Chicago’s Violence Is Fueled by Neoliberalism

More than 70 Chicago residents were shot — and at least 14 killed — during the first weekend of August as a wave of violence gripped parts of the city’s South and West Sides. Chicago’s crime rate is often sensationalized — Chicago is not, as it is often depicted, the most violent city in the country, or even the second or third most violent city in the country — but for those who live here, our city’s violence is a revolving tragedy. Every week brings fresh stories of anguish and heartbreak, followed by the same pointless statements of politicians who have done nothing of substance to address the problem. And every week, parents on the South and West Sides, whose heartbreak and fears for their children should propel a city to action, are met with indifference, vilification and claims that they and their neighbors should fix the problem themselves.

At an August 6 press conference at which Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel addressed last weekend’s violence, Emanuel at times appeared emotional, but he also lashed out at the very communities most affected by the violence by implicating them in their own suffering. “Don’t think for a moment people don’t know who in the neighborhood was responsible,” Emanuel told reporters. Emanuel then urged community members to prove that their neighborhoods have a moral center by turning the shooters in. Ironically, as Emanuel insisted the community should solve these crimes on the city’s behalf, the man tasked with seeing those crimes solved stood beside him. Police superintendent Eddie Johnson espoused similar sentiments, and admonished community members, insisting “you all know who these individuals are” — as though there were a vast conspiracy among entire neighborhoods to maintain their own suffering.

It was a striking moment — a police superintendent and a mayor who’s been at the helm of a major city for years, admonishing the…

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