The brutal murder of African American George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25 has sparked a wave of protests across the United States.
Thousands of people took the streets of Minneapolis and other major U.S. cities, demonstrating against police repression and demanding justice for Floyd and the other victims of police brutality.
Since the tragic incident became known, several communist and left political forces in the U.S. have strongly condemned the murder of George Floyd, expressing their solidarity and support to the protesters across the country. Below you can read some of the statements:
PARTY OF COMMUNISTS, USA (PCUSA)
The murder of George Floyd is an act of police terror and cowardice that demonstrates the total disregard for the human rights and dignity of the poor and working-class peoples. An unarmed and innocent African-American was slowly executed by ‘peace officers’ who are entrusted and sworn to protect their fellow citizens. The Party of Communists USA strongly condemns the recent murder of George Floyd by white supremacist officers of the Minneapolis Police Department on Monday, May 25, 2020. What the Minneapolis Police Department and the City of Minneapolis have proven once again is that they protect the privileges, property, and the power structure of the monopoly capitalist class. NOTHING HAS CHANGED SINCE ‘STRANGE FRUIT’! A communist, Abel Meeropol wrote the poem in 1937 that became a song performed by Billie Holiday in 1939.
Things have gotten worse since William L. Patterson and Paul Robeson presented the WE CHARGE GENOCIDE!* petition to the United Nations in 1951. Nothing will change until we as a nation of people truthfully and openly question the mentality of ‘profits over people’ in the United States. Monopoly capitalism never died in the Americas! It continually persists, exemplified by the events in Minneapolis, with its victims being the poor and working-class members of society!
Just as our brother George Floyd was asphyxiated, so too are the poor and working peoples of the United States. The Party of Communists USA demands:
AN INJURY TO ONE IS AN INJURY TO ALL!
THE LIVES OF THE POOR AND WORKING-CLASS MATTER!
SOLIDARITY WITH ALL OPPRESSED PEOPLES!
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COMMUNIST PARTY, USA (CPUSA)
The Communist Party USA joins with the people of Minneapolis in demanding the immediate arrest and prosecution of the cops responsible for the murder of George Floyd.
The horrifying eight-minute evidence, streamed around the world, is clear and undisguisable. It reveals that the murder of George Floyd was a public execution by the police. The refusal to immediately make arrests has understandably sparked rage in Minneapolis and around the country. Once again, “I can’t breathe” has become the battle cry of millions. Make no mistake, the protests will continue until justice is done.
Minneapolis’s rebellion is the fault not of the protestors but of the system of institutionalized racism and violence that allows such atrocities to occur in the first place. These racist murders are occurring over and over, “alive and in living color,” and most often without prosecution—it’s a wonder more rebellions haven’t occurred.
Donald Trump’s irresponsible threat to “shoot the looters” is as contemptuous as it is predictable. We recall with disgust his threat to order troops to shoot immigrants on the U.S./Mexico border. Indeed, threats of violence are a regular part of his tool kit. In fact, he openly encourages police forces to manhandle those arrested. It is Trump who is the thug-in-chief.
Trump’s use of racism as a central organizing tool will only end with his defeat in November. But the country cannot wait to address the epidemic of racist violence. Congress, state legislatures, city councils, labor leaders, clergy, and representatives of community organizations of every stripe across the country must address the crisis. The time is way past due for community control of the police. In the first place, neo-Nazi, KKK, and other neo-fascist elements must be driven out of police departments around the country. Investigate that! In addition, our country needs a radical reform of policing.
Compounding the routine violence against African Americans is the impact of COVID-19 on working-class communities of color in all aspects. They are the ones dying in inordinate proportions. They are the first to serve on the front lines and, like in any war, the first to die.
We call on our members and friends to join the protests for justice in every way possible and to make justice for George Floyd part of every demonstration going forward.
Our hearts, prayers, and solidarity go out to George Floyd’s family and to Floyd himself, who cried out for his deceased mother while a thug sat on his neck. We say, rise up and protest. We join with millions demanding justice now!
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FREEDOM ROAD SOCIALIST ORGANIZATION (FRSO)
The people of Minneapolis have taken to the streets the past 72 hours, demanding the arrest of the killer cops who murdered 46-year-old African American George Floyd on Monday night, May 25. Eyewitness video was released Tuesday morning showing now former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin pinning Floyd the ground, with Chauvin’s knee directly on the back of his neck – the video shows Floyd’s last gasps for air. You can hear him telling the killer cop that he can’t breathe and calling for his mother before you see his body going limp. Three other cops on the scene stand by, with two other cops actively helping to restrain Floyd on the ground, all ignoring the pleas of bystanders to let him breathe. Since then, tens of thousands in Minneapolis and have taken to the streets, demanding justice and retribution, which prompted the Minneapolis police to immediately terminate the four officers involved with Floyd’s murder and finally to charge and jail Chauvin May 29.
We can’t forget that Twin Cities area police have been the target of recent high-profile struggles involving police murders, including the murder in 2015 of African American man Jamar Clark by two killer Minneapolis killer cops, which prompted a wave of protests; the murder of Philando Castile in the suburbs of Minneapolis on video, as well Justine Damond in 2017, which also prompted mass protests.
The question of killer cops targeting African Americans isn’t just a story of Black people being more oppressed workers, it’s also the result of the system of national oppression, a system that chains down African Americans and subjects them to the most intense methods of brutality at the hands of the ruling class and its police force. From Minneapolis to Louisville, we see a disregard for Black life at the hands of the police, with the Minneapolis rebellion becoming a breaking point for the Black liberation movement, sparking nationwide protests.
As Martin Luther King Jr, once said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.”
We must continue the call to demand community control of the police as well as the indictment and convictions of all killer cops, especially those who murdered George Floyd. We must also, as what we’ve seen in Chicago with the LaQuan McDonald cover-up, fight to kick out government attorneys and prosecutors who refuse to prosecute killer cops and racist vigilantes, as they did initially in the case of Ahmaud Arbery’s lynching in Brunswick, Georgia.
On May 30, the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression is calling for a day of nationwide protests against the murderous policies of police departments nationwide as well as demand the mass release of inmates in prisons due to COVID-19. We unite with this call and know that the more people that hit the streets, the shakier the foundations of national oppression in this country becomes. Protests have already started taking place in cities like Memphis and Los Angeles, with many cities planning protests through the week leading into the weekend.
Our job is to organize, agitate and connect the struggle for Justice for George Floyd, Justice for Ahmaud Arbery, Justice for Breonna Taylor to our own local struggles for justice and community control of the police. We need to build organization on both a local and national levels to consolidate the power of the people into a fighting force against national oppression and the criminal injustice system.
The streets are on fire for action and our job is to continue to fan the flames.
Justice for George Floyd! Indict and convict the killer cops! Community control of the police now!
All power to the people!
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Workers World salutes all the brave protesters in Minneapolis, currently ground zero against police terror. We also salute those activists in Los Angeles, Memphis and other cities who are organizing protests and braving the pandemic to be in the streets or in car caravans to show solidarity with the demand: Justice for George Floyd and all victims of police violence.
The corporate media call the May 27 protest in Minneapolis a “riot.” In a speech on March 14, 1968, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. defined that term, saying, “A riot is the language of the unheard.” Following his assassination less than a month later, Black people rose up in hundreds of cities in righteous protest. They were heard.
So was the Black population of Minneapolis. During the May 27 action, community members broke the windows and slashed the tires of a long line of police cars while arrogant cops drove them. The community, united in action, raised one powerful voice to say: “We are all George Floyd” — meaning that any one of them could wind up a victim of a police lynching at any place or time.
The protests responded to the May 25 videotaped lynching of a Black man, George Floyd. Everyone who watched the video saw a white racist cop, Derek Chauvin, choke Floyd to death with his knee as he was begging for his mother and his life while three other cops, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng, did nothing to stop this atrocity.
The long unheard Black community in Minneapolis only needed a spark — Floyd’s execution — to arouse its collective anger built up during years of humiliating police occupation, harassment, beatings and arrests – and rise up. Even the statistics justify their anger: Of those police shot in Minneapolis from late 2009 to May 2019, some 60 percent were from the Black community — though they make up only 20 percent of the total population. (New York Times, May 28)
Righteous protesters broke the windows of the Third Precinct Headquarters where the four fired cops were once based. They picked up tear gas canisters the cops targeted at them and threw them back at the police. They burned or expropriated goods from AutoZone, Target and other businesses.
A class view of violence
Once the protests moved from “peaceful” on May 26 to direct action on May 27, the corporate media rushed to defend the capitalists’ sacred private property and labeled some protesters “violent.” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and other officials called for “calm.”
This posturing repeats the standard attempt by capitalist politicians who seek to drive a wedge between the masses on the issue of nonviolence.
They focused on the same argument in Watts, Los Angeles in 1965; in Newark, N.J., and Detroit in 1967; in the hundreds of uprisings following King’s assassination in 1968; the Miami rebellion of 1980; the Los Angeles rebellion in 1992; and Ferguson, Mo., in 2014.
In his 1992 pamphlet, “A Marxist Defense of the LA Rebellion,” Workers World Party chairperson Sam Marcy wrote: “In times when the bourgeoisie is up against the wall, when the masses have risen suddenly and unexpectedly, the bourgeoisie gets most lyrical in abjuring violence. It conjures up all sorts of lies and deceits about the unruliness of a few among the masses as against the orderly law-abiding many.
“Marxism here again cuts through it all. The Marxist view of violence flows from an altogether different concept. It first of all distinguishes between the violence of the oppressors as against the responsive violence of the masses. Just to be able to formulate it that way is a giant step forward, away from disgusting bourgeois praise for nonviolence. It never occurs to any of them to show that the masses have never made any real leap forward with the theory of nonviolence. Timidity never made it in history.
“Indeed, Marxists do prefer nonviolent methods if the objectives the masses seek — freedom from oppression and exploitation — can be obtained that way. But Marxism explains the historical evolution of the class struggle as well as the struggle of oppressed nations as against oppressors.”
There are two factors that these multigenerational events have in common: First, they were ignited by police terror, especially killings of Black people; and second, they were major rebellions, carried out by the oppressed and their allies against their oppression due to decades-long inhumane conditions caused by capitalism.
Rebellions scare the hell out of the billionaire ruling class that wants to keep hidden its super-exploitation of the workers and oppressed. But when rebellions do break out, the ruling class will unleash its state apparatus — the police, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the National Guard and even the Army in an attempt to terrorize neo-colonized peoples in the Black, Brown and Indigenous communities.
When the masses rebel, they are not only rebelling against the state, but they are rebelling against an oppressive system that denies them the basic necessities of life — jobs, housing, health care, education and the right to live free from all forms of oppression, etc. — in order to fulfill the inherent profit drive of capitalism.
As Marcy emphasizes, any spontaneous or unorganized violence from the oppressed is self-defense against the organized armed force of the state. There is no equal sign between the two; they represent two distinct, antagonistic social classes.
From diverse ideological perspectives, what both King and Marcy stated connect to today’s events in south Minneapolis
However any oppressed community sees fit to fight back against legal and extralegal terrorism — be it the police or neofascists — alongside mainly antiracist white youth, is justified. It should be supported and defended against the slanderous attacks and lies propagated by right-wing and even so-called liberal media and politicians, whose primary objective is to apologize for a rotten system living on borrowed time.
Monica Moorhead / workers.org
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PARTY FOR SOCIALISM AND LIBERATION (PSL)
The Party for Socialism and Liberation condemns the vicious killing of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department. We extend our deepest sympathy to his family and his community. Firing the officers is not enough. Officer Derek Chauvin, and his three police accomplices, must be immediately arrested and charged. Justice can only begin with a conviction and sentencing of all involved!
We salute the thousands of Minneapolis, Minnesota residents who came out in justified indignation to demand justice for George Floyd. Demonstrators of all backgrounds and ages took to the streets the day after Floyd’s killing and were met with violent police repression. Police in riot gear used mace, tear gas and bean bag guns to repress the righteous anger of the people of Minneapolis.
It was only four years ago that Minneapolis mourned Philando Castile, a Black man also shot to death by police. His killer, Jeronimo Yanez, was let off and found “not guilty” at trial. The police killing of Castile sparked protests around the country.
This latest incident of state-sanctioned racist terror comes on the heels of a string of police and vigilante killings that have taken place since the COVID-19 crisis began in the United States. Though in some parts of the country lockdowns and quarantine measures are in effect, the oppression of Black people still remains and has in fact surged in the wake of one of the largest public health crises in recent history.
A video capturing the killing of George Floyd was posted on Facebook and sparked widespread outrage and protest. In the video, Floyd is seen pinned to the ground by his neck, face pressed against the ground so hard that his nose bled, and is heard repeatedly gasping “I can’t breathe.” While Floyd was on the ground, officer Derek Chauvin pushed his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck, choking him for several minutes. As multiple bystanders pleaded with the officers to get off of Floyd’s neck, he became unresponsive and was taken by ambulance to the Hennepin County Medical Center. He was later pronounced dead. George Floyd’s last words, “I can’t breathe” are the exact same last words of Eric Garner, who was strangled to death by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo in 2014.
The officers claimed they were responding to a forgery in progress, a possible non-violent crime. The officers alleged that the unarmed Floyd was resisting arrest, however they later changed their story, asserting that he was “suffering from medical distress.” It is outrageous that police would use such brutal deadly tactics on a person in medical distress, let alone anyone.
We cannot depend on the Federal Bureau of Investigations, which has begun to look into the killing, for justice. The FBI is a violent state institution that has been wielded as a weapon against the liberation movement of Black people in the United States. The FBI has never been fair and partial to the Black community. Real justice will be brought about when the people organize and fight for their own demands in the face of racist oppression by the U.S. capitalist state. The police will always fulfill their role of being shock troops for white supremacy and capitalism as long as it exists in this racist state.
In this absolutely critical period, we sharpen our resolve to build organizations capable of waging militant class struggle against the racist state and their ruling class. The ruling class and its government has only shown complete disregard for the lives of millions of working-class people during the COVID-19 crisis, especially Black people who are disproportionately victims of the virus. Amidst the deep crisis, the racist killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Ky. and Sean Reed in Indianapolis, Ind., make it clear that the protests and fight back must continue and intensify. We affirm and support the right of Black people and all oppressed people to protest and defend themselves against racist terror.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation demands that the four officers involved in Floyd’s murder be prosecuted and convicted. We also demand the end of the repression of the demonstrators in Minneapolis demanding justice and accountability during a health and economic crisis.
Justice for George Floyd and all victims of racist police terror!