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George Floyd: one death too many in the “land of the free”

category north america / mexico | migration / racism | opinion / analysis author Thursday June 04, 2020 01:29author by José Antonio Gutiérrez D. Report this post to the editors

The murder of Floyd is not a once-off incident. Last year 1,099 people were killed by the US police, of which a sizeable proportion are black. 99% of these murders remain in absolute impunity –an alarming impunity rate only rivalled by the likes of Colombia in the continent, which goes to demonstrate how police violence, far from an anomaly, is condoned by the US establishment. By all of it, whether Republican or Democrat. [Castellano] [Türkçe] [Italiano]
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George Floyd: one death too many in the “land of the free”

At last people had enough in the self-proclaimed ‘land of the free’. The brutal murder of George Floyd, who was tortured to death by asphyxiation for 10 minutes in broad daylight, turned to be the spark that started the prairie fire. Floyd’s life was certainly cheaper in the eyes of the police than a fake, lousy U$20, he was accused of possessing. Protests have erupted all over the country, facing unspeakable government violence and threats from the president Donald Trump, who has threatened with weapons, shootings and vicious dogs. Let us think for a second what would happen if, let’s say, Maduro in Venezuela or Rouhani in Iran resorted to this blatantly threatening language and to these repressive actions –surely by now, there would be economic sanctions in place, extraordinary meetings in the UN Security Council, talk of military intervention, or “smart” bombardments of police stations to protect “poor citizens” from the butchers in the institutions. Maybe even a bogus interim president à la Guaidó would have already been recognised by the G-7.

Michelle Bachelet, the hypocrite in chief (ie., Human Rights chief) at the UN, deplores the killing of Floyd but has failed to speak in equally strong terms about State violence against protestors. Her words pale in comparison to her vehemence at Venezuela; while Almagro of the OAS –who kicks up a fuss even if Maduro farts- has remained conspicuously silent. Isn’t it obvious that in the World Order there is one rule for the rich club and quite another for the rest of the world?

The murder of Floyd is not a once-off incident. Last year 1,099 people were killed by the US police, of which a sizeable proportion are black. 99% of these murders remain in absolute impunity [1]–an alarming impunity rate only rivalled by the likes of Colombia in the continent, which goes to demonstrate how police violence, far from an anomaly, is condoned by the US establishment. By all of it, whether Republican or Democrat.

As elections approach, the Democrats are smelling votes in the fumes of the riots. But who among the Democrats have any moral authority to complain about racism or violence? Obama, the top one president when it comes to deportations and the man who presided racial repression at Ferguson? The man who shed crocodile tears at the murder of Eric Garner in 2014, in circumstances almost identical to those of Floyd’s, but failed to take any real action? The Clintons, who started building the wall with Mexico, starved and bombed Iraq, and handsomely armed, supported and financed their Al-Qaeda darling jihadists who butchered willy-nilly, left and right, the people of Syria? Sanders, whom, for all his “socialist” talk is unable to confront even the establishment in his own party? It is time to call the Democrat gang for what they are: a fraud. They are part of the problem, not the solution, and all they care about is the next elections. They don’t give a flying toss about structural racism and police violence as they have shown time and again while in power.

Class and racial violence in the US is a structural problem, which requires a radical transformation of the institutions. Nothing short of this can be of any use. The murder of Floyd is tearing apart the farcical myth of the ‘land of the free’, of the land ‘of tolerance’ built supposedly by free, loving and equal migrants –a favourite fabrication of the Democrats during the anti-Trump protests of 2016. The ugly face of structural racism (which precedes Trump by over two centuries) is being revealed, exposing the stench of a country built over the genocide of millions of Natives and chattel slavery. A country built over the mass deportations of those who thought differently during the Red Scare of the 1920. A country which lynched in the thousands blacks and trade unionists. A country where a white supremacist hooligan such as John Wayne is revered as a hero, while proper artists were banned and censored during McCarthyism. A country whose so-called justice system, which executes on a routine basis as many people as any other tyranny, has in its putrid closet the skeletons of the Haymarket affair, of Sacco and Vanzetti, and of the Rosenbergs, among so many others, all murdered in mickey mouse trials that were nothing but legal lynching.

The people are right to be angry. Big time. This is not only about Floyd. It is about over two hundred years of oppression and savagery. Those who demand that protest remains “civic” and harmless, deploring “vandalism” in far more strident terms than they deplore racism, are nothing but hypocritical defenders of the status quo. The real vandals are those who think that carrying a blue uniform gives them a right to maim, torture and kill at will. The focus of what is happening and why people are out there on the streets should not be lost: as Albert Camus remarked, we should despise less acts of violence by the oppressed than the institutions of violence [2]. The time has come to question and change the institutions, the structures of violence, deeply rooted in the State and an economic model which, right now, is condemning millions to death by unemployment induced starvation.

The system is the problem, not this or that police officer, not this or that president, not this or that party. It requires deep transformation of the political institutions which are the product of this legacy of brutality, segregation, exclusion, war, militarism, invasion and imperialism. Trump denounced the presence of “professional anarchists” among the protestors. Fair play to them. They deserve a standing ovation. Hopefully they help the masses in revolt to imagine a different country, built from the bottom up, in peace with the rest of the world and permanently at war with domestic injustice. A country free of racism, sexism, and the exploitation of the working class. A real alternative at a time in which the world is critically endangered to a great degree because of the actions of the US as a world power. The people on the streets today have the answers, while the Republican and Democrat ruling elites don’t even know the questions.

José Antonio Gutiérrez D.
3rd June, 2020


[1] https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/
[2] Quoted in John Foley, “Albert Camus: From the Absurd to Revolt” (London, Rouledge, 2008, p.49)

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George Floyd: one death too many in the “land of the free”
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