Chicago Politicians Solicit Support from the Gangs Responsible for 80% of Murders

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


Chicago’s ridiculously high murder rate is largely driven by gang activity. And that’s not an exaggeration. Chicago has over 600 gang factions and their gang wars are responsible for much of the city’s death toll.

80 to 60 percent of Chicago’s murders are estimated to be gang related, with some gangs boasting tens of thousands of members.

Chicago politicians advocate fiercely for national gun control. And meanwhile they cozy up to the very gangs doing the killing.

At some of the meetings, the politicians arrived with campaign materials and occasionally with aides. The sessions were organized much like corporate-style job fairs. The gang representatives conducted hourlong interviews, one after the other, talking to as many as five candidates in a single evening. Like supplicants, the politicians came into the room alone and sat before the gang representatives, who sat behind a long table.

The former chieftains, several of them ex-convicts, represented some of the most notorious gangs on the South and West Sides, including the Vice Lords, Gangster Disciples, Black Disciples, Cobras, Black P Stones, and Black Gangsters. Before the election, the gangs agreed to set aside decades-old rivalries and bloody vendettas to operate as a unified political force, which they called Black United Voters of Chicago.

More than a quarter of those killed in Chicago last year were with the Gangster Disciples. Not a quarter of gang members. A quarter of all those killed. That’s 100 dead in just one cross-section of the gang wars.

The gang representatives were interested in electing aldermen sympathetic to their interests and those of their impoverished wards. As for the politicians, says Baskin, their interests essentially boiled down to getting elected or reelected. “All of [the political hopefuls] were aware of who they were meeting with,” he says. “They didn’t care. All they wanted to do was get the support.”

One wonders if Obama ever participated in similar meetings at any time. And what do the gangs offer Chicago politicians? A street army of their own.

Gangs can provide a decisive advantage at election time by performing the kinds of chores patronage armies once did.

“An alderman ain’t nothing without the backing of the neighborhood,” says a top-level Gangster Disciple from the South Side. “Without the gangs, it’s hard [for politicians] to exist.”

A Latin King, interviewed at Cook County Jail, recalls how the top leader of his gang, the Corona, ordered every member in his area to vote for Ricardo Muñoz, the 22nd Ward alderman. “Every chapter had to vote for that guy, anyone who was eligible to vote,” says the Latin King. “That was a direct order. That means you can’t say no. If you do, you face a violation”—typically a beating, or worse.

Democracy. Chicago style.

The gangs funnel their largess through opaque businesses, or front companies, and through under-the-table payments. In turn, grateful politicians use their payrolls or campaign funds to hire gang members, pull strings for them to get jobs or contracts, or offer other favors

Most alarming, both law enforcement and gang sources say, is that some politicians ignore the gangs’ criminal activities. Some go so far as to protect gangs from the police, tipping them off to impending raids or to surveillance activities—in effect, creating safe havens in their political districts. And often they chafe at backing tough measures to stem gang activities, advocating instead for superficial solutions that may garner good press but have little impact.

… like gun control.

  • steve b

    Instead of seeking their support, they should be killing thes black criminals.

    • Mary Sue

      b-b-but, that would be racist! [/sarcasm]

    • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

      This should not shock anyone. Chicago's pols – from which Obama and his surrogates honed their skills – are part of the same thugocracy. Is it any wonder that this is the style being used in Washington – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/10/07/when-authenti

      Progressive politics at its core.

      Adina kutnicki, Israel – http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

      • AnOrdinaryMan

        Aside from the Africans in South Tel Aviv, are there any gangs in Israel? (Didn't think so.)

        • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

          Almost non-existent, except for the internal Arab/Muslim fifth column who prey on Jewish Israelis, through robberies and murders! Of course, there is the Israeli Mafia, a mirror image of the Italian Mafia. For the most part, those who get hurt are generally "in bed" with them business-wise. However, roving gangs…no way!

          Adina kutnicki, Israel

    • Rifleman

      Black, white, criminals all look the same to me. The ugliness comes from the inside.

  • Mary Sue

    This is the worst example of "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" I have ever seen.

  • UCSPanther

    The three biggest gangs of Chicago (Gangster Disciples, Blackstone Rangers, Vice Lords) all acted like mafias, gaining massive amounts of influence over their neighborhoods and running large scale criminal operations while behaving like your typical ghetto rats of the time as many retired cops who worked Chicago will tell you. In the 1960s, they hitched onto the Civil Rights Movement and used it to mask their criminal antics while creating a facade of respectability through their "Community initiatives". In the end, it all fell apart in the late '60s and things went back the way they were for a time.

    Since then, all three gangs got hit hard by the feds and infighting and they have since been reduced from quasi-organized crime syndicates to loosely organized splinter groups fighting rivals both inside and out of their respective gangs.

    And for Chicago's political establishment, it sounds dangerously close to becoming a place where the inmates run the asylum. As such, Chicago probably is not too far off of becoming like Detroit…

  • Arlie

    Bobby Rush – US Congressman – District 1 Chicago – was a Black Panther back in the 60′s and was involved in crimes. Now look at him. There is NO justice – it’s a mockery. Chicago always been gangsta land since the days of Capone. Now look what’s in DC – Chicago garbage!

  • kafir4life

    I understand that these are the "Chicago values" that Stinky's (bo) lover, Rahm Emanuel, espouses. Chic-Fil-A, or anybody that support "family values" are NOT part of the Breaking Wind(y) city. Most Chicago teachers (CTU) are also gang members, and a danger to the children of people who are concerned about such things. Look at their PROUD graduation rate of……..60%!! They're PROUD of that!! Chicago teachers for the most part don't even know what "60%" means. It involves "numbers" and "percents", and math is hard. Most decent people have already left that hell hole. The rest are mostly just garbage.

  • Rifleman

    It sounds like at best they're just using other people's money to pay off the gangs in hopes they'll quit the thug lifestyle that got them that recognition and respect. At worst, they're in bed with them.

  • Anon

    Can you give your source for the statement that gangs are responsible for 60-80% of homicides in Chicago? The source I've found says it's 50%. Thanks. http://www.nationalgangcenter.gov/Survey-Analysis

  • patron

    It's no surprise. The Democratic political machine are gangsters. Harry Reid, Alcee Hastings, Richard Menendez, Barney Frank, Jesse Jackson Jr., Blago.

    It started with Al Capone. It continues with Barak Obama.

  • Petunia

    Uhhh…how did the gang leaders know for whom their members voted? This part of it doesn't make sense to me.