From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:
Editorial: Stateless in Seattle: Trump’s threats reveal his anxiety
THERE seems no end to the number of things that link our country in a poisonous embrace with the US. Both are led by spectacularly incompetent politicians, both responsible for catastrophic mistakes in the handling of the Covid-19 pandemic that have led to the deaths of many thousands of people who, if either government had listened to expert scientific and medical opinion, had taken heed of the World Health Organisation and followed the example of China, would still be in the bosom of their families.
We are linked through a military alliance — laughingly named the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation — that assumes the right to intervene anywhere near or far from the ocean that divides us when the interests of the ruling elites of our two states, already co-mingled by marriage, money and mercenary greed, are threatened.
One particularly malign aspect of this relationship is the shared investment in war production in the aerospace, missile and “defence” technology sectors.
It seems that neither country can manufacture or obtain enough respirators to meet any unusual demand; neither can supply its health workers with adequate PPE but both can equip their police forces with the latest riot equipment and provide their armed forces with equipment sophisticated enough to drop a $1.5 million guided missile on a Pashtun wedding party from a continent away.
The Scottish bid to put an end to the export of riot gear to the already heavily militarised police forces of the US shows us that Britain is a world leader in the design and construction of the instruments of repression which find such a ready market in neoliberal capitalist states.
It also shows that no market in repression, however unconnected to the defence of the nation from real threats, is too marginal to escape surplus capital seeking profitable avenues for investment.
The government’s own contingency planning body identified a viral infection as a higher order of threat than any military adversary or even terrorist formation. No matter, no military project or repressive technology is starved of cash.
Boris Johnson’s soulmate across the sea has given notice that he wants to “take back Seattle” from “domestic terrorists”, “anarchists” and “radical-left Democrats” if the city’s mayor and Washington State governor refuse to do so.
Residents in a section of this Pacific-facing city — itself with a long history of radical working-class action going back to the Seattle General Strike of 1919 — have taken control of the streets, negotiated an arrangement with the local cops to shut the police station and established a Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. In addition to a street festival and free food, some subversively vegan in origin, this weekend they plan a local Black Lives Matter general strike.
What is interesting about this highly localised experiment is not that it is the imaginative product of an unusually exotic local political culture and a surprisingly savvy police force — but the intemperate response by Trump to what hardly comprises a full-on assault on the capitalist state’s monopoly of force.
The depth and intensity of the political crisis in the US and the rather differently articulated political situation in Britain is causing real problems for the ruling elites of both states.
Faced with a mobilisation on the scale we are witnessing, repression just compounds the problem. Fail to resolve the issues which underlie the tensions — an almost impossible task for the people currently in office — and their legitimacy is challenged while their credibility takes a hit.
The question for the labour movement and the left is: who will rise to the challenge of leadership?
Trump abbreviates Secret Service as S.S. — although he knows the right way to do it.
N.C. rabbis: The ‘moral pandemic’ of racism is a Jewish problem.
I went to protest with my grown children. What I saw gave me hope.
We are living through a global uprising. Millions and millions of people are taking to the streets to say ENOUGH is enough. They are screaming the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and the thousands of other Black people killed by police. Confederate statues have been toppled. Videos of rampant police brutality and marches against police brutality are going viral. Change is coming. It has to.
And we’re already seeing the effects–Minneapolis just announced last week that it intends to disband the police force and invest in community solutions to public safety.1 Because right now, police departments drain the budgets for schools, social work, health care, and more–the things that are actually proven to help communities thrive.2 We can’t lose this momentum. We need to demand the same kind of action in all of our local communities. Will you add your name calling on divestment from the police and investment in our communities?
Tell your local leaders: End the war on Black people.
Sign the petition
Defunding the police means reorganizing the bloated, billion-dollar budgets of local police departments toward community health, safety, and economic programs.3 Right now we expect police to do the work of social workers, addiction counselors, mental health workers, and more. We expect police to show up with guns and weapons in nonviolent and routine scenarios. And the result is police brutality and murder. The result is communities that struggle to pay teachers and public health workers, and communities with huge economic disparities that do nothing for public safety. We’ve tried reform and time and again, reforms have failed to stop police from killing Black people.4 It’s time to reimagine policing altogether.
None of us can sit on the sidelines during this moment of massive uprising. We need bold action in our communities by making bold demands. The Movement for Black Lives is demanding:
An end to the war against Black people. An end to the criminalization, incarceration, and killing of Black people.
A divestment from the police and investment in Black communities. Divesting resources away from policing in local budgets and reallocating those resources to healthcare, housing, and education.
Local schools, colleges, universities, and all public institutions to cut ties with the police. All public institutions designed to serve the people must cut ties with the police in the interest of public safety.
Repair for past and continuing harms. State actors like the police, immigration agents, and corporations that have caused harm to Black communities must repair the harm done.
Immediate relief for our communities. Long-term economic solutions to address the immediate crisis and pave the way for a just recovery that doesn’t prioritize corporations and leave our communities behind.
Economic justice for all our people. At this moment of economic crisis, we need to rethink the economy and move it toward one that serves the needs of the people and the planet, not the corporations and the wealthy.
The rights of protestors be respected. Local and state officials ensure that there are no abuses of power and no use of lethal force on protestors.
Community control. The most impacted in our communities need to control the laws, institutions, and policies that are meant to serve us—from our schools to our local budgets, economies, and police department.
The world is watching right now, and we have an opportunity to deeply change how we approach public safety in this country. Local officials all over the country are rethinking their approach to policing, but real transformation can only happen if all of us demand it.
Will you sign onto the demands and call on your local government to divest from police and invest in communities?
Thanks for speaking out!
–Shaunna, Kat, Kathy, Anathea, Melody, Pam, Lindsay, Sonja, Kimberly, Maria, Katie, and Elisa, the UltraViolet team
P.S. Want to learn more about antiracism and allyship? UltraViolet will join our friends at MoveOn, NARAL, PCCC, Indivisible, NextGen, and others to discuss the political and cultural significance of the protests tonight, Thursday June 11th, at 5 p.m. ET. Marcia Chatelain, Ph.D., will discuss this moment from a historical perspective, Charlene Carruthers will speak on the nature of the protests themselves, and Rashad Robinson from Color of Change will discuss systemic racism in our current state of over-policing. Register for tonight’s livestream event.
1. Minneapolis City Council members intend to defund and dismantle the city’s police department, CNN, June 8, 2020
2. Defund the police? Here’s what that really means., CNN, The Washington Post, June 7, 2020
4. Before George Floyd’s Death, Minneapolis Police Failed to Adopt Reforms, Remove Bad Officers, The Marshall Project, May 28, 2020
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I don’t have to tell anybody that the American people are sick and tired not just of police brutality, but of police murders.
We are still reeling from the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. But as everybody knows, George Floyd was just one of many African Americans who have been murdered by police. Before him, it was Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, Breonna Taylor, Freddie Gray, Rekia Boyd, Walter Scott, and many, many, many others.
In recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of people across the country have rightly taken to the streets to call for an end to all forms of systemic racism throughout our country. The message is clear: we must rethink policing in America and reform our broken and racist criminal justice system. We must invest in education, jobs, housing and health care — not more jails and incarceration. We must create a government that works for all, not just the few.
That is why I am calling on the Senate to act NOW to end police murders, police brutality and a very broken criminal justice system. I very much hope that you will join me. Together, we can transform this country.
Please add your name if you agree the Senate must act now to address the issue of police brutality, police murders and a broken criminal justice system.
Here are some concepts that I believe must be implemented into law:
Every police officer involved in a murder must be held accountable, and those found guilty must be punished with the full force of the law. That includes officers who stand by while these brutal acts take place.
The Department of Justice must investigate every killing of a person by police or while in police custody.
Police departments must look like the communities they serve. They must be a part of those communities, and not be seen as invading, heavily-armed occupying forces.
It is time to abolish “qualified immunity,” so police officers are held civilly liable for abuses.
We must prohibit the transfer of offensive military equipment to police departments.
Police departments that violate civil rights must be stripped of federal funds.
We need to provide funding to states and municipalities to create a civilian corps of unarmed first responders to supplement law enforcement. For too long we have asked police departments to do things which they are not trained or prepared to do and have criminalized societal problems like addiction and homelessness and mental illness. These are not problems that are solved by policing or incarceration.
We need to make records of police misconduct publicly available, so that an officer with a record of misconduct cannot simply move two towns over and start again.
All jurisdictions that receive federal grant funding must establish independent police conduct review boards that are representative of the community and that have the authority to report deaths that occur at the hands of police or in police custody to federal authorities for investigation.
We need to ban the use of rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray on protestors. And we need to ban the use of facial recognition technology by the police.
This is a moment of urgency. Let us come together to address the systemic racism that exists in policing today. Let us demand that the Senate act.
Add your name to call on the Senate to act immediately to confront the issue of police murders and police brutality.
Thank you for being part of the struggle to demand racial justice in this country.
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