Securing Resources for Our Community to Be Safe
In the latter half of the 20th century, companies closed down factories in American cities and moved them to places where they could pay workers less. America’s prohibition on many recreational drugs and the boarding up of factories supercharged the drug economy which for many in poor communities had come to be seen as one of the few viable paths to a middle class standard of living. These illegal economies encourage violence as people try to protect their merchandise and their lives. Add to that a racist ‘war on drugs’ that has ripped people from our communities and the misery becomes clearer.
Poverty and the inequality of both wealth and resources are strongly correlated with violence. And when violence happens, it hurts communities in ways that make it so hard to reestablish a sense of safety. It makes children less able to participate well in school and adults less invested in their neighborhoods. It makes people avoid public spaces, makes families more likely to move and school teachers less likely to stay in their districts. It hurts local business and local economies. And so the cycle of violence and inequality just continues.
But we could disrupt this cycle
We could have massive jobs programs in the communities hardest hit by gun violence that pay livable wages and teach people durable skills they can take with them for their entire lives. We could have home repair programs that both serve our community, especially the elderly and those with few means, and hire people from the neighborhood. Our community could invest deeply in the community institutions which make us safe. We could invest in resources like well-funded libraries and recreation centers. Our libraries could be open six days per week, year-round. Young people could have well-maintained parks and playgrounds where they can play. We could have people with street credibility who are trained in de-escalation across the city to interrupt cycles of violence.
Our communities have been devastated by divestment. We need the resources to rebuild them. Just like there was a Marshal Plan after World War 2 to rebuild nations devastated by war, our communities need massive investment to rebuild themselves.
The money is out there, but it’s hoarded in elite hands. And if we’re being honest that’s how things got so bad in the first place. So they could pay less taxes, those with money lobbied the government to cut social spending and engage in so called ‘austerity’ policies that forced budget cuts in essential services at the city, state and federal levels. It’s time to turn things around.
Amistad Movement Power supports measures to tax the rich. We support overturning the Pennsylvania’s uniformity clause so we can tax the wealthy at a higher rate. We support wealth taxes at the municipal level that tax holdings in the stock market. We support higher taxes for the wealthy and the big corporations at the federal level. Additionally, we support divesting from police and prisons to reinvest in our neighborhoods.
Ending poverty and inequality means ending the cycle of violence. To heal our communities we must end the staggering inequality in our society by reallocating wealth to meet human needs.