Socialist Resurgence statement: Jail killer cops! Black lives matter! Change the system!

Protests Continue Around Detroit After Police Officer Allegedly Punched Woman
Police attack protesters in Detroit on May 30. ( Matthew Hatcher / Getty Images / AFP)


  • Black Lives Matter! Jail killer cops!
  • Reparations now! For Black control over Black communities!
  • Evacuate the prisons! Stop the spread of coronavirus!
  • Not one more eviction! Free quality public housing for all!

Demonstrations against police brutality and the systemic oppression of Black people have exploded around the country in hundreds of cities. The immediate spark was the lynching of George Floyd, a Black man, by four Minneapolis police officers. The murder followed the deaths of Ahmed Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and others at the hands of police and their vigilante allies

U.S. capitalism uses Black oppression as a means of dividing the working class and creating conditions of hyper-exploitation for Black workers. Black, Brown, and immigrant workers do many of the most essential jobs in food production, distribution, health care, and education, but are paid less than white workers and forced to live in worse conditions on average. Over recent decades, as income inequality between the rich and the poor has dramatically increased, so too has the racial wage gap between Black and white workers. The racially unequal effects of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as police brutality, underline the racial inequalities of U.S. capitalism as a whole.

The Role of the Police 

Police are the first line of defense for capitalism—protecting the rights of property over people, carrying out evictions, harassing the homeless, and violently breaking strikes. Police are the organ of the state that puts down protests against poisoned water in Flint, Mich., intimidates victims of domestic and sexual violence, and even scabs on striking workers.

Jail Killer Cops!

The all-out reaction by police against the movement calling for justice for George Floyd demonstrates how seriously U.S. capitalism believes it has the right to terrorize Black and Brown people. Because of racism, Black people are 2 ½ times more likely to be killed by a cop than whites are. While Mumia Abu-Jamal and other innocent people spend their whole lives behind bars waiting for a fair trial, police and racial terrorists like George Zimmerman receive a slap on the wrist for cold-blooded murder. While Chauvin may still receive a sentencing, there are still hundreds of police killings a year (1004 in 2019), yet virtually no killer cops are arrested. The capitalist state is incapable of putting an end to this pandemic of police murder.

Build the Movement! Change the System!

Daily demonstrations against police brutality and for a better world have created two seemingly contradictory responses from the capitalist state. On one hand, capitalist politicians and even police are trying to save face and act like they stand with the protests. But this lie has been exposed, as we see increasingly militarized repression, including thousands of arrests, half a dozen killings of protesters, and numerous cases of serious bodily harm from crowd dispersal techniques that violate even the bourgeois standards of the Geneva Convention.

Capital is willing to make minor concessions, including replacing police with private security at some schools and businesses, but it is unwilling to touch the systemic problem that lies at the root of the crisis.

Today, we must unify around the slogan of “Black Lives Matter” and build a movement to definitively end police repression and to dismantle the ruling class’s biased “justice” system. Simultaneously, it is necessary to begin the process of constructing democratic mass organizations capable of mobilizing people to replace the profit-driven capitalist system—which is at the root of Black oppression—with a system that puts the needs of people and the environment at the forefront.

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