Black Lives Matter – Institutionalised Racism in the US

By Sean Burns

After the killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille at the hands of the cops in the US, Castile’s mother told CNN that her son was just “black in the wrong place”. He was killed after being stopped for having a broken rear light on his car and reaching for his driving licence. His death is just one in a long line of black people killed at the hands of the US state.BLM

In April 2015, Walter Scott, who was unarmed, was shot in the back as he ran away from an officer in North Charleston. In August 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot at least seven times in Ferguson, Missouri. Officer Darren Wilson, who carried out the shooting, was cleared of wrongdoing. In July 2014, Eric Garner died after being placed in a chokehold by New York police while selling cigarettes. These are only a few names amongst a long list.

The recent killings have sparked widespread outrage and people have taken to the streets in protest. It’s clear that this brutality is not a result of the actions of one or two rogue officers. This is a systemic issue of racism which runs right through the heart of US capitalism. The criminalisation, ghettoisation and killing of the black population is part and parcel of the maintenance of the system.

At the time of writing, US police have been ambushed by a sniper in Dallas, with five shot dead. The gunman, Micah Johnson, said he was upset about the recent police shootings of black people. These attacks offer no solution to the police brutality and killings. They will only provide a cover for the stepping up of state violence and repression.

What is needed is a united struggle against the system of the 1%, the system which has fostered racism. It must connect the Black Lives Matter movement with the struggles for LGBT and women’s equality, the struggles workers’ rights conditions and a $15/hour minimum wage and begin tearing down the rotten framework of US capitalism, fighting for a socialist future based on solidarity and genuine equality.