The United States is built on a foundation of slavery and indigenous land theft. Racism is deep in the bones of this country. Where there is oppression, there is resistance: the ongoing Minneapolis rebellion against the white supremacist state and police murder has spilled out across the U.S. Deep Green Resistance stands in solidarity with principled resistance by any means necessary.
George Floyd’s Murder: An Act Of White Supremacy
By Jocelyn Crawley
One of the first things that came to my mind when I learned of George Floyd’s ruthless murder was a social theory, typically used to analyze the ideology that undergirds patriarchy: the thought of domination.
According to radical feminists such as Monique Wittig, the thought of domination involves the idea that the ruling class produces the ruling ideas.
These ideas come to support the ruling class’s dominance over all of the other members of society. Within this schema, the thought of domination entails assent to the ruling class (men) imposing limiting ideas on the servant class (women). One of these ideas is the notion that there are two categorically different sexes and that these distinctions entail sociological consequences.
One of the sociological consequences is the naturalization of the division of labor in the family, with this belief functioning as a catalyst for the cult of domesticity and male dominance of the public sphere.
As made plain by this brief summary, the thought of domination ensures that those in power (men) keep those who lack it (women) in a position of subservience and slavishness. Within this type of societal schema, women are vulnerable to and subjected to diverse forms of dehumanization, some of which include rape, domestic violence, pornography, and prostitution.
Dominance and dehumanization:
In addition to functioning as an accurate analysis of how patriarchy works, I believe the thought of domination is directly pertinent to the white supremacist act we witnessed when white police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on George Floyd’s neck for seven minutes while he was lying face down on the road. The video footage of the incident shows Floyd groaning and repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe.” After moaning while lying motionless near the foot of the squad car and being transported into an ambulatory vehicle, Floyd died. The only sense that I can make of this inhumane behavior is that the perpetrators have adopted the dominant society’s values of venerating domination as a desirable way to exist in the world because it enables one to become the abuser rather than the victim of abuse. Within a world predicated on a thought of domination in which whites are the ruling class and can therefore impose their rules on all other racial groups, the abuse they subject black people to frequently goes unquestioned and unpunished.
Lack of consequences:
In recognition of the fact that being a member of a ruling class oftentimes precludes one from experiencing repercussions under the law, the outcomes of George Floyd’s murder should be carefully considered if we are to truly understand how white supremacy works. All four officers involved in the event were terminated. Yet the question that persists in the minds of many protestors is: “Why wasn’t Chauvin arrested?” This was the same question that I came to ask myself after I learned that Gregory McMichael, his son Travis McMichael, and William Bryan pursued Ahmaud Arbery in a truck while he was running through the neighborhood. Many are familiar with the footage displaying Ahmaud Arbery stumbling to the ground after being shot while Travis McMichael stood by with a shotgun.
Many are familiar with the horror and fear this murder generated in the black community as we realized, once again, men of color are subject to being shot by the police and arrogant white men within local communities. Many are familiar with the stories of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice. What many of us are not necessarily familiar with is the logic that makes this heinous, inhumane behavior acceptable. This is why I propose that members of radical communities engage the thought of domination as the ideology that undergirds white supremacy.
It is clear that the primary system of thought that fuels and justifies the type of incomprehensible violence, we see as a product of white supremacy, is the thought of domination.
Domination is defined as the exercise of control or influence over someone or something, or the state of being so controlled. In a contemporary world whose zeitgeist is guided by white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchy, domination is and must be an integral component of the cultures in which people are immersed.
Principles of mutuality, reciprocity, and cooperation may periodically flourish or temporarily gain traction in people’s minds and actions. However, making the regimes of white supremacy, capitalism, and patriarchy work requires that individuals recognize and respond to the realities created by those regimes. The reality that the regimes require is that an elite few exert extreme power over the masses, and that the masses respond to their own oppression by amassing as much agency and authority to themselves as possible while they grapple with the dehumanization and self-alienation engendered by the systems of oppression as distinct entities and a composite whole.
As one distinct component of the contemporary regime, white supremacy is predicated on the belief that white people are superior to those of all other races, especially blacks.
Based on this false notion of superiority, whites come to believe (whether consciously or unconsciously) that they have a right to dominate society. When I read about horrific stories such as those of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd, I am convinced that the thought of domination is operative. I have no other explanation that would help me understand why a man would place his knee on another living, breathing human until he was no longer living and breathing. I have no other explanation that would help me understand why one individual would continue holding his knee on another living, breathing human as he begs for his life. When I learn that one white man holds his knee on a black man’s neck and continues doing so despite the latter repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe,” I am convinced the former has unequivocally embraced the logic of domination. In a world marked by this perverse logic, the murder of a black man is acceptable because whites are superior and any threat to their own safety-whether real or imagined-is more important than black life.
In recognizing the reality of white supremacy and the logic of domination that suffuses and energizes it, individuals who find injustice intolerable must begin to revisit whether the strategies of resistance that have been conceptualized and implemented at this point are working.
If they aren’t, we need to refocus our energies. At this point, I am seeing a wide range of social media campaigns as a strategy of resistance. I have also seen footage of a street protest. Recently, I became aware that several demonstrators gained access to a police precinct in Minneapolis and set some sections of it on fire. There are also now reports of vandalism, arson, and looting. While I do not doubt the importance and efficacy of the levels and extent of resistance seen thus far, I also see that white supremacy-manifested through police brutality-remains resilient in the face of resistance. For these reasons, I have two suggestions for the resistance movements that are unfolding strategically or organically.
First, the agitation against the state must increase. I noted that a tent has been placed outside the home of the attorney handling George Floyd’s case (Mike Freeman) and several protestors claim that they aren’t going anywhere until Freeman prosecutes and charges the officers involved. I think more space needs to be occupied so that state representatives become aware that protestors are not retreating into their private worlds while the public realm remains a sphere dominated by white supremacist ideologies and praxis.
Second, individuals across the country and world who oppose this state violence should join forces and make the resistance movement a more tight-knit process. I am aware that NYC-based Black lives Matter activists are heading to Minneapolis to protest the murder. This is the type of solidarity that we need to see in order to ensure that the authority and agency that results from mass resistance engenders a profound shift in cultural consciousness and state activity.
As always, we who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.