We cannot insist on “real change” in the United States by continuing to use the same methods, arguments, and failed political strategies that have brought us to this moment. We cannot allow the current momentum to be stalled by a narrow discussion about reforming the police. . . . We have to make space for new politics, new ideas, new formations, and new people. The election of Biden may stop the misery of another Trump term, but it won’t stop the underlying issues that have brought about more than a hundred thousand covid-19 deaths or continuous protests against police abuse and violence.
. . . The unfolding revolt in the U.S. today holds the real promise to change this country. While it reflects the history and failures of past endeavors to confront racism and police brutality, these protests cannot be reduced to them. Unlike the uprising in Los Angeles, where Korean businesses were targeted and some white bystanders were beaten, or the rebellions of the nineteen-sixties, which were confined to black neighborhoods, today’s protests are stunning in their racial solidarity. The whitest states in the country, including Maine and Idaho, have had protests involving thousands of people. And it’s not just students or activists; the demands for an end to this racist violence have mobilized a broad range of ordinary people who are fed up.
The protests are building on the incredible groundwork of a previous iteration of the Black Lives Matter movement. Today, young white people are compelled to protest not only because of their anxieties about the instability of this country and their compromised futures in it but also because of a revulsion against white supremacy and the rot of racism. Their outlooks have been shaped during the past several years by the anti-racist politics of the B.L.M. movement, which move beyond seeing racism as interpersonal or attitudinal, to understanding that it is deeply rooted in the country’s institutions and organizations.
This may account, in part, for the firm political foundation that this round of struggle has begun upon. It explains why activists and organizers have so quickly been able to gather support for demands to defund police, and in some cases introduce ideas about ending policing altogether. They have been able to quickly link bloated police budgets to the attacks on other aspects of the public sector, and to the limits on cities’ abilities to attend to the social crises that have been exposed by the covid-19 pandemic. They have built upon the vivid memories of previous failures, and refuse to submit to empty or rhetoric-driven calls for change. This is evidence again of how struggles build upon one another and are not just recycled events from the past.
Related Off-site Links:
As Uprising Spreads Across U.S., Scholars Argue That Economic Transformation and Solidarity Are Key to Achieving Racial Justice – Jon Queally and Jessica Corbett (Common Dreams, June 9, 2020).
Rep. Ilhan Omar on the Moment That Will “Reshape Our Whole System” – Gabe Schneider (MinnPost, June 9, 2020).
What a World Without Cops Would Look Like – Madison Pauly (Mother Jones, June 2, 2020).
The Treason of the Ruling Class – Chris Hedges (Common Dreams, June 2, 2020).
“America’s Moment of Reckoning”: Cornel West Says Nationwide Uprising Is Sign of “Empire Imploding” – Democracy Now! (June 1, 2020).
Defund the Police? Here's What That Really Means – The Washington Post (June 2020).
Defund the Police: Linda Sarsour and Mychal Denzel Smith on What Meaningful Change Would Look Like – Democracy Now! (June 8, 2020).
Minneapolis City Council Vows to Dismantle Police Department After Mass Protests and Grassroots Organizing – Democracy Now! (June 8, 2020).
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
• Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – June 2, 2020
• Emma Jordan-Simpson: “There Will Be No Peace Without Justice”
• Marianne Williamson: “Anything That Will Help People Thrive, I’m Interested In”
• Progressive Perspectives on Joe Biden's Presidential Run
• Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: Quote of the Day – March 10, 2019
• Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – November 5, 2018
• Bernie Sanders: Quote of the Day – February 6, 2018
• Balancing the Fire
• Hope in the Midst of Collapse
• The End of the World As We Know It . . . and the Beginning As We Live It
• See the World!
• As the Last Walls Dissolve . . . Everything is Possible
Image: Jamiel Law.