American Noir: Arizona anti-Immigrant Law penned by Private Prison Industry, says NPR

NPR reports that Arizona’s fascist immigration law was cooked up and in large part written by the private prison industry in the state, which saw dollar signs every time they glimpsed a Latina maid or Latino garage mechanic whose papers might not be in order. I hope Latino voters keep in mind that the Republican Party was a willing accomplice.

If the Arizona story sounds like a hard-boiled noir detective novel, it is no accident. Dashiell Hammett’s dark view of human nature was formed in the teens of the last century when he worked as a Pinkerton (we would now say private security guard). He quit when he was offered $5000 to murder union leader Frank Little. He refused, but Little was nevertheless executed, probably by masked Pinkerton agents, in Butte Montana a little later.

Noir is a quintessential American art form precisely because it exposes the paradox at the heart of American life, that a country founded on individual liberty has had it chipped away by unscrupulous and predatory corporations (now elevated by SCOTUS to our co-citizens!) (Not all companies are unscrupulous and predatory, but plenty are.)

Private corporations policing workers, killing union organizers, and profiting from depriving people of their liberty, have been part of the warp and woof of the United States all along. A massive scam to lock up immigrants for profit is just one more such scheme.

That American workers can so easily be pitted against one another on stupid ethnic grounds helps explain why we put up with all these shenanigans, unlike the French workers, who if they cannot stop the elite from poaching on their rights, can at least make it costly to try. The private prison executives must have laughed their asses off at the way the country swung around to support their new “law.”

It reminds me of the allegations against Dick Cheney’s private prisons in Texas, which were indicted by a grand jury for abusive practices. Cheney seems to have liked prisons. He managed to lock up 26,000 Iraqis in American military compounds, and had his cronies like Ahmad Chalabi lock up another 25,000. You wonder how many were “arrested” by the latter-day Pinkertons, the trigger-happy Blackwater agents. Prisons for personal profit– why it is an American way of life that can now be exported…

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Responses | Print |

2 Responses

  1. Thanks for saying these things. The good fight is so hard, as it always is. The people are their worst enemies. I use the metaphor of a slave ship. The rowers are chained and being whipped, but their chief concern is the slave next to them may not be rowing as hard as they are, not that they themselves are chained and whipped.

  2. A slave ship is a good metaphor. This article horrified me, because I predicted 20 years ago that privatized prison labor might be used to bring back race-based slavery in the United States.

    Note that while the Tea Partiers assume that illegals will be quickly shipped back to Mexico once caught, this article shows the private prisons have a vested interest in caging them for as long as possible. If they can get the right to use them for forced labor, then in effect the prison corporations will be stealing the very same jobs that we accuse the illegals of stealing. Difference: illegals make free-market deals with small businessmen and help to lower their bottom line, while the prison corporations will make bulk deliveries to big corporations. You might remember how it worked with I. G. Farben in Schindler’s List.

    At which point, the prison corps will be making so much money that they will throw their lobbying money into the creation of new crimes, both in the state legislature and in state referendums. Now what is more likely to be made a prison offence – selling subprime mortgages, or playing loud rap music?

    The more colored folks you find an excuse to turn into prison slave labor, the fewer who can vote. The more outrageous the laws that can be passed against them. If they take up arms against this obvious white conspiracy, then we will need concentration camps, won’t we?

Comments are closed.