June 8, 2020

Say his name: George Floyd

Central Executive Committee, June 2020
This post was originally published as a statement at ycl-ljc.ca

The YCL-LJC expresses full and unwavering support for those fighting for justice for George Floyd, Regis Korchinsky-Paquet, and all others murdered by police in white-supremacist violence. Alongside their communities, we mourn the lives of George Floyd, a black man murdered by police in Minneapolis and Regis Korchinsky-Paquet, an Afro-Indigenous woman murdered by police in Toronto. Solidarity actions continue to take place across North America, with thousands taking to the streets to demand justice. The corporate media continues to call it looting, violence and disorder, however those who fight on the side of justice call it an uprising, a rebellion, and class-struggle.

Both Canada and the United States are founded on the agonizing forced labour of chattel slavery and colonial violence. Police forces were created to both capture escaped black people who resisted enslavement and to enact the genocidal removal of Indigenous peoples from their land with brutal force. Since this time, as Bryan Stevenson said, “slavery was never abolished, it only evolved”. As a result police forces have never ceased their violence against black and Indigenous people in North America, with the justice system designed to continue to protect the interests of the wealthy and maintain class divisions at all cost. Those incarcerated often become a source of very cheap labour for the capitalist class, as many are forced to work for only a few cents an hour in order to produce commodities for big corporations that profit immensely from prison labour. Therefore, there are clearly parallels between these hyper-exploitative working conditions and slave labour, particularly since many of these prison labourers are Black.

While Canada prides itself on being more peaceful and inclusive than its neighbor, black and Indigenous people are subject to routine state violence and systemic overpolicing. The number of racialized inmates in Canada increased by around 75% in the last decade.The rate of incarceration of indigenous women increased by 80 per cent in the past decade.Through a special inquiry in Toronto it was found that while 9 percent of the population is black, 70 percent of those killed by police gunfire are black people. Police harassment has become a daily threat for racialized Canadians, especially young people: ‘carding’ data from Toronto showed in every patrol zone the number of young black males ‘documented’ by police outnumbered the population of young black men living there.  After 40 years of advocacy, the police only began last year to systematically collect race-based data. However, this violence occurs across Canada, with massively inflated police budgets that prioritize weaponry, incarceration and violence over the health of communities. Take for example when in 2016 a 6 year old black girl who weighed 48 pounds was held down on her stomach by two white male Peel police officers who cuffed her with standard issue metal cuffs at the wrists behind her back and her ankles, she was then kept in that position for 28 minutes until paramedics arrived. Take also for example the gratuitous and unpunished shooting of Freddy Villanueva by a MontrĂ©al Police officer in 2008.

Indigenous people make up 4 percent of the population, yet 30 percent of incarcerated people are Indigenous. Between 2016 to 2019 during the Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls there were more than 130 Indigenous women and girls reported as victims of a homicide, whose death was deemed suspicious, or who died while in institutional care, according to two databases. Both databases showed a rate of at least three deaths of Indigenous women and girls per month during that time span. There are countless reports of racist and genocidal violence, humiliation, harassment, sexual assault and murder at the hands of police. The working class is crying out from the streets and the voices are clear; ‘Black Lives Matter!’ ‘No More Stolen Sisters!’.

Government, police and military have responded with increased repression and indiscriminate violence, targeting not only resisters but journalists, bystanders and even children. As this movement shows, black people continue to be the main target, with reports of police shootings of black resisters such as in Louisville and countless injuries and arbitrary arrest. This is the face of the capitalist class system, that as working-class people fight back in self-defense against continued violence, inequality, poverty, and indignity, the response will be empty words at best, or as we see now, vicious violence.

The ongoing history of the Canadian state is a story of systemic racism: Residential Schools, the expulsion of Acadians, the Komagata Maru massacre, the Chinese Head Tax and exclusion, the internment and forced labour of Japanese-Canadians, the neglection and destruction of Africville, the 1992 Younge st. Uprising. This is the violence Capitalism requires. This is “democracy” under capitalism, this is the kind of “democracy” imperialists are defending all over the world.

As Marx wrote in Capital this system relies on racist violence: 

The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the indigenous population of that continent, the beginnings of the conquest and plunder of India, and the conversion of Africa into a preserve for the commercial hunting of black skins are all things that characterize the dawn of the era of capitalist production. . . . Capital comes dripping from head to toe, from every pore, with blood and dirt.

Solidarity marches and demonstrations are taking place across the globe. United States Embassies around the world have become memorials for victims of senseless and brutal class violence. Police in every capitalist state are instruments of bourgeois repression. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been on Imperialist missions to Sudan, Kosovo, the West Bank, and Haiti. Canadian municipal police forces have travelled to Israel for training by the notorious Ministry of Public Security. Police intelligence units in post-coup Honduras received training from RCMP. Violating the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Trudeau government sent militarized police into sovereign Wet’suwet’en Nation territory to push through a pipeline.

The militarisation of police in every capitalist state has been part of the global flow of capital. Between 1988 and 2012 police expenditures in Canada increased by nearly $100 dollars per citizen in constant dollars.  In 2017/2018, police in Canada spent over $666 million in capital expenditures on items such as vehicle and equipment purchases, new buildings, and information technology (IT) operations.

Moreover, it’s important to mention that police brutality and repression against racialized peoples, particularly Black and Indigenous people, has historically occurred because the capitalist state has been threatened by resistance movements initiated by these oppressed communities, who were not passively accepting the injustices they faced but were actively organizing themselves and fighting for liberation. In the US, the infamous COINTELPRO documents shed light on how the FBI heavily monitored civil rights and black power activists, falsely imprisoned and even assassinated forces that strongly stood against racism, particularly those who started to make further connections between racism, war and capitalism. Eventually, the US government used the War on Drugs to further police, surveillance, and disproportionately imprison communities of colour. 

Overall, Canada and the United States rely on the prison system and the militarization of the police as both tools of repression, particularly against resistance, and as alternatives to public services that can enhance society, such as education, health care, housing and community programs. These social services have seen massive cuts while there have been large budget increases to policing, prisons and the military. As a result of all this, the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with 10,000 of those incarcerated with life sentences being children. Therefore, we support initiatives that call for defunding the police, as well as spending less of the budget on prisons and the military to therefore have more money go into public services. Two weeks since George Floyd’s murder the people will not backdown. The widespread relentless, indiscriminate, and escalating violence of the police against resistors across the united states has only led more people to the streets in more cities. As young Communists our work is in building class unity against monopoly capital and NATO imperialism. Only working class power can bring an end to the attack on the masses. As Angela Davis once said, “Only under socialism could the fight against racism be successfully executed.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular stories