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FROM THE BELLY OF THE BEAST - NOTE NO. 3 by Godfrey Vincent

posted 12 Jun 2020, 05:36 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 12 Jun 2020, 05:47 ]
1. In the US two things are spreading simultaneously and rapidly: COVID 19 and Mass Protest.

2. Samantha Pell, Candace Buckner, and Jacqueline Dupree, writing for the Washington Post on 6/09/2020, noted that since Memorial Day, fourteen states and Puerto Rico have seen the highest seven-day average of new coronavirus infections.

Rhea Mahbubani, reporting for Business Insider, has noted that “as the US nears 2 million coronavirus cases, 21 states have reported an increase in infections and nine have seen hospitalization climb. Some experts have attributed these increases to the economy re-opening too soon. Seeing these spikes and hospitalization rates increasing, Health experts fear that a second wave is on the way. At the time of writing there are 2, 066, 508 cases and 115, 137 deaths. By weekend, these numbers will rise significantly.

3. George Floyd’s death has sparked mass protests all over the United States. Unlike 2014, when BLM protested Michael Brown’s murder and the demonstrations were confined in a few cities, Floyd’s murder has shown a geographical and demographic shift.

4. In terms of geographical shift, mass protests have not only erupted in large cities but in states and communities where some commentators have least expected. In a study on the protest, Jiachuan Wu, Nigel Chiwaya, and Savannah Smith have mapped out the states and communities where protests were held. Their study showed that 450 protests erupted all over the U.S. over George Floyd’s death (See NBC News, June 1, 2020).

5. To show how these mass protests have spread all over the U.S, just take the case of Wayne, New Jersey, a predominantly white city. On June 6, 2020, six students from Wayne Hills and Wayne Valley High Schools organized a Black Lives Matter Protest and Rally. This did not happen in 2014 in places like Wayne. It tells us that people are paying attention and that the young people are growing in social and political consciousness (See Jon “Ferris” Meredith, “Black Lives Matter Protest comes to Wayne, Law and Justice, June 5, 2020).

6 Teenage Girls Spearheaded a Protest of 10K People in Nashville ...6. Moreover, On June 4, 2020, six young girls ranging from ages 14 to 16 organized one of the largest protests in Nashville, Tennessee. Some parts of this city remain a bastion of White Supremacy. Yet, these young teenagers mustered courage to confront the beast (See Tennessean, June 4, 2020).

7. Furthermore, Austin, Texas on June 7, 2020, thousands of people participated in a BLM protest and rally outside the Capitol grounds. Texas is a GOP stronghold, and this protest suggests that the political ground is shifting (See Patch News, June 7, 2020).

8. These protests that are taking place in small and large cities, in urban, suburban, and rural communities are signs that “the center no longer holds.” There is a major political shift taking place in the United States. Something is occurring, and political pundits should not dismiss it.

9. In terms of demographic shift, the protest and rallies have drawn people of different races, ethnicities, genders, social classes and age groups. Unlike the protests that occurred in New York for Eric Gardner and Ferguson for Michael Brown in 2014 that were predominantly black, the protest that began in Minnesota for George Floyd has become multi-racial and multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-generational. This shift is significant because police brutality and capitalist oppression are not confined to one group of people but also affects people of all races and classes, who occupy the bottom tier of the system.

10. The BLM movement that some in the US have tried to marginalize has now become an Anti-Racist Global Movement. Racism is very pervasive in many countries and is not only confined to Black peoples. In some countries, ethnic minorities and immigrants face laws that are very discriminatory.

11. Savannah Smith, Jiachuan Wu, and Joe Murphy have noted that protests occurred in 40 countries that represented every continent except Antarctica (See NBC News, June 9, 2020). These protestors, numbering in the thousands, have taken to the streets to show solidarity with the BLM movement in the United States. In some countries like England, the protestors have taken matters into their hands by dismantling the statues of former British men who engaged in the Atlantic Slave Trade.

12. These Global acts of solidarity teach us that when people engage in effective struggle, it impacts the lives of other people and causes them to act. Under the system of capitalism, oppression is the common denominator that unites people across lines of class, race, ethnicity, gender, and religion. In the struggle, there is a saying that “a blow to one is a blow to the other.” This global act of solidarity for BLM has become a political nightmare for the International capitalist class.

13. This new Global movement has linked peoples because of the legacy of Slavery, Jim Crow Segregation, Apartheid, Imperialism, Colonialism, and now Neo-liberalism.
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