Modern Implications of the 13th Amendment Slavery Clause Exception


What impact do you think the brutality of police has on black people and its culture? Also: How does this affect people of other races that have also experienced police brutality?

Yohanan EliYah:

I think the brutality of police on black people is somewhat unique, because it is tied directly to slave catching, and putting down slave revolts in America for the last 300+ years. With such a long and negative history, I think it is impossible for any sane black person to have a positive association with the relationship. If you know American history, and you are familiar with the ridiculous litany of race based legislation that went on and on for hundreds of years, then you must know that it was up to the police of those times to enforce those laws, just like the police of today enforce the drug laws and execute the “war on crime”. Maryland Segregation Policy, 1619–black social exclusion, recommended, Maryland’s Exclusion Law,1638–exclusion of blacks from all people activity, except sports and entertainment, Virginia Fugitive Law, 1642–“R” branded on face of runaways, Maryland Marriage Law, 1664–first anti-interracial marriage statute, Slavery Law, 1665– exclusion of blacks from benefits afforded whites, British Plantation Act, 1667–code of conduct for slaves, slaveholders, Carolina Trade Law, 1686–barred blacks from all trades, Virginia Marriage Law, 1691–prohibited white women from marrying black men, Massachusetts Anti-Miscegenation Law, 1705–criminalization of interracial marriages, New York Runaway Law, 1705–execution for recaptured runaway slaves- on and on, up through today, where President Obama cut the crack sentencing laws from 100 to 1, down to 18 to 1. Isn’t that insane? There was never ANY scientific proof necessary to back up any claim that crack was “worse” than powder cocaine, but under Bill Clinton we saw 500,000 people taken to prisons, most of them there because of the drug war.


All the “tough on crime” policies passed during the Clinton Administration’s tenure resulted in the largest increases in federal and state prison inmates of any president in American history. When you tie in imprisonment to slavery, as proscribed by the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, then you can see how we have come full circle- and all of this is made possible by the police. This all stems from the 13th Amendment, and the exception clause found therein. The police are the primary enforcers of the exception in the 13th Amendment. That is their primary jobs.

FMM T ShirtThe people that the 13th Amendment was intended for were African people in America. That is why it is called a Reconstructive Amendment, to repair, or reconstruct the lives damaged by the inhumanity of slavery. The exception was placed into the 13th Amendment for the intention to specifically re-enslave those freed Africans. It was intended specifically for African people, and it has impacted mainly African people. Africans in America have been criminalized ever since their enslavement, to justify the inhumanity of slavery, and criminalized after their emancipation to re-enslave them through Black Code legislation. LEGISLATION. That is where our persecution is coming from, from the APPROPRIATE LEGISLATION of Section 2 of the 13th Amendment. It is from legislation that communities become “ghetto”. Every African community across America, every city in America represented by Africans, are being and have been slated for political deprivation, economic disadvantage, social/national disparagement, and white supremacist FB_IMG_1430026710846institutional discrimination.

FB_IMG_1430028772577Our solution for all of this is the same as it ever has been- Abolition.

The 13th Amendment to the Constitution declared that “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.” So mass incarceration and subsequent prison labor for slave wages is not “the New Jim Crow”, its just the same old slavery.


Yohanan EliYah:

As far as how other races are affected, I think everyone’s experience is uniquely tied to the brutality doled out to blacks as a baseline, and improving for others, as their skin tone lightens up from there. We saw the Indian Grandfather who was body slammed to the concrete Sureshbhai Patel, 57 years old. He was slammed onto the sidewalk in Madison, Alabama by Officer Eric Parker who was responding to a call about a ‘skinny black man’…so what does that tell you? Dash cams and bodycams are supposed to make things better, but the footage shows him being lifted, thrown down, and then he was unable to stand. The police said they approached him and he said to them ‘No English’. They started to search him, but he ‘pulled away’ – prompting them to use force. He was partially paralyzed despite two operations on his vertebrae. Had only been in the United States for two weeks. Latin Americans catching hell, immigrants from all over the world- as long as they are brown or black, they are subject to catching hell, but when the Cold War ended, America welcomed its former Communist Bloc brethren and sistren- no questions asked. America gave asylum to former Nazis. No incidents of racial profiling, no police violence senselessly unleashed upon any East German or Soviet nationals who snuck on to our shores… So I think the white response to police brutality is to point to the police state and its militarization as somehow brutalizing ALL of us, and to a degree that is true, as police in this country kill over 1,000 people every year. Most of them are white. Cops who kill white people are no more likely to serve time for this abuse than those who kill blacks. I think overall most people have good reason to be at least “concerned” about police powers, and union protections for them, which shield them from having to obey the laws of the land, which they are supposedly here to enforce.


The most common counter-argument to that is that we are making it a race problem, how do you respond to that?

Yohanan EliYah:

A person who takes the information that I presented, and rebuts with such a statement will have the burden of proof on his own shoulders. Who is “we”, specifically? Once we determine who is factually “making it a race problem”, then we can discuss the validity of such an allegation. Next, even if somehow it is proven that blacks are the “we”, and blacks are making things about race- then we still have to debate the facts and determine if there is anything really wrong with that? We are analyzing institutions- entire systems of government and commerce, which rely very heavily upon free/low wage labor, and a never ending stream of criminally under-educated poor people for it to prevail over actual truth, justice and freedom. There is no capitalism, without slavery or something very near to it. There is no American foreign policy, without the nuclear hegemony. Without that hegemony, nations are much more likely to rise up and stand for themselves. Geo-politically, at this point, we see the USA is engaged in over 130 wars, conflicts and coups all over the planet- 99% of it is completely illegal, but the US runs the world the same way as it does people of color and the poor here at home- with violence and legalized lawlessness. Destabilization of foreign currencies and governments, faiths and cultures abroad is not much different than destabilization of Black neighborhoods as far back as Greenwood (Tulsa), OK back in 1921- or 100 other “Black Wall Streets” scattered across America in the post Civil War era. The Moynihan Report “predicted” the collapse of the Black family 50 years ago, and then US policy, from Nixon’s war on crime and war on drugs, as well as social programs mandating that men and fathers stay away, in order for mothers with children in the home to be able to receive the benefits they needed to survive- all conspired to create the beginnings of the largest upsurge in incarceration in any nation’s history that has ever been recorded. Now we see every news outlet reports on statistics like 70% of Black children are born out of wedlock, or 70% of Black children are raised in a single parent home. Before Moynihan’s report, roughly 24% of Black children were born out of wedlock. These are systems- not individuals. This is chess, not checkers.


One thought on “Modern Implications of the 13th Amendment Slavery Clause Exception

  1. Pingback: Like a Game of Chess: The Prison Strike and Abolitionist Strategy

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