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America Trembles at the Prospect of a People Rising

America Trembles at the Prospect of a People Rising

Unity Leader 6th June - By Mel Corry

It’s been more than a week now since we witnessed George Floyd die on our mobile phones. We were horrified at the fact that Mr Floyd was dead for 3 minutes before the officer removed his knee from his neck whilst his colleagues stood by and watched. This event came only a month after a black man was shot while jogging in Georgia.

We also know the name Amy Cooper who was filmed calling the police after a Black man told her to leash her dog in Central Park, New York. The woman was filmed hysterically claiming that she was being assaulted by an African American man whilst this was clearly not the case.

These events are nothing new for Black people in western capitalist societies and the anger of the black community has boiled over in several American Cities, even the White House has been locked down and the most protected man on the planet cowers in a bunker while fanning the flames via twitter.

He refers to those rioting as thugs without any reference to the events that led to the riots. This was in stark contrast to his description of heavily armed militia men storming state capital to demand the freedom to spread a deadly virus to their friends and neighbours. The George Floyd killing has started a welcome conversation across the world about the institutionalised nature of racism.

In Britain people from Black and Ethnic Minorities deal day and daily with discrimination both direct and indirect in everyday life. Stop and search is a way of life for people across Britain. The chattering classes are now being confronted with the world that poor people have to live in, the lazy assumptions made when a black man gets out of an expensive car, he’s probably a criminal or that they are lazy and feckless and prone to violence.

It should be familiar to us here in the North of Ireland as we continue to deal with issues carefully fermented in a sectarian state since its inception. These events are even sharper given that we are in the middle of a global pandemic whereby people from ethnic minorities seem to be disproportionately affected.

There are currently studies being undertaken in Britain to ascertain why this is and the findings have been held back by the Tory government. It was due to be published last week and officials are denying that the reason is due to fears of civil unrest linked to the murder of George Flood.

It won’t take an Einstein to work out that poverty and inequality are a major factor in a person’s likelihood to acquire and suffer from Covid-19. And that people from BAME communities are more likely to be poor and in poorer health, living in cramped conditions which serve to incubate the virus.

The underlying issue which is evident in the civil unrest, is that capitalism is as much a killer as the virus. It has failed to protect itself from the consequences. Graffiti has appeared on the walls of Rodeo Drive, Los Angeles, a shrine to consumer capitalism, proclaiming ‘Eat the Rich’.

The struggle of African Americans is our Struggle and when people are more shocked by looting than the continued oppression of the world’s poorest then we know whose side they’re on. This issue will not go away until the next incident, the actions of a mad man declaring that anti-fascists are terrorists is indicative of the absolute terror of people declaring enough is enough.

Originally Printed in Unity Weekly Paper of the CPI

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