U.S. and World Politics

Justice for George Floyd

By Brian Schwartz

Black youth are uniting young people across ethnic and class lines seeking “Justice for George Floyd”, a 46-year-old African American man strangled under the knee of Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin.

The gruesome cell phone footage recorded by a young female bystander witnessing George Floyd’s murder outed the U.S. police forces for what they are—racist, violent organizations bent on harassing and killing Black people trying to survive the economic and judicial Jim Crow segregation that has returned with a vengeance since Black leaders were assassinated in the 1960s and the FBI crushed the Blank Panther Party in the 1970s.

The damning footage capturing George Floyd’s police murder broadcast by social media and news feeds launched demonstrations on the streets of Minneapolis, followed by demonstrations and rallies across the United States. It didn’t take long for U.S. embassies around the world to be surrounded with thousands of people who also marched in their streets demanding “Justice for George Floyd” and “Black Lives Matter.”

Thousands of demonstrators have been endangered by cops using tear gas, a weapon banned in wartime and other deadly weapons, such as rubber bullets. Black youth and their allies can’t count on the U.S. government to guarantee “Justice for George” so they have remained mobilized braving the COVID-19 pandemic. Both the tear gas and the virus injure the brave youth and their allies who have taken to the street to make “Black Lives Matter” the law of the land.

Despite the attendant fatalities and injuries, mass action compelled Minnesota governing authorities to move when Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman was hesitating to arrest and bring charges against the four Minneapolis cops involved in George Floyd’s murder. Four days after George Floyd’s May25th lynching, fired Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with third degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Demonstrators remained on the streets and would not disperse forcing Minnesota Democratic Governor Tim Walz to order a special prosecuting team lead by State Attorney General Keith Ellison. By June 3rd, Former Minneapolis police officers Jo Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao and Thomas Lane were arrested and charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. Derek Chauvin, already in custody, received a third charge for committing second degree murder.

On June 4th, Reverend Al Sharpton asked people gathered inside and outside North Central University’s Frank J. Lindquist Sanctuary to stand in silence for eight minutes and 46 seconds—the time it took for Derek Chauvin to murder George Floyd by kneeling on his neck.

Electrified by the mass movement demanding “Justice for George Floyd” Black communities are seeking to defund or abolish police departments who have been negatively impacting their neighborhoods and residents with violence and corruption. Police enjoyed increased powers and weapons to use them when Democratic President Bill Clinton signed the “Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act” of 1994.

The 13 member Minneapolis City Council garnered a nine-person veto-proof pledge to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department. Kandace Montgomery, 24, who leads “Black Visions” gives this movement for abolition a most succinct explanation, “We are safer without armed unaccountable patrols supported by the state hunting Black people.”

The U.S. capitalist class is having a “coming to Jesus moment,” reckoning truthfully in their media about their complicity keeping Black people economically segregated propped up by their police forces rife with “systemic racism.”

The U.S. capitalist class, ruling through their Democratic and Republican Parties are giving their police forces the green light to attack credentialed journalists reporting on peacefully assembled young people and their allies. More people of color are being killed by police. Rayshard Brooks, 27, was a Black man who was killed by Atlanta cop Garret Rolfe. Rolfe was fired and Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields was forced to resign.

The U.S. capitalist class wants order restored and the dispersal of the vibrant world movement demanding “Justice for George Floyd” and “Black Lives Matter.” In order to achieve this, the Democrats, Republicans and police institutions will fire and prosecute, for the time being, some of the cops caught on video. Otherwise the cops are beating and tear gassing mobilized youth with open approval by U.S. politicians hustling to make cosmetic reforms.

Indiana Tech student, Balin Brake, 21, had this to say when he was hospitalized after getting shot in the head with a tear gas cannister, “I did end up losing my eye. This pales in comparison to the hardship African Americans have endured for decades. Stand up for what you believe!”

Tragically, old style lynching has claimed the lives of Malcolm Harsh 38, in Victorville, California, on May 31st and Robert Fuller, 24, from Palmdale, California, on June 10th. Both men were found hanging in trees just about 50 miles apart on different days. Olowatoyin Salau, 19, sacrificed her life joining “Black Lives Matter” as an activist. Exposed and alone during the street demonstrations, she was sexually assaulted and killed by a sexual predator. Once again as African Americans go into active conflict with the U.S. Government, they sustain death and injury in great numbers.

“Black Lives Matters” is the visible expression of a decentralized alliance of Black youth and their young allies. The corporate press has a superficial understanding attributing the enduring street presence to a restless youth gone stir-crazy isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic using the “Justice for George Floyd” movement to blow off steam.

The reason is much deeper. Black youth are forced onto the street because they have to change society and muzzle the police who are killing and incarcerating them in huge numbers. They are doing it to survive. White, Latino, and young people of many ethnicities and classes, be they rich or poor understand that “Justice for George Floyd” and making “Black Lives Matter” is in their interest to secure a meaningful future of fairness and equality that can’t be provided by the Democratic and Republican Parties.

Today’s radicalizing young people are the key to liberating us all from racism, poverty and environmental destruction. The power of the street can lead to young people recapturing their history. Black youth mobilized into newly formed parties can reconnect with their powerful past movements like Civil Rights Movement, the Black Panther Party, The MOVE organization, Organization for Afro-American Unity, tMarcus Garvey’s movement, taking the best of what those organizations had to offer while recreating a militant political party impervious to police disruption and assassination.

Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, exposed excessive sentencing and frame-ups that fill American prisons with Black people.

A new youth uprising could bust open the prisons holding Black leaders and prolific writers like Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, Kevin Cooper, Kevin “Rashid” Johnson and many others rotting in filthy cells, denied adequate medical care and fed the most terrible food on the planet.

May the street mobilizations, rallies and struggles against the racist police forces of the United States, bring “Justice for George Floyd” and make “Black Lives Matter” the inviolable law of the land.