Column: Build A Movement Of True Solidarity

June 2, 2020 | 1 Comment

[Opinion column written by Glenn Fubler]

The iconic video footage of Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin sitting with his knee placed on the neck of the handcuffed George Floyd for 8 minutes 46 seconds has sparked a global response.

The scene is hauntingly surreal. Chauvin sitting, serenely with his knee on the victim’s neck, hand in pocket, with Floyd’s muffled scream – I can’t breathe – in the background.

  • Floyd fell unconscious after five minutes of the kneel.
  • The police body cam has revealed that one of the other officers reported – six mins into the kneel – that there’s no pulse, let’s turn him on his side. Chauvin refused that suggestion.

This spark from yet another police killing of an unarmed black man has resulted in mass protests across the U.S. and as far as Britain and Germany. A rainbow coalition of protesters have been demonstrating their empathy, braving the conditions of the pandemic to express their anger.

In fact, in some cities, even police have symbolically acted in solidarity with Lloyd and those protesting – a glimpse of MLK’s dream, a breath of fresh air.

However, a number of these protests have unfortunately turned violent. This speaks to the long legacy of police violence and mass incarceration – America’s overwhelmingly black prison population – having a quarter of the globe’s incarcerated persons.

In addition, there is pent up anger over the bungled handling of Covid-19 by the Trump administration and the reality that poor health systems have resulted in black and brown communities experiencing devastating death rates, as a result. I can’t breathe.

The fact that the novel coronavirus threatens the human body’s respiratory system’s ability to breathe offers a poignant perspective to this story. I can’t breathe.

There is also the widespread frustration by so many with the federal response to the pandemic’s economic devastation. The resulting historic levels of unemployment would be fueling those fires, given the obvious inequities portrayed in the bail out package of trillions for the giant corporations, while there was a pittance for working people and small business.

That said, as we witness the violence, we are reminded of how, in an attempt to undermine progressive movements, various national police agencies secretly fostered violence during the Civil Rights and Peace Movements. Please Google ‘COINTELPRO’.

Racism provided the ideology for settlers to commit genocide of so many native people across a continent. The subsequent enslavement of millions of Africans built the foundation of a successful regime of divisiveness, which leads the world today.

Chauvin’s manifestation of extreme lack of empathy reflected the harsher reality of that ethos. Through social media to millions, it has struck a chord, causing many to question business as usual.

Dr Cornel West – noted activist and academic – expressed his pleasant surprise at this breath of fresh air, given the wide protesting in the context of the pandemic. Key in this regard is the extent of the diversity of those involved, generally, and the involvement of police officers in particular.

This moment is a time to trash the playbook of divisiveness which has been updated by the Trump administration. Drawing from the legacy of trailblazers such as Martin Luther King, the current generation is being asked to access their best selves and peacefully build a transformative movement of true solidarity – a breath of fresh air.

Their success will not only benefit the U.S., but the rest of us on this precious planet; the only cosmic body currently known to have freely available air.

- Glenn Fubler

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  1. sandgrownan says:

    “Racism provided the ideology for settlers to commit genocide of so many native people across a continent. The subsequent enslavement of millions of Africans built the foundation of a successful regime of divisiveness, which leads the world today.”

    Actually, not quite. Religion provided the ideology for racism. Specifically, the warrants for racism and slavery are right there. It’s God’s word afterall.

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