Top Menu

2 days ago The Black Alliance for Peace From George Floyd Back to the Structural Violence of Capitalism. Photo credit: Matthew Hatcher / Getty Images

From George Floyd back to the structural violence of capitalism

Originally published: Black Alliance for Peace (June 1, 2020)   | 

Third degree murder for 3/5 for a devalued life
Knee in throat air gone, gasping dying under the color of law!
George Floyd had no chance! The gang of state sponsored assassins had already signed his death warrant!
They think we should be grateful for watered down justice that has not and will never be color blind!
Cry out! Resist! Don’t make excuses or apologies for race-based killings!
Don’t attack those who dare to put their lives on the line to declare: George Floyd’s life mattered. Black Lives Matter—a just demand!

Jaribu Hill, Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights and Black Alliance for Peace Coordinating Committee

Across the country—in city after city—the people have erupted in righteous indignation to George Floyd’s recorded lynching. His extrajudicial murder set off a rebellion that had been primed by the highly publicized white-vigilante murder of Ahmaud Arbery and the botched, “no-knock” police raid that killed Breonna Taylor in her bed.

The call in all of these cases is for something called justice, which the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) sees as an impossibility. We say this because the U.S. state’s repressive DNA is rooted in the non-recognition of Indigenous people’s humanity and the exploitation of kidnapped and enslaved Africans. These two interconnected experiences produced the racialized policing that is an integral part of the U.S. state.

BAP was born in 2017 out of the recognition that the ongoing and deepening economic, social and political crisis of capitalism—sharpened by the 2008-09 economic collapse—would inevitably require the state to rely on the use of violence and force, both domestically and abroad.

That prediction was correct. However, BAP also identified structural violence as an inherent characteristic of advanced capitalism. The COVID-19 pandemic, more than anything in decades, has revealed the endemic violence of neoliberal capitalism, whereby the state’s inadequate response to a virus has killed hundreds of African/Black people on a daily basis.

However, that systemic violence has been marginalized by the acute attention placed on the highly individualized case of George Floyd and the issue of police violence. But police violence is only a mechanism used to fulfill capitalism’s main mandate to contain and control the working class—in particular the Black and Brown colonized working-class communities—and to protect private property.

For BAP, the narrow definition of “justice” as the prosecution and conviction of police involved in the Floyd murder is a conservative and even diversionary position. It takes attention away from the ongoing structural contradictions of the colonial/capitalist system that will continue to produce the deadly consequences of structural violence after 40 million newly unemployed people joined the ranks of the over 30 million people who lack any kind of basic health protection; high African/Black infant and maternal mortality rates; upper-respiratory illnesses caused by environmental pollution in African/Black communities; and hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes generated by the stresses of white-supremacist, capitalist oppression.

So, we say: Justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland; for our political prisoners; for the super-exploited Black and Brown working class; for oppressed Indigenous nations; and for the millions subjected to U.S. warmongering, sanctions and criminality. We say this to shift the focus from the individualization of this week’s rebellion back to the objective structures of white supremacist, global colonial/capitalist domination.

To do otherwise plays right into the hands of the reformist liberal ideologues who want to engage us in pie-in-the-sky reformism that perpetuates the myth that justice will be served by merely tweaking the current system. We have seen the first iteration of such a call in the bourgeois New York Times calling for police reform.

BAP will not fall for that ideological trick bag. We say “No Compromise, No Retreat: Defeat the War Against African/Black People in the U.S. and Abroad.”

PRESS AND MEDIA

The People(s)-Centered Human Rights (PCHRs) framework informs BAP’s approach to human rights. Read this primer. PCHRs centers the people’s struggle for radical change to determine how human rights are defined and won. The United States has cynically used the United Nations’ mission of protecting human rights to justify targeting states that defy U.S. global hegemony. Therefore, we thought it useful on Friday to issue a statement demanding consistency from the United Nations, calling for the body to intervene to protect the fundamental human rights of African/Black people in the United States against Trump’s threat to shoot protesters.

BAP National Organizer Ajamu Baraka discussed the George Floyd murder on KPFA’s “Hard Knock Radio.” Then BAP Coordinating Committee member Margaret Kimberley appeared on RT, Press TV and The Katie Halper Show. Netfa Freeman, who represents Pan-African Community Action (PACA) on BAP’s Coordinating Committee, also discussed the Floyd murder on Press TV.

We applaud Black Agenda Report Executive Editor and BAP member Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report Senior Columnist and Margaret Kimberley and BAP members as well as Black Agenda Report Contributing Editor and BAP supporter Danny Haiphong for receiving the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromising Integrity in Journalism. Last year, Ajamu Baraka received this award.

Earlier last week, BAP produced a statement for African Liberation Day in English and Spanish that was widely circulated in Cuba and the United States.

Queshia Bradley of BAP member organization PACA and BAP member Erica Caines addressed an African Liberation Day webinar hosted by the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party and the Maryland Council of Elders. Hear Queshia 33 minutes into the webinar and Erica at the 83-minute mark.

EVENTS

  • June 5: BAP member organization AfroResistance continues its webinar series on Afro descendant women and COVID-19. The next webinar, “Moving to a Feminist Economy in the Americas Region: A Global Perspective of Health as a Human Right,” will be held at 1 p.m., EST, on June 5. Panelists are Dominique Day of the United States, representing the Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent; Ms. Yuefen LI of China, the U.N. Independent Expert on Debt and Human Rights; and Sofia Garzon from Colombia. Janvieve Williams of AfroResistance from Panama will moderate. Register here.
  • June 16: Join BAP for a webinar, “Rise Up to Shut Down AFRICOM,” being held as part of our ongoing U.S. Out of Africa: Shut Down AFRICOM campaign. This will be a multimedia event that will include panelists from the heart of Africa. The organizational arm of the campaign, the U.S. Out of Africa Network (USOAN), calls on Africans throughout the continent and the diaspora, as well as anti-imperialists everywhere, to mark June 16, Soweto Day, with actions in the spirit of the African youth who rose up against the white supremacist South African government on June 16, 1976. We call for all to “Rise Up to Shut Down AFRICOM.” Registration is required: https://bit.ly/BAP0616 Please use this hashtag on social media: #RiseUpToShutDownAFRICOM

TAKE ACTION

No Compromise, No Retreat!
Struggle to win,
Ajamu, Brandon, Dedan, Jaribu, Margaret, Netfa, Paul, Vanessa, YahNé

P.S. Freedom isn’t free. Consider giving today.

Comments are closed.