MEDIA WATCH: While Mayor Emanuel continued teacher bashing (saying teachers had 'shafted' the kids) and tried to destroy police, firefighter and teacher pensions — Chicago's massive drug gangs went on a rampage across the Humboldt Park area and south across the city

No sooner had Mayor Rahm Emanuel gotten off his most recent scripted one-liner attacking teachers and scapegoating public worker unions in Chicago (the largest of which is still the Chicago Teachers Union) for both the educational and fiscal woes of the city than another eruption of violence from the drug gangs should have been a warning about where the real problems facing the city are coming from. By the evening of June 19, 2011, police radios (and police blogs) across Chicago were erupting with reports of gang violence.

The corner of Spaulding and Beach in West Humboldt Park in Chicago. For more than 30 years, the area has been called the "Motherland" by the Latin Kings street gang. Three generations of Chicago gangsters and Chicago police and teachers have known about Spaulding and Beach, but the fact that it remains a center of Latin King northside enterprises in Chicago tells a major story about how the city has allowed the major gangs — the Latin Kings and Maniac Latin Disciples, the Black P. Stones and the Black Gangster Disciples, and the Gaylords and Simon City Royals (to name gangs from the three major ethnic groups) — to thrive in Chicago. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Those who want to stay updated during the first summer of Rahm can get Second City cop at the following URL:

But while the shooting (including firing at cops) was going on across the inner city, from Humboldt Park out to 87th and Damen and beyond), Mayor Emanuel was silent about the gangs. City Hall reported that he was in Baltimore, giving a speech to the National Conference of Mayors on the need for infrastructure repairs. If so, it was an almost perfect irony.

Three days after Emanuel said that Chicago's teachers and unions had "shafted" the kids, he was in the city where "The Wire" was made while the gang problems in his own city escalated to the point where the corporate media was having more and more trouble ignoring it. One of the reasons why Chicago's drug gangs have become the largest and best-organized in the USA is that Chicago's political leaders, now including Rahm Emanuel, have chosen to scapegoat teachers and other public workers, while allowing the drug gangs (which often flourish with political protection) to grow in size and influence.

The area in and around Humboldt Park on Chicago's north side (North Ave. and California to North Ave. and Kedzie, south to Augusta) has long faced gang problems, with Latin Kings to the west and various Disciples gangs to the east. The problems that arose during the weeks before June 19 were widely known in the schools, on the streets and to the police, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel was too busy trying publicity stunts against the city's unionized teachers to even speak out against the gangs his predecessors had allowed to take over large parts of Chicago. Substance photo June 19, 2011, by George N. Schmidt.Overnight between June 18 and June 19, gunfire could be heard in most parts of Chicago, and it wasn't a rehearsal for the July 4 fireworks. Probably the only communities where you couldn't hear the rapid sounds of automatics firing was the Gold Coast, which had received extra police protection after the gangs headed there a week earlier for an afternoon of text-based activities. But after throwing a brief scare into Chicago's wealthiest (and the business that cater to them along the Magnificent Mile), most of the city's thousands of drug gang members were back in action on the home territories they have long claims — with the help of the city's political and economic leaders — as their "turf."

But Emanuel won't be interested in stopping the gangs, which on election day will be part of the political process. Instead, he's working on destroying the teachers' union and privatizing schools. That this will only lead to more violence and destruction (as it already has) isn't part of the public discussion. Everyone must remember that chaos is what the ruling class wants so they can make a profit.

Interesting how crime get s covered up until the ruling class needs the information to create and call for emergency measures to fix the problem! Just like the $65 million "Culture of Calm" crony money that disappeared under Ron Huberman and Terry Mazany. First, from a police blog.

Humboldt Park Chaos?

Saturday, June 18, 2011.

Our comment section started lighting up just before 9 PM, but there doesn't appear to be any coverage on the networks, radios or websites.

We're getting unconfirmed reports of stabbings and massive gang fights across the entire [Humboldt] park. Supposedly, TAC [tactical squads], Gang and Response Teams are being called out from districts across the city to go to the Puerto Rican festival in full riot gear, even gas teams being assembled?

From one end of Chicago to the other, well organized and often massive drug gangs have been operating for generations. With support from politicians and other powerful people, they replicate their activities and symbols now into the fourth generation. Above, Maniac Latin Disciples graffiti adorned a garage across from Gage Park High School on the South Side in December 2009. Gang Park was victimized and its teachers slandered by the Daley administration, which allowed the gangs to proliferate across the south and west sides. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Anyone have the actual story? We can't imagine anyone missed this one coming. Its been building for days and the weather is only going to aggravate it.

UPDATE: A couple of veterans saying it was normal behavior for the fest, just a couple of larger half-assed fights, mass dispersals and the like. They say it looks worse because we're undermanned and won't fill the wagons.

By 4:00 a.m. June 19, the following (again from Second City cop): An officer safety alert warning that cops are at a heightened risk of being shot in the area has since been put in place, police sources said.On Friday night, dispatchers had been instructed to send two beat cars to all calls for service in that part of town. So even though they're under siege from gang banging pieces of crap, the cops are going there en masse because you know it's all the police's fault.Time to stop the fest. Actually, the time was probably 20 or 30 years ago, but no better time than the present. Have Rahm plead poverty, we can't afford it, unwise use of resources, etc. It's outlived its usefulness. Rahm in Action

Sounds like a neighborhood under siege:

Following the publication of its ground-breaking work "Gangs: Public Enemy Number One" during the 1990s, the Chicago Crime Commission updated the "Gang Book" in 2003, adding a second book detailing how girls, both in larger gangs and in their own gangs, were becoming more and more a major part of the gang problem in Chicago. Despite the recognition on the part of street cops and some (like the crime commission), Chicago found its leaders scapegoating unionized teachers, police, firefighters and other public workers and ignoring the Chicago drug gangs, which made the famous HBO series "The Wire" look like Disneyworld. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.Labels: un-fucking-believable, June 19, 2011 at 4:20 AM


June 19, 2011 at 6:43 PM

By: Bob Busch

Gangs... City life in 2011


Let us be honest about gangs. They are not loose groups of wild kids, that definition might have been accurate 40 years ago but now they have evolved into something more sinister. The gangs have become full fledged governments complete with what defines a government:

Gangs have a turf, or territorial footprint; gangs make and enforce their own laws and customs; Gangs collect taxes; Gangs have a ruling class of officials; and gangs make treaties.

Like any legitimate governing body gangs also: Order executions, fund and train a standing army, enter into business, and last of all go to war.

These activities have been allowed to fester and grow under the noses of city officials while warnings from the good guys — like teachers and cops — are totally ignored. If things keep going like this, the problem will grow even more deadly.

June 19, 2011 at 7:05 PM

By: john Kugler

Lumpen Proletariat

IV. The Lumpen Proletariat

There remains to be discussed one more stratum in capitalist society: the lumpen proletariat. The lumpen proletariat is that sector of the population that, having been denied a legitimate way to make a living, resorts to the illegitimate: i.e. thieves, fences, drug pushers, numbers men, gamblers, pimps, prostitutes, loan sharks, beggars, thugs, etc. The general crisis of capitalism swells the ranks of this stratum because it displaces more and more proletarians and small proprietors from the productive process and prevents large numbers of youth from entering it. Of course, by the lumpen proletariat we do not mean all of those who are unemployed, and not even all of those who, out of desperation, dip into illegitimate means of living while out of work. The lumpen proletariat is that stratum of people who have made those illegitimate means their regular livelihood, their "profession." It is impossible to determine the exact size of this stratum, or even make a close estimate, but it surely numbers several million.

For several years the idea was current among certain sectors of the revolutionary movement that the lumpen proletariat had become the "new vanguard" of the revolution. According to the Black Panther Party, Franz Fanon and others, the lumpen proletariat, among whom they incorrectly included all of the unemployed, were the most impoverished and oppressed and were, therefore, the most revolutionary section of the population. This view is fundamentally anti-Marxist and served to spread confusion about the forces of revolution and counterrevolution.

Despite the fact that most lumpen proletarians are drawn from the ranks of the displaced proletariat, the way in which they make their living is completely different from that of the proletariat, and they therefore have a very different, and in many ways opposite, world view. The lumpen lives off the proletariat, which serves as the primary prey for its thievery and a market for its illicit trade. Thus, the lumpen proletariat shares with the bourgeoisie the common trait of being a parasitic class which lives off the labor of the others. Many lumpens dream of becoming rich and a small number of them actually do, becoming capitalist merchants in the criminal world. Most of the lumpen proletariat, of course, cannot realize any such dreams and are among the most destitute and victimized people in society (i.e., impoverished alcoholics, junkies, prostitutes). But the destitution of those people does not, in itself, make them revolutionary and in fact the lumpen proletariat, as a whole, plays a reactionary role. This stratum, wrote Marx and Engels, "may, here and there, be swept into the movement by a proletarian revolution; its conditions of life, however, prepare it far more for the part of a bribed tool of reactionary intrigue."1 Members of this class have consistently been used as anti-union gun thugs, police informants, agent provocateurs, assassins, Klansmen, mercenaries, etc.

The revolutionary proletariat must exercise great caution toward those members of the lumpen proletariat who are able to join the revolutionary movement because they often tend to be unstable and advocate adventurism and anarchism, harming the disciplined character of the movement.

The reactionary role of the lumpen proletariat is institutionalized through organized crime. Organized crime dominates every aspect of the criminal world like the monopoly corporations dominate every aspect of the legal economy. The most wealthy and powerful of the criminal "bosses" are completely tied in with the capitalist class and the capitalist state; they. must be considered capitalists themselves. A whole sector of the bourgeoisie, the most seedy side of this class, is involved in organized criminal activities as well as "legitimate" businesses. It hardly needs to be said that these criminal capitalists are among the most reactionary, ruthless and fascist members of the bourgeoisie. Organized crime has acted as butchers for reaction, combating the revolutions in China, Algeria, Cuba and many other countries. In the U.S., organized crime has a close working relationship with the CIA, and has been among the most ruthless opponents of communism in the trade union movement, beating and assassinating communists and revolutionary trade unionists.


1. Karl Marx and Frederic Engels, The Communist Manifesto, edition cited, p. 18.

Click here to return to the Social Classes Contents

June 21, 2011 at 1:04 AM

By: Jim Cavallero

Shaft or Miracle? Which is it?

I saw a letter to the Suntimes where a reader asked how Rahm could say students have got the shaft when the current contract came on Arne Duncan's watch. Arne Duncan, who Pres. Obama chose for Ed. Sec. because of the "Chicago Miracle" Rahm himself, as Obama's chief of staff pushed the talk of the miracle and the great choice of Duncan. Now it turns out it was the "Chicago Shaft" leaving children on the side of the road all along.

June 21, 2011 at 6:57 AM

By: Rod Estvan

Urban violence and education

Probably the most interesting unreported aspect of the level of organized gang activity in Chicago is the under the radar infiltration of Chicago’s supposedly safe charter schools. Betty Shabazz Charter-Dusable, Henry Ford Academy,Perspectives-Calumet, and the Chicago Talent Development Charter High may be the most infiltrated charters in the city, but other charter schools also have their under cover gang bangers too. Charters are putting students out as fast as they can, but the infiltration is on going because it is organic to the overall situation of Chicago.

Dr. Kugler is correct about the level of violence in deeply poor communities in the city. This reality has caused many working class poor families to seek shelter for their own children in charter schools, which are viewed as more disciplined, and less gang controlled by these families. While the working poor have in the big picture of things very little money these children do have more than children in the deepest poverty and hence gangs have an interest in having low level drug activity in some charter schools too. Many of the major gangs and drug crews in Chicago are also very active in the suburbs of Chicago and even in the US military.

Really there is no escape from the pervasive violence in Chicago’s low-income communities. But there are illusions of sanctuary that can be given to these communities, one of those illusions are charter schools. The ethos of CPS now is to enhance illusions by discussing only success stories of the students who defeat the odds and avoiding the larger reality except to blame it on things like shorter school days, and weak incompetent supposedly over paid teachers. The shaft is being given to children in Chicago, but it is being given by forces far more powerful than the CTU.

Rod Estvan

June 22, 2011 at 11:30 PM

By: John Whitfield

Lost History

As for just how these not so controlled substances make into our city, how high up the corruption goes, and the advent of "crack cocaine". take a look at Robert Parry's, "Lost History, the Contras, Cocaine, the Press, and Project Truth."

And find out how it spread from Los Angeles eastward to every major city, and gang in the country, starting in the early 1980's, evolving into the advent of "crack babies" in the classroom. How high up does it go today? One retired detective, Sargeant Underwood, along with retired Cook country officer Frierson put it this way, while speaking to a group of Chicago teachers some time ago: "How do you think those fancy recretional lakefront police boats are payed for?"

Add your own comment (all fields are necessary)

Substance readers:

You must give your first name and last name under "Name" when you post a comment at We are not operating a blog and do not allow anonymous or pseudonymous comments. Our readers deserve to know who is commenting, just as they deserve to know the source of our news reports and analysis.

Please respect this, and also provide us with an accurate e-mail address.

Thank you,

The Editors of Substance

Your Name

Your Email

What's your comment about?

Your Comment

Please answer this to prove you're not a robot:

2 + 2 =