Political Parties = Gangs?

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Many of us think to ourselves that we are educated enough not to be lured into a street gang or engage in gang-like activities, but with the prevalence of violence in this year’s election lead-up, I couldn’t help but notice some similarities between political parties, their followers and members of street gangs. Don’t take my word for it, check out the list of common gang characteristics below and see for yourself.

Members may wear certain kinds of colours of clothing in very specific ways and/or use special hand signals, nicknames or symbols.

We all know the main colours and symbols of our local political parties, and this year’s elections have seen even more symbolism coming out of the woodwork.

Gang graffiti on buildings, telephone booths and other public places is often used by gangs to mark their territory and bring intimidation to rival gangs and the community, usually with a cryptic combination of letters or symbols.

I’m sure we have all seen the “DO SO” flyers from the two major factions in this election on any wall, pole or window within eye level. The balisier of the PNM, the rising sun of the UNC, the crown of the NNV, the tree of the TOP, and the communing dots of the COP are not unlike the gang symbols that one would see posted in various locations of gang-ridden communities.

Gangs act wherever young people congregate – on public transit or at transit stops, in malls, parks, schools, and on the streets of our community.

So too do the political parties in their youth rallies where they give away t-shirts, food and drinks while blasting popular music from entertainers, some of whom don’t even belong to this country and have absolutely no bearing on the elections themselves – all in a bid to capture the youth vote.


The ages of children involved in gangs keep dropping. Police are discovering kids as young as nine and ten in gangs.

In the case of politics, it starts with the parents taking their children to the rallies. They even sometimes drill statements like “PNM till I dead!” into the child’s mind from an early age and now I see children performing songs in support of the political party/leader for which they are too young to vote.

In addition to these, there are other similarities such as the infighting for leadership and the clashing of rival supporters that usually takes place both in politics and in gangs. So although we might abhor gang-related activity we should stop and think to ourselves whether or not we don’t already belong to one.


Editor’s Note: Be careful as you go out to vote people. Try not to rile up people or get into heated arguments. We don’t want to read about you in the newspapers. Seeing you in Outlish, however, we’re all for 😀

Karel Mc Intosh

Karel Mc Intosh is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Outlish Magazine. She's also the Lead Communications Trainer at Livewired Group, where she conducts workshops in business writing, social media, and other communications areas. A real online junkie, when she isn't surfing the Internet, she's thinking about surfing the Internet. Find out more about her here or tweet her @outlishmagazine.


  1. bandi

    May 24, 2010 at 7:00 am

    this will not go over well with the ‘current’ administration seeking to make ‘gangs’ illegal

  2. Chennette

    May 26, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    and watch the “beating” people does have to get to leave the gang! like getting call neemakaram and whatnot

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