Black lives matter has been an international phenomenon. Sparked by the gruesome killing of George Floyd, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets all across the world to protest against police brutality and racism. In normal times, this would be a feat in itself. The fact that the movement has been so global, during the coronavirus pandemic is a testament to the power behind the movement.
It should come as no surprise that the Black Lives Matter movement has found a powerful echo in the UK – a country with its own deeply racist history; and where BAME communities are only too aware of the inequality, injustice, and oppression that is systemic within capitalism.
These explosive protests in Britain are yet another sign of the revolutionary mood developing in society – particularly amongst young people and BAME communities. And these layers, in turn, are like a weathervane, indicating which way the wind is blowing more widely amongst the working class and the oppressed.
Police brutality is not new. We recognise it as the final expression of a violent racist system that causes misery for the majority, while a minority of people live comfortably at the expense of the working class. Within that system, black people are brutally and doubly oppressed. Racism is a tool that the ruling class uses to divide the working class. This is because a united working class, that is conscious of its power, has the ability to transform and ultimately take control of society.
By fostering racial divisions, and perpetuating racist ideas that categorise black people as ‘violent’, ‘criminal’, ‘unintelligent’ etc, capitalism conveniently segregates working class black people from the rest of their class. It is a powerful weapon, that has been woven into the foundations of capitalism with the transatlantic slave trade. Therefore we recognise that the only basis upon which it will be abolished is through a complete removal of that system.
If the problem is systemic, the solution must be too. There is no path for the true liberation of black people under capitalism. In the words of the great Fred Hampton ‘ We don’t fight capitalism with black capitalism, we fight it with solidarity’. Our activists have been attending BLM protests putting forward our radical approach to ending racism.We must replace this barbaric world with socialism.
Reports from Marxist Societies:
UEA Marxist Society:
The UEA Marxist Society Facebook page was contacted by another UEA student who had taken over as organiser of the Norwich BLM demonstration after the original founders reached out for help. Knowing us as a politically active group on campus, the organiser asked if we could help organise the demonstration. Due to the ongoing pandemic and the particular effects of the BAME community, we decided to demonstrate in two separate areas, one where the speakers can talk safely, and another where we would put loudspeakers to broadcast the speakers. We would encourage people to stay at home and watch the livestream and give safety advice for anyone who felt the need to protest outside anyway.
Due to technical issues on the day, the second area of protest ended up being an open mic whilst the main area had planned speakers. The turnout at both locations was big for Norwich with roughly 2-300 at the first area and another 5-600 at the second whilst the livestream had an average viewing of 1500 across various platforms. The variety of speeches described personal experiences of racism both from the police and other state institutions but also other areas of society. There was a lot of anger and passion on display but also recognition that, despite previous struggles, there is still a large fight to be waged against the system as a whole.
Sussex Marxists organised a public discussion meeting on the topic ‘Protests, Police Brutality and Racism’, in light of the recent wave of Black Lives Matter protests in the US and globally. We received an enthusiastic response from frequent attendees and a new layer of students and workers were keen to join us. The attraction to these ideas highlights the palpable thirst amongst this layer for radical answers. This is a direct reflection of the growing radicalisation and shift in consciousness amongst the youth and working class – a result of the decaying capitalism system being exposed for all to see.
A comrade introduced the discussion, providing an overview of the history and origins of racism and why capitalism requires it to function, the nature of the capitalist state and police brutality, and where next for the BLM movement. It is clear that racism is rooted in the capitalist system as a tool for oppression and division, to better exploit workers and prevent working class unity. To fight all forms of inequality, including racism, we need a socialist transformation of society to remove, root and branch, the capitalist system that perpetuates division and subjugation. For this, the organised working class is paramount, and this is the perspective for the movement: it needs a centralised leadership, capable of uniting the workers under the banner of socialism
Watch this video for further discussion: