This morning, the President of the United States threatened state-sanctioned assassination in response to the "looting," exposing how white supremacy, capitalism, and the state work together to violently repress the people they defend. the life of blacks.
But Trump's outburst of anger is not the only openly racist response we should question. We must also confront how conservatives and liberals have responded to the Minneapolis uprisings by condemning "looting."
Protesters in Minneapolis and across the country are rising up against lynching and state violence. How should we respond to a lynching? Should our goal be simply to publicize it, in the hope that such publicity will generate condemnation and prevent future lynchings? This logic is flawed, in part, because lynchings thrive from the audience. For white supremacists, the act of killing is also an act of companionship and an opportunity for indoctrination.
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Simply spreading images of racist murders and asking the state to stop killing us will not stop them. (In fact, while it is important to publicize the fact that these murders are happening, sometimes the spread of such images galvanizes white supremacists as well.)
And so, for some who oppose racist killings, watching the videos, waiting to vote, and marching in protest seems enough. But for others, more intervention is needed. The murder of George Floyd by the Minneapolis police comes in the immediate aftermath of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, and Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky. These murders were committed by the current and former police. The outrage is understandably growing.
We should expect uprisings. We should expect property to be damaged, as people rise up against racist systems complicit in racist violence. Many of the people involved in these riots have decided that respecting property is no more important than respecting the lives of blacks. There is an awareness that if the law does not respect the lives of blacks, then the law itself cannot be relied upon for protection or undeserved respect. So as protesters are being accused of "looting" and "rioting" in Minneapolis or elsewhere, this time it demands that we reflect on the systematic theft of black America.
Corporations in the United States, again, have made an astronomical and unprecedented amount of money in 2020. With no liability in sight, there was little or no opposition to their monumental theft. Billions were delivered. Politicians serving the corporate elite, and fearful of appearing opposed to a deal that would greatly benefit Wall Street, pushed for it.
His work has been published by The Guardian, Truthout, MTV, and Pitchfork, among others. He is the co-author of As Black as Resistance (AK Press 2018).