By Jeremy Drinkall, schools convenor
For over a week now US cities have been convulsed by an unprecedented wave of militant fightback precipitated by the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis by police officer Derek Chauvin.
For almost nine minutes Floyd, a black man, was held down by Chauvin’s knee on his neck in front of cameras while Floyd begged for his life. Even after he lay limp and unresponsive, Chauvin continued his torture of Floyd for several minutes more, even though bystanders filmed the murder and begged the cops to get up and let him breathe. George Floyd died and will never breathe again.
Over 90 US cities responded with angry protest. Cities, commercial buildings, offices, stores, and even a police station in Minneapolis were burned down and pitched battles were fought on the streets against the cops. The protests have been ethnically mixed: white, Latinx, as well as black people have had enough of the police terror epitomized by the murder of George Floyd.
Although the authorities were forced to fire Chauvin and the other three cops that abetted Floyd’s murder. They later arrested Chauvin for third degree murder but the other three conspirators remain free.
When the cops in the various cities weren’t able to restore “order”, the National Guard was called up. Trump jumped in with blatant appeals, aimed at his white supremacist base. He told governors and mayors to “dominate the streets” and threatened to deploy the military if state governors didn’t do so.
After the National Guard was called up in almost half the country, the cops have gone on a rampage against protestors, peaceful or not, literally opening fire on protestors and killing a man in Louisville and beating people everywhere else.
The system that needs to change is capitalism. It becomes clearer and clearer with every murder by cop, that 400 years of racism is embedded into the system of capitalism itself and nothing short of a system change will change this dynamic. Malcolm X said it best, “You can’t have capitalism without racism”. They are twin evils that must be eradicated together.
The transit unions and bus drivers have refused to transport some of the estimated 4,400 people arrested to jail in some localities and most of the major unions have condemned the actions of the cops complicit in these murders. Our sister unions of municipal workers have organised solidarity, distributed food to riot-torn districts and generally done the right thing but much more is needed, strikes, in particular.
TV commentators and journalists here have complacently said, this couldn’t happen here. We don’t have a history of racism and slavery or armed police. Well, they ought to look around: Sean Rigg, Wayne Douglas, Jean Charles de Meneses to mention just three local victims, whose killers were never brought to justice.
The reaction in London and across the UK has naturally therefore been awesome, given the fear of coronavirus. London, Manchester, Cardiff have all witnessed large protests and more local ones have also made the short distance to the US Embassy in Vauxhall.
Lambeth Unison supports properly socially distanced protests against this killing, linking it to the issues of inadequate protection from coronavirus for black and ethnic minority workers and the mass unemployment, which is coming our way.
•No more cop killings
•Withdraw National Guard and armed police
•Justice for all victims of police violence in the US, UK, everywhere
NOTE: All of these protests adhere to social distancing. Please only attend if you have PPE and it is safe for you to travel
Black Lives Matter protest
1pm Hyde Park 3 June
“Taking the knee” in Windrush Square for George Floyd
6pm Wednesday 3 June
Black Lives Matter socially distanced demonstration
1pm Parliament Square to
2pm US Embassy Saturday 6 June
JUSTICE FOR GEORGE FLOYD. BLACK LIVES MATTER
South London Stand Up To Racism will be organising a socially distanced protest and vigil in Brixton today to mark the Day of Action against racism and police brutality and in solidarity with protesters in the United States. We will be ‘Taking The Knee’ collectively at 6pm. The vigil will be a time limited action. It’s vitally important that we maintain social distancing so if you’d like to be involved please message https://www.facebook.com/SouthLondonSUTR/ directly so we can share the details.
#LDNBLM #BlackLivesMatter #BlackLivesMatterUK