The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Baltimore Going Backward

Apr 20, 2020

Two weeks before Maryland’s governor Hogan insisted on a spending freeze, Baltimore City officials had already cut back dangerously on essential services. On March 23 the city halted street and alley cleaning, rat abatement, bulk trash pickup, pothole repair, abandoned vehicle pickup, and harbor cleanup.

In January, new mayor Jack Young had proudly announced his program to “eliminate grime.” But in March, he suddenly declared these services threaten “the safety of the public and of our employees.” This makes no sense. Pulling trash out of alleys makes them more safe, not less. Providing essential workers with necessary equipment is what is safe. But a week later city wastewater workers still weren’t getting masks or hand sanitizer. They had to walk off the job before they were given them.

The neighborhoods most affected by the service cuts are also working class neighborhoods more exposed to COVID-19. Cutting back these services can only make the effects of the pandemic worse.

Whether it’s Baltimore’s Democratic mayor or Maryland’s Republican governor, both parties will sacrifice working class people to preserve the budget for subsidies to benefit their corporate allies.