TO ALL IN THE U.S. LABOR MOVEMENT WHO STAND AGAINST RACIST TERROR,
In an extreme but unsurprising turn of events, Trump has called for the U.S. military to target American civilians as a military enemy by invoking the 1807 Insurrection Act. Immediately after, police and federal troops gassed and shot protestors with rubber bullets and stinger grenades so that Trump could stage a Bible waving photo-op with Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper outside a church he doesn’t attend.
Through Pentagon programs, billions of dollars in military equipment have been transferred to state and local law enforcement agencies, with almost no public oversight. Now with the addition of the U.S. military, the curfews enforced by local mayors has only led to stifling free speech and giving Trump cover to ruthlessly crack down on nonviolent protestors speaking out about their pain. Peaceful protest goes hand-in-hand with our right to strike and must be protected. We have seen too many demonstrations turned violent across the country because of unnecessary military and police escalation.
Nothing says the enemy is at home like U.S. military being turned on civilians protesting police terror. History tells us the use of the Insurrection Act to crack down on both Black uprisings and labor strikes is indistinguishable. The policing in our communities looks more and more like a military operation. The constant presence of police in Black communities is an occupation, the sort that the international working class has experienced too often.
Across the globe, our government and big defense contractors have led the bombing, gassing, and invasion of entire working class communities under the false pretext that so-called dictators are undemocratically elected or killing its own citizens. Here in the U.S., those same corrupt politicians from both sides of the aisle and their billionaire executive friends who are profiting off of arm sales are perpetrating the “divide-and-conquer” class inequity and white supremacist behavior by putting military weapons in the hands of civilian police officers. Additionally, they are discrediting those protesting against police violence as merely “outside agitators.” We know this is code to erase Black uprisings and undercut our solidarity.
The billionaire class and the U.S. politicians that carry out their bidding have no allegiance to any country’s people, only to raking in profits. From the U.S. to Palestine to Cuba to China, the international working class must be unwavering in the fight against racism and militarization. The U.S. government spends $750 billion per year to defend big business war interests when this pot of money could be used to provide good jobs, education, healthcare, housing and environmental protections. The root problem is not burned down buildings or shattered glass; it’s a deeply unjust society built on centuries of slave labor and deadly foreign policy ignited on the global working class. We’re not just going to fix up the windows and sweep up the glass; as the labor movement we are going to fix the for-profit society that leaves our most vulnerable workers behind.