Ronald Reagan was an “extreme racist” whose drug war pushed African-Americans back toward a new form of slavery, claims left-wing activist Noam Chomsky.
“This is a very racist society. I mean, it’s pretty shocking,” Chomsky, a long-time progressive hero, told GRITtv in an interview which aired Tuesday.
After being asked about the activism stemming from Ferguson, Missouri over the shooting death of Michael Brown, Chomsky, a retired MIT linguistics professor, laid out his theory of the progression of life for African-Americans after the end of slavery up to the present.
“What has happened in the last, roughly, 30 years, with regard to African-Americans, is actually very similar to what [Edward] Baptist describes [in his book “The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism“] in the late 19th-century,” Chomsky told host Laura Flanders.
Following the Civil War and Reconstruction, Chomsky said that states “threw mostly black males, but also women, into jail where they become a perfect labor force, much better than slaves.”
In the following decades, life for blacks improved somewhat with the rise of labor unions, Chomsky argued, before reverting back to what he sees as a new form of re-criminalization and re-enslavement.
“By the 1970s and 1980s it’s going back to criminalization of black life,” Chomsky said. “It’s called the drug war, which is a racist war.”
“Ronald Reagan was an extreme racist,” he continued.
“And the whole drug war, so-called, is decided from policing eventual up to eventual release from prison to make it impossible for the black male community, and more and more the women and more and more Hispanics, to be part of this society.”
“There have been about three or four decades in which African-Americans had a limited degree of freedom — not entirely, but at least some,” said Chomsky, adding that the mass of the African-American population “has been re-criminalized and incidentally also turned into a slave labor force, through prison labor, for example.”
“This is American history,” Chomsky claimed. “To break out of that is no small trick.”
“In fact if you take a look at the election…in many ways it’s the Civil War. The red states are the Confederacy. It extends a bit beyond, but that’s pretty much what it is.”