We have marched, we have sat-down, we have occupied freeways. And yet the wave of murders of black people by the police continues. It has unleashed a rage. From Bronx New York to Havre Montana, from Oakland and Los Angeles California to Bentonville, Arkansas and Petal, Mississippi, people are marching in protest.
It is not just this tsunami of murders capped by the George Floyd murder. It is also the lack of any real economic future for the youth. It is capitalism’s wanton environmental destruction. It is Covid 19. And, capping it all, it is the filth, lies and racism spewing out of Trump’s mouth.
We need a clear program and strategy. Here are some ideas along those lines:
- Many in Black Lives Matter call for defunding the police. Right! The police cannot ever serve us – not for working class people nor for any oppressed group. Instead, we need funding for elected community safety committees. These committees should be elected by the residents and the workers in the community. Meanwhile, there are some reforms that we can demand. That includes that the records of all cops should be made public and that any cop who is accused of misconduct and/or engages in any act of violence and hadn’t turned on his or her body-cam is automatically considered to be guilty and should be fired immediately.
- Extend the $600/week supplemental unemployment indefinitely and for it to cover all those who aren’t working.
- For a $25/hour minimum wage.
- No evictions for non-payment of rent.
- No cuts in any social programs in any city, county or state budgets. Make the uber-rich (Jeff Bezos: $114 billion; Bill Gates: $106 billion, etc.) pay.
- For socialized medicine. Hospitals and the health care system should be run like the fire department. Publicly run, and no insurance needed.
- Stop environmental destruction and chaos. Wild habitat destruction and factory farming that have created the conditions for the Covid-19 pandemic and will create even more deadly ones in the future unless it is stopped. These combine with global climate change to make life on this planet uncertain at best.
- Internationalism: From Ireland to Nigeria, thousands have protested the George Floyd murder around the world. Our issues are international and so is our struggle. Build direct links between workers and youth internationally to carry our struggle forward.How can these be won?
For a start, this movement can organize daily street meetings to discuss the issues and plan strategy and tactics.
It should turn to the working class. Go to the construction workers, the hotel workers and public sector workers wherever we are protesting. Appeal to them to join our protests.
We should also turn to union members and to all workers and encourage them to organize to organize unions and to get their unions to join the movement. For too long the unions have been missing in action both on the job and in the streets. A renewed, fighting union movement would transform America.
The corporate media tries to appoint the movement’s leaders for it by who they interview. Preachers, ex-presidents, all sorts of academics and politicians. The liberal Democrats will also try to lead us. No! The leaders will come from the movement itself. From those who are out in the streets showing their courage and ideas.
Just like all movements, this one will go through its ups and downs. The earliest struggles of the workers movement started out as local strikes but workers concluded that it had to be coordinated at the national level. That is what can happen now – for a democratically elected national body to coordinate this movement, advance it and help it draw the lessons and for elected councils at all levels.
Such a national coordinating body can become the fighting committee of the working class – a new, fighting, working class political party! One that stands against both the Republicans and the Democrats. All Democrats.
Our enemy – the capitalist class – is in crisis. They cannot even control their own president. They have no idea where to turn or what to do. They are divided. Now is the time to press our advantage home! Forward to a workers struggle against oppression, for working class unity, and for socialism!