Denouncing the Trump Attempt at Military Domination of the United States
A Black man was slowly murdered in Minneapolis to the horror of the world. It has led to enormous protests in over 75 U.S. cities and in other cities around the world.
Rather than deal with pervasive racism in our society and the militarization and brutalization of U.S. police forces, the president is demanding that governors flood their states with National Guard troops and he threatens to send regular army troops into U.S. cities to enforce what he says is the law.
We know what he has in mind. Right after his speech on June 1 he had DC police use tear gas to clear peaceful protesters from a path the president took to visit a damaged church for a photo op.
This is the exact opposite of what is needed.
The turning of U.S. police into paramilitary forces, armed to the teeth and trained to see citizens as enemies can only end in unjustified violence against the people. We remember that 50 years ago National Guard troops massacred students after a protest at Kent State. In contrast look at what is happening in Newark, New Jersey this past week. Over 10,000 protested, but the Newark police did not dress in military gear and did not tear gas or pepper spray crowds. So the people of Newark marched displaying righteous anger, but there were no police cars set ablaze, no storefronts smashed and no arrests.
Without offering any evidence the president claims that there is a group called Antifa whose members are terrorists, and which is leading and directing violence at anti-racist protests. Already one of his followers, Rep. Matt Gaetz, referring to Antifa, demands we “hunt them down” like the U.S. hunts down people in the Middle East. His incendiary words easily could inspire someone to start shooting semi-automatic weapons into a crowd of protesters.
In his June 1st speech the president demands something he calls “one law and order”. There are many laws in this country and above all a Constitution which was established to define government powers and individual liberties. “Order” is nowhere demanded by our Constitution.
We fear that the president will use the upheaval over the killing of George Floyd, combined with the pandemic and the growing economic depression as a opportunity to further snuff out our liberties, to divert attention to the gross inadequacies of his Administration, to end the possibility of meaningful protest and to use the U.S. military to enforce his wishes. This would amount to an unconstitutional seizure of power, one that must be resisted. We salute the tens of thousands of people in the streets demanding change and insist that policing be overhauled. We insist that social needs be satisfied by reducing funds going to police departments and the Pentagon.