Hundreds of thousands of us marched, rallied, and demanded justice in the almost three months since the murder of George Floyd. While the media began to look away from weeks of protests, we, the people, remain resolute in our calls of Black Lives Matter. For George, for Breonna Taylor, for Ahmaud Arbery, and most recently, for Treyford Pellerin and Jacob Blake. Last week, Treyford was murdered by Lafayette cops with 11 gun shots to his back, and Sunday afternoon, another public lynching was attempted by officers with the Kenosha Police Department. We condemn these acts of barbarism and cowardice.
We affirm that the police cannot be reformed. We know that the only way our communities will see justice is through abolition: if police departments no longer count on bloated budgets with which to terrorize and kill with impunity. Attempts at reform only widen the scope and lengthen the reach of policing. As socialists, we recognize the police to exist as an institution that protects property and capital. They will never be on the side of the working class. Efforts like training and oversight are particularly dangerous without an actual defunding of police budgets: these are ultimately individual solutions to a collective problem. We support the calls to not only defund, but also to demilitarize, disarm, and disband. The funds that are used to criminalize and police us should be reallocated to communities that are the most overpoliced.
We will keep fighting and struggling in the streets against the systems that make it harder for all of us, and particularly Black people, to breathe: Congress’ cruelly inadequate response to COVID, the slew of evictions, raging wildfires dependent on the coerced labor of incarcerated people, rampant unemployment with no relief, heavy global sanctions, reckless school reopenings, and the crushing weight of the militarized police state. We know no one is going to come save us and that these systems are not worth saving.
Countless groups across the country have been organizing around the public call to defund the police, including many of our DSA chapters, and it is in our chapters that our base of power is most clear, as our members immediately moved into action building local protests and carrying on the fight with local campaigns that center the power of the working class. As the National Political Committee, we’ve been working diligently alongside DSA staff to help and support our chapters as they do necessary work in this moment: absorbing new members, engaging in mutual aid, showing up to protests, and building relationships. When George Floyd was killed by police, DSA organized a national call to prepare for the Six Nineteen day of action called by the Movement for Black Lives, as well as numerous political education mass calls, and the foundation of our soon to be launched national Abolition Working Group. We know we must come together, get organized, and fight back at every turn and opportunity against white supremacy and capitalism. Join a protest with your local chapter, or if you can’t, join our talk with Alex Vitale on policing and defund work happening across the country.
Not only is it horrific that victims of police brutality like Jacob Blake and his family suffer a lifetime of psychological trauma, the lack of a national healthcare system like Medicare For All means the family must also carry a lifetime of economic burden if they hope to acquire the kind of care Mr. Blake and his family will need. We send wishes for a speedy recovery to Jacob and his family. Please donate what you can to them here.
Solidarity forever with all those who are grieving and raging today.