SINCE 1970, we have seen a major shift in how our society is operated. This shift has changed both the design of our economy and the ways that the government manages inequality & poverty. It's had clear results: profit for some, devastation and criminalization for others, and a lot of people stuck in the middle:

Some call it a shift from the "WELFARE STATE" to a "PRISON STATE":

The WELFARE STATE ('well'-fare) was about investing in people's basic daily needs, or 'welfare,' in order to soften the hardships & dangers that grow out of racial and economic inequality. It wasn't to end poverty or racism, in fact it actually maintained them, acting more as an "insurance" for the rich & the systems of privilege; the Welfare State believed it was safer to guarantee people's welfare than it was to have them suffer and revolt.

• By contrast, today's Prison State believes that suffering & inequality are okay, as long as there is enough force around to keep people from revolting. Instead of investing in 'social welfare,' the Prison State invests in 'wealth,' and leaves the dangers of suffering to police, prisons, jails & surveillance.

The result is a PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX that costs much more than social welfare...

...which feeds off, preserves & magnifies racism & poverty;

...which shifts social energies from 'softening' the dangers of inequality to merely locking them down, while guaranteeing profits for the wealthy;

...which changes our understanding of suffering, safety, of inequality and poverty, of the differences between us and our power to make real change;

...which means down-sizing our jobs, destroying our housing, health care & education, leaving us with a growing puzzle of agencies, departments and bureaus that criminalize instead of help, watch us instead of watch out for us, and move us into debt, poverty, institutions, prisons & jails...

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