Black Struggle

Alan Woods comments on the uprising in the USA, which was sparked by the police murder of George Floyd, and has become the catalyst for an explosion of anger by the downtrodden in America that has sent shockwaves throughout the world. What is the way forward?

The protest movement sparked by the brutal police murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minneapolis has spread around the world. In over 20 countries, workers and youth marched and demonstrated against racism, both in the USA and locally. Comrades of the IMT have been participating in these protests, raising slogans for the revolutionary overthrow of the inherently racist capitalist system.

Over the last two years, more Americans were killed by police than Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan over the last 18 years. ‬More Americans were killed by police in the last three years than people were killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks. ‪Combine this with a devastating economic crisis and pandemic, and it is easy to understand why a tipping point has been reached, as the accumulated rage and humiliation of centuries spills over onto the streets.

The cold-blooded murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police is yet another horrific act of racist violence against an unarmed black man in broad daylight. This has yet again sparked protests across the country, showing that people are fed up with the systemic racism of the capitalist system. When the great revolutionary martyr Malcolm X said, “You can’t have capitalism without racism,” he summed up a profound truth about the world we live in. This racist brutality is hardwired into the capitalist system. This Saturday at 7PM ET, Antonio Balmer (Socialist Revolution editor) will speak on racism, police violence, and the need for revolution.

The police murder of George Floyd—an unarmed black man, who was handcuffed by four police officers in Minneapolis before being choked to death—has unleashed a wave of protests across the country, escalating out of control in several cities. Following the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, this latest in an endless string of police killings was the straw that broke the camel’s back, unleashing a tsunami of pent-up fury at all the injustices in American society. Necessity has been expressed through accident – although Floyd’s murder was no accident.

The racist capitalist system has yet again produced the same tragedy—right down to the pleading final words shared by both George Floyd and Staten Island’s Eric Garner. This has sparked some of the largest protests the Minneapolis area has ever seen, and similar actions have already spread to other cities like Los Angeles and Memphis.

On 4 April 1968, Martin Luther King Jnr. was assassinated: shot in cold blood whilst standing on the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee. 50 years on, speaking at the recent Revolution Festival in London, Fred Weston looks at Martin Luther King's life and ideas, and discusses the way forward today in the fight against racism and for liberation.

50 years ago, on 4 April 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – the leader of the civil rights movement in America – was shot dead in cold blood. On that day, Dr. King was in Memphis, Tennessee, to lead a demonstration and rally in support of a three-month-long fight for trade union recognition by 1,300 local refuse collectors.

The #BlackLivesMatter movement clearly shows that, despite the civil rights struggles of the past, inequality and racism are still thriving in America. Many young people in particular are looking for answers and a way to solve the problems facing society. As Marxists we stand on the front lines in the struggle against discrimination in all its forms. We believe that to be successful, this must be combined with the united working class’s struggle against capitalism and for socialism. We take this opportunity to look back at and learn from the successes and failures of one of the most inspiring experiences of our

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Nearly twice a week in the USA, a black person is killed by a white cop. In Ferguson, Missouri, the death of yet another young black man at the hands of the police was one too many. Necessity expressed itself through accident, and the murder of Mike Brown unleashed a wave of pent-up outrage and indignation across the country. The daily protests and nightly confrontations with the police, state troopers, and National Guard flooded the media with scenes reminiscent of modern day Gaza, Iraq—or the US in the 1950s and 1960s.

Obama and King - not so alike like after all. Photo on the left by bonayur on Flickr

Racism is interwoven into the very fabric of capitalism. Malcolm X once said: “You can’t have capitalism without racism.” We would add: “You can’t have racism without capitalism.” In other words, we cannot end the scourge of racism, while leaving capitalism intact, and ending capitalism is something that Barack Obama will not, and cannot do.

What is the most effective way of combating racism? Fred Weston, of the marxist.com editorial board, spoke at the Marxist Day School held recently in London on the effects of positive discrimination and the lessons for the labour movement, touching on the origins of racism, the Black question in the USA, South Africa and the struggle against apartheid and Brazil where today the Black Socialist movement is opposing racial legislation.

Why were these two outstanding leaders of the Civil Rights movement in the USA assassinated? Roland Sheppard witnessed the killing of Malcolm X in the Audubon Ballroom, on February 21, 1965. Here he delves into all the evidence that has been produced that clearly indicates that the powers that be had a concrete material interest in removing these two individuals from the political scene.

Forty years ago, yesterday, Malcolm X stood up at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem (New York) to speak. He was going to speak against the racial segregation all over the US. He was going to appeal to his brothers and sisters to resist and fight back against the “oppression of the white man” when he was gunned down. More than one or two breathed a sigh of relief at the top of the US establishment. One of the loudest voices against injustice had been lost.

Goran M, after interviewing the famous Black American hip hop band Public Enemy, wrote this analysis of their background, how they emerged as a band, how their lyrics evolved, and what they generally stand for. He puts everything within the context of the struggles of the Afro-American community for their rights. Public Enemy clearly expressed, and continue to express, a growing radical mood among blacks, but also among all the youth.

The United States is the richest and most powerful country on the planet. Yet despite this, the poison of racism remains an integral part of America. Blacks, together with the other racial minorities, remain the most exploited section of society, mostly employed in the lowest-paid and menial jobs. Blacks continue to suffer from lynchings and violence at the hands of the state, racist organisations and individuals, as well as being forced to live under conditions of mass poverty and oppression. Rob Sewell discusses the alternatives from a working class point of view.

"The Communists must not stand aloof from the Negro movement which demands their social and political equality and at the moment, at a time of the rapid growth of racial consciousness, is spreading rapidly among Negroes. The Communists must use this movement to expose the lie of bourgeois equality and emphasise the necessity of the social revolution which will not only liberate all workers from servitude but is also the only way to free the enslaved Negro people."