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Police Brutality is State-Sanctioned Brutality

Statement of the Socialist Party USA National Action Committee - June 1, 2020

On Monday, May 25th, George Floyd was murdered in cold blood by Minneapolis police. While tragic and unconscionable on its own, this brazen act of racist aggression is only the most recent example of the police, beholden only to the capitalist state, using excessive force to inflict harm on the people they falsely claim to serve.

The police exist to maintain social order as defined by the capitalist state. In exchange for enforcing the laws of the ruling class, the judicial system protects them from punishment. While some high profile cases of police brutality and murder may see arrests, firings, and out of court settlements, the vast majority of cases end with not even the illusion of justice for the victims.

Recurring instances of police violence and murder—such as in the cases of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd—demonstrate that police brutality is sanctioned by the state. It is a political problem that neither of the capitalist parties will solve. There is no fundamental difference between Barack Obama ordering the National Guard to Ferguson after Michael Brown's murder in 2014 and Donald Trump deploying them to Minneapolis now. The politicians you nominally elect are not there to serve you in the same way the police are not there to protect you. They only exist to serve the interests of the ruling class.

President Trump’s threat of designating Antifa as a terrorist organization is a ploy to give legal cover for increased surveillance and violence against protestors and comrades organizing against police brutality. His additional threat on June 1st to use additional military power against demonstrators only serves as further proof that the leaders of both capitalist parties will use all of the forces at their disposal, including the largest military in the world, to stamp out demonstrations against the status quo of institutionalized racism and oppression.

Amid the backdrop of COVID-19, it is notable that while the federal and state governments have failed to provide medical supplies and adequate financial support to the population, there has been no shortage of weaponry for the police or tax dollars to pay for it. Demonstrators are not only risking their lives against a merciless state, but are also putting themselves in harms way by entering into a situation where lifesaving social distancing is not possible.

Without the working class assuming organized political power through a mass Socialist Party with clear demands and the ultimate aim of abolishing capitalism, the conditions that bring us into the streets in outrage will remain fundamentally unchanged.

The Socialist Party demands the immediate establishment of completely independent and democratically elected police control and oversight councils, with full power to fire police and to arrest, detain, and indict police officers who brutalize or abuse people or who commit any violation of laws or civil rights and liberties.

We demand the ultimate replacement of the police with community residents trained in conflict resolution who live in and serve the community under community control.

We encourage anyone in agreement with our Statement of Principles to consider joining us today. We need you in this fight.


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