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Massachusetts Prisoners' Political Action Committee Floundering

Massachusetts prisoners were set back in their electoral efforts when the formation of a political action committee (PAC) inside the walls of the Massachusetts Correctional Institution was banned by executive order of Republican Governor Paul Cellucci. Guards confiscated the prisoners' political materials and put the prisoners in solitary confinement. Prison administrators and politicians alike fear that prisoner political empowerment will spell doom for the house of cards they have constructed. Not only do they fear the potential dismantling of the nation's prison systems but also the total collapse of the American capitalist system. Such hysterics, unfortunately, are totally unfounded.

PLN has previously reported on the organizational efforts by the Massachusetts Prisoners Association PAC. Unhappy with that state's laws which allow prisoners to vote, Cellucci has also proposed an amendment to Massachusetts' constitution that would disenfranchise prisoners.

Prison activists are fighting Cellucci's initiative. No matter what happens, prisoners will likely remain outside the political system, says Dave Elvin, a prisoners' rights activist who represented the prisoners' PAC on the outside. The $243 collected by the PAC languishes in a bank account and its prisoner founders are laying low. "Nobody was interested in us, not even progressives," Mr. Elvin said.

In the final analysis, there is little variance in the reactionary aspects between tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum candidates. Perhaps the rightward shift of the entire American political process is the culprit that lies behind the refusal of the majority of voting-age Americans to participate in the electoral charades. Maybe in that respect prisoners should stick with the majority and ask themselves what value there really is in fighting for the right to vote when there is nobody to vote for.

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