In the coming weeks and months, Regeneration Magazine will attempt to bring reports and analysis from groups and individuals on the ground supporting the growing resistance to racist violence and police tyranny. Philly Socialists is a Marxist Center affiliated organization with members participating in the ongoing protests.
In the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many more, we feel it is crucial to provide our unconditional support to protesters around the city, country, and globe who have taken to the streets to fight against police brutality. As Marxists, we demand a better system than capitalism. As socialists, we have taken to the streets to challenge the white supremacy we see at every level of society.
The most recent killings of innocent black people come in the midst of a pandemic, massive unemployment, and layoffs, that have all systematically targeted the black communities of this country and the world. In New York, despite groups of wealthy white crowds congregating in parks, black people were routinely targeted by police for citation and threatened by those wealthy white citizens, like in the case of Amy Cooper and Christian Cooper. In London, train worker Belly Mujinga died of coronavirus after being viciously spit on by a man who said he had the disease. These acts of brutality are overlaid by the pandemic, wherein black communities bear the brunt of racist state policies around health and quarantine that have needlessly sacrificed countless lives to the altar of capital. Nurses still don’t have protective equipment, health systems still discriminate against black people, and black working people are continually forced to “choose” between the brutality of joblessness and poverty or the risks of working during an active pandemic.
In this moment, people have responded to these crises with equal vigor. In the wake of this ongoing pandemic, people around the world have responded to these countless murders with protest and rebellion. What began in Minneapolis has spread all over the country, where protestors refuse the empty calls for “peace” from mayors and politicians that crush any resistance with police repression. While the government gives almost nothing to the working class, people come together and help each other through mutual aid.
Protestors have attacked businesses across cities in these protests, too; Looting stores is the middle finger to bosses and business owners who got incentives from the government but did not hire anyone back. Businesses both large and small continually police black people, through aggressive systems of surveillance and through explicit partnerships with the police to target black employees and customers. We do not grieve for those businesses that have profited off of black exploitation.
The president was explicit in his continued commitment to property over black life: “Those who threaten innocent lives & property will be arrested, detained, & prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” This is not just because our president is a hateful man, but rather, it is the natural result of a system that places profits and property over human life, and routinely subjugates and kills black people to maintain this system of exploitation. Capitalism has always been a racist project, and the racist nature of capital becomes more visible in times of crisis.
As socialists, we know that real justice requires radical transformation. We demand that the police be defunded and disarmed on the journey to their absolute abolition. In Philadelphia, the government has cut all other essential city services by millions of dollars, but offers a $14 million budget increase to the police department. This is unacceptable to us, and to any who have seen the cruelty of policing unfold in this world.
As socialists, we know that the fight for this will not be easy, but it is essential. We would like to highlight the organizing work of groups all over the city to coordinate protest – BLM Philly, Philly for Real Justice, Power Coalition for Equity & Justice, Philadelphia Student Union, Youth United for Change, and the Philadelphia Bailout Fund have all been in the fight for black lives for years. And we call on you to join us in supporting these struggles, here and elsewhere, through active participation of some kind
We continue to support those who remain in the streets to protest injustice in the face of threats to life and limb by police, and now National Guard and possibly federal troops. A capitalist regime will always be oppressive, but we need to understand that a transition into direct military rule through martial law will result in widespread loss of life, freedoms, and will make organizing for change even more precarious and dangerous.
For that reason, we support protesters staying in the streets, to regroup and redouble our efforts, and to bring out the full strength of the working class and oppressed masses. Tell your neighbors, your cousins, aunts, and uncles, your coworkers, members of your congregation about how police brutality will only get worse under martial law; ask them if they want Trump to remain in office indefinitely, not as president but as dictator.
We the masses have a window of opportunity to prevent full-blown fascism from being established, and if we do not mobilize in force right now we may not get another chance anytime soon. We can roll back martial law but only if we mobilize right now and in sufficient numbers. We can win! No more police murders! THE PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER!