Chicago Antiwar Coalition Statement on the Killing of George Floyd and Ongoing Protests

No to the U.S. government’s war on the people at home, as well as against people in other countries
Onward to further actions to stop this warfare and create a better world. 
Statement by the Chicago Anti-War Coalition (CAWC)

The U.S. government’s various forms of war abroad—for power and profits of the big banks and corporations– is reflected in the wars fomented by the ruling class against the people here at home.

We are happy and encouraged that so many thousands of demonstrators, mostly young, have come out on the streets to oppose the criminal injustice of the murder of George Floyd.

We in no way support the looters and those who set fires in buildings. This has diverted attention away from the main issue of dealing with an unjust system.

The killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breona Taylor, Pamela Turner and George Floyd, just to name a few of the recent victims, show the extreme methods of the ruling class and its followers in declaring who’s boss. Police brutality and racism in the society come from the workings of an unjust system, as we explain below.

The police murder of George Floyd is just one of the brutal police killings of hundreds of unarmed African Americans every year. There were over a thousand police killings of unarmed people in the U.S. last year. Half were Black, Latinx, or Native American.

This is a partly a result of the increased militarization by the federal government of the local police and use of weapons of war against nonviolent protesters. These weapons include, for example, use of the chemical weapon, tear gas, which is illegal under the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 and the Geneva Protocol against asphyxiating weapons of 1925.  There is use of the National Guard in Minneapolis,  Chicago, and elsewhere. They are authorized to use live ammunition! There has been the threat by the federal government to use forces from the regular U.S. military as well. We must surely oppose all of this.

It is totally unacceptable that unwarranted police killings of people are taking place so often, everywhere in the country, and that they generally go unpunished. Only a dozen or so police have been charged and convicted of murder or manslaughter since 2005; and it took days before the police involved in the George Floyd murder were charged, with the Minnesota Attorney General saying, “Winning a conviction will be hard.”

It is not just police killings that are a problem. Of the many resident complaints made about racist and vicious police violence, hardly any have resulted in disciplinary action, according to available records.

The need by the ruling class to keep down the resistance and rising up against poverty and injustice is shown by the fact that 40% of Chicago’s general budget is devoted to the police. An additional $50 million a year, on average, is spent on police misconduct settlements. We know that the constant presence of police, in our schools and at workers’ picket lines, is to keep a lid on people’s opposition and resistance. We need to have an elected board for community control of the police, to stop police injustice and cut the police budget.

The government repression is part of a general policy. It is to marginalize African-Americans and suppress sections of the population that have been particularly clear about the source of oppression in the capitalist system, and repeatedly organized against it. It is not an accident. for example, that the U.S. has nearly 25% of the world’s prison population when its population is 5% of the global population (aclu.org/issues/smart-justice/mass-incarceration). Since 1970, the population of people in jail has increased by 700% ­­–  2.3 million people incarcerated today, far outpacing population growth and crime rates.

The so-called War on Drugs, which includes government promotion of drugs, has been a conscious device to jail Blacks. The story goes like this: The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the 1990’s enabled cocaine from Latin America to go to American cities, especially in Black neighborhoods. This was to help divert minds away from societal problems. With the government focused on carrying out arrests against crack cocaine, the incarceration rate of Blacks soared.

The police murders and unjust incarcerations are just part of attacks on the people by the ruling class.  The U.S. has great economic inequality. An estimated 40 to 50% of the total U.S. population (140 million people) are either poor or low-income, holding almost no financial assets or wealth.

95% of economic gains since the so-called recovery started in 2009 have gone to the top 1% by net worth. These riches were gained mainly by people connected to the big banks and corporations. In 2018, the top 20% of the population earned 52% of all U.S. income. Their average household income was $233,895. The bottom 20% of the population earned only 3.1% of the nation’s income. For these people, the average household income was $13,775. Most low-wage workers receive no health insurance, sick days, or pension plans from their employers. They can’t get ill and have no hope of retiring.

We must make sure this inequality and the mass incarceration is stopped.

The inequities have a long history in the U.S. Attacks by the ruling class against the working class and others have been the case since the founding of this country. The U.S. ruling class has been racist and violent and against the needs and interests of the people from the beginning. The government of the rulers organized the displacement and massacre of Native Americans, stole people from Africa to use as slaves, and exploited just about everyone else. Authors of the Constitution said the rich, those who own the country, should rule it, and ensured this in the Constitution. After the Civil War and defeat of the legal right to own slaves, racist attacks continued as well as attacks on the working class and others. The rich used the forced labor of prisoners, even today some making only 14 cents an hour, and they made other people work for very low wages.

What does this all add up to? Doesn’t it mean that our anger and outrage against the police is justified, that they are an arm of suppression? Doesn’t it also mean we must take our struggle beyond opposing the police and their murders, and beyond opposing the so-called justice system? Shouldn’t our actions also be directed at the entire unjust economic and political system? No Justice, No Peace!

How about indicting the system? Government attacks on people here at home and abroad are criminal acts stemming from the aims of the  capitalist system—to attempt to suppress anyone who gets in the way of the drive to maximum profits and power. The system’s so-called justice system too often allows these crimes go unpunished. The racism and violence spread by the government is absolutely criminal.

We need resistance– to the government and the ruling class it serves and to the economic system that makes profit making and domination by the banks and corporations the #1 priority. The police killings are part of a social and political system meant to keep people from having power and deprive them of their rights. People have these rights because they are human beings, though that is not the view of the ruling class.

It is great that so many people are standing up to say enough is enough. Now how about if we increase our organizing? And we need to plan to persist in the fight for equality and justice.

We need to be as active as we can on the social issues of poverty, the genocide of mass incarceration, government racism and other injustices in every aspect of life– like jobs, housing, healthcare and education. In health care, the criminal negligence of the government in dealing with the covid-19 pandemic has led to an extremely high death rate among Blacks and Latinx, as well as an unacceptable death rate among others, especially seniors.

We must include in our list of injustices to be addressed the issues of global warming/climate change, and U.S. war-making and interference in other countries around the globe.

At home, government violence, police impunity and the criminalization of the youth are an attack on the rights of all and must be stopped now.

Join the fight and bring others with you. Let’s aim for a new society in which rights are guaranteed, and where we the people decide!  

*Featured Image: This photo of peaceful protesters is associated with an article titled: Protests turn violent in Chicago as George Floyd demonstrations erupt across the nation. ~James Kelvom for Dailymail.com


The Chicago Anti-War Coalitin is an Affiliate of UNAC
Chicago Anti-War Coalition (CAWC)


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