Tiffany Cabán’s Candidacy For District Attorney Threatens To Upset Queens Mass Incarceration Exploitation Machine

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["Speaking Truth To Empower"]
Political forces are trying to stop Tiffany Cabán from becoming the next Queens District Attorney...
Photo: YouTube screenshot

Cabán’s campaign has some Whites worried about the dismantling of Queens incarceration machine...

Tiffany Cabán’s grassroots campaign in the Democratic primary race for Queens District Attorney has her poised to deliver a staggering blow to the borough’s racist mass incarceration criminalization machine.

If Cabán can maintain her lead, with some 3,000 votes still to be counted, it could greatly benefit the Black and Latino communities in Queens. Councilman Rory Lancman, told the Black Star News, before he dropped out of the Queens District Attorney race, that “Queens sends more people to Rikers Island for misdemeanor offences than any other borough.”

Cabán’s strong showing serves as yet another example that non-Whites are fed-up with the institutional racism that permeates this so-called justice system. Blacks, Latinos, and other minorities are demanding change by electing more radically progressive voices. Democratic Party leaders had better awaken to the fact that there is a real rising grassroots progressive wave—that threatens to drown wishy-washy Democrats.

Why is the Democratic Party, a party which extols progressivism, still seemingly oblivious to understanding that a radically different tide of change is trending now?

On Tuesday, Tiffany Cabán continued a development we’ve seen over the last few years of a political longshot coming out of nowhere to make a powerful statement at the polls. Cabán has not been declared the winner yet, as there are still votes to be counted. However, she holds a favorable lead over establishment candidate Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. The counting of the votes will reportedly be completed next week.

Cabán, unlike Katz, and Judge George Lasak, was not bankrolled by big-money donors. Still, she was able to compete with Katz and Lasak by getting smaller donations from regular working-class people. We’ve seen this formula lead to recent victory for candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose endorsement helped to propel Cabán.

If Cabán becomes the next Queens District Attorney, she will join other improbable political upstarts like Wesley Bell, the current St. Louis County Prosecutor, who ousted corrupt Michael Brown prosecutor Bob McCulloch; Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley who vanquished ten-term incumbent Mike Capuano; and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who beat ten-term incumbent Joe Crowley.

Tiffany Cabán’s apparent win has many freaking out. Some were freaking out even before Tuesday’s election.

After Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren endorsed Cabán, Queens Rep. Gregory Meeks made his displeasure known. “Warren and Sanders saw fit to endorse without even considering what African Americans thought,” said Meeks. “African American voters are tired of the patronizing and tired of the arrogance. If they want to be the president for all Americans, I suggest they speak with us before they decide to speak for us."

Meeks’ anger toward Sanders and Warren is interesting. Did he lash out because of a concern about what’s best for African-Americans? Or, is he upset Sanders and Warren endorsed someone different from himself? Why does Meeks think Katz would represent the interests of African-Americans, in Queens, better than Cabán?

Unfortunately, for Meeks his backing of Katz smells more like the sickening party politics patronage deal-making that citizens are fed-up with. Are we to believe Katz would’ve made the kinds of necessary changes needed in the criminal justice system in Queens that mass incarcerates Blacks and Latinos?

Rep. Meeks, who became the Queens Democratic chairman after Joe Crowley was defeated by Ocasio-Cortez, is now facing a backlash himself. Roots Action, a progressive group, has made clear their intent to unseat Meeks. They say he has been taking money from the real estate industry, for years—while turning his back on Blacks who have suffered massively from home foreclosures. Shaniyat Chowdhury, 27, a former Marine, and former Ocasio-Cortez staffer, is planning to run against Meeks in 2020.

Cabán’s probable victory is exasperating some in the New York press as well.

The New York Post ran a recent editorial saying, “Queens residents deserve some real alternative to Cabán.” The editorial complained that Cabán “has vowed to stop prosecutions for prostitution, pot possession and other ‘broken windows’ crimes, and to completely stop seeking cash bail.”

Most of these above so-called “crimes” have nothing to do with real criminality. Prostitution—in many cases—has to do with poverty and economics, which is made worse within any system where economic inequality reigns. Why is pot possession a crime? If one consumes pot—into one’s own body—how is that a crime? Ironically, many Democrats who defend a woman’s right to have an abortion, because it’s her body, hold a contrary position when the topic is about personal drug use—or someone selling their body to survive.

When the Post talks about “Queens residents” it’s clear enough they are not talking about the borough’s non-White residents. Apparently, democratic elections results don’t matter when certain people win.

The Post’s editorial echoed a tactic this is now being explored by some to stop Cabán in the general election: that Melinda Katz should ally “with voters the machine’s [Queens Democrats] been ignoring — including the county’s Republicans.” The Post is endorsing the idea Katz should run as a Republican because as their editorial said, “The current GOP candidate for DA has no hope.”

The Post seems to be wishing that Blacks, Latinos, and other minority Democrats, who supported Katz, will forget they are Democrats and vote for Katz, if she runs on the Republican ticket. Why are these people so against someone like Cabán becoming Queens District Attorney?

The truth is many of them want the criminalization of Blacks, and other minorities to continue—partly because of the economic benefits Whites would lose. Many clamoring for retention of the status quo know when low-level “crimes” are no longer prosecuted they will be out of jobs—and revenue—that are created and maintained by the criminalization of Blacks and Latinos. The “law and order” rhetoric politicians like to parrot, especially Republicans, was always about racial oppression and economic exploitation.

America’s prisons became the new plantation for African-Americans ever since White politicians started exploiting the 13th Amendment’s loophole. In Section 1, of the 13th Amendment it states: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

The key phrase is of course “except as a punishment for crime.” This phrase made it easy for racists to concoct criminalization laws, like the infamous Black Codes. These “laws” made it easy for politicians to incarcerate African-Americans in prison plantations—where they could then be economically exploited through mechanisms like the “Convict Lease System.”

The so-called “War on Drugs” was a modern manifestation of the criminalization of Black people, and our placement in prisons was about exploiting our labor. Whites have always benefitted from the criminalization and incarceration of Black America.

Let’s not forget this: the so-called prison pipeline produces employment for certain Whites—including those living in isolated rural communities. In some of these places, the local prison is often a primary employer. Also, besides receiving gainful employment off the suffering of Black people, these White communities drain Census dollars from the Black neighborhoods where these prisoners come from. Politicians are also able to boost their constituency by counting these prisoners.

For corporations, these prison plantations are an excellent source of cheap labor.

For example, let’s examine some of the findings in a February 24, 2019, Global Research article, entitled “The Prison Industry in the United States: Big Business or a New Form of Slavery?” The article makes this important observation: “At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion.”

The criminal justice system has always been used to economically exploit African-Americans. Many fighting against Tiffany Cabán want the criminalization of Blacks and Latinos to continue for these economic reasons.

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