With last week’s heat wave came a wave of violence and death. In San Jose, on the night of August 17, three teenagers were jumped while they were standing near their car. Two of them were stabbed. On August 19th, a 16 year-old boy from Richmond was shot and killed while he waited for a family member to pick him up at a bus stop. On August 20th, three people were shot in San Francisco within a 24-hour period. And on August 26th, a 13 year-old boy was shot and killed while walking to school in East Oakland. Today Oakland has the 3rd highest crime rate in the country, while Richmond has the 14th highest.
The Oakland Police Officers Association issued a statement designed to show the need for more police. They say that since the layoff of 80 police officers on July 13th crime has increased by nine percent. They want people to vote for a $360 per year parcel tax which would make the population pay for more police.
But no one is looking at the biggest crime being committed – the violence of the system. Look at the statistics – California’s unemployment is at 12 percent. There are 880,000 workers in California who have been unemployed for over a year. What do you call it when people are thrown out of a job? Nationwide, a million people have faced foreclosure on their homes this year. What do you call it when people are kicked out of their homes because they can’t pay a scam mortgage to one of the corrupt banks? And on top of it 49 million U.S. households struggle to have enough to eat daily. What do you call it when children go starving at night?
Look at what has happened to peoples’ resources and opportunities in the last few years since the economic crisis began. The government’s budget cuts have taken money away from children’s education. Summer school has been cut. Music programs, sports programs, all have been cut. What do you call that?
They have taken money from programs that help the elderly. In-home care programs, health care programs, and nursing homes for the poor have all been cut. So what do you call it when you take the basic things away from elderly people?
These attacks are not happening to everyone. Some people are getting rich. Corporate profits in the United States have increased by 37 percent this year, or $72 billion dollars. For example, Chevron based in San Ramon has made $5 billion in profits so far this year – triple what it made last year. How is it possible that these companies are making so much money? Check the business page of any paper. The say it straight out – by laying off workers, cutting costs, and making those workers with jobs work harder.
This is an attack on people’s lives. Basically what the politicians are saying is that you have no future. Your education is being taken from you. You cannot improve your situation that way. You will not have a job. And any support system for health care or unemployment will be cut. You are worth nothing to us now that we’ve extracted incredible wealth from your work. If this isn’t violence, what is?
Is it any wonder people are more desperate than ever? There is more violence on the streets. But this is just a reflection of the real violence of their system, a system that puts our lives under attack and steals the future from young people. And for what? The profits of a small handful of wealthy companies and their investors. We shouldn’t tolerate a system which is committing violence against us every second of every day.