QUESTION: How does class conflict start? And in effect how do gangs affect class conflict, or how are gangs influenced by class conflict?
ANSWER: There are a number of explanations that relate class status to conflict, but your question goes to the violence relationships in societies where class stratification is an issue so we will accept that class conflicts exist and move to explain the violence relationship.
In my work, I state there is a relationship of type, degree and longevity of violence to type, degree and longevity of class stratification. The more pronounced the class differences, the more evidence of different types of violence, including gangs (Irish, Jewish, Italian, Latino, White, Asian, you name it). Understand that violence exists in every society - be it economic, social and political violence or street violence. And one does rely on the other to maintain a status quo. Please examine Maslov's Hierarchy of Needs: http://psychology.about.com/od/theoriesofpersonality/a/hierarchyneeds.htm
The triangle illustrates status and the progression from basic survival needs to the higher more esoteric endeavors. The strata within the Triangle is in essence an objective view of the classic human struggle to first survive and then to attain greater freedom to experience and explore other aspects of the human experience available that rounds out the person. However, inherent in the Triangle climb, if you will, is class struggle, aka violence - economic violence, social and political violence - and psychological violence partly resulting from other forms of violence. There are psychological and emotional effects of all violence. These macro forces are seen most vividly in micro situations that have a range of impacts that generally relate to aberrant indicators in early childhood development in families and communities at the bottom of the Moslav Triangle. The rest you can figure out for yourself. But I am open to further discussion.
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QUESTION: What do you mean in when you say "Understand that violence exists in every society - be it economic, social and political violence or street violence. And one does rely on the other to maintain a status quo". Specifically when you say one does not rely on the other to maintain the status quo.
You must study the social history of how a group becomes marginalized - be it in the USA, South Africa, Australia, Great Britain, etc. and observe those historical patterns. This examination will expose how various types of 'precipitating violence' i.e., economic, political, social violence by a ruling class(es) is applied to a given homogenous group. In every case, there evolves "gang-like" violence. The gangs are then blamed on the group, not the society that underpins the rage that leads to rage-induced violence. Thus there is no solution to gang violence except further violence now done by the justice system.
The true objective is to maintain and enhance class standing and separation that added wealth, power and status provide to the ruling class(es). Colonization is one word for it - and colonization involves all manner of 'precipitating violence'. All violence begets violence, regardless of type or level. However, as a society becomes increasingly integrated (shares power), the 'precipitating violence' will be to some degree overcome. As the integration process proceeds, regardless of integrating group, gang and other violence within that group reduces, e.g., in the USA - violence within and among Italian, Irish, Jewish, Asian groups is now insignificant - but not yet Black or Latino as the societal apartheid is still too pronounced. Blacks are more integrated on TV but remain separated in neighborhoods, for example. Thus these two groups indicate the interdependent relationship of one type of violence to the other that is still evident to varying degrees and according to group. Violence of any sort will always beget violence. The trick is to understand the totality of what constitutes violence.