The recent Republican convention — led by the white-supremacist-in-chief, current U.S. president and enemy of the people — rallied its troops with racist scare tactics about “civil unrest” by Black Lives Matter protesters and left-wing activists.
The Democratic convention offered an alternative, but not a solution. This party nominated for U.S. president one of the main authors of a 1994 tough-on-crime bill that wound up sentencing a hugely disproportionate number of Black and Brown people to jail. For vice president, the Democrats nominated a former California attorney general who self-describes as “top cop.”Meanwhile, in the few days between the two conventions, the cops of racist “law enforcement” — the structure of policing that protects the interests of the U.S. billionaire ruling class — continued to gun people down.
On Aug. 22, cops shot Trayford Pellerin dead in the streets of Lafayette, La., right in his own neighborhood. Pellerin, a Black man, was on foot. His family pointed out the contrast between their loved one’s fate and that of a white man arrested recently by Lafayette cops without injury, despite his being armed with a gun and driving a stolen car.
The next day in Kenosha, Wis., cops shot Jacob Blake in the back multiple times, also in his own neighborhood. Blake, a 29-year-old African American, had just tried to break up a local fight and was returning to his car. His sons — ages 3, 5 and 8 — were in the car and saw the cops shoot their father. Blake is expected to survive, but with unknown physical injuries. Reports on Aug. 25 say he is paralyzed from the waist down.
In response to these continuing acts of racist police brutality, hundreds of Black Lives Matter protesters immediately began marching in Louisiana and Wisconsin.
In Kenosha, Wis., local cops deluged them with tear gas and pepper spray, and the governor deployed National Guard troops. In Madison, the state capital, the Department of Corrections building was set on fire. People spray-painted a telling slogan on the building of Manufacturers and Commerce, which lobbies for big business: “You have stolen more than we could ever ‘loot.’”
It was the voice of the people’s righteous rage at unending racist murder and incarceration, cop brutality, economic and “legal” injustice.
This voice will only grow stronger as people confront the pandemic health crisis, exploding evictions, a jobless abyss and hunger. It can’t be stifled by the political programs of either existing capitalist party in this so-called “democracy.”
A few months ago, massive and historic Black Lives Matter protests erupted in every corner of the U.S., sparked by a cop’s deliberate 8-minute, 46-second execution of an African American man, George Floyd. This inexorable mass pressure imposed rapid change.
The call to “Disarm, defund and abolish the police!” is now penetrating the DNA of the mass movement. It’s a demand they absorb wisely, as part of the need for the larger structural changes that are becoming ever more necessary for the very survival of working and oppressed people.
As part of an evolving path toward socialist revolution, Workers World Party continues to add our voice and energy to the demand: “Defend the people! Arrest the cops! Disarm, defund and abolish the police!”