From this side of the Atlantic Ocean, the Landless People’s Movement (LPM) firmly denounces the murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis Police Department and demand full and uncompromising justice for his family. We join the call and demand for justice of thousands of families across the United States who have lost someone to police violence. The world thought that with the election of Barack Obama as US President back then that his election marked the nation’s triumph over racial caste, and with it give the final nail in the coffin of Jim Crow!
How wrong were we? What has changed since the collapse of Jim Crow has less to do with the basic structure of US society than with the language used to justify it. In the era of colourblindness, it is no longer socially permissible to use race, explicitly, as a justification for discrimination, exclusion, and social contempt. Galtung terms this structural violence. Violence, in Galtung’s theory, could be enforced in three contexts – as direct violence, structural violence and cultural violence. Rather than rely on race, the criminal justice system is systematically used to label people of colour criminals and then engage in all practices the system left behind. This is abhorrent.
We, therefore, express our resounding support to the people of the United States who, throughout their history, have resisted racism. We stand in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands who are currently protesting and repudiate the narratives being shaped by corporate media labelling protestors terrorists and looters to criminalise the movement. This is part of a tactic to delegitimise the protests and divide the people.
This anti-racist rebellion led by #BlackLivesMatter has exposed the deep racist character of the American State to the world. It’s a systemic and historical injustice that pervades all of society and has counted with the active cooperation of the major parties, corporations, and the mass media. Racism has always been at the heart of the social, economic and political system of the United States. We repudiate the historical and continued use of racism and the system of white supremacy as a means to uphold a class society that exploits and oppresses the most vulnerable communities.
To end the monster of racism, we will require an end to capitalism and a complete transformation of society. LPM also rejects Trump’s response, which has been to call for protesters to be shot down and declaring war on the people and their right to protest by invoking the Insurrection Act of 1807. This act has allowed the US government to send in the military to become enforcers of law and order and repress this new movement, as it did in 1992 during the LA uprisings. LPM calls on the US government to defund and divest from militarism and police terror and invest in the needed infrastructure to address the growing socio-economic needs of the American people.
Lastly, we condemn the complicit silence of many allied governments of the US around the world that failed to denounce the murder of George Floyd as a hate crime perpetrated by the state, and the military repression against hundreds of thousands of protesters, as a massive violation of human rights.
*Henny H. Seibeb is the deputy leader and chief strategist of the LPM