Shootings in Wisconsin show need for anti-racist movement to step up pressure

On August 23rd Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by police in Wisconsin. The shooting has left him paralyzed. Why was Blake shot? Because he was walking away from a fight he tried to de-escalate until police arrived. Yet when the police arrived, the situation became tragic.

On the night of August 25th, amid protests denouncing the shooting, a member of a pro-police militia, Kyle Rittenhouse, shot three protestors, killing two of them. Despite being thanked for his armed presence by officers before the shooting, and attempting to turn himself in after, Rittenhouse was not arrested until the next day. Further information released shows Kenosha Police Department actively collaborating with the right wing militia group during the protest, including Rittenhouse.

The police’s kid-gloves approach to Rittenhouse and other right wing forces committing actual violence stands in stark contrast to the numerous acts of racist police violence that sparked the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. This uprising has faced repression from  local police as well as federal agents. It has raised demands to slash bloated police budgets and enforce real civilian control over public safety. Both the Republicans and Democrats continue to utilize racist “law and order” rhetoric and to collaborate to increase mass incarceration and expand police presence in many communities of color even in the midst of this historic BLM movement. From the constant criminalization of poverty and workers of color to continued extra-judicial murders during a national anti-racist uprising, it is clear that the role of the police – and corporate politicians – is to enforce racism in the interests of the capitalist class.

The capitalist class and their politicians are terrified of the current movement that has united workers and youth of all backgrounds in a common struggle to fight against systemic violence and injustice. They fear the momentum of this movement may lead working people and youth to fight for more far-reaching change. This is a major reason why many cities under Democratic administrations are responding so brutally to the current protests. We cannot rely on the Democrats or Republicans for meaningful change. We must ditch the two-party system and organize a party of our own that can help initiate and unite mass protest movements including an unshakable commitment to fighting police brutality and systemic racism.

The Independent Socialist Group enthusiastically supports the ongoing anti-racist movement, including justice for Jacob Blake, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and all victims of police and racist brutality. We call for the following:

  • Demilitarize the police!
  • End “no knock” raids!
  • Remove police from schools!
  • Slash bloated police budgets and fund housing, healthcare, and education!
  • Decriminalize poverty and ban racist police practices!
  • Solidarity between organized labor and the anti-racist movement! Unions must mobilize to fight systemic racism! Turn out membership to protests. Use resources to help protestors. Adopt the movement’s demands and organize workplace actions to win them.
  • Elected community committees to organize protests support, medical treatment, legal responses, community self-defense efforts, and responses to police or right-wing escalation!
  • Community control and oversight of all aspects of public safety, including hiring, firing, training, priorities, and budgets!

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August 2020