On Monday in Minneapolis, Minnesota an unarmed black man called George Floyd was murdered by white police officer Derek Chauvin as three others stood and watched. In yet another example of the institutional racist brutality of the police.
They came after George because he was accused of using a fake ID at a nearby deli. The video of the murder starts with the pig kneeling on George’s neck as he lays on the ground. He remained there for nearly ten minutes as George told him he could not breathe, screamed that they were killing him and cried out for his mother.
Three other cops stood around doing nothing.
Long after George became unresponsive the ambulance arrived, Chauvin didn’t take his knee from the dead man’s neck until he was put on the stretcher by the medics.
The cops later claimed that Floyd “physically resisted”, but of course the CCTV cameras from a shop across the road paint an entirely different picture: that of a calm man’s arrest ending in murder.
The next day, Minneapolis rose up.
What started as a civil protest and march quickly spiralled into the cops raining chemical agents down on protests and deploying SWAT teams to hold barricades.
The next day, Los Angeles and Sacramento amongst others have joined Minnesota in taking a stand against police violence and murder. As I type this, footage of LA police driving through protestors blocking a freeway is being shared on Telegram pages and the live stream from Minneapolis shows the ever-increasing tensions as protestors confront the police line outside the 3rd Precinct cop shop. Tactical squads sit on the roof aiming “riot guns” no doubt packed with a variety of tear gas and bean bags as badge number 3335 and his buddies casual spray people with pepper spray.
Four years ago Minnesota saw similar protests after the murder of Philando Castile. Chauvin, has hired the same attorney who represented Jeronimo Yanez who shot and killed Castile during a traffic stop in St. Paul, Minnesota. Yanez was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter of course.
The grim reality is that the police, being the weapons of state, are in a constant war with BAME people and the working class, and that institutional racism is rife. The response to the protests calling for justice and accountability are a world away from when just a few weeks ago, when armed anti-lockdown protestors took to several state capital buildings, oozing with threats of violence in an intent to intimidate into capitulation. Those protests saw next to no police response while the unarmed people on the streets these past two days, a diverse array of pissed off locals and grassroots organisers, have come up against cops loaded for bear and ready to bring the boot down.
We saw the same shit go down in 2011, after the murder of Mark Duggan in London, where a peaceful protest march to the Tottenham Police Station in North London was met with police violence, resulting in days of rioting. The visceral language of the oppressed, trapped in a brutally oppressive society used to dismiss the cause of the anger in the first place, any mention of the institutional racism in the police dismissed as IdPol out of hand by class reductionists like it was some magical band-aid you can apply to ignore the fact that racism still runs rife through British society and especially within the bodies which hold authority. It’s little better than the cesspool drivel of racists who blamed multi-cultural Britain or “urban youth” as they like to say. Ignoring of course the fact that there was equal amount of white people involved (especially in Manchester) or the 200 middle-aged EDL who claimed to protect shops while chucking missiles at the cops.
As anarchists, we cannot afford to be so willfully ignorant as our liberal peers who chirp on with their colour blind rhetoric. We live in a time when solidarity all to often given an Astrix and our comrades of BAME backgrounds have near given up in despair.
The working class has no country, no border and on Monday one of us, an unarmed and compliant, was murdered by white cops who thought very little of murdering a black man. The context is important. Remember his name and do not forgive nor forget the jackbooted bastards that killed him nor the horrific racism that pollutes both the American cops and our own.
RIP George Floyd, hope the people of Minneapolis bring you justice.
– Peter Ó Máille
This text was originally published in Class War Daily