when, and what are the consequences.
      When this happens, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and all the other entitlements will also be unsustainable. Pensions disappear or go so low as to be meaningless. Wages and salaries will be destroyed by inflation, or else a severe shortage of money will keep wages suppressed. The need for labor will never and can never go away. However, it will just become super cheap.
      Lots of people will surrender their God-given rights and work for almost nothing. Property loses almost all monetary value, it ceases to be a marketable asset. Besides, by then few would own anything of value anyway.
      All this is THE PLAN, it’s called the RESET. The “elites” have stated it over and over again, it isn’t even hidden from public scrutiny. What is it going to take to get people to see it is in motion now? We don’t have the power of super wealth, but we still have another type of power, and if correctly wielded would render the people invincible, we have the power of numbers. But we can never unite against the real enemy. The State keeps our numbers divided and distracted by countless social issues (divide and conquer), the people never learn.
      I do believe however many of us will not submit, we will coalesce in certain geographic areas and live like we want. You can call those geographic areas seceded states.

    9. Brooklynsez:
      Big Corporations have all the power, the rich pay next to zero in taxes if the rich were forced to pay their fair share of taxes they will revolt they will take their ball and go home or to a tax free country. The U.S. has always been a capitalist system where the first the slaves then the Poor were exploited and still are ….long hours low pay next to zero benefits no real living wages paid, and since corporations only benefit the few 1 % when Americans demand their fair share guess what happened? Well they sent jobs overseas, now that gizmos gadgets and doo dads are becoming more expensive to make in China. Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia are taking up the slack again the cycle perpetuates go to the most exploitable country and squeeze them dry like the U.S. did to Central and South America read Smedley Butlers book war is a racket. As for the current situation in the U.S. many people think there is going to be an opportunity to go back to Jim Crow and put those black and brown folks in their place well got news for ya not gonna happen will not happen and if they try lets just say that in the past the blacks and browns were cowed because the law was always against them. This time around those previously victimized folks are not going to allow it.

    10. Cotton has been replaced with dope says:

      Still a plantation moving dope in place of cotton

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