10 June 2020
The video - too terrible to watch - which shows the unarmed 46 year-old unemployed black worker, George Floyd, being deliberately choked to death by a heavily-armed white policeman, in Minneapolis, on 25 May, has set alight an almighty powder keg across the USA.
And for once, Trump has been forced to tone down his racist, anti-working class ranting and back-peddle on his threat to use even more violence against those demonstrating their solidarity with George Floyd and every other victim of racist murder.
George Floyd’s killer has now been charged with murder - this, in a country where only 1% of police officers involved in killing "suspects" during arrests are ever charged. Trump himself withdrew his threat to call the army in against protesters - and had to order the withdrawal of the National Guard from the streets of Washington, because its soldiers were showing too much sympathy for the protesters.
Faced with two weeks of protests in which hundreds of thousands - possibly millions (who will ever know?), joined massive protests flooding the streets of more than 150 cities and towns, Trump had no choice but to take refuge behind yet another empty electoral slogan... on Twitter! His "LAW AND ORDER" plea is the last fig-leaf of a megalomaniacal, criminal fool, trying to rally the hard-core of his most bigoted electorate.
Collective anger on the streets
What we are witnessing in the US is the re-emergence of long-repressed anger. It is the voice of the oppressed who have had enough. It is the voice of those who have come to a point where being at the receiving end of the institutional racism of the wealthys’ state thugs is no longer tolerable.
But this collective rage is even more widespread and deep, because it encompasses the anger of the very poorest layers of the population. In fact, if George Floyd was murdered in such a gruesome fashion, it was because he was black, of course. But, above all, it was because, as a poor black worker, he was part of the growing majority of workers from every possible background, including white, whose deprivation feeds the greed of US capital.
This is why, in all the marches that took place across the US, the black protesters were joined by large numbers of members of every section of the USA's growing army of working class poor, young and not so young, unemployed and underemployed, “working poor”.
Should it come as a surprise that it is these protestors who are the ones who suffer most from Trump's mishandling of the Covid-19 crisis and the massive wave of job cuts which is unfolding across the US?
Of course not! Behind the fury sparked by the racist murder of George Floyd, an even more powerful anger looms - of a large mass of workers who are at the receiving end of the vicious class war declared by the capitalists to recoup its profits on the back of the working class.
Social change will have to follow
This is also why, across the world, the US protests have found such a widespread echo. Behind the general rejection of Trump's abject racism, the same anger is being fed by the same vicious, divisive class war initiated all over the world by the capitalist class and their politicians.
Even the protesters' symbolic gestures are significant. If the statues of slave owners are being dismantled - at last! - in Bristol and Mississippi, it is not just because they are symbols of slavery, but also because capitalism itself was entirely built on of the profits squeezed from the blood of millions of slaves. And let’s not forget that profits, even today’s high tech capitalist profits, can only be made by enslaving the whole of the working class through the wages system.
So that is why capitalism itself must be targeted. Why should we allow a system which has sustained racism across centuries, and is now proving incapable of protecting us from a pandemic and its economic consequences - to survive?
The US protesters have shown the way. Despite the repressive forces ranked against them, they have shown they can fight; that there is no other choice but to fight - even in the middle of this global pandemic, which, in the US has killed over 100,000 and pushed over 40 million into unemployment.
Yes, whether in the US or Britain, we can and MUST fight back. Not just to get rid of the plague of racism, but to get rid of the class-based system which spawns it, dividing us, to control us. History proves that this system cannot be “democratically” reformed. If we want social change, capitalism must be overthrown and replaced with a new social organisation, free of exploitation and profiteering.