Organizers and participants of the Cease Fire movement to stop the killings in Baltimore earned my respect. Although their energies were misplaced, I am sorry to say.
The root of much of the murders reflect the dog-eat-dog mentality up and down the economic market system. The system exudes violence, greed and corruption, and is the source of poverty, inequality and racism.
About 25 percent of Baltimoreans are stuck in poverty. The Cease Fire folks targeted neighborhoods by definition where the most poverty occurs and murders take place.
The dog-eat-dog culture breaks down human solidarity in all social classes, but it takes its toll more on the poor and the near poor. It is a daily grind as you try to keep your head above water.
Mayor Catherine Pugh told us that $15 an hour wages will hurt Baltimore’s economic growth. Say that to those, who grind just to keep their heads above water.
Decent affordable housing is at a premium. Your neighborhood includes dilapidated houses, vacant houses, and empty trash filled lots. Estimates run as high as 16,000 vacant houses. More vacant houses in neighborhoods mean lower life expectancy according to Baltimore City. It is not just from gun violence, but also from disparities in healthcare and poor living settings.
These are the same areas where opioid use and gang fights for drug markets add to murder rates. Folks often take these drugs to escape from stark realities.
Like a rain deprived forest waiting for a fire to start from any spark, mundane incidents between and among individuals and groups turn in to life and death conflicts. Stealing, robbing, burglarizing and mugging often lead to killing and murder. Alienation and dehumanizing prevails.
Ceasefires don’t it. Our energies should be spent on more productive measures that will organizes our community to change our economic and social oppression. Black history confirms it.
Dr. Ken Morgan is an activist scholar, who can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.