The following is an unoffical translation of the Editorial “Romper o ciclo vicioso” by the popular democratic Brazilian newspaper A Nova Democracia
Since the brutal murder of George Floyd on May 25, the imperialist superpower the United States (USA) has been the scene of the biggest mass protests since the late 1960’s. For 50 years, the struggle for so-called “civil rights,” although it reversed some of the most aberrant aspects of legalized racism (for almost a century the Supreme Court of that country had authorized segregation by skin color in public and private establishments), it has failed to eradicate it from American society. Why? Because, despite the intervention of the Black Panthers and other revolutionary organizations and the significant participation of broad popular sectors, a bourgeois leadership prevailed in the movement, which preached the illusion that it was possible to overcome odious racism while keeping the reactionary imperialist state intact—gendarme of people on the external plane, imprisonment of people on the internal plane—just reforming it.
Now that the fire of indignation and protest sweeps the country from top to bottom, the same dispute is repeated. When Jacob Blake, a black family man, was shot seven times in the back in front of his children a week ago, Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden declared that the nation’s soul was “pierced.” Political hypocrisy based on blatant historical falsification: the most hidden soul of the national formation of the USA was none other than the unprecedented extermination of indigenous peoples, followed by the enslavement of the African peoples, by the war of prey against Mexico and, later, successive occupations and punitive expeditions against Central America and then all of Latin America, a laboratory, in turn, of what would happen later in the world. Both Biden and Trump want to make the protesters mere puppets of their electoral calculations, the former, to present himself as “humanist” and “democratic,” the latter, as a harbinger of “manifest destiny” and the most reactionary aspects of the most reactionary country of the contemporary world. Both agree on one point: it is necessary to stop the rebellion and return to normal as soon as possible, that is, to the usual reactionary order.
Obama, the Middle Eastern butcher, is one example. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, and manufactured as a “pop icon” by the mainstream, he was the only Yankee president to be at war declared against other countries every day of his term. His promises to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan were not only unfulfilled, but escalated the formal and informal aggression against oppressed peoples in the four corners of the world. He was the first president to authorize the killing of an American citizen far from his borders, without any judicial process – the famous case of Anwar al-Awlaki, bombed in the interior of Yemen. Shortly thereafter, his 17-year-old son, without responding to any formal charges, was also executed with a cruise missile. Within the country, despite some cosmetic changes, it has not even minimized the mass incarceration, which makes scholars call the USA of the 21st century a military-industrial-prison complex. There, they have more than 2 million prisoners, mostly Black and Latino, and a legal laissez-faire of such a brutal order that it makes the archaic Brazilian order sound progressive. Immigrants continued to be treated inhumanely, which, incidentally, is fundamental for the maintenance of the internal economic gear, regardless of the party in government. All of this reminds us of Marx’s maxim, that a people that oppress other people’s cannot be free.
So now that protests are breaking out with historic force, old mistakes need not be repeated. The fight against racism is legitimate and necessary, and must be seen as a specific front of the same battle: the battle for the overthrow of the capitalist-imperialist order and the police state that exists to defend it. In this battle, all the workers, all the oppressed, participate, that we are not a “minority,” but the immense majority of the Earth’s population. The fight against police violence and also against fascist paramilitary militias (which has become an urgent necessity) must be conducted in order to raise the level of awareness and organization of popular forces, and not to pursue mirages such as “reforming” or even “ending” the police, a state of affairs unthinkable as long as a social order based on class antagonism persists, on the exploitation and oppression of the majority by a parasitic minority.
By the way: in Brazil there is also police brutality, which takes on an increasingly political character due to Bolsonaro’s preaching. In the very days that followed the protests in early June, the police continued to murder, beat, torture, step on necks, as if to say: “here at the mill we do it like this.” This week, Rio de Janeiro saw the levels of insanity that the so-called “war on drugs” can reach, whose ideologues, confessed or subtle, cynically use the corpse of a mother to justify the very policy of “confrontation” that killed her. Incidentally, the bandit Wilson Witzel was removed from office—and it appears that he will soon be arrested—accused of corruption. The murder of children, the summary execution that he celebrated on the Rio-Niterói Bridge, the massacres, the random shots fired at a poor neighborhood from a helicopter, will not earn him a day in jail, as incidentally, similar facts did not even yield [Luiz Fernando] Pezão or [Sérgio] Cabral time. In the slave-semi-feudal logic that governs us, heritage is what matters; the lives of the exploited, oppressed, impoverished and marginalized populations do not matter.
Is there any chance that this state of affairs could be overcome peacefully, through a mere “change of customs,” leaving the gears of oppression that created it and that feed off it unscathed? Can mere legislation play an effective role, keeping all other structural inequalities intact? Can we build a new society without breaking the legal-political-military apparatus to the very bottom, which precisely ensures the maintenance of privileges and inequities?
Our answer is a categorical no to all of these questions.
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