National Guard out of the subway!

Cartoon: Tony Murphy

New York City

The announcement by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul that 750 National Guard members and 250 state troopers will be deployed into the New York subway — on top of the 1,000 additional New York Police Department cops introduced into the subway in January — has not been welcomed by New Yorkers. 

City residents know that bag checks and hundreds more cops deployed throughout the subway system resulted in increased racist profiling, arrests and jailings of and brutality against Black and Latine riders.

Both Hochul and New York City Mayor Eric Adams grant that crime is down overall in the subways, but have seized upon the most recent subway attacks in order to increase repression against riders. 

Activists have pointed out that troop and cop presence is increasing in the subway while thousands of New Yorkers have been in the streets to oppose the U.S.-backed genocide in Palestine. The capitalist state is increasing repression in all areas where people are expressing outrage at the starving, killing and ethnic cleansing of people in Gaza — much of it funded by Washington.

Militant and large New York City actions — marches of thousands, college and high school campus walkouts, speaker disruptions, blocking roads around the airports — have been happening for months and are proliferating. On March 14, hundreds of pro-Palestinian protesters occupied the lobby of the New York Times in Manhattan and blocked trucks at its printing facility in Queens to protest the newspaper’s war propaganda backing Israel’s genocide in Gaza.

Many of the powerful pro-Palestinian demonstrations in the city’s streets have continued underground on the subways themselves, with entire trains taken over by people chanting “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” The people in this city support Palestine. 

The role of the National Guard has always been to crack down on justified rebellions and people’s uprisings. It was created for use against striking railroad workers in the 1800s. The Guard murdered striking workers during the 1937 Little Steel Strike.

The Ohio National Guard killed four students and wounded nine other anti-war protesters at Kent State University in 1970. And the National Guard was mobilized against the historic countrywide protests opposing the killing of George Floyd in 2020 — and when killer cop Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict was announced. 

Jail bankers, not riders!

New York state troopers are 90% white — even though the population of the state is 60% white, and New York City is only 30% white — and are the target of multiple lawsuits for their systemic culture of anti-Black racism.

The NYPD is known for its racist arrests, its brutality against protesters, including during the George Floyd uprisings in 2020, and stop-and-frisk harassment, which has increased in recent years despite being ruled illegal by the courts.

And the statistics expose the bigotry: Black and Latine New Yorkers account for 88% of all fare evasion arrests and 70% of summonses. Of all the people arrested in police traffic stops, 90% were Black and Latine.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority says it loses money from fare evasion. But it loses more from exorbitant interest paid to Wall Street. The state’s refusal to fund public transportation means that for decades the MTA has been relying on loans in order to run and owes $48 billion to big investment firms.

In 2017, the Times reported that the MTA paid debt service — which includes interest that has been ballooning over decades — at the rate of $83 a second! That’s $7 million a day. That astounding figure is undoubtedly more now, since the total amount owed has increased.

If the police want to arrest those who are looting the subway, they should start on Wall Street — and leave Black, Latine and other poor and working-class riders alone!

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