On 25th May, another great tragedy befell the black community of Minneapolis at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin has a long record of abuse of power (although calling it an abuse of power today feels like a euphemism: truly, it is business as usual for those in power).

Prior to Floyd, Chauvin claimed the lives of 4 other victims. It is not enough to let these victims become more nameless casualties of racism. In 2005, he killed Klevar Jacome, Darwin Vivar and Everett Vivar. In 2006, Wayne Reyes.[1]

We refuse also to forget those who survived Chauvin: Ira Latrell Tores, Leroy Martinez and Lamar Ferguson – and too many nameless victims of his racism.[2]

But our recognition will not change things. Recognition of Derek Chauvin’s crimes will not undo the long history of police brutality, in the USA as much as in the UK. Chauvin is no exception; making a spectacle of him disguises this.

It is all too easy to think of the USA as the festering epicentre of a foreign battle to which we in the UK are remotely lending our aid, but this falsely excuses us of our own accountability. In a June 1st BBC interview, George the Poet commented: 

“You have to explain to me why Julian Cole is not an exception – what happened with Nunu Cardozo, what happened with Edson Da Costa, what happened with Sarah Reed, who died under very similar circumstances with Sandra Bland in the American context? This is contemporary. When you talk about the history of race relations, you have to consider the role of the British empire on the African continent, and the political and economic consequences of that interaction.”

As members of the political Left, we can afford no less than total and unconditional support for racial, sexual and economic justice worldwide. We can afford no less than to lend our voices, our bodies and all else that we can to this cause.

The times when we could rest assured of our virtue having performed the superficial motions of solidarity and support are long over. The time for actionless moralism is over. Today we must act; today we must struggle with our comrades in the streets and in the parks and in the courthouses. 

We must heed and act upon the demands of our black comrades. For this reason, Plan C declines to lend its voice for anything other than the amplification of messages already prepared by those most affected. Accordingly, we have included below a series of resources which we encourage our members to engage with, to both inform them of the reality of racial injustice within our own borders, and to galvanize them to act in unqualified opposition to this unacceptable state of affairs.

Black Lives Matters’ #DefundThePolice campaign: https://blacklivesmatter.com/defundthepolice/

Black Lives Matters’ ways to help carrd: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#

Amnesty International’s report on the UK’s supply of equipment to the USA: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/usa-protests-uk-should-review-exports-security-equipment-us-police-forces

Dying for Justice, by the Institute of Race Relations: http://s3-eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/wpmedia.outlandish.com/irr/2017/04/26155052/Dying_for_Justice_web.pdf

List of community bail funds to support protesters in the USA: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1CjZMORRVuv-I-qo4B0YfmOTqIOa3GUS207t5iuLZmyA/mobilebasic

[1] Stolen Lives in Minnesota: People Who Have Lost their Lives Through Encounters with Law Enforcement Authorities, compiled by Communities Against Police Brutality

[2] https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-05-29/chauvin-shootings-complaints-minneapolis-floyd

Photo credit @guysmallman