“I can’t breathe.” No phrase could have better summed up the situation the U.S. proletariat has been going through since the beginning of the pandemic. Pronounced by George Floyd as a cop was choking him to death, it became the expression of a revolt that has spread throughout the United States in less than a week.
No amount of indignation is enough to abolish the police. No charity is enough to end hunger. No law can put an end to this social order. So the movement didn’t ask. The insurgents/ uncontrolled used force. They burned down the police station of the killer cop. They looted supermarkets everywhere. The media insult us — people said let’s burn CNN. The police oppress us – let’s get them on the run.
What only yesterday seemed unthinkable, today has become possible. An end to racism, money, the state. An end to capital and this odious class society, with all the misery and oppression it brings. The possibilities are dizzying. But fear, too, can start to take hold. Fear of chaos, fear of civil war. This fear is a bad counsellor. This fear is what power/state is built on, what holds back the first reflex to step in when a cop is on the cusp of murder. And it makes sense if you’re alone.
Today it’s the owners’ turn to be afraid. Look at them, swearing to end racism with their hands on their hearts. They have nothing to sell but a liberal lie. The lie of “fair” access to the American dream: the freedom to get rich on the backs of others. To make us believe that we deserve to be losers, that it’s our fault if we’re poor. And workers lose their lives while the rich few gain time.
So let’s be careful. This discourse, already heard in the uprisings in Chile, Lebanon, Iraq, which claims to be “realistic” and limits itself to asking for a few reforms, changes in the police, more food stamps, better representation, is defeat. Defeat, putting the movement at the service of a democratic politician. Defeat, still believing in the empty promises of these bastards who negotiate and call for calm, pretending to care about our community first. We cannot agree with the US leftists who say that the fight against racism only concerns black people. Racism helps to maintain exploitation and division among the oppressed, and contributes to the perpetuation of capitalism. Fascists lie when they claim to defend “white workers”: they defend the owners.
Black, brown, white… Proletarians of all origins have more in common with each other than with the bourgeoisie, and they prove it side by side on the barricades. Political machinations that divide the struggle, to organize separate negotiations, and ultimately to crush the proletarians, must be taken for what they are: desperate attempts to extinguish the uprising.
But others have stopped hoping in vain and are taking action. Those who have nothing and are fighting for everyone. Demonstrators, rioters, looters, all at once or according to temperament and opportunity, but having taken the same side, that of unity in the struggle. In the struggle this is what is important, beyond the role that this or that faction of the movement can play.
The pooling of the fruits of looting is a critique of this world of deprivation and exploitation and, at the same time, the formulation of the possibility of a new social relationship. Street combat can’t be enough without people to support it. And this is the world we were talking about when someone wrote that “what yesterday was unthinkable is now possible”… Millions of people have stopped paying their rent, their bills, selling their labor for crumbs. Not paying for anything, organizing, and defending these practices: none of this is alien to the movement.
What remains is this monster to be brought down. The state. The US global war machine, its police, army and militias, to be fought and neutralized in one fell swoop.
It’s a long way to go, but global revolution is possible. We may be about to begin it.
Fever is a tool in your hands, a place for exchanges between Chile, Hong Kong, Lebanon, and everywhere else the flames send the cops running. We want to engage with this movement on a daily basis, and propose some questions to reflect on in the coming days.
1. How have the crisis, lockdown, and sanitary policing fueled the conditions of discontent in the local working class?
2. What is the connection between the wave of wildcat strikes during the pandemic and the uprising?
3. How do people relate their struggle against racism to their struggle as a class?
4. What arms and tactics have protesters used to take the streets and shops from the police?
5. For how long can the uprisings sustain themselves through local supermarkets, the logistics system, and local food production?
6. What is the relationship between the uprising and the workers who make this production and distribution possible?
7. How do workers make military supplies, weapons, and transportation possible, and what power do they have to slow down the intervention of the army and the National Guard?
8. What signs are there of refusals, splits, and mutinies in these armed forces?
9. Platform workers, like Uber drivers, have disappeared from the streets. What is their relation to the uprising ?
10. What are the possibilities of further spreading the uprising from the streets to the capitalist economy such as with blockades, strikes, and other forms of workplace action?
11. How many have been arrested, what is the level of jail support, what are the conditions of the prisoners?
We encourage people in the movement to anonymously and confidentially get in touch, contribute to fever, and help circulate news and analysis of the global struggle under COVID-19 by emailing us through the website, or directly : feverstruggle[a]riseup.net