You could think that it all started with the killing of George Floyd; you would be wrong. There has long been a problem with extra-judicial killings by the police in a number of US cities for a long time.
Not all police forces, and not all of the police. But enough to qualify this killing as one of many.
Racism in the police? In many cases I tend to argue that “something” may not be racism but more to do with letting “sociopaths” be in control of the hierarchical capitalist economic system. Not that I am necessarily right, but it can be a point worth considering.
But in this case? It’s hard to argue against it in this case.
But it isn’t just racism; some of the police initiated incidents during the protests have targeted white people as well. Leading to the suspicion that some police regard themselves in some situations as above the law and willing to go too far in controlling certain segments of the community.
The community they are supposed to serve.
Just to highlight just a few incidents :-
- Arresting a news team where the journalist was black.
- Indiscriminate use of rubber bullets which has led to a photojournalist being blinded in one eye, and another journalist receiving minor injuries.
- Firing a tear gas round directly at a news camera.
- Drive-by attack on peaceful protestors with pepper spray.
Of course it hasn’t all been bad from the police.
A part of the community has been targeted by the police for a long time and that part of the community (the black community) has been protesting about that for a long time. And apparently ignored all the time.
If part of a community has a grievance that cannot be settled through conventional politics, they will resort to protest politics and eventually pitchfork politics.
We have seen something along those lines with the widespread disturbances in the US over the last week. There are numerous aspects to these :-
Not all protests have resulted in arson and looting, but some have. And despite the impression that some of the media portrayed, protestors don’t all set buildings on fire (it’ll be a tiny minority) and protestors won’t be looting (again a tiny minority – very often people who didn’t take part in the protest at all). Protestors have been known to complain about looting and violence.
Violence is never good, but if you think that property damage is more important than violence against the person then you are part of the problem.
Peaceful protests get ignored. If you ignore a complaint by part of the community repeatedly and for years if not decades, then you can expect violent protests. The more you ignore and abuse a part of the community, the more you can expect some to turn to the “cleansing purity of violence”.
This is after all the recipe for a violent revolution.
There are also indications that the violence and the looting is carried out by people other than the protesters. There is a) an arrested arsonist with white-supremacist tattoos, and b) rumours that white-supremacists are speaking about “getting their loot on”.
America: You have a problem, and it has nothing to do with burning buildings and looted shops. Restoring order won’t do a damn thing. Are you going to leave this problem to your children or your grandchildren?