California’s state constitution says, “Slavery is prohibited. Involuntary servitude is prohibited except to punish crime.” ACA8 proposes to change the language to read, “Slavery and involuntary servitude are prohibited.”
Involuntary servitude is essentially slavery by another name, and that’s why it was included in the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution in 1865: as a compromise to get Southern legislators to pass it while creating a loophole that enabled Southern states to continue the practice of forced labor of Black Americans after the Civil war. By letting it remain in California’s constitution today, we are enabling a back-door loophole that allows slavery by calling it something else. Slavery—by any name—is wrong and should have no place in California.
Not at all. Three states have already voted to abolish slavery and involuntary servitude—Colorado, Utah, and Nebraska—and in all three cases the initiative had wide bipartisan support and was placed on the ballot by a unanimous vote of legislators, regardless of party.
Yes. Some states, like California, abolish slavery only, or have other language that would need to be replaced with full abolition. Some states make no mention of slavery or involuntary servitude, which makes the 13th Amendment’s slavery exception the law of the land. The Abolish Slavery National Network has more information here.