End Police Terror in the Transit System!

Photo by Scott Heins (source)

Why did the MTA hire 500 more cops this year, essentially doubling its police force?

Why are they able to terrorize the homeless, ticket poor working class people, and beat up and arrest Black and Latino youth with impunity?

Who are the real criminals here?

The main enemies in the fight against police terror in the transit system are the agents of the MTA and the state who wield their police as a weapon against the people. For them, this campaign of racist terror is just a big PR stunt to make it look like they are doing something about the crumbling infrastructure and train delays. Their fear-mongering about crime and their calculated appeals to racism serve to distract from the true cause of the agency’s financial woes: the $44 billion owed to rich bondholders which drains 17% of the MTA’s operating budget every year.

What gives the MTA the authority to sic cops on subway riders? It is the fact that it is an agency of the capitalist state, which administers our transit system according to the dictates of profit, and not the needs of the people. The capitalist state uses its police force to preserve the existing state of things, and protect profits in this case, the profits of the MTA’s bondholders. The MTA is even allowed to make its own rules around things like fare evasion and “vagrancy.” These rules are enforceable by the police, even though they have not been approved by any legislature.

Scapegoating homeless people, Black and Latino youth, and poor workers who can’t afford a $2.75 fare is necessary from the perspective of the capitalists. Their goal is to protect the system of municipal bond debt by which all public infrastructure is built, which:

  • Indebts the public treasury: the MTA not only has to take on debt to maintain and expand the system, but also to pay interest on the debt it already owes!
  • Plunders the working class: the burden of this debt falls on the shoulders of the people who rely on the subway to get to their jobs and provide or their families. Interst payments come out of the MTA’s operating budget, which is overwhelmingly funded by fares.
  • Lines the pockets of the capitalists: the MTA’s debt is mostly owned by wealthy households who buy up municipal bond debt to avoid paying taxes on their wealth while drawing a tidy profit. The fares of working people are thus deposited directly into their pockets, tax-free.

It is not the fare evaders who are criminal, but this system, which is unjust, exploitative, and anti-people. The MTA scapegoats fare evaders in order to conceal this simple fact, and to ensure the bondholders a return on their investment.

We reject this logic of profit! In a society where capitalists have been deprived of their political power and their property, where transportation and all other sectors are in the hands of the people, such a state of affairs would be unthinkable.

The May Day Student Organization condemns the MTA & NYPD’s attacks on the people! Transporation must be FREE, it must be ACCESSIBLE, and it must belong to THE PEOPLE, not the exploiters!

MDSO leaflet for the second FTP emergency action on 22 November 2019.