Their names were Dijon Kizzee (29 years old), Deon Kay (18 years old), and Daniel Prude (41 years old). They are the latest in a long list of Black people shot by the police.
Dijon Kizzee was shot and killed on August 31 in South Los Angeles. While he was riding his bicycle, the police stopped him for a “traffic violation.” The police shot him in the back more than 20 times,” Dijon’s attorney stated, “though he posed no threat to them.”
Deon Kay was shot dead on September 2 in Washington, D.C., as he got out of his car. “When they approached the back of the vehicle, some people fled on foot and a policeman fired.” The police chief justified his actions stating that he “thought” Deon had a gun on him.
On the same day, a video was released in Rochester, N.Y., of Daniel Prude’s death by asphyxiation on March 23. It took more than five months for these images to be made public: seven police officers pinned him to the ground, handcuffed him, and covered his head with a bag, responding with snickers when he begged them to let him breathe.
These murders and the thousands of others that preceded them confirm the institutional nature of racism in the United States, a racism that is inseparable from the country’s institutions themselves, a racism that has been exposed and denounced by millions of people who took to the streets across the United States in recent months in the name of “Black Lives Matter.”
This is why the Black working-class activist Nnamdi Lumumba asserted: “Anti-racism has to be linked to anti-capitalism. Capitalism is what drives racist policies; you cannot fix racism without addressing and defeating capitalism.”
Will the oppression of Black people be solved with the November 2020 presidential election? Beyond their personal characteristics, Donald Trump and Joe Biden represent the two major parties of the U.S. capitalist class — a ruling class that built its wealth, power, and dominion over the rest of the world through 400 years of exploitation and oppression of Black people in the United States.
A true alternative for Blacks and for all working people in the United States can only be forged by “breaking the grip of the two-party system” — a system structured upon the duopoly of Democrats and Republicans.
That is the title of the national conference convened on September 19-20 by the Labor Fightback Network (LFN), the Ujima People’s Progress Party (UPP), and Labor and Community for an Independent Party (LCIP). It will bring together scores of unionists and activists — Black activists in particular — who, together with conference co-convener Nnamdi Lumumba, affirm:
“The discussion around an independent labor party based on the unions and oppressed communities has been in the works for some time. This is because we have not seen any political party coming forward to represent our interests. We want to have a discussion at the ‘Break the Grip’ conference about how best to build a national labor party, and in Maryland, how best to build a Black worker-led political party. It’s important for Black workers to define our relationship to the workers’ movement. We are struggling for Black liberation on our own terms. We want to be able to talk honestly about what it will take to move forward and build a working-class movement that doesn’t use Black and Brown peoples to advance itself but then leaves us in the lurch.” — D.F.