The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Slavery by Another Name—Today Still

May 20, 2024

In December, 10 people in Alabama state prisons sued the state, two cities, and a number of companies like McDonalds and Wendy’s for exploiting their labor. State prisons have forced thousands of people to work unpaid inside the prisons. Especially since 2017, the state has also denied thousands of people parole while also declaring them safe and reliable to work outside the prison walls for public and private employers. They have worked as landscapers, janitors, drivers, and even as teachers. They have worked in the governor’s mansion, the state capitol, and the state supreme court—more than 100 public sector employers. They have worked in factories, meatpackers, and food service—560 private employers. For $2 a day!

We are told that the practice of “leasing” convicted people to employers to work for them was abolished in the state almost a century ago. But these public and private exploiters save hundreds of millions of dollars each year by exploiting prison labor.