Democrats predict increase in police, jail time in response to deadly Chicago violence
In what is set to be a record year of deadly violence in Chicago, the third largest city in the United States, 104 people were shot dead on the weekend of July 4, Independence Day, 19 dead, according to local media.
The days leading up to the holiday weekend saw horrific violence, including a one-month-old baby shot in the head while sitting in his car seat, a nine-year-old girl shot in the head while ‘she was sitting in a car and -A one year old girl was shot in the arm while she was at home.
On July 1, Max Solomon Lewis, 20, an economics and computer science student at the University of Chicago, was shot in the neck while sitting in a raised car on the West Side. He died three days later.
The whole month of June saw horrific levels of gun violence. In the last weekend of the month alone, 10 people were shot dead and 65 others were injured. Chicago has averaged about one mass shooting per week since 2019, according to public radio station WBEZ.
Midway through 2021, highway shootings in the Chicago area reached the total number for all of 2020.
Last month, “Good Kids-Mad City” marched to City Hall with a group of 30 young people to protest the city government’s lack of action. Protesters called on the city to label the outbreak of gun violence a public health crisis and declare a state of emergency.
Democratic leaders have responded to the rise in gun violence by demanding that the administration of Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot carry out a crackdown. Different branches of local government accuse each other of being insufficiently aggressive in making arrests and imposing long prison terms.
Lightfoot appealed for “a sense of federal urgency” to President Joe Biden during his visit to Illinois last week. Lightfoot assured media outlets that federal aid would arrive soon, in the form of a federal “strike force.”
She told the Hours of the sun that Chicago’s “specific needs” required discussions with federal law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the US Marshals Service. Lightfoot’s efforts to bolster Chicago police operations with federal law enforcement agencies began last year under President Trump and are expanding under Biden.
In mid-June, an online webinar was hosted by the United States Conference of Mayors. The mayors of Austin (Steve Adler), Houston (Sylvester Turner), Chicago (Lightfoot), Savannah (Van Johnson) and San Jose (Sam Liccardo) have joined together to call for increased federal intervention. A week later, President Biden, speaking from the White House, announced new executive and legislative measures to deal with what he called a “crime wave” and “gun violence epidemic” in American cities.
Ahead of the July 4 bank holiday weekend, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown was questioned for six hours by members of city council about police plans for the weekend. Last year, following mass protests against police violence accompanied by looting, Brown announced a plan to preemptively arrest young people before the holidays.
Brown appeared on CNN to brag about the city’s “progress” in ending violent foot chases after police shot dead Adam Toledo, 13, and Anthony Alvarez, 22, in a nighttime chase in March. latest.
At a recent city council meeting, Brown blamed modest changes at the state level, including the elimination of the cash bond, for the increase in shootings. He also complained that Cook County judges were handing down lenient sentences.
The Cook County State Attorney’s Office responded to the accusations with equally reactionary rhetoric, accusing police of being slow to make arrests. State Attorney Kim Foxx tweeted, “Pointing fingers instead of speaking honestly about the violence in our city does not help provide solutions that make our communities safer. It starts with apprehending those who pull the trigger; police must make an arrest before a case reaches the door of the courthouse.
Far South Side Alderman Anthony Beale has called for National Guard troops to be deployed to protect the wealthiest area of town so that local police can return to occupy the slums. He said: “We need to call in the National Guard to secure the perimeter of the city center and work with the police to free more officers from the city center to return to the communities, where we can help flood the communities. where the resources were taken out of.
Chicago City Council itself is populated by criminals. Alderman Carrie Austin, the second-longest serving head of department, is just the latest elected official to be arrested and charged with bribery. Earlier this year, Patrick Daley Thompson was named in a seven-count indictment for filing false income tax returns and lying to insurance officials for approximately $ 219,000 in loans and other payments he had received.
In January 2019, the city’s longest-serving alderman, Ed Burke, was arrested and charged with attempted extortion. During the investigation, Burke, a former Chicago cop, was ordered to remove 23 handguns and rifles from his city hall and neighborhood offices and turn them over to the US Marshals. He is currently awaiting trial on federal racketeering charges.
None of this comes as a surprise, given the Democratic Party’s right-wing record, exemplified by both Biden and Lightfoot. Lori Lightfoot was the head of the Chicago Police Board, the Chicago Police Department Office of Professional Standards, and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, where she represented the CPD in legal proceedings against it.
Biden, then a United States Senator, was the architect of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Enforcement Act, also known as the Biden Crime Act. It established mandatory sentences, which contributed to an explosion in the incarceration rate for the working poor and for minorities and young people. In the United States, in 2020, more than 2.2 million people were locked in state, federal and local prisons.
While calls from elected officials to deploy National Guard troops to Chicago have taken on a somewhat routine character over the years, the social crisis has intensified dramatically with the COVID-19 pandemic. Workers and young people must take the threat seriously and organize political opposition to the bipartisan policy of police repression.
The pandemic has brought malignant social inequalities to crisis levels in cities across the United States, and opposition to the intolerable conditions is growing, most clearly evidenced by the strikes now taking place in major industries. Striking Volvo Trucks workers in Virginia were joined by their siblings in Ghent, Belgium, who carried out a savage walkout last week. Hundreds of Frito-Lay workers have left Kansas City, and 2,500 Cook County health and janitorial workers are now in the second week of a strike against county-imposed operating conditions, led by the President of the Democratic Party Toni Preckwinkle.
Biden, Lightfoot and other mayors from the two big parties speak of a political power that anticipates and fears growing political radicalization and social opposition to the exploitation and misery of the majority of the population in the hands of a class capitalist who gets richer from month to month. .
Biparty politics in every city and state in the United States is to strengthen the police, the state’s frontline tool of repression, in the name of the interests of the capitalist class. Through its representatives in the Democratic Party, the ruling class insists on a social policy totally hostile to the most basic interests of the vast majority of the population of Chicago, battered by decades of low wages, slashed services and debt. growing household.
Strikes by industrial and healthcare workers, and the memory of protests against police violence last year, terrify the well-to-do and upper-middle classes. Instead of providing any form of social relief, Democrats are promoting a sectarian racist policy aimed at confusing and dividing the massive and powerful multiracial and multiethnic working class against itself.
There are two Chicago, just like there are two cities in every big city: one for the rich and one for everyone else. A report by the University of Illinois at the Great Cities Institute of Chicago analyzing data from the 2017 American Community Survey found that about 45% of young black men in Chicago, aged 20 to 24, were neither working nor working. did not attend school. Almost 20 percent of Latino men in the same age group were neither working nor attending school in the same year.
The divestment and abandonment of the working class and poor neighborhoods of southern and western Chicago has created the social distress that fuels the beggar-thy-neighbor mentality and the lack of hope for a better future that fuels gang activity and recruiting.
The appalling social conditions in Chicago are a direct result of decades of Democratic Party rule in the service of the financial aristocracy. The working class must name its real enemy, the capitalist class, represented by the two ruling parties.
The strikers at Volvo, Frito-Lay and Stroger Hospital point to the solution to violence, unemployment and mass inequalities: it must come through the united struggle of the working class for socialism. Billions must be taken from banks and businesses. Resources must be diverted from the military and police to provide jobs, health care and education to unemployed working class youth.