BlackLatin and Asian Gangs
3.Examine the relationship between political struggles and gangformation. Please examine the civil rights movement/studentmovement/armed struggles in its historical context (including thegoals, structure, impact, and failures).
Gangsand politics are two meticulously related aspects of the society. Thecorrelation amongst youth gangs and politic is a collectivephenomenon in the modern society. Most of the gangs are formed byyouths who feel that they have been sidelined by political agenda. Attimes, gangs have been drawn into nationalists, revolutionary,grassroots, and mass religious activities. Gangs also play bothparamilitary and political roles in support of dominant elites andhave a political organization in protecting the underground economy.Unequivocally, formations of gangs may be associated to groups ofindividuals masquerading as civil movement fighting against variouspolicy set forth by a government.
Throughouthistory, three different periods of youth gangs’ politicalinvolvement can be identified. The first category of the earliestgang political relations is the mafia, triads, hooligans and votinggangs in different parts of the world. The earliest gangs were remoterebels Triads in China and Mafioso in Italy whose origin was as aresult of their resistance to the external rule of the Qing dynastyand Spanish Habsburgs respectively. These gangs were not entirelysocial movements but were combined nationalist appeals with thelobbying of protection and control over drugs, prostitution, andgambling. The influx of immigrants from Europe during the 19thcentury sparked periods of ethnic and class related conflicts. Thebuilding of urban machines was dependent on ethnic-bound politics andclashes of the immigrant population were the norm in many citiesincluding New York. In New York, the prevailing Yankees werechallenged by the Irish who moved voting gangs to threaten rivals.Politicians used corner kids to bully Tammany Hall’s electoralopponents. Also, racial discrimination against African-Americans andimmigrants from Mexico facilitated the formation of white organizedgangs who fought against these groups such as the KuKlax clan.Duringthe civil war Irish gangs assaulted African Americans. Klan and DraftRiots activity helped shun Los Angeles Mexicans mute politically atthe beginning of the 20th century besides terrorizing blacks in theSouth[CITATION Dur13 p 12 l 1033 ].
Duringthe construction of the railway line in the US, the Chinese communitytrickled in the US in search of job opportunities. However, theChinese community started getting mistreated by the US native andwere poorly paid. The natives had a perception that the Chinese weretaking a job that they believed belonged to them and as a resulthostility grew between the two communities. The US natives formedgangs that were constantly terrorizing the Chinese community. Inretaliation, the Chinese also formed their gangs to protectthemselves and the war took a new twist.
Thesegangs were later started to get targeted by politicians to executetheir self-interests and continued to grow in number due to theirinfluence.
Gang,politics and social movements between 1960’s and 1970s used tooppress people across the world as part of revolutionary strugglesand national liberation. For example, in South Africa youth gangs inthe slums of Soweto and other cities collaborated with the white ruleopposition parties of ANC and PAC in mass demonstrations andresistance to the apartheid empire. Nelson Mandela categoricallycalled on the ANC to win over the gangs for liberation. Sincepolitical alienation appeared more hopeful, the integration of thepoor youth was directed into political parties like in New Zealandand Northern Ireland. Gangs, as street organizations primarilyremained active in the underworld economy. These involved bankrobbery and extortion adopted by revolutionary groups from IrishRepublican Army to Uruguay’s Tupamaros. The dual character of youthgangs is evident in Chicago in the U.S. the Conservative Vice LordBlack Gangster Disciples, and the Blackstone Rangers began tosystematize multi-neighborhood branches by the mid-20thcentury. Whites resisted black residential mobility, and thewhite/black gangs continued to fight in schools and on the streets.Black gangs participated in petty hustling as well as in civil rightsmovement. By the end of 1960, all major Black gangs in Chicago wereinvolved in running businesses social programs and in politics.
Finally,gangs and politics are seen under the banner of globalization, thedrug economy and the influence of identity. As organizations of thestreets and players in the drug economy, gangs play a critical rolein the global era. The state of nations throughout the world has beenjeopardized as multinational companies transfer vast sums of money bythe click of a computer, destabilizing individual countries orregions. For instance, the demise of USSR insinuated that countriescould not any more play one superpower off against another. Donationsfrom western economies and the World Bank are usually predicated onreducing domestic social spending in nations with considerably poorpopulations. Similarly, the huge profits of the illegal drug economymade the mighty Mexican and Colombian cartels main political playersin their respective countries. To work for drug cartels is usually awell-paying job for youths in ghettos, barrios, and favelas.
Theamalgamation of these factors led to the strengthened nongovernmentsectors including gangs who often showed active social dominance overrural and urban territories of affected states. Uncertainties ofglobalization, as a result, triggered a crisis in identity.Revolutionary and secular identities of the youth were replaced byconventional notions of race and religion[ CITATION Her10 l 1033 ].Youthworldwide over were greatly influenced by Gangster Rap music foundedon gang life in American slums.
Inconclusion, gang formation and political activity are two closelyassociated aspects. The world over, politics and gangs have closelyworked together to achieve their objectives. Gangs influence voting,business activities, social, political movements and even economies.The three aspects of gang-political relations reflect the influenceof gang activity and politics in different time periods and places inthe world. Civil movements may at inception claim to be fighting forrights of individuals, but may end up becoming a gang group..Undeniably, politics contribute[ CITATION Dur13 l 1033 ]highly to gang formation.
Durán, Robert J. Gang life in two cities : an insider`s journey. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. Book.
Herbert , Covey. Street gangs throughout the world. Springfield : Charles C Thomas Publisher, 2010.