Rebellion, not riots! Solidarity from Russia’s United Communist Party

Justice for George Floyd march in Brooklyn, N.Y., June 1. SLL photo: Greg Butterfield

The United Communist Party (OKP)  is anxiously watching the popular uprisings unfolding in the United States and expresses its solidarity with the justified outrage and demands of the people who have raised their voices against the rampant racism of the U.S. government, police violence, racial and social discrimination that flourish in the United States. At the heart of the righteous rebellion against murderers in uniform is the global crisis of capitalism, which has left more than 40 million U.S. workers unemployed and impoverished over the past few months.

A massive rebellion against racism and police violence swept the United States after the sadistic murder of Black citizen George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin, who deliberately strangled Floyd, knowing that he was in no danger. There are several attacks on civilians on Chauvin’s record, for which he has never been held accountable. Even now, after protests against police impunity have swept the whole country, the U.S. authorities cynically declare that the killer is innocent and the victim was in “poor health.” The bourgeois propagandists, in vigilant and tireless service to the U.S. ruling class, have already come up with a thousand and one reasons why the victim deserved to die. At the same time, the doctors who performed the autopsy on George Floyd stated in their report that the cause of death was “mechanical asphyxia,” and that his death was murder.

Protests against racism take place regularly in the United States — such is both a historical feature and pattern of American capitalism. The U.S. was originally founded on the idea of ​​racial superiority of white settlers; the state, built by the hands of millions of African slaves, was formed through the genocide of the Indigenous population. The American police were created from white detachments whose original purpose was to capture runaway slaves, and served as a private army of the capitalists and landowners, systematically killing workers and trade unionists, immigrants and people of color. Formally endowing the Black population with civil rights at the end of the last century, U.S. society continues to pursue a policy of segregation, fencing off its own people within ghetto walls — prohibitions, restrictions, humiliation, discrimination, denial of access to basic social benefits. 

Propaganda outlets attempt to portray the protest of the oppressed as looting and violence, but in the middle of the last century, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., addressing a society stricken with the ulcers of racism, gave this phenomenon an accurate assessment: “A riot is the language of the unheard.” 

In the first two decades of the 21st century, anti-racist uprisings erupted in different states and cities of the United States — in 2001 in Cincinnati, in 2014 in Ferguson, in 2015 in Baltimore, in 2016 in Charlotte, in 2017 in Charlottesville. In most cases, these protests were brutally suppressed — with loss of life, brutal violence, arrests, rights violations of participants. However, according to witnesses and participants in the current anti-racist uprisings, these events are qualitatively different both from the mass movements of the previous decade and from the general democratic urban “Occupy” movement, which was anti-capitalist in nature. The uprising of the oppressed in Minneapolis did not remain a local outbreak of the class struggle — other major cities of the United States also joined it. The geography of protests is expanding with each passing hour — Atlanta, Boston, Bakersfield, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Memphis, New York, Phoenix, Richmond, Portland, Seattle and many other cities are engulfed in resistance. 

The protests are clearly political in nature. In response to police bullets and batons, people destroy the symbols of racism throughout the country — from monuments to slave owners to monuments to racist cops. Many statues of Confederates and supporters of slavery were torn off their pedestals or covered with anti-racist graffiti. A statue of Frank Rizzo, segregationist police commissioner and politician, was burned. The main building of the organization “Daughters of the Confederacy,” whose purpose is the construction of monuments to slave owners and the justification of the crimes of the Confederacy, as well as police stations, were set on fire. After more than 10,000 protesters gathered in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., demanding justice, President Trump hid from the people’s anger in a bunker.

The current protests are unique both for the broad support from the U.S. population and the social diversity of the participants: the uprising, which began with the most vulnerable, oppressed sections of society, now involves working-class youth, employees and intellectuals. The participants in the uprising are radically inclined not only toward specific criminals in police uniforms, but toward capitalism, the police and the racist state as a whole.

Undoubtedly in solidarity with the U.S. rebels against capitalist oppression and police brutality, the United Communist Party notes that only mass action that has political leadership, puts forward specific political demands, and has a high level of self-organization is destined to success. Unfortunately, in recent years, the leftist movement in the United States has been depressed, and organizations that long defended the interests of the Black population for decades have been marginalized and, in fact, absorbed by the U.S. Democratic Party, which is pursuing the same reactionary imperialist policy as the Republican administration that occupies the White House. Eight years of the presidency of the Democratic Party nominee, African American President Obama, did not fundamentally change anything in U.S. politics. 

Most of the general democratic movement in the United States today is anti-Trumpist in nature — having fallen into the trap of its own illusions, personalizing the social evil in the personality of this or that U.S. president, this or that politician. It is with great regret that one can foresee that many of the protesters who took to the streets today will vote for Trump’s opponent, the ultra-reactionary Biden, in the upcoming presidential election in November. The communist and socialist movement is fragmented and marginalized by the authorities, as indirectly proved by Trump’s declarative prohibition of some non-existent “Antifa” organization into which anyone can be enrolled.

The OKP joins in international solidarity with the rebellious oppressed class in the U.S. Despite the limited possibilities for holding public events imposed by the global coronavirus epidemic, we inform people not only about the course of events in the United States, but also about the social causes of the uprisings, their class nature and driving forces, publish comments in federal, regional and party media, collect and disseminate information on international support for U.S. protesters. This is especially important at a time when the official Russian media, which are in the hands of exactly the same sort of capitalist mouthpieces as the American media, are “pushing” the same primitive and reactionary propaganda aimed at deceiving uninformed ordinary people. 

The ongoing uprising against police terrorism has clearly shown that only the class and international solidarity of U.S. workers of all generations can end racism and all other forms of oppression of the working people.

Long live the international solidarity of the working class!

Vladimir Lakeev
First Secretary of the Central Committee of the OKP
Moscow, June 2, 2020

Translated by Greg Butterfield

Source: United Communist Party