Socialist Worker

This militant movement shows we can fight back

Issue No. 2707

Protesters marched to the White House

Protesters marched to the White House (Pic: Geoff Livingstone/Flickr)


An inspirational movement against police violence has taken on our rulers and terrified them. 

The murder of George Floyd by cop Derek Chauvin last Monday was the spark.

But the resistance has now engulfed at least 30 US cities and spread across large parts of the globe. 

It’s drawn in bitter anger about racist police and the injustice of the whole system. 

Protesters have taken to the streets across the country, chanting, “Say his name—George Floyd,” and, “Black Lives Matter.”

Many have carried placards declaring, “I can’t breathe.”

George was murdered by Chauvin, who knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes despite George pleading for his life. 

Witnesses begged that Chauvin release George but he died in hospital soon after.

As a cry of rage against this injustice, tens of thousands of ­protesters have furiously demonstrated in US cities every night since last Tuesday. 

These mobilisations have seen waves of further violence from the police—often armed with tear gas and rubber bullets. 

At least 39 cities across 16 states and the entire state of Arizona have imposed curfews, restricting movement beginning as early as 6pm Sunday evening. 

Curfew

Public transportation has been suspended in major cities, such as Chicago and New York, during curfew hours.

But ordinary people have defied efforts to scare them off the streets.

Cop cars have mown down protesters, fired rubber bullets directly into people’s faces and sprayed mace and tear gas at point-blank range. 

But protesters remain unbowed—for night after night they have marched on the White House to lay the blame at the doorstep of racist president Donald Trump.

In extraordinary scenes of resistance, they fought back against secret service agents and lit fires on Trump’s front lawn.

And in Birmingham, Alabama, a Confederate statue was torn to the ground while protesters chanted, “Take this shit down.” 

In La Mesa, a suburb of San Diego, activists burnt two banks to the ground and police fired tear gas to try and break apart crowds. 

Masses of people have continued to protest despite police repression and politicians’ appeal for the demonstrations to end. 

There are signs that the protests are starting to have an impact. 

It’s likely that pressure from the protests pushed the authorities to charge Chauvin with third-degree murder. 

And now activists are calling for the other three cops involved in his death to face similar charges and for Chauvin to face first-degree murder charges.

The scale and the urgent mood of the protests show how deeply this bitterness is felt across society. 

The resistance on the streets of the US is a powerful indicator of the mood that exists among working class people about the vicious system that we live in. 

And it’s a display of the courage people can show in fighting it. 


'Peaceful protest failed'

Minneapolis, the city where George was murdered, has seen some of the largest protests demanding justice. 

In a desperate bid to regain control, the state government imposed an 8pm curfew. 

“I honestly thought the 8pm curfew would curtail things but it was almost more intense,” one protester told Socialist Worker. 

And Minneapolis resident Todd told Socialist Worker, “It’s been a volatile situation and people are scared. Look at all the peaceful protests that have gone on over the years and how little they’ve done for black and brown people across the country. 

“This is one of hundreds of situations of brutality in police custody. And for many people, it’s exposed the divide between the law concerning normal people and the police.”


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