One year ago the police murder of George Floyd sparked waves of anger and resistance around the world. Rage against a racist system spread internationally. Palestinians stood in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement linking the struggle to their own.
A mural of George Floyd was painted on the separation wall in the West Bank and protests in east Jerusalem held up placards with the slogan, “From the USA to Palestine, racism is a crime.”
The power and militancy of the movement significantly changed the international political landscape.
Twelve months on, the confidence of working class people to fight back against inequality and oppression has grown.
This newfound confidence was on display when hundreds mobilised at short notice to successfully stop an immigration raid in Glasgow.
And the 180,000 strong Palestine demonstration in London on Saturday showed that years of attacks couldn’t silence solidarity. Many of the protesters that took to the streets after the killing of Floyd understood that racism was deeply rooted within our institutions—in this case mainly the police.
As a result calls to defund and abolish the police have become increasingly popular.
More broadly there has been a growing understanding that racism is symptomatic of the system we live in. And that racism, colonialism and imperialism all flow from the same source—capitalism.
This understanding of racism means solidarity between oppressed groups becomes easier to win. In the present, this means many activists are linking BLM and the Palestinian struggle.
The official BLM Twitter account tweeted their solidarity with the Palestinians last week. “We are a movement committed to ending settler colonialism in all forms and will continue to advocate for Palestinian liberation,” it said.
The linking of different oppressed groups struggles is terrifying to the ruling class. It defies their tactic of using racism to divide working class people.
Because of this, the ruling class will attempt to destroy the solidarity that threatens their dominance.
The Sewell report on racism and ethnic disparities, released in March, was an attempt to do just that. It denied the existence of institutional racism in order to fragment the united opposition.
The Tories’ new policing bill which seeks to restrict protests is another way the ruling class will suppress resistance.
Building and maintaining radical movements are essential to resist these attacks. From the Kill the Bill protests to the Palestine solidarity movement.
It’s the job of socialists within these movements to say the fights are all part of the same struggle against capitalism. And to turn anger at racism, sexism and imperialism into revolution.
Union leaders have been silent