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

Washington, D.C. Surveillance of the Poor

Jan 9, 2023

A longtime tenant and community activist in Washington, D.C.’s Highland Dwellings public housing complex sued the city over its security camera program. She and her son were arrested and jailed overnight several years ago for resisting when the housing authority installed wires inside her apartment for an exterior camera. Over the last five years the housing authority has installed over 4,000 surveillance cameras at public housing. They livestream to a command center with a dozen widescreen monitors.

The city’s public safety chief declared, “What we find is a lot of loitering of people who do not live on the property. Dice games or other things of that nature a lot of times precede violence. We are now able to see the activity [and] dispatch an officer to break up that game before someone gets robbed or gets shot.”

These cameras are supposed to deter crime. But crime continues. Finally, they end up being used against the residents.