"It is easier to build a strong child than to repair a broken man." - Frederick Douglass

A Probable Connection to Poverty, Cartels, and Crime


Courtesy of Bill Dickinson(Flickr CC0)

Cartels, crime, and poverty. What could be the connection between these three things? To answer that question there must be attention brought to what happened in California last week. According to the LA times, a cartel caused some property damages and the police had to get involved. However it wasn’t just the police, it was the national guard and a few army soldiers as well. The Media outlet added: “Some 300 troops, along with 50 members of the national guard, were flown in to support 3,000 national guard troops and the 2,000-strong Tijuana police force that, according to the mayor, were already patrolling.” 

The cartel members told people there was a curfew in Tijuana and to stay inside their dwellings, unless they wanted to risk getting attacked. Why do things like this happen? Why does the cartel even exist in the first place? Situations like these prompt questions like those. Some of those questions can be answered.

Through said answers, people may be able to find an enlightening point of view. Many studies point toward a strong correlation between poverty and crime. So much so that some say poverty “breeds” crime. Theoretically, if a government forced a community into a specific area, then proceeded to not give that tight community resources and actively make the situation worse using a multitude of factors.

What would happen is that the community would turn to crime. If there are no job opportunities that make things worse. Place all that on top of systemic racism, patriarchy, the growth of inequality, and a multitude of other factors; these are the sorts of outcomes that occur. 

Courtesy of Aubrey Arcangel (Flickr CC0)

The question of where crime comes from isn’t some mystical query with no answer in sight. There is a multitude of factors, poverty being one of the biggest ones that cause it. It is a simple matter of desperation. Organized crime is what people go to when there are no options left. When the individualist  “bootstrap” narrative simply stops applying to their situation.

When they can’t sell their labor to anyone. The forsaken become criminals when society forgets that they exist. The state as an entity of class oppression maintains itself through violence, coercion, and manipulation. It makes sense as to why the local government sent soldiers in. Rather than address why there are even cartels in the first place, they use violence to silence the problem.

This sort of behavior is similarly seen in the American state’s response to left-wing protestors. In the Black Lives Matter protests which were largely peaceful, there was a disproportionate amount of state repression in response. According to Time, the vast majority of BLM protests — over 93% — have been peaceful. This data was published by a nonprofit that researches political violence and protests across the world.

The possibility of private property being in danger is the reason why such state violence is seen with these two polar opposite groups. One, a group of people peacefully protesting for liberation, and asking for the death and destruction of the community to stop. Another, a product of said death and destruction, and as a survival technique has come together to make money in the only way available. They even had the decency to tell people to go inside.

Time and time again the American government proves that it cares less about human beings and more about capital and profit. This is one of those very instances. If the local government of Tijuana wanted the cartel to disappear, they would enact policies that reduced poverty. They would make childcare and education more accessible. They would make more affordable housing and they would make local healthcare less expensive. There are so many different things they could do to prevent this from happening again. However, for some, it is easier to imagine the end of the world than it is to imagine the end of the status quo.

by: Kenneth Mazerat
Edited by Sheena Robertson


Time: 93% of Black Lives Matter Protests Have Been Peaceful, New Report Finds; by Sanya Mansoor

Lawcha: Stop Kidding Yourself The Police Were Created to Control Working Class and Poor People; by Sam Mitrani 

LA Times: Baja California tries to return to normal after a weekend of cartel violence; by JESSICA GARRISON, WENDY FRY, ALEXANDRA MENDOZA

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Bill Dickinson’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Inset Image Courtesy of Aubrey Arcangel’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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