No Jobs Make Mean Streets
As urban economies collapse, gun violence rises
By James Thindwa
Sept. 12, 2008
After nearly 30 years of conservative discourse that promotes incarceration as the solution, local governments must resuscitate the idea that jobs and economic revival are the antidotes to crime.
Fabricio Rodriguez, who heads Philadelphia Jobs With Justice, a national workers’ rights organization, says law enforcement and community intervention strategies do make a difference, but “they don’t deal with structural problems that impede change.”
Rodriguez says that the city focuses too much on individualized job training programs. “These are useful,” he says, but “collective solutions that involve organized workers are both empowering and create lasting change.”
“We have to turn these service-sector jobs into good-paying jobs, and one way is to organize those workers. People should be able to enter the middle class working at Wal-Mart.”