The Interrupters

I saw a documentary last night, called “The Interrupters”. It was centered around a Chicago-based group of ex-cons, trying to mediate in the violent conflicts constantly flaring up all over the poor, almost war-torned streets of innercity neighbourhoods.

I´m aware that every method got its pros and cons but if the participants are trully dedicated and committed, and able to disect their troubled past in a clear-eyed manner, I believe it to be a more effective system than an whole armada of trained social workers. Just like a recovering drugaddict have a far better opportunity of establishing contact with someone still intangled in the chains of abuse; and make no mistake, violence can be every bit as addictive as any chemical substance.

Travelling in Venezuela, there´s a lot of focus on safety and security. At the busterminal in Maracay, the afternoon news plays out on a tv-screen, reporting 59 murders during the weekend in Caracas. But the underlying structure of violence is the same, from Caracas to Chicago to Mumbai to Stockholm. It manifests itself in varying degrees, correlating to the level of despair and the sheer numbers of the ones who´s got nothing to lose and nowhere to go. And in an economy of perpetual greed that equals the poor.

I´m not trying to be the preacherman, but as I see it there´s a straight line of oppression stemming back to Machiavelli and beyond, that old ABC of hardwhip governing of divide and rule; if the hate and frustration by those at the bottom is constantly turned against their neighbour, there´s really no need for the ruling parties to adress the system of rotten roots sustaining it.

You could claim it´s in their best interest to keep this train a-rolling, since bigger jails and longer sentences is a strong foundation for the campiagn-trail, a reaccuring theme: play the card of fear.Everybody else is a rapist/murderer/terrorist/thief, a shortcut to a couple of million of votes, trust in nothing but God and your sawed-off shotgun and a government who swears to lock up for life any genetically warped monster they´ll get their hands on.

The Interrupters are adapt to the fact that their street interventions isn´t a solution. It´s an emergency exit, brought on by extraordinary circumstances when thirteen year olds both are the ones who get shot at as well as in many cases doing the shooting. When an ordinary day contains another funeral, another bed of flowers marking a crimescene on the curb outside of your house, with handwritten notes of good-byes flapping in the wind.

The Chicago-kids are just an extremely physical expression of an understanding of power that is deeply woven into the fabric of our social core. Violence isn´t some random display of isolated outbursts, it´s not a by-product of nothing, it´s a by-product of societies constructed with it as one of it´s most essential cornerstones. But just as economic crime is done with a gun or a knife on the streets, the only trace the Wall Street thug leaves behind is of paper; moving up the ladder, the assault charge is somewhere along the line transformed into sanctioned acts of heroic proportions, whether you´re a soldier or the guy behind the desk giving the orders.

Safety and security are supposed to be sustained with a state monolopy on that violence. Our history is that of colonized and colonizers, nations are founded with brute force and borders are upheld on a balancing-scale on who´s got the biggest potential of, basically, destroying the earth.It´s not a far stretch to picture that monopoly being abused.

It´s like a politicized version of the big kid in the sandbox, stomping out your castle of sand if your refusing to play the game his way.

So the irony of it all is the white collar presidential candidate shaking his head in disgust over seemingly random acts of youth gone wild, and at the same time refusing to see the dots of systematic violence connecting it to the two marines urinating on the carcasses of their taliban counterparts.

As the teenage gangs of Chicago struggle to define what the conflicts really boggles down to, and not really caring, they conclude that turf is sufficient. One crew is from Altgeld Gardens and the other one is not. It´s plain to see that it´s that old desperate clinging after an identity, and stripped of options they go about it the only way they see how, grabbing on to making that all important name for themselves with the means at hand.

You could take a stroll in their garden of broken family trees,; of dads and aunts and uncles and cousins, so much time spent in the penetentiary it would take several generations to fill the gaps of suspended life.

Follow the yellow brick road. The biggest industry is in winners and losers, us and them. That is the deepest social construction of human kind. And there´s a lot of money invested in keeping it that way.

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One Response to “The Interrupters”

  1. Folding Tables…

    […]The Interrupters « Pajazzo Productions[…]…

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