On Monday night, five activists in the Black Lives Matter movement were shot in Minneapolis. This shows the serious danger that is growing in the United States and, in fact, around the world. It is far, far more serious than just one isolated attack, or even than an attack of a few racist extremists. It is part of other physical assaults:
- On two separate occasions, supporters of the leading Republican presidential candidate – Donald Trump – assaulted black protesters at one of their rallies.
- There has been a series of attacks on Muslims in the United States.
Racism and Xenophobia
This is part of a global development, wherein Muslims have been assaulted throughout the Western world and anti-Muslim, xenophobic parties are on the rise throughout Europe, paralleling the continued support for Donald Trump in the United States.
These developments are directly connected with the rise of the fascist Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. (In fact, one might almost say the “former” Syria and Iraq since those two states have nearly broken down.) Also, there is the increased power of similar forces in Israel, where hundreds, maybe thousands, of Israeli youth are marching to the
slogan of “death to (all) Arabs”.
The racist, communalist and xenophobic movement of both sides needs each other.
In other words, the increasing racism, especially the racist attacks by the police, does not exist in a vacuum; it is part of a wider reactionary, xenophobic, communal development in the United States and globally. Some might be inclined to look to the Democratic Party as an alternative to the racists in the Republican Party, especially the Donald Trump wing. That is a mistake, since the Democrats have simply helped prepare the ground for the rise of the Republican right. Nor will any wing of the Democrats organize a true fight back against the racists and xenophobes. This means, among other things, no illusions in the liberal Democrat Bernie Sanders. See here for more detail on who he really is. Orienting to or appealing to the Democrats is a dead-end street.
Among other things, Sanders and his fellow liberals propose closer ties between the “community” and the police (“community policing”). But the police are part of the problem, especially since they have become infiltrated by the KKK and other racists. The liberal Democrats also propose police review boards. But these boards always end up as an extension of the police themselves.
- Instead, the example of the old Black Panther Party should be looked to – committees of public safety to patrol the communities and protect against all violence and crime (including most particularly police crime and violence).
- We also need economic safety and security. This means a real struggle for a $15/hour minimum wage now, not 5 or 7 years from now. It means an all out campaign against union busting and against unemployment.
- Most important, we need an alternative to the Republicrat paradigm. In several cases, we have seen the movement from below throw up local anti-Republicrat candidates for office. The recent campaign of anti-fracking activist and socialist, Cliff Willmeng, for city council in Lafayette, CO, is an example of this. This can be a first step towards the coming together of a real, grass-roots movement against racism and xenophobia and for a united, working class alternative to the attacks of capitalism.
In summary: The attack on the Minneapolis BLM activists is only the tip of the iceberg as far as the danger facing us all. A united, radical, anti-racist and working class based alternative is desperately needed.