[Leaflet] Fight Police Violence with Socialist Revolution!

BlackLivesMatter protestors

This is the text of a leaflet distributed by supporters of Socialist Revolution throughout the country. Download the PDF version of the two-sided foldable leaflet here. Read the full article here.


The cold-blooded murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police is yet another horrific act of racist violence against an unarmed black man in broad daylight. This has yet again sparked protests across the country, showing that people are fed up with the systemic racism of the capitalist system.

When the great revolutionary martyr Malcolm X said, “You can’t have capitalism without racism,” he summed up a profound truth about the world we live in. This racist brutality is hardwired into the capitalist system.

To maintain their wealth and power in a society divided into classes, the capitalists need a special tool to enforce their will and defend their interests: the state. This repressive apparatus exists to defend the tiny minority that owns the means of production. As part of that apparatus, the institution of the police is rife with racism and abuse of power—a reflection of the system it upholds. No amount of oversight measures or “community review boards” will change the repressive nature of these bodies.

Removing a few “bad apples” does nothing to fundamentally change the class relations that bring about such tragedies. Even if the police are on their “best behavior” for a time, eventually, another extrajudicial murder by another “out of control” officer will occur.

Police are often recruited from the most reactionary layers of society and unleashed on poor and working-class neighborhoods to terrorize the very populations they disdain. This is why calls for “community control” of the police, and for officers to patrol the neighborhoods they’re from, are at the forefront of many people’s minds every time a white cop kills a black person in the street.

But it is impossible to establish “community control” over our own neighborhoods and to guarantee our safety as long as there is fundamental inequality in every other aspect of life. Temporary or cosmetic measures will not eliminate the root causes of inequality, poverty, and criminalization—and the capitalist state exists precisely to defend this inequality. What is needed is a complete transformation of society and the end of the capitalist system.

This was the revolutionary conclusion that Martin Luther King Jr. began to draw toward the end of his life:

You can’t talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can’t talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry. Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong with capitalism.

There is a simmering anger among millions across the country, compounded by the economic catastrophe that has eliminated the livelihoods of tens of millions of workers. Fully 39% of workers earning less than $49,000 have lost their jobs, and 35% of households with children are now food insecure. This has led to an explosive mood of anger that is searching for an outlet.

However, so far the demonstrations have been largely spontaneous, lacking a direction and a program that can transform society. Only the united working class has the power to “shut it down” by withholding its labor and flooding the streets!

To take this fight to the next level, organized labor should actively link up with the protesters in recognition of the workers’ common struggle against the racist capitalist system. With the unions’ resources and numbers, the movement would take on an entirely different character. A city-wide general strike in Minneapolis in response to George’s murder would get the authorities’ attention! Ultimately, it would pose the question: who should run society?

The police would be less likely to fire teargas at the broader working class assembled by the thousands. But if they did this, it could unleash a much sharper crisis for the government—and it would not be limited to the Twin Cities.

The working class can rely only on our collective strength to defend ourselves against police terror. The labor movement in every major city should organize neighborhood defense committees to defend the working class. These would unite both unionized and unorganized workers and the unemployed—ready to mobilize at a moment’s notice in response to police violence in working-class neighborhoods.

We must also understand that neither the Democrats or Republicans represent the interests of the workers and youth. Both of these parties are tools of the ruling class. Instead, we need a mass socialist party based on the organized working class, fighting for a socialist program to fundamentally transform society.

A workers’ government would rapidly transform the living conditions of the entire population. By bringing the immense wealth of the Fortune 500 companies under public ownership and democratic workers’ control, the immense resources of the economy could be harnessed to provide universal employment, healthcare, housing, and education, higher wages, lower rent, and a shorter work week for all.

None of this is possible on the scale required on the basis of the profit-driven system of capitalism. We say the rich must pay for the crisis of their system! Reparations for centuries of exploitation, racism, and oppression can only be achieved by ending capitalism and building socialism.

Only when there are no classes, will there be no need for police, and without police, police brutality will be a thing of the past. This is why the Marxists argue that to end racism and all the evils that come with it, we must end capitalism!

Join the International Marxist Tendency to learn more about Marxism, socialism, revolution, internationalism, and the struggle to end racism and capitalism once and for all. Contact us for more information!

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