Many in the U.S. and around the world are celebrating the conviction of Derek Chauvin, the police officer who murdered George Floyd last May. The guilty verdict on all three charges—third-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, and second-degree unintentional murder—is a welcome one. The verdict shows the power of the BLM movement from last summer and in recent protests against the police murders of Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, and too many others.
Most cops are never charged for their racist violence. Not-guilty verdicts are the norm in the rare instances that killer cops are charged, so this guilty verdict should be celebrated as a victory. We cannot underestimate the role the BLM movement played in bringing about this verdict by pressuring the court through protests in Minneapolis and across the country. Pressure must be kept on the Chauvin court case as it moves into sentencing. And there are still 3 cops who helped murder George Floyd that must be held responsible. We must keep the movement on the streets to ensure that the murderers of Breonna Taylor, Adam Toledo, Elijah McClain, Daunte Wright, and countless others are held accountable.
The Chauvin verdict is already being used by the corporate media, the Biden administration, and the Democratic Party to reinforce the status quo of the militarized, bloated, and repressive police apparatus in the U.S. They argue that Chauvin is just one of “the few bad apples” in police forces across the country, but racial profiling, mass incarceration, and police violence are built into the criminal-legal system.
Biden and the Democratic Party may claim to support the conviction of Chauvin, but we have to remember that they have done nothing to fundamentally challenge police brutality and racism. Biden himself openly rejected the key economic and social demands of the BLM movement, namely defunding the police. In fact, Democrats have been the architects of police brutality and expanding the War on Drugs, including Biden who was an author on the 1994 Crime Bill that played a crucial role in creating mass incarceration.
After the murder of George Floyd, Black Lives Matter protests broke out around the world, and despite being demobilized as energy was diverted into the 2020 elections, the movement has finally re-emerged after recent police murders. To build and sustain the momentum of the BLM movement, to renew the fight to defund and demilitarize the police, it’s crucial that democratic organizations of community members, activists, and progressive unions coordinate national actions. Democratic committees could discuss and decide the movement’s demands, tactics, and future actions. Such committees should have elected leadership positions, subject to immediate recall by popular vote. Check out our program for building a socialist fight back against racism and police brutality for more details.
There’s no true justice for George Floyd, but the movement reignited by protests surrounding the Chauvin trial is an important step towards fighting systemic racism and the rotten capitalist system at its root. As Malcolm X said, “you cannot have capitalism without racism.” Capitalism relies on systemic racism, the criminal-legal system, and State violence to enforce inequality, injustice, and exploitation. Only a socialist world rooted in solidarity and a multi-racial struggle against all forms of oppression can provide true liberation for all!