What I saw in South Minneapolis
The police have been abolished and replaced with nothing, and the oligarchy, as ever, has rebounded nicely
What I saw in South Minneapolis
Yesterday I went to the gym across the street from the burnt-out police station in south Minneapolis. It's a new location for a popular health club chain. Remember those small independent and franchisee-owned businesses that "have insurance" so they can rebuild and land on their feet? They are all still burnt out husks.
The affordable housing complex that was nearing completion is under reconstruction. The cinder blocks are grey again...well, mostly. Some of them are still charred, and many of them are covered with graffiti. But the bulk of them are as grey as glossed-over cinder blocks can be.
So that's good.
The police are abolished…
The cop shop is still burnt and boarded, and there's a nice farmer's market that popped up in the lot next to it (the best part of the scene, to be honest). Overlooking the farmer's market is a massive "Abolish the police" mural. I hope the farmer's market and mural stay put if the police station is ever reopened.
Speaking of police, the worry expressed by conservatives last year seems to have been warranted. I have a friend who lives just down the street from there. The other night he got off the light rail, and he and his friend were immediately approached by a man (notably, not a black man) who asked if they wanted to "pay for protection". After they declined, another man came up and attempted to mug them. Thankfully, their ride arrived just in time and they were able to get out of there. My friend said he hears shootings regularly (which, to be fair, is common in urban areas...I hear them in my North Minneapolis neighborhood too).
Apparently "George Floyd Square" (the intersection where he died) is a total warzone. According to my friend, a woman who went to George Floyd Square to pray was gang raped in the middle of the street recently. Another time, a shooting suspect fled the police and, when he entered George Floyd Square, the police turned around because it's a "no-go zone".
…and replaced with nothing
As far as I’m concerned, keep the cop shop closed forever and legitimize the private security industry my friend’s accoster offered to provide on the black market. My friend is already “paying for protection” through his tax dollars. Shit lot of good that’s doing him, as his “protectors” are currently stationed in other neighborhoods or have entered other career paths. As we know from the Prohibition Era, there’s no better way to quash violent crime and black markets than to abolish the legislation that makes them black markets in the first place. When was the last time you heard about the mafia running a city?
Aside: Charter schools are still closed
Minneapolis is a great city for school choice. We have charter schools and magnet schools everywhere. So it’s not surprising that there’s a row of charter schools that cater to various ethnic and religious minority groups in the same shopping center as the gym. The schools are boarded-up and fenced-in. I don’t know if they were damaged in last year’s riots. I assume they’re boarded up because they aren't currently being used due to the misplaced fear of the kids spreading a cold to their teachers. In any case, the schools don't seem to be damaged. They might actually be newly-constructed or maybe re-constructed. The signs are shiny.
The oligarchy is doing ok
Of course, a couple of businesses have rebuilt. These are the ones who “have insurance” and enough money in the coffers to actually land on their feet. Being that 2020 was the best year in history for consolidation of power and wealth for the oligarchy, it should come as no surprise that the two notably-reopened businesses are Cub Foods, our big regional grocery store chain, and Target. As it turns out, one of the best ways to prop up corporations and give them a near-monopoly is simply to burn down their competitors. The oligarchy couldn’t have done a better job if they’d planned it themselves.
(Note: The cover photo of this post is from the AP, not me.)
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