Socialist Worker

US revolt against a racist system must spread

Issue No. 2707

Protests in the US show that resistance is possible

Protests in the US show that resistance is possible (Pic: George Livingston/flickr)


The United States has erupted into historic scenes of resistance in the last week.

It has transformed the political landscape as huge protests—often led by young, black people—have risen up against the violence and hatred suffered at the hands of the racist police force.

It shows it is possible to resist at a time that is dominated in every way by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The movement that’s erupted over George Floyd’s murder breaks the idea that there is a common shared interest between ordinary people and those in power.

That’s a myth that’s peddled from the top of society, especially in times of crisis. 

And the movement in the US shows the sort of resistance that will be needed to shape the response to Covid-19.

There are plenty of warm words, from everyone from trade union leaders to Extinction Rebellion, that there should be “no going back” to how life was before the pandemic hit.

That’s right. The present system is toxic in ways that threaten our lives and the future of the planet.

But change isn’t going to be automatic. 

There won’t be some sort of grand reckoning from our rulers, where they simply decide to leave behind racism, stop their attacks on working class people and tackle climate catastrophe. 

We’re going to have to force them.  The types of organised fightback in the US and Hong Kong show the types of resistance that will be needed. 

There is a sharp choice here—the options are to stew in the failures of reformism, or to follow the example of the US resistance. 

We need a fight here in Britain against our government and the vicious system they reign over. 

The Tories are implementing a disastrous coronavirus strategy that puts profits before people’s lives. Their way out of economic ruin is to make ordinary people pay through sweeping austerity programmes.

But the US shows it is possible to fight back. 

We don’t have to meekly accept that we should pay for their crisis. Fighting back can include angry protests, as well as strikes and wider action by workers. 

Revolutionary socialists don’t see the end goal as making the capitalist system slightly better. We want systematic change—not least because as Malcolm X said “You can’t have capitalism without racism”.

It’s possible to live in a world without racist cops, and a society without a police force at all. 

And it’s also possible to build a world where ordinary people have a say and where oppression is not a feature. 

That’s why the answer lies in a radically different socialist society—and the path to that lies in resistance and revolution.

We have to organise to fight for that.


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