For a general strike and self-defense committee to defend the popular uprising against a police-military crackdown!
Statement by the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 2 June 2020, www.thecommunists.net
1. Events are moving fast. The popular uprising after the murder of George Floyd continues to spread throughout the U.S. Hundreds of thousands of people are marching in all major cities (as well as in many smaller towns) to protest against racism and police violence. There have been a number of shootings at demonstrations with several people killed. According to reports, four police officers in St Louis were also hit by gunfire. As a significant sign of cracks within the state apparatus, an increasing number of police officers are showing sympathy with the protests. Houston police chief Art Acevedo even told the President in an interview with CNN to "keep your mouth shut if you can't be constructive. (…) This is not Hollywood but real life." To a certain degree, the authorities have lost control over the situation, i.e. there exists a dual power situation. This is why the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) characterizes the current situation in the U.S. as pre-revolutionary.
2. The depth of the crisis is symbolized by the fact that the mass protests even take place close to the White House in Washington where a highly nervous Trump and his stuff can hear the chants of the demonstrators. At one occasion, Secret Service agents rushed the President to a bunker which was designed for use in emergencies like terrorist attacks. When Trump wanted to visit a church near to the White House for a photo op with a bible in his hand, police and National Guard soldiers had first to attack and disperse hundreds of protesters near the White House. As Trump spoke, tear gas canisters could be heard exploding.
3. Under these circumstances, the authorities try to clamp down the protests. Curfews have been imposed in more than 40 cities. The National Guard has been deployed in 23 states and Washington, D.C. However, this has not been enough to curb the protests until now. Trump has lambasted the governors for their “failure”. In addition, he announced: “As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily armed soldiers, military personnel and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults and the wanton destruction of property. (…) If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.” It is said that Trump considers invoking the so-called Insurrection Act, an archaic law from 1807 that would allow Trump to deploy active-duty U.S. troops to crack down the nation-wide uprising.
4. The intervention of U.S. troops on the streets of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago against tens of thousands of demonstrators would be nothing but the opening of a nation-wide state of emergency resulting in an unprecedented massacre, a civil war from above. It would constitute a de-facto coup d'état by a widely detested and despised President. There can be no doubt that such a decision would provoke massive response, including armed resistance. Furthermore, it is a highly risky strategy since large sectors of the ruling class, and of the state apparatus in general, are opposed to this. This is partly because these sectors of the bourgeoisie fear the resulting civil war and partly because they are aware that Trump would utilize such a situation in order to safeguard his doomed presidency. Trump considers, not without reason, that a police-military de-facto coup might be the only chance to stay in power given the economic depression, mass unemployment, and his incompetent and reckless handling of the COVID-19 pandemic (as well as of many other issues). In short, setting the country on fire might be his only chance to politically survive and this modern version of the insane Imperator Nero might be determined to go ahead.
5. It would be utterly wrong to have any illusions in the Democratic Party. Let us not forget that the murder of George Floyd happened in Minnesota, a traditional Democratic heartland with a long history of police violence. And let us also not forget that thousands of black brothers and sisters have been killed also before Trump came to power. The Democratic Party is, like the Republicans, a party of the rich elite. It represents one faction of the monopoly bourgeoisie. Any vote for it at elections is utterly impermissible for progressive workers and oppressed.
6. Faced with an ongoing uprising and a looming police-military crackdown, the RCIT reiterates its proposals to activists that they demand from the community and popular organizations, trade unions, the DSA etc. to join the movement and to support the Black Lives Matter movement. They should pressurize these organizations to support several key actions which are crucial in order to stop the looming counterrevolution. Such tactics are in particular:
a) Organizing of popular assemblies and the formation of committees of action in workplaces, neighborhoods, schools and universities. Such committees should decide about the demands and the course of action. They should also elect delegates so that there can be a regional and national coordination.
b) Building of armed self-defense committees in order to defend the communities against the enemy in blue and to drive the police as much as possible out of the communities.
c) Organizing of a general strike.
7. In addition, we consider it as important to intensify agitation among police, National Guard members and federal troops so that they refuse order to suppress the protests. Finally, it is urgent to organize a massive international solidarity movement, something which has already started spontaneously.
8. We call revolutionaries to join forces on the basis of a program of struggle. Let us build together a Revolutionary World Party which fights for the overthrow of the capitalist exploiter system which is the basis of racism and police violence. Such a party must be free from all opportunistic trends among the so-called left, like the support for state bonapartism (like the Lockdown policy) and the reactionary support for any imperialist Great Powers (e.g. China, Russia, EU). Comrades, brothers and sisters, let us join hands in working for such a historic tasks! Join the RCIT!
International Bureau of the RCIT
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We refer readers to the following RCIT documents:
A Pre-Revolutionary Situation Has Opened Up in the U.S., 31 May 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/north-america/a-pre-revolutionary-situation-has-opened-up-in-the-u-s/
USA: Justice for George Floyd! Workers and youth of all color: unite in struggle! For self-defense committees against the police! Organize a general strike now! 30 May 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/north-america/usa-justice-for-george-floyd/