Minneapolis in flames

As the confrontation between racist authority and Black Americans escalates in the States, Simon Hannah argues that the police are out of control and terrorising a community.

29 May 2020.

The rioting in Minneapolis is a community fighting back, enraged by another death at the hands of a racist, violent police force that is out of control.

The police act with impunity, beating, strangling, shooting Black people. Gunning them down in the street, killing fathers in front of their children.

This time it was George Floyd. Before it was Philando Castile or Walter Scott or Eric Garner or Michael Brown or any of the thousands of others. And in too many of those cases, judges threw the case out of court or juries failed to convict killer cops. The corrupt and powerful police unions close ranks and protect their own.

The policeman who strangled Eric Garner to death was let off by a grand jury. These actions send a message to cops and racist psychopaths across the USA that you can kill a Black man and get away with it. Even when it is filmed and becomes a national news story.

Once again it becomes clear to everyone that Black lives don’t matter.

With scenes of rioting it is inevitable that some people start to criticise, claiming it is just mindless violence and looting. But every serious inner-city disturbance is like this.

When people fight back, it creates a space for poor people to ransack stores, taking what they can. If you live in a society where you are treated like dirt, where you could be killed by the cops at any moment, then why not smash windows and grab what consumer society dangles in front of you but your low wages prevent you from buying when you get the chance?

Especially now, with 40 million – one in four – in the unemployment queues in a country where the welfare net is paper-thin. With the economy crashing and society collapsing into mass impoverishment, no wonder the American poor are grabbing what they can when they can.

This isn’t just a few bad police officers. These killings are the product of a structurally racist society. The police reflect the rotten soul of a capitalist economy. They exist to crush dissent – an organised gang to keep people down with extreme violence.

They hate black people because they are there to defend state institutions and an imperialist order built on the back of slavery and the systemic and ongoing exploitation of black people.

Now the city authorities in Minneapolis are calling in the National Guard to restore order. Has anything really changed since the LA riots in 1992?

On the walls at a Target store in Minneapolis someone has quoted Karl Marx: ‘When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror.’

If you live in a society which imposes terror, you have a right to resist.

You have a right to overthrow such a society.

If you want to help, a fund that has been established to help with legal costs at https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/

Simon Hannah is a trade unionist, Mutiny activist, and socialist writer.


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