AbstractThe author is in sympathy with Palmas’ perspective on the Spanish state’s response to gangs in Madrid and Barcelona. Palmas’ critical review of the limitations of the strategies of the right and left hand of the state, what he calls the “gangs in” and “gangs out” approaches, are important contributions. A review of the author’s past work and his new book, The In$ane Chicago Way, suggest research needs to pay more attention to agency and not see gangs as basically victims reacting to oppression. Particularly important is to look for the pull of organized crime on gangs. Research in Chicago and around the world suggest mafias, cartels, and the instrumental logic of organize crime are often more powerful influences on gangs than social movements.
Keywords: Gangs; Organized Crime; Violence; Social Movements.