DIAFERIA PRESENTS HIS CIVIL RIGHTS PLATFORM
Joseph Diaferia, the Green Party’s candidate for Congress running in New York’s 16th District has presented a comprehensive civil rights platform. Calling the War on Terror a “war against people”, Diaferia is calling for a repeal of the USA PATRIOT and all other laws aimed at “fighting terrorism.” Diaferia is also calling for a federal ban on cruel and unusual punishment—to wit, the death penalty and he would like to see federal prohibitions against “three strikes laws”.
Diaferia, a 51 year old educator from Yonkers, is calling for the full exposure and dismantlement of America’s carceral enterprise known as the Prison Industrial Complex, arguing that it is merely a subtle and disingenuous continuation of the Jim Crow Era. Diaferia charges that crime and incarceration serve two mutually complementary functions—to wit, profit and social control.
Diaferia commented, “Jim Crow is still very much with us; it has been re-configured and it is carried out much more insidiously than previously, but the policies, albeit in different form, remain in place and the ends certainly remain the same. The Nixon Era war on drugs and the Reagan Era war on crime have devolved into a collective effort to target inner-city Black and Hispanic youth for arrest and incarceration in disproportionate numbers. Once in prison they are forced—in many cases—to work for private companies, or in other jobs that might otherwise have gone to salaried workers.” Diaferia continued, “As to the sources of the drugs upon which our government has declared war, it is a matter of congressional record that the US military and CIA have long been involved in the trafficking of narcotics. Thus, the same government that is purportedly waging war against drugs, and urging youngsters to ‘just say no’, is itself supplying drugs, hence the means by which generations of young Blacks and Hispanics have been criminalized. Add to this the not-so-newly inaugurated War on Terror, and now there are two sinister processes supplying an ever-booming prison industry”.
Citing an “intrinsic link between the capitalist system and racism”, Diaferia envisages an America in which of all forms of discrimination in housing, jobs, education, and health care have been eliminated: “Racism is an instrument of classism. The capitalist class could not retain its power if not for its ability to divide the working class against itself and convince a large component of the working class that it has more in common with its oppressor than with other workers. They have accomplished this by creating a culture of fear and associating Black and Hispanic youth with violent crime, and of course the mainstream media have made this deception possible. Unfortunately, over the past several decades the heroic voices of those who have understood classism have been silenced, including the voice of our greatest moral leader, Dr. Martin Luther King.” Diaferia added, “It will require struggle and great sacrifices, but an end to all forms of discrimination will be possible when our national priorities change and when new and independent voices gain access to our national dialogue.”
The following is a preliminary listing of Joseph Diaferia’s civil rights platform:
1.) An end to police brutality and all forms of harassment against people of color and ethnic minorities.
2.) The expansion of affirmative action, civil rights, and anti-discrimination laws.
3.) Reparations from the federal government for its role in the slave trade and the genocide of Native American nations.
4.) An end to all efforts to declare English an official language.
5.) Strict legal consequences for the police practice of racial profiling and the targeting of Arabs, Asians and Muslims since September 11.
6.) The exclusion of the military from domestic law enforcement, and the dismantlement of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
7.) The dismantlement of the FBI.
8.) An end to all forms of censorship both legislative and institutional.
9.) An end to the militarization of the U.S./Mexican border.
10.) The rights of all immigrants to education, health care, and full civil and legal rights, and unconditional amnesty for all undocumented people.
11.) An end to the use of "secret evidence" in deportation hearings, and full due process in U.S. courts for all non-citizens on U.S. territory or in U.S. custody.
12.) An end to police and federal raids in areas where immigrants are concentrated.
13.) Prosecution of the criminal activities of corrupt politicians, corporate managers and speculators, and other privileged individuals who are found to be responsible for pilfering the public trough, defiling the environment, and marketing unsafe products..
14.) The expansion of community release programs and other alternatives to prisons, and for a moratorium on new prison construction.
15.) Support services for prisoners and prisoners’ families to reduce ostracism, maintain family ties, and provide for non-degrading visitation policies.
16.) Immediate closure of all “Supermax” prisons and abolition of “prisons for profit”.
17.) The abolition of the use of prison labor to perform state and private sector services.
18.) The right of prisoners to organize cooperative groups to negotiate for better living conditions.
19.) The establishment of democratically elected oversight councils, with the power to fire police and to arrest, detain, and indict police officers who abuse people or who commit any violation of civil rights laws.
20.) The creation of crisis centers and shelters for victims of domestic violence, spousal and child abuse, and rape and incest.
21.) Community-based public training for gun owners.
22.) The decriminalization of drug use and the regulation of narcotics by doctors through the use of prescriptions rather than by the criminal justice system.
23.) Full legalization of marijuana
24.) The redirection of funds spent on the "war on drugs" to comprehensive community-based, client-controlled rehabilitation programs.
25.) An end to lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBTQ) restrictions in law and the work place, and the repeal of all sodomy laws, and the legalization of same-sex marriage.
26.) The decriminalization of prostitution.
27.) A ban on all involuntary sterilizations.
28.) The right every woman to decide when, and how and if, to have children.
29.) A law requiring 16 months paid leave to be shared by new parents or in its entirety by a single parent.
30.) Full federal funding of high-quality child care facilities.
31.) Full enforcement of all sections of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
32.) Prohibitions against efforts by the federal government to limit access to SSDI (Supplemental Security Disability Income Insurance) by applying selective and idiosyncratic definitions of a disability.
Diaferia has indicated that more items are likely to be added to his platform before the November 6th election. His future proposals will likely include, among others, a call for a successor agency to the FBI whose investigative scope would be limited to hate crimes and civil rights matters.