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NYPD kicks homeless people off subways in new crackdown

Commentary by Jake Holtzman |
May 1, 2020
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New York, NY - The New York City Police Department (NYPD) reported Tuesday, April 28 that they kicked over 100 homeless people off of the subways in just one day. The police commissioner claims this new crackdown is about “rules violations” and keeping the subways clean in light of COVID-19. When discussing the large numbers of homeless people sleeping on the subways in his daily news briefing, Governor Cuomo said: “That is disgusting what is happening on those subway cars. It’s disrespectful to the essential workers.”

These comments are ridiculous, considering that the homeless people sleeping on the subways do not have a choice. Capitalist forces have stripped them of access to work and shelter. Mayor de Blasio said the city is offering 200 extra shelter beds – a pathetic attempt at a solution, considering the city’s homeless population is roughly 70,000. Yet instead of blaming New York City’s lack of effort in organizing enough sanitary homeless shelter facilities, Cuomo and the NYPD are directing the blame towards homeless people.

By placing the blame on homeless people, the NYPD and New York officials divert attention from the city’s own failures. Instead of blaming the ruling class for failing to provide shelter to all people, they are trying to make us believe that homeless people are the problem. The problem is capitalism. If the government based its decisions on the needs of poor and working people, they would understand the need to provide adequate shelter for the homeless, and to provide low cost housing and free healthcare for all. This would not only give homeless people somewhere to sleep other than the subways, but would eventually prevent homelessness from becoming an issue at all.

But clearly the ruling class would rather criminalize the homeless than provide for people’s basic needs. As New York officials and the NYPD continue to ignore these blatant contradictions, it becomes increasingly clear that there is only one solution – we need to organize to overthrow the capitalist system that causes homelessness in the first place. The solution is socialism.