Street Wars: Gangs and the Future of Violence

Street Wars: Gangs and the Future of Violence

by Tom Hayden
     
 

A gripping and honest account of the culture of gangs, Street Wars is essential reading for anyone concerned about cities, violence, and the future of urban youth. Though never officially acknowledged, over 25,000 young people have died in America’s gang wars since 1980. In cities across America, members of the Crips, Bloods, Mara Salvatrucha, 18th

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Overview

A gripping and honest account of the culture of gangs, Street Wars is essential reading for anyone concerned about cities, violence, and the future of urban youth. Though never officially acknowledged, over 25,000 young people have died in America’s gang wars since 1980. In cities across America, members of the Crips, Bloods, Mara Salvatrucha, 18th Street, Latin Kings, Blackstone Rangers, and Gangster Disciples are like traumatized war veterans with no way home. Drawn from ten years spent as an activist and public official working to understand and prevent gang violence in Los Angeles, Street Wars is Tom Hayden’s searing indictment of the neoconservative politics of law and order that dominate current policy and suffocate inner-city youth.

Weaving together cutting analysis and numerous firsthand stories from gang leaders, Hayden shows how the prison industrial complex reinforces gang identity through humiliation and punishment, and reveals how globalization has created a force of unemployable men and women around the world who are defined as incorrigible, outside law and community. The final chapters advocate an internal peace process based on ideas of the New Deal to address the devastation of America’s urban youth.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Hayden deserves credit for championing a constituency for whom few politicians are willing to vouch and most are happy to vilify. The passion and insight he brings . . . makes [Street Wars] worthwhile reading." —Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Street Wars is as readable as it is important, mixing detailed documentation, personal experience . . . and Hayden’s passion for a just solution." —Province

"An honest and gripping frontline account of America’s young urban untouchables." —Danny Glover

Leslie Kaufman
Hayden can be adept at directing our compassion. He is able to make a hero of sorts out of a dark character like Michael Herrara, a drug addict who risked returning to prison on a parole violation in order to head off a war brewing between gangs in Culver City and Santa Monica.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
A California state senator and the founder of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society), Hayden (Reunion) infuses this text with the idealism and passion for social justice for which he is well known. His central point is familiar: gang violence in areas like Los Angeles, New York and Chicago stems from the appalling social and economic conditions of inner-city life. But his exploration of the gang phenomenon's sociology is somewhat less tired: Hayden shows gang members, or homies, banding together to find connection, understanding and respect that is denied to them through pathways and social codes controlled by the more affluent. He includes vivid and involved anecdotes of the kind of gangland peacemaking attempts that he believes can, in addition to economic and social reform, save lives. He attacks the "tough on crime" mentality that, he charges, has resulted in decades of police brutality to homies and demonized them as urban terrorists. Hayden rambles on, but his arguments about the failures of the war on drugs and of the incarceration of young males to solve the endemic problems of poverty and alienation are compelling. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The growth of street gangs has reached near-epidemic proportions, and theories attempting to explain this growth are often contradictory and inconclusive. Hayden, a former California state senator and lifelong human rights activist, believes that the United States spends too much money attempting to negotiate peace across the globe while ignoring gang warfare domestically. Hayden argues that since the 1970s, U.S. policy has changed its focus from a "war on poverty" to a "be tough on crime" mentality, resulting in a dramatic increase in gang membership and the total numbers of gangsters in prison. His analysis, which stems primarily from his experiences and connections in the political world, provides valuable insights on policy and legislation affecting gang members. Hayden promotes utilizing inner-city peacemakers to negotiate peace treaties among warring gangs, thereby "show[ing] us that alternatives to this deadly cycle are possible." Recommended as an excellent addition to all academic libraries and criminal justice collections. Tim Delaney, SUNY at Oswego Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781565848764
Publisher:
New Press, The
Publication date:
05/19/2004
Pages:
430
Product dimensions:
6.44(w) x 8.04(h) x 1.59(d)

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