The 2020 George Floyd protests made millions of Americans aware of the horrors of police violence. But to build a mass movement to end that violence, we must recognize that police control people of all races who are unable to legally make ends meet.
Cedric Johnson is a professor of African-American studies and political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of The Panthers Can’t Save Us Now (Verso, 2022).
The last few years have seen unprecedented mobilization of mass outrage against the most blatantly racist aspects of US policing. But we can’t confront police abuses without addressing their role in our society as managers of an unequal class status quo.
Bernie Sanders didn’t lose because of the “black vote,” but winning places like South Carolina is crucial to building a left majority.
Corporations have embraced antiracist rhetoric, but they will not eradicate the economic insecurity and inequality the investor class requires — and wants the police to uphold.
Mainstream outlets are claiming the mounting coronavirus crisis in New Orleans is the result of cultural practices like Mardi Gras. That’s nonsense — it’s a consequence of deep class divides and decimated public health infrastructure.
For too long, the Left has organized based on caricatures of black political life. If it wants to win, it needs to start recognizing the role of class in black America.
To meaningfully confront mass incarceration and police violence, the Left must move past race reductionism by recognizing the complexities of black political life.
After Hurricane Harvey, Trump and one of the most right-wing state governments in history get to “rebuild” an area of more than 7 million people.
Political elites built the carceral state — and not just white ones.
Genuine public safety and social justice will come from projects that build popular consensus and organize for real power.
The reparations demand resides largely in the realm of the political imaginary. There are more effective means of fighting oppression.
Why did Bernie Sanders lose in South Carolina, and what does it mean going forward?
The reparations demand survives as a parlor debate — it cannot address the real needs and interests of black workers.