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.:
Neighbors Protest Emissions Testing Site

Jan 1, 2024

The Washington, D.C. city government will remove a new self-serve vehicle emissions testing kiosk in the Eastland Gardens community. Neighbors successfully raised a fuss when they saw the city had installed the facility in their neighborhood without their permission and against their wishes.

Eastland Gardens has a proud history as a community of black working people, often embattled by the government. Black architects and builders built at least 105 of its homes by 1955. The government then tore down dozens to build a commuter highway. When the government built a dump nearby to burn tons of trash, women protested—even lying in front of garbage trucks.

The city built the vehicle emissions kiosk in 2023 with the justification that more than 170,000 drivers have to use the main inspection station, whereas kiosks are more convenient. But the Eastland Gardens neighbors didn’t want all those lines of cars idling and kicking out fumes near their homes. They got together to email, call, and protest. And they showed how the city had even violated its own law by putting the kiosk on land reserved for recreation.

By fighting together, working people have an impact.