The role of Gangs/Hoods

Domhnall donaloc at peterquinn.com
Wed Apr 10 03:24:55 MDT 2002


Once again, I think Red Action is spot on. Gangs (or Lumpen Proletariat
elements) stem from our society as a result of oppression and subjection
(whether by capitalism or imperialism). As such, they are collateral damage
our communities suffer both in terms of their own ruined lives and those
others who they, in turn, inflict suffering on.

RA: "Secondly, much like their employers, the police role in working class
communities such
as it is, has been re-defined as one of de facto containment. Finally, when
the real working class counterpoise their inter­ests in an organised fashion
(most visibly in Dublin) to those who are feeding on their children, the
state rushes quite brazenly in on the side of THEIR allies. In such
circumstances to confront or even execute dealers as the IRA have done on
occasion is 'not out of reverence for the law' but the opposite. Above all,
for any progressive movement to continue its advance within a working class
neighbourhood it will prove necessary 'to get rid of that gang'. Get rid not
merely as a by-product, but as an end in itself. Given the stakes, not
taking sides is not an option."

I think that the important lesson learnt is that violence against Hoods is
only a short-term solution - in effect, it's a rearguard action - there'll
always be more of them to fill the boots. That a wider transition of our
society into one where social problems don't arise (or at least are not
consequent to the whole system) is necessary. The moves towards developing
Community Restorative Justice schemes in various areas is also something
very worthwhile as it really empowers the community - this is where local
communities call forth those who are responsible for activities deemed
'anti-social' for public 'trials' and the community decides the sentence.
However, this needs to be backed up with a legal system which respects CRJ
as a mainstream form of Justice - the current legislation in the North
hardly mentions the schemes - never mind that in the twenty-six counties. So
it is hard to get these things up and running without significant 'back-up'.

Hoods are a notorious source of information for the Cops. They get in
trouble and get the threat of jail so they pick up a little information on
the people the cops are really interested in. That's how the cops can get
information from certain areas - aside from Touts (Informers). In return,
the cops can 'tip off' the Hoods should anything untoward be about to
happen - that's a usual one. The other thing about Hoods is that they are
easily recruited to fascist or reactionary groups.

Finally, I do see a role for a working class party to recruit potential
gang-members to 'upstanding' activism as opposed to drug dealing or
burglaries or joy-riding. Some of our best and most dedicated people I know
would have been on the 'fringe' but were attracted to the image of the
movement. I guess you won't see too many Palestinian gangs if their
liberation forces survive through this current struggle. But to try to
incorporate 'gangs' per se would be tricky and would have significant risks
associated.
Domhnall.



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