What do you do when you discover there’s a bull market on wall street – for prisons?
What do you do when you find out the parent company of your local bank branch, is investing in private prisons, betting on a growth of inmates in a time of declining crime rates? – And they are supporting new laws designed to bring in fresh inmates and more profit every year – starting with immigrants and climate change refugees?
Once you’ve connected those dots, you might not want business as usual. You might want to stand up and shout about it. When thousands of people stand up with you, it’s a movement.
On January 6, the Occupy Movement in Santa Rosa, California, joined up with immigrants rights advocacy organizations, and called a halt to business as usual, at Wells Fargo Bank.
It was a day when the spirit of Mario Savio — a campus occupier in 1964 who spoke up and became the fiery orator of the Free Speech movement – once again called for people to throw themselves over the levers of the machine, and bring it to a halt. Activists closed two branch offices that day, with seven among them arrested.
It was not so much a demonstration as a community. Mario Savio wasn’t accompanied by a marching brass band, nor did the Free Speech Movement draw people from all walks of life and across four generations. People from all walks of life, across 4 generations, marched to the tunes of a brass band,
Chicano farm worker organizer Cesar Chavez said that a march is a prayer n motion. And in keeping with the view of spiritual intentions, this march was led by a group of Aztec dancers named Coyolxauqui.
It was a day to tell the world to look and listen, and find out what “business as usual” means when your bank holds stock in private detention centers.
How does a private prison company grow its business when crime rates are declining?
Advertise on TV, persuading people to commit more crimes, so they can come and enjoy your accommodations? No, what you do is contributing to racist state senators, who pass laws designating new crimes, that target an scapegoated group of outsiders – undocumented immigrants.
Being undocumented wasn’t a crime in Georgia, Arizona, or Alabama, until those states were lobbied by private imprisonment firms, such as GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). Now anyone who only looks undocumented can be picked up and detained, in private prisons that – by the way – get funded by the same laws.
Round up your scapegoats, fill up the prisons, and watch their Wall Street stock prices go up. Stock owned and managed – by the way – by Wells Fargo. To the tune of $100 million dollarsCLICK HERE to see Yahoo Finance Report.
“Corrections” and “incarceration” are user-friendly euphemisms for throwing people into jail. An even better one is “detention.” Oh, we’re just keeping you late after school, taking a little of your time.
The new community stamps GEO Group and CCA with the real nature of their business: They are imprisonment companies. And their brand of imprisonment has a record of abuse, according to government records obtained by the ACLU and Frontline news program.
We’re seeing a new community move forward – one in which everybody is somebody. One that tears away the veils of deception and abuse, putting in their place a localized culture where everyone works together for common intentions.
In this special edition of Shift Shapers we hear a Evelina Molina and Mauricio Velasquez interview Kareem Sanchez and Bianca Jordan, with background music of the Occupy Santa Rosa band. They also interview Rick Theis and Kim Caldeway. Mario Savio and George Carlinshow up in spirit – possibly summoned by the Aztec dancers. In the studio, Daniel Kerbein interviews two people who were arrested that day: Jesse (who only gave his first name), and Tony Del Monte.
The “Santa Rosa Seven”
were arrested, some involved with Occupy Santa Rosa, some involved with the other affinity groups in solidarity that day. Jesse calls it “getting their feet wet.”
We call it throwing your body on the machine. Si Se Puede!