#BLACKLIVESMATTER: RACE STRUGGLE OR CLASS STRUGGLE?
#BLACKLIVESMATTER: RACE STRUGGLE OR CLASS STRUGGLE?
By Omole Ibukun
The recent killing of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling in the hands of the police and the vengeful killing of five police officers alongside two other civilians by a black army veteran, Micah Xavier Johnson, after a protest over the killing in Dallas, have taken the #BlackLivesMatter to a new height in the struggle to end racial discrimination in the US. While it is necessary to note that the struggle against racial discrimination is not a race war, it is also necessary to know that these acts of police brutality is a direct attack on the working and poor people (a category which a majority of African-Americans fall into) in an attempt to defend the capitalist order of society.
AGAINST THE DESPERATE DISTORTIONS
The statistical adventure of painting blacks as criminals is another reason, itself, why the bleeding balance sheet of capitalism needs to be reviewed. With widespread poverty, and lack of equal opportunities for the African-American (when compared to their white counterparts), due to past generations of callous slavery and racial segregation some portion of the African-American people understandably consider crimes as their last and only hope for survival. This false generalization of all dark-colored human as criminal should not be allowed, as it would only encourage the equally hasty generalization that all policemen are brutal.
Meanwhile, wherever justice is no longer guaranteed by the state, vengeance and jungle justice is unavoidable. Therefore, the peaceful movement should not allow itself be blackmailed by this event, instead should be more strengthened. The only way to avoid more vengeful reprisals for police brutality is to build and intensify the mass movement for justice, instead of individual actions, until victory is secured.
It is therefore necessary to note that this understandable vengeance should not be used to distort the debate on gun rights and the desperation of the empire to monopolize military power in the face of a revolution-forerunning peaceful mass movement against the state.
RACE STRUGGLE OR CLASS STRUGGLE?
How else do you define a struggle with the physical participation of majorly members of the lower class against a state apparatus that has a sizeable number of African-American officers? How else do you define a struggle that has the participation of all colors of the American common people, from black to red to brown to white, against an organized state brutality led by a black President? It is nothing but a class war, and until all participants and sympathizers of the #BlackLivesMatter movement understands this, there might be no meaningful success in the struggle to end police brutality.
For a struggle building on the historical philosophical work of the likes of Marcus Garvey, and on the historical political works of the likes of Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party, it is not impossible that a movement demanding for racial equality is misconstrued with a movement for Black Supremacy. But all lives matter, just that there is a greater and special need to crush the historical culture of the state of trivializing the lives of the Afro-Americans. The “land of the free” will not be free until every citizen, no matter their color, enjoy equal rights and privileges â€“ an impossible equality under capitalism. The successful creation of such equal society can only come from a struggle of all working people, no matter the color.
THE POSSIBILITY OF A WORKING CLASS ALTERNATIVE
It is the possibility of this class solution to this problem, as the American masses learn from experience, which has made the bourgeoisie media to paint the movement as a racist movement. While the capitalist media and the Oval Office lay emphasis on the deserved condolences to the families of those police officers, nothing is being said about the worth of the lives of the victims of police brutality. This is necessary for them (the media and the state) because of the fear that such working class unity portends for their Wall Street shark owners. Not only will a race war serve the interest of the ruling class in crowding out the voices for a working class alternative to the Democrat-Republican cycle of capitalist exploitation, it will also serve as an excuse to increase their military out-rightness (in form of martial law, racial profiling, etc.) and the economic loss will serve as excuse for future cuts on the basic living needs and entitlements of the average American. Direct attacks on fundamental rights to privacy, legal ownership of ammunition and peaceful protest could be lost if they are allowed to carry out such plan.
As Raya Dunayevskaya pointed out while appreciating the significance and necessity of the solidarity of white working people with black working people to fight a system of oppression that “In 1967 the vitality of the black people, full of purpose, attacked only the symptoms of oppression â€“ the white landlord in the slums, the white merchant, the white middleman â€¦ They know better than the elitist leaders that, without white labor, the system cannot be torn up by its roots. The black revolt reached a peak in Detroit because for the first time in years, outside and inside the shop, there was the first appearance of white and black solidarity. It was but the faintest of beginnings, but it did appear”. This beginning has grown further with the unity of the working class of different racial roots to quench this state brutality.
The anti-people policies of both the Democrats and the Republicans have recently proved one thing to the ordinary people â€“ that capitalism is brutal. It is therefore no surprise that the apparatuses of the capitalist state, from police to military to the justice system, have always been brutal. This makes it unavoidable for someone like President Obama to immediately side with the state apparatus in a comment at the burial of the dead police officers that “we ask police to do too much and we ask too little of ourselves”, as an indirect response to the critics of police brutality. With nomenclatural-socialist Bernie Sanders capsizing to the side of imperialism with a desperate submission to and support for Hillary Clinton, it is therefore logical for the #Movement4Bernie, which is already moving beyond the man, to unite its socialist cause with the #BlackLivesMatter movement to forge a formidable political movement based on the fundamental agreement of the necessary system change, and therefore motivate the working people towards taking political power.
AFRICA AND NEO-IMPERIALISM
With Nigeria as the most populous black nation in the world, with one-third of the world black population, the plunder perpetrated and the destitution created in Africa by imperialism cannot be more exemplified than with the Nigerian situation. From slave trade to colonialism to imperialism, the world imperialist powers, led by the United States, continue to keep Africa intentionally underdeveloped, with the cooperation of her leaders, to remain a constant victim to be robbed of their raw mineral and human resources and as a standby market for all of their finished products. Stuck in the web of political and economic struggles which have been intentionally shrouded with ethnic and religious strife, the possibility of a necessary system change towards international socialism dawns more and therefore more conscious efforts are needed from the working people of the world to carry out a socialist revolution.
In conclusion, it is necessary to note that we all bleed the same color and we are one race â€“ the human race. It is therefore necessary for us to do away with an economic system that survives (or better put, collapses) on the existence of competition and the attendant division across the lines of naturally existing categorizations like age, sex, religion, belief, race and tribe, and adopt a system that allows for internationalist solidarity and collaboration toward the interests of the collective. This system is only available in an uncompromising, non-opportunistic socialist programme of changing society.