Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The ‘Guardian’s’ Favourite Refrain…

George Lavender (according to his bio, a ‘freelance journalist for Free Speech Radio News who is involved in Communities of Resistance, a grassroots initiative against prison expansion in Britain’) rails against the imposition of the ‘gangbo’.

Not for sensible reasons, such as the legal minefield it throws up, or the fact that – like the soon-to-be late and unlamented ASBO – it simply won’t work because the magistrates will be unable to enforce it with jail time, but because…

Well, can you guess?
"Gang injunctions are not solutions to social ills, nor do they make our streets safer" says Jerry Elster, a former gang member from South Central Los Angeles and an organiser with All of Us or None. "What they are successful at is criminalising impoverished communities".
Yup, it’s ‘Minorities and the poor will be affected, oh noes!’ So, what is it that causes gang violence?
By introducing gang injunctions, the British government is adopting a failed policy. Community organisations in California say that injunctions are an ineffective and inappropriate response to social problems, because they fail to address the fundamental causes of violence such as poverty and unemployment.
Is this a template that all CiF columnists have access to? I’m feeling a hell of a lot of déjà vu…
Instead, they criminalise people and their communities. "These injunctions label our young people as criminals, and condemn them to a lifetime of discrimination and an end to hope" says Linda Evans, part of a diverse group of concerned members fighting the gang injunctions in Oakland.
I wonder just how ‘diverse’ that group is?
Gang injunctions have also been used to justify increased police surveillance and harassment of communities of colour.
In communities that are predominantly black or Latino, is it really any wonder that the gangs themselves will reflect the make-up of the area?

Perhaps George would like to suggest they offer up some posts in their gangs for female or disabled members, to make them less mono-cultural and more diverse?
All those named on the injunctions in Oakland have been black or Latino, and has lead critics of gang injunctions to describe them as "legalised racial profiling".
And naturally, George manages to find a parallel with the UK:
People of colour are already disproportionately targeted by the police in Britain. A 2010 report showed that black people were at least six times more likely and Asian people around twice as likely to be stopped and searched as white people.
Given that the police are often working to suspect profiles, rather than the utterly useless ‘random stop’, this is hardly surprising. In fact, anything else is wasting resources.
In Oakland, local people have come together to resist the gang injunctions and develop their own plan for a safer city. "Our communities will only become safer places when we have secure incomes, when our basic needs for housing, nutrition and health care are met, and when we believe our lives matter", says Manuel Fontaine of Plan for a Safer Oakland.
These are the things that will make safe and sustainable communities here too. We need real community solutions.
And if you are looking to have those things handed to you on a plate, by the government, you will forever be disappointed…

Mind you, we don't want to follow the US in everything, as frequent commenter PJH notes (via email):
As ridiculous as this may sound, the Courts argued that the structure of the game mimics the organization of a gang and therefore promotes gang activity.

Bruce Muraski, disruptive group coordinator for the Waupun Correctional Institute in Wisconsin stated, "During D&D games, one player is denoted the 'Dungeon Master.' The Dungeon Master is tasked with giving directions to other players, which Muraski testified mimics the organization of a gang."
*boggle*

12 comments:

Jacky said...

Not disproportionately to the crime they commit.


"People of colour are already disproportionately targeted by the police in Britain. A 2010 report showed that black people were at least six times more likely and Asian people around twice as likely to be stopped and searched as white people."

Chalcedon said...

Mimics the organisation of the army. Mimics the organisation of a commercial company.

Edwin Greenwood said...

"... and has lead critics of gang injunctions ..."

And has led me to wonder whether the Grauniad really ought to consider re-employing some sub-editors. This solecism is becoming as common as the use of "loose" in place of "lose".

WV: caffir: (French) a pretentious middle-class non-Muslim living in North London.

Richard said...

Thanks for the spot, Julia. I have my own take on this here, with due acknowldegement.

Why is it that the left always side with the bully and the oppressor?

Richard said...

Ah, Edwin, a man after my own heart :) Led/lead, loose/lose, where/were, and my own favourite reign/rein, as in "he is being kept on a tight reign" or "we need to reign this in".

Anonymous said...

Guardian once more leans towards promoting a group who demands more now in case we make less trouble in future and then maybe we won't be a problem eventually.

WV= psided = almost lopsided, but without the exciting "lo and behold" factor

Quiet_Man said...

@ Jacky

The Muslim population of the UK prisons stands at somewhere between 12% and 14% when their current official UK population sits at around 4%.
Now tell me why the police shouldn't be keeping a bigger eye on them than say it does my group of white middle aged males?
Disproportionate doesn't even enter into this, police should target criminals, if certain groups produce more criminals then the police should target them more. It's not rocket science is it?

blueknight said...

People of colour are already disproportionately targeted by the police in Britain. A 2010 report showed that black people were at least six times more likely and Asian people around twice as likely to be stopped and searched as white people."

Because there is more stop and search in Peckham than in Penzance. For good reason.

Anonymous said...

"they criminalise people and their communities"

Urrrmmm no...the criminal acts communities commit criminalise them.

banned said...

"These injunctions label our young people as criminals"
So what is wrong with calling a spade a spade?

Dangers of profiling

"Bruce Muraski, disruptive group coordinator for the Waupun Correctional Institute" If he's so disruptive why don't they sack him?

JuliaM said...

"Mimics the organisation of the army. Mimics the organisation of a commercial company."

Good point!

"And has led me to wonder whether the Grauniad really ought to consider re-employing some sub-editors. This solecism is becoming as common as the use of "loose" in place of "lose"."

Join Richard in the 'English Language Champions' corner. I'll be there too.

"Why is it that the left always side with the bully and the oppressor?"

Because that's what they want to be.

"Because there is more stop and search in Peckham than in Penzance. For good reason."

Spot on!

""Bruce Muraski, disruptive group coordinator for the Waupun Correctional Institute" If he's so disruptive why don't they sack him?"

LOL!

allcoppedout said...

I a, currently being targeted by a cat expecting a food pouch. He has profiled me, rather than chosen to engage in random stop and search in the street. One suspects the European courts will not help me! Nor will the new legislation from the Countylition on gangs and antisocial behaviour 'save' any communities. Have we had a change of government?