One Year Ago the Murder of George Floyd Sparked a Historic Uprising

One year ago today, the world witnessed the inhuman brutality of a racist cop kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes until he died. His tragic death would ignite the largest mass movement in the history of the US. Within hours, the spontaneous protests of hundreds turned into thousands. From Minneapolis, a chain reaction was set off in one city after another, growing day by day until the whole country was engulfed in protest.

A majority of Americans saw the burning of the third police precinct in Minneapolis—a de facto act of insurrection—as a justified action. A full 10% of the adult population—some 26 million people—directly participated in the mass upsurge. The scenes were unprecedented. National Guard troops were deployed in 30 states—the largest military operation outside a war in US history. Curfew was enforced in 200 cities, and tear gas was deployed against demonstrators in at least 100 cities. Over 14,000 protesters were arrested in June 2020, and over 7,300 protests were recorded. Comrades of the IMT participated in over 100 protests in the US, and in hundreds of other demonstrations worldwide. In addition to the sight of soldiers patrolling major US cities, we saw embryonic instances of spontaneous self-organization as ordinary people took up arms in defense of their neighborhoods against the threat of right-wing vigilantes and police terror.

These events were the closest the US has come to a revolutionary upheaval in living memory. It sent the president scurrying into an underground bunker below the White House, and it sparked fear in the hearts of the ruling class. The Democrats derailed the movement, co-opting it in order to betray it, and today they sing its praises while ensuring nothing fundamental changes. The bourgeois parties and the mass media would have us forget the true significance of these events, but they will leave a lasting imprint on the consciousness of the millions who participated and watched on their screens.

Last month, the capitalist politicians cynically celebrated the guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin as a victory for “justice.” But there can be no justice in a racist system. Only one out of every 2,000 cops who kills someone is tried and convicted—and Chauvin’s trial doesn’t change that fact. Thousands of Derek Chauvins are walking free, patrolling and terrorizing black, brown, and poor people in cities and towns across the country. It will take nothing short of a socialist revolution to uproot the racist brutality of this system. This is our future!

Read our coverage of the Black Lives Matter movement here. Below we feature a selection of the key articles analyzing the historic events of the summer of 2020:


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