Minneapolis is burning. People are enraged, frustrated, and demonstrating a renewed sense of militancy after the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25th. Protests have been brutally repressed across the country. City and state governments are using all of their tools of violence and intimidation to quell this uprising, amidst reports of police provocateurs destroying property to discredit protestors and encourage military escalation.
Worker’s Voice Statement
Our unions and other workers’ and popular organizations need to stand in solidarity and take up the call for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Armery and all other victims of police murder. We should follow the example of the Amalgamated Transit Union who issued a statement repudiating the murders and encouraging their members to refuse participating in the police repression against the protests,
“our members have the right…to refuse the dangerous duty of transporting police to protests and arrested demonstrators away from these communities where many of these drivers live. This is a misuse of public transit.”
We need to demand an end to the epidemic of police violence, to oppose deployment of the national guard and other methods of state violence that may be employed to repress the demonstrations. In the meantime, we need to support, participate in, and encourage members of our unions and working class organizations to join these demonstrations and develop Planning Committees for Mutual Aid, Solidarity, and Struggle that can organize, independently from the bourgeois politicians and parties (Democrats and Republicans), the deepest solidarity and support for these demonstrations.
The rebellion in Minneapolis, followed by protests and demonstrations in Denver, NYC, LA, Oakland and other parts of the country, erupted following the police murder of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed by Minneapolis police. This recent killing was followed by the police murder of Emergency Medical Technician Breonna Taylor in her own home in Louisville, Kentucky in March, and the killing of 25 year old Ahmaud Arbery who was shot to death while out on a jog by a former police detective and his son in Georgia in February. These episodes of police violence reveal the deep-rooted racism inherent to capitalism. While police officers tortured George Floyd to death, kneeling on his neck for 9 minutes, Floyd was heard repeatedly saying, “I can’t breath,” a common slogan of the Black Lives Matter movement originating from Eric Garner’s last words after being choked to death in 2014 by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo. Mass demonstrations are occurring across the country, with protestors taking to the streets and taking over highways to demand justice for Floyd. Garner’s murder had set in motion the Black Lives Matter movement, and the recent police killing of Floyd sparked protests, a rebellion in Minneapolis leaving a burned out police station, and the beginnings of a new movement against police violence in the US.
The COVID-19 crisis has already resulted in people of color disproportionately dying from the virus, as has been reported in places like Chicago and Louisiana. Police have also been detaining and harassing people of color for violating stay at home orders at higher rates than white people, seen in places like NYC under Mayor De Blasio . These protests represent the first time people are taking to the streets in mass numbers during the crisis and the pandemic may be used as an excuse for escalating repression against activists.
The hypocrisy of any sense of ‘justice’ or ‘equality’ of the US judicial system, predicated on white supremacist violence, capitalist laws, and state violence and repression, has been blatantly revealed when comparing the police response between these protests and the largely white protests in Michigan and elsewhere demanding the ‘re-opening of the economy’ which had been organized and funded by a shadowy right-wing non-profit with links to billionaires like Betsy DeVos’ and others like Paul Weyrich, co-founder of Heritage Foundation and ALEC. The police ensured the protection of these protestors, who were armed and entered the Michigan state house with large assault rifles, and had been encouraged by Trump as he told Governor Whitmer to negotiate with the protestors. On the other hand, the police have violently repressed protestors demanding justice for Floyd in Minnesota and across the country shooting rubber bullets at protestors, throwing flashbang grenades and tear gas and employing other militarized methods of violence and intimidation which Trump has openly supported, tweeting “…when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” along with threats to send in the National Guard. Police in Minneapolis have even attacked and arrested journalists who were covering the protests, like Black CNN reporter Omar Jimenez.
More protests are soon to emerge across the country as the movement builds – but this will certainly be met with escalated levels of state violence and repression. We had already seen the Mayor of Minneapolis Jacob Frey and the Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, both Democrats, call on the National Guard to quell the rebellion.
Worker’s Voice / La Voz de los Trabajadores reaffirm our indignation and repudiation of this latest police murder, and offer solidarity to their families and unconditional support for the struggles and uprisings in the streets of Minnesota and other cities across the US. Until they stop killing, exploiting and oppressing us, we will not stop fighting racism and all its forms of violence against our class. As C.L.R. James wrote in 1948, the black struggle
“has a vitality and validity of its own…it has deep historic roots in the past of America and in present struggles; it has an organic political perspective…[and] is able to intervene with terrific force upon the general social and political life of the nation…It is able to exercise a powerful influence upon the revolutionary proletariat…it has got a great contribution to make to the development of the proletariat in the United States, and that it is in itself a constituent part of the struggle for socialism.”
Capitalism and racism kill! Death to capitalism and racism!
Jail Killer Cops! Justice for George Floyd. Justice for Amaud Arbery. Justice for Breonna Taylor.
Cut Police Budgets and Use Resources to Meet the Needs of the People – Housing, Unemployment Benefits, Education, Healthcare, Public Transit