Russell Simmonds Fights the (Prison-industrial complex) Power
Rap pioneer Russell Simmonds chatted candidly about his experiences growing up in one of New York’s worst drug ghettoes in Queens, last week, admitting the only reason he didn’t end up with a lengthy jail sentence like most of his peers was because he was lucky enough to escape arrest.
“I used every drug there is, back in the day, but it didn’t make me a bad person: it just made me a sad person, a diseased person. It didn’t make me a criminal,” the producer of acclaimed new War on Drugs documentary The House I Live told the Observer.
“(President Obama) needs to realise how the prison-industrial complex is robbing us – robbing us of money that we could be putting into education and sorting out the community and jobs and infrastructure.” (Observer: http://bit.ly/10pPh08 )
He also referenced an open letter he’s written to similarly lucky former cocaine user President Obama in the same article in which he warns of the ‘elephant in the room’ in modern America- poverty.
“Of all Americans, the poor are not just the real victims of this recession; they are the victims of a thirty year campaign of smear and neglect, to strengthen the rich on the backs of the rest of America in the dim and ultimately futile fantasy that the rich getting richer will somehow “trickle down”,” he writes (on RapGenius.com)
“Well, it hasn’t trickled down. While middle class wages have declined in the face of unparalleled wealth and technology creation since the 1980′s, the poverty rate in our country is the highest it has been in 51 years. That takes us to the early 1960′s. Shame on all of us who otherwise take pride in the achievements of this rich and powerful nation.”
“If you don’t put the poor at the heart of your policies for the next two years, with the interests aligned in favor of the rich, too many of the middle class will join them in their suffering.” (http://bit.ly/10pPh0e )
In the same issue of the Observer, the Wire creator David Simon urged Americans to practice jury nullification to neutralize drug laws, advising people to always vote not guilty when judging non-violent people fighting drugs charges.
“If I am confronted with jury duty on a case where there’s a drug violation and no overt act of violence, I’m not convicting. If it’s not a violent offender, I’m not sending them to prison,” he said. (http://bit.ly/YKKpEz )
(David Simon; why not just say ‘If we kill the poor we’re going to be a lot better off’. Because that’s what the drugs war has become . . .”)
Jonty Skrufff: https://twitter.com/djjontyskrufff