On Monday May 1st, Jordan Neely was choked to death on a F train by a former Marine with the assistance of two men and passive complacency of multiple train goers. Neely, as many knew him, was a popular Michael Jackson impersonator and an unhoused tenant. His skill was well regarded and joy filled the platforms he performed in. 

The violent public lynching unfolded after Neely was screaming out in anguish as he suffered from a complex of oppressions. He was hungry, thirsty, tired, mentally ill, over-exploited, unhoused, failed by our state, and unseen by many as a fellow suffering worker — someone deserving of compassion, resources and solidarity. Instead, rogue vigilantes identified him as a nuisance befit for execution. 

It is our society’s constant dehumanization of the poor, the mentally ill and the unhoused that allows for fellow workers to commit atrocities on one another or sit idle as a fellow human’s life is extinguished. The working class in New York City, and around the world, struggles to combat the rise of reactionary violence and passivity, both on a systemic and interpersonal level, as our political-economy becomes more volatile and our vulnerable communities are criminalized and deemed disposable.

An austerity budget is being pushed through the State and City level that amplifies the deterioration of working-class life; public parks, libraries, schools, resources for the mentally ill and unhoused, among many others, are being devastated. Cost of living and homelessness are on the rise. Black and brown people — the ones who are disproportionately impacted by gentrification — are completely blotted out and forced to exist in the lowest rungs; held prisoner in an endless death-spin of poverty, homelessness, mental illness, and starvation. It is the capitalist system that structures and maintains the drive for gentrification (more profits by means of displacement) and its death-spin. Gentrification is designing an even more hostile landscape for the most precarious — bringing in more policing, more individual acts of white chauvinism, more intentional neglect and more death.

Our social glues are being dissolved by racist capitalism at accelerating rates as evident by the lack of support Neely had from a society-at-large and his could-be-communities members on the train. Capital, moreover, creates a culture of sharp  indifference, and it is this disease of indifference; of outright callousness, that pushes our people to the outskirts, making them vulnerable prey to white vigilantism and state slaughter. Interlocking systems of capitalism, white-supremacy and gentrification murdered Neely and is going to continue to murder us if we do not do something about it.

Let us mourn Neely because his innate capability to actualize his full humanity was taken away by a system that still breathes; a system that thrives off of the continued hunting of black and brown people. Let us organize together, as worker-tenants, to build up the power necessary to eradicate this system so it does not take away those that are still here.