The work of OCWB has also received significant interest and recognition from national publications and organizations. But as OCWB engages the substance of its work—helping connect underemployed residents to living-wage jobs—practical challenges blur the distinction between the medical model and the structural approach. For instance, to access the supplementary resources OCWB offers such as training, transportation, and child care , a low-income resident must commit to seeking employment.
This requirement is essential to its political viability but is also, I would argue, morally defensible given the scarcity of resources. Richmond does not have sufficient funds to provide all residents a basic income, nor would there be political support for such an approach. On the ground, seeking structural justice in a deeply flawed regime inevitably involves a practical reconciliation—if not moral compromise—with those aspects of the social structure that policymakers cannot realistically impact.
We may need not one but two modes of political ethics for addressing ghetto poverty. The first is exactly what Shelby proposes: more and more citizens calling for bold structural change and building political support for significant redistribution and reallocation of resources. The second, less explored, is an ethic for policymakers trying to advance structural change within the messy terrain of existing local democratic politics. This might mean being able to express a structural approach in terms that adherents to a medical model will understand.
And it might mean adhering to some of the same norms such as evaluations or cost—benefit analyses from that model that are a precondition of maintaining political and financial support. Intellectual clarity is a great virtue in that context, but ideological purity generally is not. Quite evidently, such a consensus is lacking. A robust answer to Trumpism will thus require building a broader and bolder political coalition capable of both naming and addressing structural injustices.
It will also require a decidedly bolder flavor of progressive politics at the national level. While the Richmond example shows the potential of local efforts in addressing core structural justice, it is the larger-order national policies that set the context in which localities must operate. With a bundle of bold strategies, the federal government must play the lead role in any effort truly designed to replace the ghetto with a more just distribution of resources and opportunities.
Shelby leaves those strategies to others.
But policymakers and politicians should take his moral message of abolitionism to heart. To fail to do so is to acquiesce to the persistence of deep injustice—economic and racial—for yet another generation. The missing ingredient now, as then, is sufficient political will and imagination. As King knew, pilot projects and small adjustments do not address systemic injustice or suffice to combat centuries of accumulated injustice.
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Donovan , Emma Park. The violent theft of land and capital is at the Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. Joshua Cohen , Corey Robin. Mark Tseng-Putterman. Rosie Gillies , Boston Review. Salonee Bhaman , Pedro A. Samuel Bowles , Joshua Cohen. On the other hand the appearance of spontaneous local initiatives may hold brighter long-term prospects despite the uncertainties that mark the projects in each municipality.
The initiatives coming out of some municipalities, especially the smaller ones, may suffer from technical drawbacks and may not possess the homogeneity and linkage of a well-implemented national program. However, national programs do not usually achieve the universality and outreach that they are designed for, and run a permanent risk of interruption. The capacity for liaison between municipalities to face the challenge is interesting.
Among advantages in this option are economies of scale in technical investments, especially in smaller municipalities. Planning, supervision and assessment of programs can be carried out by a single technical team hired for this purpose by the towns in a given region. There are also methodological advantages when it is a single program that is applied in a group of municipalities.
For example, one can use a larger sample, and treat some places as control groups and others as experimental groups, and so on. Another point that underscores the importance of inter-municipal linkage is the movement of criminals. When there is a greater crackdown on crime in one particular place, criminals often move to other places, change their modus operandi, or target different types of people.
For this reason any assessment of a local intervention against criminality must take into account the chance that crime may increase in neighboring areas. The measure helped reduce the rate of violent incidents in Diadema, while the rate simultaneously increased in neighboring regions. This conclusion was made possible by crossing data from several municipalities, and led administrators to the conclusion that some inhabitants of Diadema had begun to frequent other nearby towns in search of fun that was no longer available in their own town.
The advantages of inter-municipal intervention are clearer in metropolitan regions where problems are shared and where the movement of victims and criminals is more intense. The forum brings together the municipal secretariats or their equivalents with representatives of the state-level government to plan joint initiatives, share experiences and exchange information.
As the core competence of public security had always fallen to the states, there were no municipal security structures. As municipalities took upon themselves this responsibility, they eventually created agencies, normally secretariats, whose mission was to coordinate all the relevant programs.
In other cases they adopt a different nomenclature, or former secretariats acquire new roles. The Municipal Secretariat for Citizenship was set up in , to provide service to the lower-income population and provide the more vulnerable portions of society with access to rights.
A public security nucleus was set up within the secretariat in Shortly after that, the secretariat was restructured and was renamed the Municipal Secretariat for Citizenship and Public Security. The main roles of the secretariat are to coordinate projects and liaise with police forces, NGOs and civil society at large.
It also manages the borrowing of funds from the federal government. When the new municipal administration began its mandate in , it set up a secretariat specially to deal with the issue. Its duties were to define guidelines for the work of the Municipal Guard and coordinate it with the state police forces in carrying out joint crime prevention programs. Many municipal projects aim to foster the participation of the community and of society in the process of formulating and introducing projects.
Violence was only one of several issues addressed.
The Council brought together components of several public authority agencies and representatives of civil society to take part in the plan. They include representatives of the Civil and Military Police forces, members of the communities and an agent from the local government. Their goal is to put forward proposals for interventions and to bring public authorities — particularly the police forces — closer to the beneficiary communities.
The responsible politicians take the view that public security and human rights are goals to be sought simultaneously. The Municipal Council for Human Rights is a body with eight members from the local government and eight from civil society. Its theoretical function is to hear accusations of human rights violations and involve public policies to defend human rights; however, it has not yet satisfactorily performed these roles. The Committee for the Promotion of Human Rights and for the Prevention of Violence is a body made up of members from a range of municipal secretariats, without the participation of civil society.
Its mission is not to carry out projects, which is the responsibility of the secretariats, but to effectively coordinate municipal efforts. Two important initiatives that sprang from the Committee were the setting up of a forum for debate, and the drawing of maps of violence showing risks in every zone of the city. Similarly, participation faces several challenges.