Troy Davis and The Legacy of Slavery

Posted on September 21st, 2011 | by A Worker |

I hear a lot of people — mostly white folks, but not exclusively — say that “Hey slavery ended 150 years ago.  It’s time to move on.”  While there is a little truth in this statement, there is also a profound misconception.  The racist legacy of slavery lives on in Georgia and all over this country.

Innocent people are executed all the time, (Wow did I just write that so casually) but the level of disregard for reasonable doubt that has been proven in Troy Davis’ case is unconscionable. This could only happen in a former slave state like Georgia.  Racism is at the foundation of the “American” justice system.  This is crystal clear to me when I work in one of the prisons.  There are almost 7 times more black men locked up than white men in the US. This is part of the economics of racism, which is of course the legacy of slavery.

If we pull back to a wider view of society we can see another legacy of slavery that profoundly affects the economy of all working people. The eight states — Georgia is one — with the lowest union density –less than 4.9% — are former slave states.  These states drag down the wages and conditions of all workers because they allow the bosses to move production and jobs to them to break unions or fend off the threat of unionization, and thereby help to create the economic conditions that cause the incarceration of so many black men

To put it simply, racism and the legacy of slavery makes conditions for all workers in the US worse.  So rather than forget slavery we need to remember it, and whether they murder Troy Davis tonight or not, we need to wake up tomorrow ready to fight the economics of racism.  We need to fight for Troy and anyone else who has been wrongly convicted by a justice system that dishes out unequal treatment because of class or race.

We Are Troy Davis!

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