In the face of escalating racist attacks–from the police, from the Trump administration, and from emboldened right-wing forces–Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) will stand firm in solidarity with the movement for black lives. We will redouble our efforts to work toward a root-and-branch transformation of the racist criminal justice system, which is at the heart of US capitalism.
DSA condemns the police murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, by four Minneapolis police officers. We stand in solidarity with the protests that have erupted. We join with protesters calling for an end to police repression and to reverse plans to bring National Guard troops in to occupy Minneapolis.
We urge all DSA members to mobilize for solidarity actions demanding #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd.
Thank you all who joined the protest in Seattle on Sat. May 30th at 3 pm at Westlake Park.
Before Floyd was murdered, we saw the racist lynching of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia and the police murder of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, all while communities of color are being hit hardest by the COVID pandemic.
Meanwhile, leading politicians from both parties refuse to challenge their corporate backers which are profiting off our nation’s deep inequalities — and a policing regime designed to maintain those inequalities. Trump is advocating a brutal crackdown on protesters, and Biden has supported policies such as the 1994 Crime Bill which practically doubled the prison population.
This moment underscores the urgent need to rebuild a mass movement for Black lives, linked together with the growing socialist movement, in a common fight for fundamental change. As DSA’s National Political Committee put it: “Racist police violence is not incidental to the capitalist system, it is necessary to maintain its operation… As we fight for a better world, it will be the police who threaten our protests, the police who will break up our picket lines, the police who selectively wield their monopoly on violence against Black people and working-class people to protect those with power and privilege…. We stand with and share the rage of all those who are making themselves heard on the streets after years of being suffocated by policing and poverty, after years of being looted by corporations, landlords, and billionaires.”
In this spirit, Seattle DSA joins many others in the movement calling for the following steps to take the struggle forward:
An Independent Community-Led Investigation
Every day: Local authorities and the criminal justice system fail our communities with little to no justice for police brutality — these institutions have lost the confidence of the people.
How about instead we have an independent investigation carried out by trusted community leaders and organizations accountable to the working-class communities most impacted by racist policing?
We Need Democratic Community Control over the Police
Right now in Seattle, Mayor Durkan is pushing to end even the limited oversight of the SPD by a judge. The Seattle city government, made up of almost completely Democratic politicians, routinely opposes basic demands of accountability and oversight of the SPD. They also push for increasing the SPD’s already bloated budget.
An Alternative: Let’s call on the Seattle City Council to create an elected community board to oversee the SPD, a board with real powers to hold police officers accountable. A real oversight board would need to be made up of trusted representatives from working-class and oppressed communities and organizations.
Slash the Police Budget and Invest in Communities
Too often, our neighborhoods are over-policed by an expensive, militarized, racist police force.
A way forward: We call on Seattle City Council and the Mayor to divest from a bloated police budget and redirect resources into ending homelessness, expanding job opportunities, drastically increasing affordable housing, and developing sustainable transportation.
Free All Non-Violent Prisoners and Detainees
For too long our system has relied on racialized carceral injustice, which has led to the US having more inmates per capita than any nation on earth. In the midst of the COVID health crisis, a jail sentence can mean a death sentence.
We need to shut down the Northwest Detention Center, a for-profit prison in Tacoma, the 5th largest detention center in the country. Sign this petition and follow La Resistencia to learn more and get involved.
Stop the Sweeps of Homeless Encampments
Unfortunately, the SPD is not immune from the blight of anti-black police brutality. Despite recommendations from the CDC, Mayor Durkan and SPD continue to aggressively displace our houseless neighbors, trashing their belongings in the process.
It’s time to stop the sweeps. Sign this petition to demand Mayor Durkan and Seattle City Council support Council Bill 119796 to limit the city’s ongoing homeless encampment sweeps during the pandemic.
Eradicate this Racist Capitalist System
From the beginning, our country was founded on capitalism, which needs structural inequalities to exist.
What if we eradicated capitalism and the underlying inequalities that support it? A key step would be passing Medicare-for-All with a special focus on addressing racial inequities in healthcare. And we would need a Green New Deal that builds green infrastructure and jobs in marginalized communities and eliminates environmental inequities. We could tax the rich to fund these programs as a step toward creating a new society based on racial, gender, and economic justice — a democratic socialist society.
For starters, please support the growing campaign to tax Amazon to fund Green New Homes. This will tax only the top 2% of corporations in Seattle to fund green, social housing. Make sure to sign the ballot initiative petition today at GreenNewHomes.org
Build Mass Protests across the Country
Right now, on the heels of Bernie Sanders’ historic campaign, the potential for mass working-class solidarity behind the slogan of #BlackLivesMatter is greater today than at any time since the Civil Rights era.
The only way to win #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd and the broader demands of our movements is to expand the protests on a truly mass scale, all across the country. We need to organize an escalating series of national days of action in every city in America.
DSA’s broad national reach, active membership, and connections with the labor movement mean that we can play an important role in this if we coordinate with fighting unions and organizations rooted in communities of color.
Already unions representing nurses, transit workers, and teachers in the Twin Cities put out strong statements of solidarity, underscoring the potential for a mass working-class movement for racial justice. As the president of the ESP chapter of Minneapolis Federation of Teachers said:
“The same racism that created the conditions in which a black man was killed by a police officer in broad daylight surrounded by community members and another police officer is part of a system of decades-old policies in education, healthcare, and housing that has put black, brown, and indigenous communities at greater risk of sickness, death and financial ruin during this pandemic. George Floyd’s death shows it’s time to join together and not only demand justice for Mr. Floyd, but to make changes so every one of us can get the care our families need to see us through this pandemic and rebuild a stronger, healthier and more just future.”