Monthly Archives: May 2014

Prison For Cecily

Rikers Island

Rikers Island Jail, New York City (Wikimedia Commons)

What Others Have Written

This is not the post I set out to write. I set out to write the story of Cecily McMillan’s arrest, trial and conviction. I found out that this story has been written by many others.1 See for example Funkhouser (The Nation), Swaine (The Guardian) and McKinley (New York Times). People are also trying to make sense of McMillan’s conviction. Macare (Truth Out) introduces the metaphor of “who breaks a butterfly upon the wheel?” and looks at the power disparity between the accused and the state. Zeese (interviewed on The Real News) names the conviction an “attack on dissent.” Finally, and importantly, Arnade (The Guardian) compares McMillan’s trial, with its publicity and lawyers, to the case of a homeless woman facing a similar charge with far fewer resources.

What I Will Write

McMillan faced to up to seven years in prison, and was sentenced to 90 days. In the days leading up to her sentencing on Monday, May 19, 2014, I became interested in what awaited her in prison. This is the post I will write.

I will present McMillan’s experience of her first few days in incarceration in her own words. I will then look at the stories of two other women like McMillan who have been incarcerated, released and made their experiences public. I will look briefly at the issue of solitary confinement, a real and dangerous threat, and then draw everything together in an attempt to predict what jail time might mean for McMillan. Continue reading

Korten: The United States as a Plutocracy

I ran across this video today by author David Korten. It is a few years old, but I think it does a very good job of explaining plutocracy in US government. Korten argues that the US was founded as a plutocracy. The Constitution was written to establish white men of the propertied class as the leaders of government. This was the norm until World War II. Following the war, the US entered a period of egalitarianism, until some time in the 1970’s when corporate powers became concerned that we were becoming too egalitarian. Over the past forty years, we have seen a return to the plutocratic norm of our history. (What Korten sees as a return to historic norms is what I see as plutocracy ascendant.) He concludes with actions to take to counter plutocracy with deep democracy.

What Is The TPP?

Leaders of TPP member states

Leaders of TPP member states

What is the TPP? The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is various things, including a secretive trade agreement with overtones of foreign policy that is stalled but not dead. The agreement is being hammered out among twelve Pacific Rim nations. From what is known about the agreement, it appears to be Corporatist in nature and likely to lead to US job loss like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) did before it. Continue reading