At last night’s presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, Trump asserted that “bad things happen in Philadelphia”, claiming that poll watchers had been barred from observing early voting. While this particular claim is completely wrong, bad things do indeed happen in Philadelphia, all of which he and Biden actually support.
In Philadelphia, police forces act with near impunity. We would do well to recall that on May 31st, numerous police forces, all receiving moral and financial supports from both candidates and their corrupt parties, inundated majority Black sections of West Philadelphia in tear gas. Residents inside their homes reported being suffocated from the gas which quietly crept into homes, affecting children, adults, and elders alike. Only a few days later, on June 2nd, police trapped hundreds of protestors behind a fence and shot them with lethal amounts of tear gas. Tear gas is considered a chemical weapon, and as such these instances are akin to war crimes.
In Philadelphia, Immigration and Customs Enforcement runs amok. In September 2017, Philadelphia ICE kidnapped 107 people from their homes and workplaces over the course of one weekend. As is their national protocol, they go after people with “criminal records”, often for something as simple as a speeding violation, though they take all undocumented people they can find. The Democratic Kenney administration boasts Philadelphia as a sanctuary city, which is practically a symbolic gesture, as is custom of Democratic administrations.
In Philadelphia, large corporations and soulless investors shake hands with banks and city officials to win tax abatements and push working class Philadelphians out of their homes. Institutions such as COMCAST and the University of Pennsylvania, in spite of sitting on tremendous amounts of land, are able to run without paying what they owe. Bland million-dollar apartments go up within months, raising property taxes for working class Philadelphians, overcrowding their already crowded environments, and sending harmful toxins into the air. All this without a single input from the people most affected.
Bad things happen in Philadelphia – bureaucrats of all stripes wage a class war against the poor and oppressed. Rest assured, both parties will remain committed to promoting racist police terror and incarceration, to migrant persecution, and to cutting deals for the rich. Regardless of which candidate wins, we will still feel the boot of this system’s dictatorship.
But good things happen in Philadelphia too. Just recently, the housing movement reached a tentative agreement with the city to turn 50 of Philadelphia Housing Authority’s properties into a community land trust. Encampments around the city staved off numerous police attempts at eviction through solidarity. People quite literally put their bodies on the line. While this is still tentative and does not solve the root of homelessness in Philadelphia, it is quite clear that progress is being made and it is all due to the fighting spirit of angry albeit righteous Philadelphians.