Class struggle is the only way to beat Trump!
On Monday, the 25th of May, a 46 year-old black worker, George Floyd, was cruelly murdered by a policeman in Minneapolis. In the video of his arrest, it can be seen how the officer Derek Chauvin chokes the african-american worker by pressing his knee into the neck- a practice which is forbidden in the majority of the US, but not in the state of Minnesota- whilst he immobilises George Floyd on the ground for nine minutes, although he was crying that he could not breath. Three other policemen watched, impassable and unmoved. Floyd died hours later in the hospital and his assassination turned into the straw that broke the camels back: A social uprising, with classical insurrectional features, has spread through more than 120 cities across the country, shoving the Trump Government against the wall .
The movement spreads throughout the US
This new episode of racist police violence- adding another name to the endless list of afro american workers and youth murdered by a criminal machinery supported by the State powers- has led to what the United States ruling class has been fearing for a long time: the convergence in a same movement of all the contradictions brewing in society.
The massive unemployment at the beginning of a brutal economic crisis merges with the absence of basic public and social services and the inexistence of public healthcare which can protect the life of the people; A business elite which hoards obscene wealth, with tens of thousands of families falling in poverty and social exclusion, whilst Washington D.C. politicians approve bailout plans for Wall Street. The coronavirus pandemic has lifted the lid on the rotten pot of US capitalism: the country with the biggest number of deaths (which may reach 200 000 in the next few weeks) and with an abysmal gap between classes that does not cease to deepen.
Under the slogans of “No Justice, No peace” and “Black Lives Matter”, the protests started in Minneapolis the day after George Floyd’s assassination, with thousands of people taking pacifically to the street and marching to the police headquarters, holding placards and demanding justice. The police answered by firing tear gas and rubber bullets, but the brutal repression, which has continued, did not frighten the demonstrators who have legitimately defended themselves.
Trump ordered the deployment of 550 members of the National Guard, sending them to Minneapolis. In the second day of clashes a demonstrator was killed by police fire, in the midst of police and military charges with tear gas. The bravery, audacity and determination of the tens of thousands of black, white and asian youth, workers and pensioners is spreading across the world through hundreds of videos and images uploaded to social media. Also visible is the police brutality, that although it is being lashed without contemplation or remorse, has not stopped one of the biggest precincts in the city from going up in flames and has not stopped the police effectives from having to run away from the march of the people.
These images bring to mind the great revolutionary events which took place in the last few months in Santiago de Chile, Bogota, Quito and Paris. It shows the oppressed in a war footing against a murdering system which has no room for them, except for the most brutal repression, assassination and exploitation. A new generation of fighters has risen against the Iron Heel, and the capitalist class is clearly aware of it.
As expected, the ruling class, and the mainstream media which serves it, have started a campaign to criminalise the demonstrations, protecting and providing excuses to the murderers of George Floyd,who are protected from within the White House. The American bourgeois press has not hesitated, for even a second, in labelling the demonstrators as “looters” and “criminals”. A Fox News presenter- a fanatic Trump supporter- said: “Rioting is a form of tyranny. The strong and the violent oppress the weak and the unarmed. It is oppression”. This after the police departments of 17 cities had arrested more than 1400 demonstrators.
Class struggle in its essence
Donald Trump has dealt with this conflict by pouring fuel in the fire. The champion of incompetence during the health crisis, of making healthcare a profitable business for multinationals, the plutocrat who has abandoned his constituents to enrich the finance and business oligarchy, has not hesitated in sending a belligerent message, demanding that the shooting starts as soon as possible and proposing the immediate outlaw of the antifascist and left organisations which are actively participating in the protests.
It is exactly this provocative and bellicose attitude which has led to the massive growth of protests all over the country. The whip of counter-revolution has spurred the revolution. In less than 4 days, more than 30 cities, including Miami, New York, L.A., Philadelphia, Atlanta, Dallas, Washington D.C. and many more have filled with tens of thousands of people denouncing police brutality and advancing against Trump and his government. The rage has spread like wildfire.
Neither the curfew imposed in more than a dozen of these cities, governed by both Democrats and Republicans, nor the deployment of the National Guard- only in Minnesota 13 000 effectives have been deployed, the biggest deployment in 160 years- has been able to strangle this impressive uprising.
The solidarity that this movement has awoken in the population, tired of countless humiliations and impoverishment, gives cold sweats to the american capitalists. An important example is the response of public transit and bus workers who have refused that the police use their buses to transport the arrested protesters. This is what one of these workers said : “As a transit worker and union member (ATU Local 1005), I refuse to transport my class and the radicalised youth to jail (...) This protest is completely justified and needs to continue until all demands are met.”
The support for these demands and for the shout that has been placed in the epicentre of the battle, “I can’t breathe”, has been heard across cities like London, Paris, Berlin and Auckland, where on the past Sunday massive marches and gatherings against racism and police brutality have taken place. The movement is gaining an inspiring international dimension.
The images of this struggle have co-existed with the horrific scenes of the dead and infected by the coronavirus pandemic. The spread of this disease has evidenced the precarious situation in which the majority of the north-american working-class and youth lives, and specifically the black population who comprises 13.4% of the United States inhabitants (327 million).
According to the figures collated in 40 states by the APM Research Lab, african-american people are dying at three times the rate of white people. In the three states with the biggest percentage of black population- Mississippi, Louisiana and Georgia- 70% of deaths by COVID-19 have been of black people. In Chicago they comprise 73% of the deaths, in Milwaukee 81%, and the same happens in its capital- 77% of Covid19 related deaths in the county of Columbia are african-american people.
These are not exceptional cases. It is the consequence of the absence of public healthcare, the racial and economic segregation of the african-american population in poor and marginalised communities, of the logic of a senile capitalism that sentences the majority to poverty and death. According to “Poverty in the USA” figures from 2016, extreme poverty affects 26.2% of the black population and 23.3% of the latin community.
A racist state apparatus at the orders of capital and the white elite.
This social explosion on the streets of the foremost world power is directly exposing the organic racism of the bourgeois institutions in the USA. Racial oppression is ingrained in the DNA of the Police, the judiciary powers and the capitalist State.
Donald Trump is the highest expression of this extremely reactionary white racist capitalist supremacy. Its “Make American Great Again” slogan has racism and xenophobia embedded in it, a slogan that he relentlessly agitates amongst his social support base: from building the Mexico border wall and giving permission to shoot mexican migrants, to his constant insults against the muslim population and his defense of the white fascists who demonstrated in support of the Ku Klux Klan in 2017. This is a whole testimony and letter of intentions.
It is evident that the hatred against the black and latin youth and working-class is a distinctive Donald Trump brand, but is nothing new in the White House. It was under Obama that the cases of black youth and workers assassinated by the police skyrocketed. The ex-president equipped the police precincts across the country with military-grade equipment, which is one of the causes of the increase of deaths due to police brutality.
Racism is, above all, a class question. The only “crime” of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castille, Sandra Bland, Mike Brown, George Floyd and all those murdered by police action was to be black and working-class. The security forces, their law and justice are at the service of the interests of the ruling class, the bankers and businesspeople that crush the poorest layers of society with an iron fist. The difference between the treatment given to white pro-Trump protesters, who protested for the end of lockdown whilst holding guns and automatic weapons, and the police brutality against those who take to the streets today is abysmal.
If the cop that asphyxiated George Floyd has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter- and not only removed from his job, as it was initially attempted- its due to the mass mobilisation that has risen across the country. But it was an action forced by the circumstances and that attempts to put a brake on the rising indignation. The issue is that the struggle must continue, spread its breadth and also clarify its objectives, which cannot be other than the complete purge of all reactionary elements in the police- who should be exemplary expelled and condemned- which in many cases would lead to the dissolution of these bodies, as they exist today, in many counties and cities, due to their corrupt and racist character. Police departments should be placed under the control of the working-class organisations and communities, starting with the unions, the community and social collectives and groups like Black Lives Matter and many others which are in the forefront of the struggle for democratic rights and against racism.
This measure needs to be connected with a programme for a $15/hour wage increase; for the immediate implementation of public, free, universal and high-quality healthcare and education; the integral refurbishment of poor neighbourhoods, equipping them with dignified housing and much-needed social and cultural infrastructure; an environmentally-friendly, free and high-quality transit system; the approval of a federal unemployment subsidy for all unemployed workers of 2 000 dollars/month until they can find a job.
This is the effective way of fighting against the catastrophe that closes upon the north-american working-class and youth.
For a party of the working-class and youth! No trust in the Demorcatic Party!
The Democratic Party apparatus has shown yet again that it is a cornerstone of the system and has at its roots the defense of the interests of the ruling-class. Presidential candidate Joe Biden has thanked Minneapolis Mayor for removing the police involved and has asked for an investigation to be opened! It seems that the video of George Floyd’s murder is not enough. With his attitude, Biden is trying to cover up his role on the oppression suffered by millions of poor black people in the United States: In 1994, during the Clinton government, Biden authored the infamous “Crime Bill”, which defended school bus segregation.
After Bernie Sanders renunciation, the debate around the need to create a party of and for the working-class and youth is more alive than ever. If the Bernie movement has shown anything- a movement which had mass support by the youth and wide layers of the black and latino population- is the urgent need by the oppressed to transform their lives. The conditions of oppression and inequality that gave rise to the pro-Sanders movement will only harden in the next few months and years.
The appearance of Black Lives Matter in 2016, which grouped together tens of thousands of activists across the country, was the most serious development in the black liberation movement since the Black Panther Party. The protests against George Floyd’s murder are drawing the lessons and inspiration from this experience, and from many others that have stricken at the consciousness of millions of people in the US and the world.
That thousands upon thousands take to the streets in the middle of a pandemic shows the willingness and determination of the black working-class and youth, and many white workers and youth, to deliver justice and to end these murders once and for all. It is an unified movement that overwhelms racial barriers and unites the protesters in their belonging to the same social class: the working-class.
All the organisations of the combative and working-class left should support, keep going and amplify this mobilisation, and take energetic steps to erect a big party of the working-class and youth that breaks with the democratic establishment, breaks with the bourgeoisie and its politics. Sanders has unfortunately renounced this project and has folded with the democratic apparatus, following Ocasio Cortez example. But to chain themselves to Biden is not an option for those ten of thousands who are fighting in the street.
A worker’s party that does not adopt sectarian ideas or methods, that audaciously works in the social movement and the big unions defending a genuine socialist policy, that clearly explains the need to nationalise the big banks and US monopolies under workers’ control and that democratically plans the economy to save the people and not the plutocracy is needed.
We have to call on the whole working-class and youth to join the protests, organising new and massive coordinated demonstrations in the cities, and equipping these demonstrations with an anticapitalist and revolutionary programme and character.
Only by ending this rotten system can we put an end to racist, gender and class oppression. To answer these aspirations, the north-american working-class and youth, who are showing their extraordinary strength, need their own tools: the building of a working-class party in the US is an imperative need to face this battle and win it!
Black Lives Matter!