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

Chicago Imposes Curfew on Young People

May 23, 2022

Ever since it began to get nice out, large groups of mostly black young people have been gathering in various spots around Chicago’s downtown and near North Side. Apparently using social media, they have organized to “take over” places like North Avenue Beach and Millennium Park that are usually “sanctuaries” for tourists and the city’s middle and upper class. The night of May 14, a teenager was shot and killed during one of these meet-ups, near the city’s iconic Bean sculpture.

This gave Mayor Lightfoot and the police the excuse to act, imposing a 6 p.m. curfew at Millennium Park for all minors without a “responsible adult,” from Thursday through Sunday. Of course, everyone knows exactly what kind of young person will be targeted for this enforcement.

Chicago has vast impoverished black and brown neighborhoods where teenagers are shot just about every day, and also has safe, well maintained, mostly white, rich neighborhoods with every amenity. As long as the violence stays in the poor neighborhoods, the city government can throw up its hands and bemoan all the social problems it can’t solve, while the rich people who really run the city can ignore the poverty and violence their system creates while enjoying the beautiful parks and lakefront.

And when teenagers from the poor neighborhoods decide not to “stay in their place,” the only answer they have is to crack down, to try to keep the effects of the city’s poverty bottled up in the poor neighborhoods, to say in word and deed: the nice places like Millennium Park are not for you.

But that doesn’t mean the young people will necessarily accept it.