Street Gangs Created by War on Drugs
Retired undercover cop Neill Franklin chatted to Vice Magazine this week about his experiences in the Baltimore ghettoes highlighted by the Wire and revealed that the city’s notoriously violent street gangs emerged only after the war on drugs was launched.
Recalling how street gangs in the city expanded from ‘six organizations into 600’ as children of the original dealers fought each other for turf as their parents were jailed, he suggested President Nixon’s motive for launching the drugs war was to outlaw civil rights campaigners and anti-war protestors.
“You can’t throw people in prison for protesting because of freedom of speech, and you can’t throw people in prison for being black,” he noted, “But you can always criminalize what they do.” (Vice Magazine)
The complexities of street gangs were also discussed in detail by movie director Walter Hill last week, in an interview with Esquire Magazine in which he analysed the enduring success of his cult film the Warriors, which depicted street gangs fighting their way across New York in the late 70s.
“It didn’t present the gang and gang structure as a social problem. It presented it as simply a fact, the way things are, and not necessarily negative. It presented them from their point of view,” he explained.
“This was a movie that accepted their values and essentially understood that a street gang was a defensive organization rather than an offensive one. It didn’t preach to them about middle-class values,” he added. (Esquire)
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