The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

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

Looting Is NOT Why Poor Neighborhoods Lack Stores

Jun 15, 2020

All of a sudden last week, Chicago’s media discovered that there is a shortage of pharmacies and grocery stores in the poor black neighborhoods on the South and West Sides.

The Sun-Times headline read “Reeling Chicago communities ask, ‘Who invests in us now?’”The Tribune and the main TV news stations ran similar stories, trying to set up a few days of looting to take the blame for the lack of stores in big parts of the city. Some of these stories even brought up the old myth that neighborhoods still haven’t recovered from the rioting on the West Side that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.

In reality, there is a lack of stores in all the poor neighborhoods, not just those hit by rioting 50 years ago. These neighborhoods have never had enough pharmacies, grocery stores, or other businesses, and that has nothing to do with a few smashed store fronts or stolen sneakers. It is a result of the lack of decent paying jobs for people who live in them—the same lack of jobs that is, underneath, also the cause of the looting.

This system that throws out a big share of its people is responsible for the lack of stores. Blaming the explosion of anger that this system finally produced turns reality on its head.