Urban Criminal Gangs in the Civil War to Come

On September 2, the New York Post featured a news story headlined “FBI warns Chicago gangs have ‘shoot on sight’ pact against cops.” The FBI warned that, “Dozens of Chicago street gangs have made a pact to ‘shoot on-sight any cop that has a weapon drawn on any subject in public.’ ” These street gangs include “the Vice Lords, Black P Stones and Latin Kings,” that have a combined membership of several tens of thousands.

Even before this “pact” among criminal gangs was agreed upon, lethal attacks on Chicago policemen were up significantly this year. The Post cites Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown that it was clear “people are seeking to do harm to cops.”

He continued:

“I think it’s bigger than a suggestion. I think 51 officers being shot at or shot in one year. I think that quadruples any previous year in Chicago’s history. So I think it’s more than a suggestion that people are seeking to do harm to cops.”

While this story would certainly seem disconcerting, some might be inclined to think it was only important to those who actually live in Chicago.

On the contrary, it should sound huge alarms to every American about what is likely to happen later this election year, not just in Chicago but in virtually every large metropolitan area.

Chicago is still the third largest city in the US and the home base of past President Barack Obama. Votes counted in Chicago have played decisive roles in past Presidential elections as well. “Chicago Rules” are a byword for determining political outcomes through fraud, bribery, and violence.

Chicago has actually reverted to gang rule in the last twenty years. Although murders in Chicago seemed to level off in the 2005-2010 period, the percentage of murders attributable to gangs actually went up significantly. Nearly two thirds of murders in Chicago are committed by gang members.

This has happened because of the close working relationship between gang leaders and many Chicago aldermen and City Hall functionaries. Major gangs have enjoyed substantial if not complete official protection from the Chicago police and prosecutors for at least twenty years.

The single best account of how this works was provided in Chicago magazine in a cover story entitled Gangs and Politicians in Chicago: An Unholy Alliance. Replete with detailed neighborhood maps of gang territories and specific criminals in working relationships with specific aldermen (an alderman is a Chicago city councilman), the article is a goldmine of information. Unsurprisingly, gang territories correlate strongly with the number of murders committed in those territories.

Chicago has many gangs but most members belong to one of just half a dozen or so large gangs. Even people outside of Chicago are sometimes familiar with names such as the Gangster Disciples, Black Disciples, Black P Stones, Vice Lords, and Latin Kings. Collectively, these gangs have between 70,000 and 125,000 members, or 6 to 10 times the size of the 12,000 member Chicago Police Department.

Although Chicago magazine enjoyed many complimentary letters-to-the-editor from readers for having addressed this matter, progressive Chicago expressed dismay that the magazine had the bad taste to write a story on such a subject. And, the story has been studiously ignored by the “mainstream media” almost everywhere else in the United States.

A major source for the story was Hal Baskin, a well-known Chicago figure, sometime aldermanic candidate, friend of black rabble rouser Jesse Jackson, Congressman (and former Black panther) Bobby Rush, and Gangster Disciples founder Larry Hoover (now serving six life sentences in the Florence “Supermax” facility).

Baskin explained that many aldermanic candidates sought out the support of gangs in a humble fashion. Referring to a series of well-organized meetings between candidates and gang bosses leading up to the February 2011 municipal elections, Baskin said:

At some of the meetings, the politicians arrived with campaign materials and occasionally with aides. The sessions were organized much like corporate-style job fairs. The gang representatives conducted hourlong interviews, one after the other, talking to as many as five candidates in a single evening. Like supplicants, the politicians came into the room alone and sat before the gang representatives, who sat behind a long table. “One candidate said, ‘I feel like I’m in the hot seat,’” recalls Baskin. “And they were.”

The former chieftains, several of them ex-convicts, represented some of the most notorious gangs on the South and West Sides, including the Vice Lords, Gangster Disciples, Black Disciples, Cobras, Black P Stones, and Black Gangsters. Before the election, the gangs agreed to set aside decades-old rivalries and bloody vendettas to operate as a unified political force, which they called Black United Voters of Chicago. “They realized that if they came together, they could get the politicians to come to them,” explains Baskin.

The gang representatives were interested in electing aldermen sympathetic to their interests and those of their impoverished wards (not that the two groups have precisely the same interests, of course). As for the politicians, says Baskin, their interests essentially boiled down to getting elected or reelected. “All of [the political hopefuls] were aware of who they were meeting with,” he says. “They didn’t care. All they wanted to do was get the support.”

Furthermore,

During the meetings, the politicians were allotted a few minutes to make their pitches. The former gang chiefs then peppered them with questions: What would they do about jobs? School safety? Police harassment? Help for ex-cons? But in the end, as with most things political in Chicago, it all came down to one question, says Davis, the community activist who helped Baskin with some of the meetings.

He recalls that the gang representatives asked,

“What can you give me?”

The politicians, most eager to please, replied,

“What do you want?”

Bernstein and Isackson summarized their findings:

• “While they typically deny it, many public officials—mostly, but not limited to, aldermen, state legislators, and elected judges—routinely seek political support from influential street gangs. Meetings like the ones Baskin organized, for instance, are hardly an anomaly. Gangs can provide a decisive advantage at election time by performing the kinds of chores patronage armies once did.”
• “In some cases, the partnerships extend beyond the elections in troubling—and possibly criminal—ways, greased by the steady and largely secret flow of money from gang leaders to certain politicians and vice versa. The gangs funnel their largess through opaque businesses, or front companies, and through under-the-table payments. In turn, grateful politicians use their payrolls or campaign funds to hire gang members, pull strings for them to get jobs or contracts, or offer other favors (see “Gangs and Politicians: Prisoner Shuffle”).”
• “Most alarming, both law enforcement and gang sources say, is that some politicians ignore the gangs’ criminal activities. Some go so far as to protect gangs from the police, tipping them off to impending raids or to surveillance activities—in effect, creating safe havens in their political districts. And often they chafe at backing tough measures to stem gang activities, advocating instead for superficial solutions that may garner good press but have little impact.”

Chicago street gangs “get out the vote” in a way the now moribund Chicago Machine cannot. As Chicago alderman often have de facto veto power over which policemen are promoted to precinct captain (and remain there) in their wards, they can protect gangsters from arrest and prosecution.

Former White House staffer Michael Anton presented a frightening scenario three days ago in The American Mind. Determined to oust the President, even if they lose the election, Democrats have “war gamed” plans to pull off a coup d’etat. Anton explains:

“Remember that phrase from the Dem war game: “street fight.” In other words, a repeat of this summer, only much, much bigger. Crank the propaganda to ear-drum shattering decibels and fill the streets of every major city with “protesters.” Shut down the country and allow only one message to be heard: “Trump must go.”

Criminal street gangs may prove to be a highly valuable force multiplier for the Left Army around this coming election.  And they will be active in more cities than Chicago.  Count on it.

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