Venezuelan, Port of Spain, Trinidad, 1953
Better days are ahead. The days of the child musicians in tune with the parks. The days of the orbiting earth and other meetings like kisses. I say better days are ahead. Days with cigars and beautiful women. Days of brides like flowers. Better days will come. Days without hate or war. Days of moon and sun. The days fiery red candles will come for dinner. Happy days are coming. Seas and friends will come. The sunrays speak of the day. I mean the day of the next big star. They say better days are ahead. The dream day will come. The days of marvel are to come. Legitimate police. Days bright as fire that sound like thunder. Days of angels and guitars. Days of metal trumpets. Better days are ahead. Do not be discouraged. The days of paid debts and banquets of grapes will come. The days like circuses will come. The tamed lions and elephants and hyenas will come. The days of the peaceful jungle will come. A long trip of days like song. The vast Nile now a furrow. The days of liquid flames, of flying men, of galaxies, of women who will come as the night.
Vendrán días mejores. Días de músicos afinados de niños como parques. Días de Tierra en otra órbita y encuentros como besos. Digo que vendrán días mejores. Días de muchos cigarros y hermosas muchachas. Días de novias como flores. Días mejores vendrán. Días sin odios ni guerras. Días de luna y de sol. Días de encendidas velas rojas para la cena vendrán. Se acercan días alegres. Días de hombres mansos y mares amigos vienen. Hablo del día del rayo, hablo del día de la gran estrella que viene. Que vendrán días mejores digo. Los días soñados vendrán. De maravilla son los días que vienen. De gendarmes licenciados son. Días brillantes como fuego, sonoros como trueno son. Días de ángeles y guitarras. Días de metálicas trompetas. Vendrán días mejores. No te desanimes. Días de deudas pagadas y banquetes como uvas vendrán. Vendrán días de circo. De leones y elefantes y hienas domadas. Días de pacífica selva vendrán. De largos viajes son los días que canto. De anchurosos Nilos surcados. Días de llamas líquidas, de hombres que vuelan, de galaxias, de mujeres como noches vendrán.
Mass incarceration is not a solution to unemployment, nor is it a solution to the vast array of social problems that are hidden away in a rapidly growing network of prisons and jails. However, the great majority of people have been tricked into believing in the efficacy of imprisonment, even though the historical record clearly demonstrates that prisons do not work. Racism has undermined our ability to create a popular critical discourse to contest the ideological trickery that posits imprisonment as key to public safety. The focus of state policy is rapidly shifting from social welfare to social control.
Black, Latino, Native American, and many Asian youth are portrayed as the purveyors of violence, traffickers of drugs, and as envious of commodities that they have no right to possess. Young black and Latina women are represented as sexually promiscuous and as indiscriminately propagating babies and poverty. Criminality and deviance are racialized. Surveillance is thus focused on communities of color, immigrants, the unemployed, the undereducated, the homeless, and in general on those who have a diminishing claim to social resources. Their claim to social resources continues to diminish in large part because law enforcement and penal measures increasingly devour these resources. The prison industrial complex has thus created a vicious cycle of punishment which only further impoverishes those whose impoverishment is supposedly “solved” by imprisonment.
Therefore, as the emphasis of government policy shifts from social welfare to crime control, racism sinks more deeply into the economic and ideological structures of U.S. society. Meanwhile, conservative crusaders against affirmative action and bilingual education proclaim the end of racism, while their opponents suggest that racism’s remnants can be dispelled through dialogue and conversation. But conversations about “race relations” will hardly dismantle a prison industrial complex that thrives on and nourishes the racism hidden within the deep structures of our society.
The emergence of a U.S. prison industrial complex within a context of cascading conservatism marks a new historical moment, whose dangers are unprecedented. But so are its opportunities. Considering the impressive number of grassroots projects that continue to resist the expansion of the punishment industry, it ought to be possible to bring these efforts together to create radical and nationally visible movements that can legitimize anti-capitalist critiques of the prison industrial complex. It ought to be possible to build movements in defense of prisoners’ human rights and movements that persuasively argue that what we need is not new prisons, but new health care, housing, education, drug programs, jobs, and education. To safeguard a democratic future, it is possible and necessary to weave together the many and increasing strands of resistance to the prison industrial complex into a powerful movement for social transformation."