By Yuram Abdullah Weiler

George Floyd’s slaying: A clarion call to topple the U.S. regime

June 8, 2020 - 17:0

George Floyd’s savage slaying at the hands of white racist police has ignited the fuse on the powder keg of suppressed rage against 400+ years of injustice. Blacks and people of color, who have had little choice but to endure the inhumanity of racism and its unspeakable cruelties, have poured onto the streets in U.S. cities and towns for widespread mass protests. The looting and vandalism occurring as collateral damage should be viewed as justifiable but miniscule down payments toward the rightful retribution owed to Blacks by their white capitalist masters.  

Racism is not merely a systemic problem in the United States, it is a direct consequence of the two pillars upon which the country was founded; namely, the enslavement of Blacks and the genocide of Native Peoples, which by some estimates ran as high as 10 million. According to David E. Stannard, professor of American studies at the University of Hawaii, perhaps even as many as 100 million were exterminated.   Slavery at its peak before the American civil war held 4 million human beings in its cruel clutches. How would it be possible for such a country to be transformed into something less malevolent? I believe it would be impossible barring a revolution and a complete dismantling of the existing white capitalist power structure, which has amassed its wealth through the unconscionable methodology of slavery and genocide.

History has shown that peaceful demonstrations do not achieve even incremental change in the direction of social justice. This fact can be seen by the absence of meaningful change in the racial attitudes of a disturbingly large number of Americans who embrace the repugnant rhetoric emanating from the neofascist in the White House, which itself was built by slave labor.  Support for programs to help Blacks and other minorities has been flat since the 1970s, and worse still, whites have increasingly expressed “no interest” in addressing racial issues. So I can fully understand that these so-called riots and looting are in truth popular uprisings expressing peoples’ outrage over more than four centuries of indescribable injustice and unfathomable oppression. After all, Americans are forced to live in a society held together by structural violence, which is distributed more heavily against Blacks and minorities. 

In 1968 when Blacks rose up with irreproachable outrage in the aftermath of the assassination of the renowned Black leader, Dr. Martin Luther King that April, I was in Washington, DC in the U.S. Army assigned to the White House Communications Agency. As a driver transporting personnel and interagency mail to various locations in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia, I fully empathized with the Black people’s righteous indignation and witnessed the blazing fires light up the night skies. But Washington, DC was only one U.S. city out of 125 convulsing in unrest, which resulted in forty-six deaths and required a total of 54,000 federal and National Guard troops to suppress what white elites undoubtedly viewed as a modern-day slave rebellion. 

I also witnessed the paranoia of the white power structure on full display. The agency to which I was assigned was located at M Street and Wisconsin Avenue in an old DC Transit bus facility.  By April the commanding officer had directed that an armory consisting of M-14 rifles be located within the building and all of us were sent to Fort Meade, Maryland to requalify on these weapons. While the anticipated assault by people of color never materialized, still the paranoia of the ruling elites has never subsided. The concerned white electorate voted for “law and order” candidate Richard Nixon in the 1968 election in what was termed as “a turn to the right.” 

In those days, presidents Lyndon Baines Johnson and Richard Milhous Nixon both spoke with protestors and oversaw the passage of legislation. Nixon, incidentally, was forced to resign the presidency to avoid being impeached for refusing to honor one single subpoena. Today, we have a white supremacist in power who has thumbed his nose egregiously at numerous congressional subpoenas and has been impeached, yet his popularity with a disturbingly large portion of Americans, who apparently approve of this repugnant behavior, seems undiminished. Instead of speaking with demonstrators, Trump has declared a harsh, militaristic crackdown on legitimate dissent. “I am your President of law and order,” he declared, borrowing a phrase from Nixon. 

Despite the civil rights and voting rights legislation that came out of the 1960s, and the sacrifices made by so many people, especially those leaders like Brother Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, both of whom the U.S. government assassinated, racial justice in the U.S. for Blacks has not only failed to materialize, but living conditions have actually worsened.  Discrimination now is worse than the 1960s, employment opportunities have shrunk. Chattel enslavement of Blacks has been replaced by mass incarceration in the highly profitable privatized prison system, which detains over 2.2 million Blacks today as compared to only some 200,000 in 1970. Nevertheless, whites in increasing numbers fail to acknowledge these discriminatory racial barriers that America places before Blacks and other minorities. 

The white power structure always reacts in a manner to perpetuate itself. It is no different this time. The mantra of “peaceful demonstrations” and the tropes of “outside agitators” and “unlawful opportunists” are the same as used in the 1960s. Lip service will be paid to quell the uprising, and I fear that once again the masses will be duped into submission. Worse yet are the quisling Black leaders that we have today like former president Obama, advisor Susan Rice, St. Paul mayor Melvin Carter, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, and New Orleans mayor Marc Morial who have sold out to the white elites and are parroting the “peaceful demonstration” narrative to their outraged citizenry. Ms. Bottoms went so far as to denounce demonstrators for defacing the CNN building in Atlanta, as if the communications conglomerate were a sentinel of support for Blacks. “They [CNN] are telling our stories, and you are disgracing their building,” she ranted, “Go home.”   

There are many differences between then and now.  In the 1960s, the Blacks had leaders: Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael. The U.S. had presidents who, despite their shortcomings, at least listened to and spoke with the people. The U.S. congress was not entirely ruled by money from corporate lobbyists.  After all the protests in the 1960s, the Blacks gained virtually nothing but an all-too-brief moment of hope.  By October 12, 1970, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission, established by the Civil Rights Act of 1957, was already reporting a “major breakdown” in the enforcement of civil rights legislation. 

Today racism is rampant, perhaps more so than in the 1960s, and police brutality against Blacks and other people of color is well documented. It is a systemic problem that is embedded in the white supremacist ideology upon which the United States was founded.  After all the blood, sweat and tears from the activists of the 1960s, instead of change, what they really got was legislative window dressing framed in bureaucratic niceties. For example, the hamstrung Civil Rights Commission has noted that under the Trump regime, “the U.S. Department of Justice has taken the public position to significantly curtail policing investigations, and followed through in that reduction.” For its part, the so-called U.S. Department of Justice, in an apparent abdication of its duties to enforce the law, has emphasized, “It is not the responsibility of the federal government to manage non-federal law enforcement agencies.” 

There is no solution to this quagmire of injustices short of toppling the corrupt, racist U.S. regime and building a more just and equitable edifice upon its ruins. Regrettably, without Black leaders like Brother Malcolm X and Dr. King to guide the people, I fear this will not be happening any time soon.  There are no visionary American presidents like John Kennedy, only spineless political opportunists like Bush II and Obama, both with only a slightly less vulgar veneer than the neofascist currently in the Oval Office. I can only hope and pray that those of us engaged in this struggle remain steadfast until all traces of American injustices are eradicated.

YAW/YAW
 

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