Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1099/31288
Latest US police shooting outrage...
Fight racism, Trump and capitalism
The recent police shooting of unarmed black man Jacob Blake in Wisconsin is a brutal reminder of the oppressive policies of Donald Trump's administration and also the toxic racism built into the 'DNA' of US capitalism.
An outpouring of angry, predominately young black and white people onto the streets of US cities following the shooting has been cynically twisted by Trump into a 'law and order' issue, to whip up reactionary forces and further his presidential election ambitions.
The Independent Socialist Group in the USA, co-thinkers of the Socialist Party in England and Wales, argues below for a socialist programme to unite the working class and fight back against division arising from the profit-driven capitalist system.
On 23 August, Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by police in Wisconsin. The shooting has left him paralysed.
Why was Blake shot? Because he was walking away from a fight he tried to de-escalate until police arrived. Yet when the police arrived, the situation became tragic.
On the night of 25 August, amid protests denouncing the shooting, a member of a pro-police militia, Kyle Rittenhouse, shot three protestors, killing two of them.
Trump has publicly defended his actions and other violence by far-right militias.
Despite being thanked for his armed presence by officers before the shooting, and attempting to turn himself in after, Rittenhouse was not arrested until the next day. Further information released shows Kenosha Police Department actively collaborating with the right-wing militia group during the protest, including Rittenhouse.
The police's kid-glove approach to Rittenhouse and other right-wing forces committing actual violence stands in stark contrast to the numerous acts of racist police violence that sparked the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
This movement has faced repression from local police as well as federal agents. It has raised demands to slash bloated police budgets and enforce real civilian control over public safety.
Both the Republicans and Democrats continue to utilise racist 'law and order' rhetoric, and to collaborate to increase mass incarceration and expand police presence in many communities of colour, even in the midst of this historic BLM movement.
From the constant criminalisation of poverty and workers of colour, to continued extra-judicial murders during a national anti-racist uprising, it is clear that the role of the police - and corporate politicians - is to enforce racism in the interests of the capitalist class.
The capitalist class and its politicians are terrified of the current movement that has united workers and youth of all backgrounds in a common struggle to fight against systemic violence and injustice. They fear the momentum of this movement may lead working people and youth to fight for more far-reaching change.
This is a major reason why many cities under Democratic administrations are responding so brutally to the current protests. We cannot rely on the Democrats or Republicans for meaningful change.
We must ditch the two-party system and organise a party of our own that can help initiate and unite mass protest movements, including an unshakable commitment to fighting police brutality and systemic racism.
The Independent Socialist Group enthusiastically supports the ongoing anti-racist movement, including justice for Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and all victims of police and racist brutality.
We call for the following:
- Demilitarise the police
- End 'no knock' raids
- Remove police from schools
- Slash bloated police budgets and fund housing, healthcare, and education
- Decriminalise poverty and ban racist police practices
- Solidarity between organised labour and the anti-racist movement. Unions must mobilise to fight systemic racism. Turn out membership to protests. Use resources to help protesters. Adopt the movement's demands and organise workplace actions to win them
- Elected community committees to organise protest support, medical treatment, legal responses, community self-defence efforts, and responses to police or right-wing escalation
- Community control and oversight of all aspects of public safety, including hiring, firing, training, priorities, and budgets
Hugo Pierre, Unison national executive council (personal capacity) and Socialist Party member
"What have been significant in response to the latest US police shooting of an unarmed black man, are the actions of sports professionals - striking in support of Black Lives Matter (BLM).
But what if the millions-strong trade union movement got together behind BLM and campaigned to unite working-class people across the USA to fight racism and Trump? This means the unions fighting for a programme of jobs, pay, healthcare, safety, and all the things that matter to the majority.
I believe that here, in the UK, the trade unions must also show a way forward by ending their 'lockdown' on activity and give full support to BLM around the demands of 'jobs, homes, safety - not racism'."
In The Socialist 2 September 2020:
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