A moment of reckoning: Justice for George Floyd!

BY:Communist Party USA| March 10, 2021
A moment of reckoning: Justice for George Floyd!


Why is it that Derek Chauvin, the former police officer charged with second-degree unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd, is on trial?

It seems an obvious question, until you realize that in Minnesota alone, there have been 405 documented cases of killings by police, yet only one police officer has been convicted for murder, in 2019.

Or until you find out that thousands of complaints against the Minneapolis Police Department have led to only 1% of them being adjudicated, according to Communities United Against Police Brutality.

Or until you realize that this is the first time a white police officer in Minnesota has been prosecuted for murdering a Black person.

The answer to why Chauvin is on trial is that the people of Minnesota and beyond who protested Floyd’s murder in 2020 made it so. This trial wouldn’t be happening if millions of people around the country hadn’t marched, blocked streets, rallied, and shouted to the rooftops to demand justice for George Floyd.

But the people aren’t only demanding that Chauvin be convicted. They are demanding so much more: community control of the police, demilitarization of the police, the hiring of social workers to respond to mental health crises, and equity in jobs, health care, and education. Realizing that racism is systemic, baked into our economic system, some are calling for socialism.

The Communist Party USA whole-heartedly supports these demands.

This moment, when for the first time in Minnesota’s history a white police officer is being tried for the murder of a Black man, is a victory. But consider that, since Floyd’s murder, as of January 2021, 130 Black people have been killed by police nationwide. As a high school student said at a recent protest, “I’m 17 and I am having to fight for myself still after hundreds of years’ oppression . . . it’s crazy that right now in this time that this is still an issue in our society.”

Crazy indeed. But not surprising, for our nation’s history is rooted in racism and injustice. The U.S. became wealthy because of slavery and Jim Crow, and U.S. capitalism thrives on racial discrimination; the division of Black, white, Asian, Latino, and Native American workers; and the low incomes of jobs predominantly held by African Americans and other people of color. The benefits accorded to billionaire CEOs and stockholders are due to an economic system that keeps the working class down and makes second-class citizens of African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans, among others.

Because of last year’s uprising, many Americans are waking up to this reality. Hopefully, it will lead to a badly needed national reckoning with our nation’s racist past and present, a process of truth and reconciliation, if you will.

The CPUSA joins labor, community, faith-based, and other organizations in calling for Chauvin’s conviction.  But we are mindful that his conviction would be only one of thousands of steps needed to bring justice for African Americans throughout the country. More than revenge for Floyd’s murder, a national reckoning is needed.

That reckoning must include rejecting the proposals in 44 states to suppress the vote; addressing the disproportionate effects of the COVID crisis; at the very least raising the minimum wage to $15, a measure that would bring 30% of African Americans out poverty; eliminating the racist wage gap; rousting KKK members and neo-Nazis out of police departments; and radically reforming the criminal justice system.

The continuing struggle for racial and economic justice will get us there.

Image: Lorie Shaull (CC BY-SA 2.0).


    The Communist Party USA is a  revolutionary working-class  political party founded in 1919 in Chicago, IL. The Communist Party stands for the interests of the American working class and the American people. It stands for our interests in both the present and the future. Solidarity with workers of other countries is also part of our work. We work in coalition with the labor movement, the peace movement, the student movement, organizations fighting for equality and social justice, the environmental movement, immigrants rights groups and the health care for all campaign. But to win a better life for working families, we believe that we must go further. We believe that the American people can replace capitalism with a system that puts people before profit — socialism. We are rooted in our country's revolutionary history and its struggles for democracy. We call for "Bill of Rights" socialism, guaranteeing full individual freedoms.

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