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Statement Against the Ongoing Curfew and Martial Law

By Workers’ Voice

Since the second day of the protest against the police murder of George Floyd,  the National Guard was deployed in Minneapolis, and later the military police was sent as well. Videos of both forces patrolling residential neighborhoods as occupation troops have terrified and outraged most of those who live in this country, as have the multiple videos and reports of recurring, arbitrary and disproportionate uses of violence and illegal detention against peaceful protests and bystanders.

As of June 3rd and according to the National Guard bureau “a historic 74,000 National Guard soldiers and airmen were activated for domestic operations across the United States” in 31 states and the District of Columbia. By comparison, there are today roughly  9,000 U.S. occupation troops currently stationed in Afghanistan and 5,000 more in Iraq.

Since Monday June 1st counties and city administrations have imposed curfews in more than 80 urban areas. News outlets are reporting that at least 11,000 people have been arrested in protests.[1] We know the number is actually higher, as this figure only compiles information from 30 police departments, and LA County alone has seen more than 3,000 arrests since Friday May 29th, the vast majority of which were for non-violent offenses such as refusing to disperse or violating the curfew.[2]

As if that were not enough, Trump has threatened to mobilize the military to squash the protests. The government is also mobilizing county sheriff offices, highway patrol officers and most recently the Border Patrol and ICE to join the army of militarized forces confronting protesters in the street.

We categorically oppose these measures, and we call on the immediate withdrawal of the National Guard and military police from the streets as well as an end to all curfews. These measures amount to de-facto martial law being imposed in urban areas where most of the U.S. population is concentrated – especially Black and Brown communities. They entail a fundamental violation of our democratic rights to free speech, assembly and protest. But more importantly, they are designed to “dominate,” squash, suppress and humiliate this multi-racial movement of rebellion against racist violence and against the government’s refusal to significantly mitigate the devastating effects that the pandemic has had on working people.

Both Democrats and Republicans are supporting and enforcing these measures from the White House to state and local city administrations. They use the images of looting and violence to justify these measures, and claim these measures are “to protect us” and “restore peace”. They are not. The massive mobilization of military force against civilians is not about protecting people endangered in a context of pandemic, or even to protect small business, it is about political intimidation and the legitimization of the perpetuation of violence against Black and Brown bodies. It is about political domination and subjugation.  As Trump himself said it the Governors on June 1st “If you don’t dominate you are wasting our time, they are going to run over you, you are going to look like a bunch of jets… you need to arrest people, and you need to try people, and they need to go to jail for for long periods of time.”

This is why we call on all unions, working class organizations, immigrant rights groups, community organizations, student unions and others to join the developing movement to oppose those measures. We need to organize mass protests, with security measures and clear leadership to defy this attempt to silence us. We cannot allow this response to become the new normal in the face of social unrest and mass political action. We need to defend our right to protest, and we need to grow our movement because we need to win!

 

They want to dominate us, we want to liberate ourselves and each other!

Jail for ALL killer cops! Justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor!

Withdraw the National Guard and military police!

End the mass arrests and curfews! Drop all charges!

For working class solidarity and against racism: All out to the protests for George Floyd!

[1]https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/scottpham/floyd-protests-number-of-police-arrests

[2] https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/03/george-floyd-protests-los-angeles-arrests