Featured image: on the evening of May 28th, protesters stormed the 3rd Police Precinct Building in Minneapolis and set it aflame.
This week has seen a series of uprisings in major cities across the United States, touched off by yet another execution carried out in the streets by the racist police forces. This time, the victim was George Floyd in Minneapolis – but his murder comes only weeks after a SWAT team gunned down another black civilian, Breonna Taylor, in Louisville and vigilantes murdered Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia.
Deep Green Resistance condemns these white supremacist killers, the cowards who enable them, and the entire structure of our settler-colonial law enforcement system. Further, we stand with the revolutionaries who are struggling against these oppressive forces in Minneapolis, Louisville, and beyond.
Police violence is one of the great injustices of our time. All told, police in the United States have killed at least two hundred citizens since the beginning of this year, and will likely kill more than five hundred by the year’s end. We often describe these killings as “senseless,” but in truth they hold a perfectly sensible function: Terrorizing and traumatizing oppressed communities.
These killings are not random, nor are they the result of individual bad actors. They disproportionately impact black and brown people – by some estimates, unarmed people of color are 60% more likely to be gunned down than unarmed whites – and they are encouraged by systematic racism at every level of the law enforcement system. Combining this atrocious violence with obvious and inexcusable racial disparities in stops, searches, and arrests, victims of colonialism in this settler nation have every right to see the police as an occupying force and resist them accordingly. The state has made its values clear.
Not every action undertaken during an uprising like this will be justifiable, either strategically or morally. But any supposedly “progressive” or “social justice” organization – let alone a revolutionary one – ought to save its condemnations for the white supremacists who have impoverished and abused these communities for generations, and we must offer our support and assistance to those activists and organizers on the ground who are working hard to struggle effectively against tyranny.
The mythology of white America has always centered on a supposed love for freedom and admiration of resistance. Yet the same white people who shout about “authoritarianism” when the state requires them to wear a face mask will demand black and brown people in this country submit to arbitrary humiliation, abuse, and even murder. As an organization, we reject this racist, cowardly nonsense, and we affirm the right of oppressed communities to defend themselves by any means necessary.
In the Deep Green Resistance book, Derrick Jensen asks, “What would you do if space aliens had invaded this planet, and they were vacuuming the oceans, and scalping native forests, and putting dams on every river, and changing the climate, and putting dioxin and dozens of other carcinogens into every mother’s breast milk, and into the flesh of your children, lover, mother, father, brother, sister, friends, into your own flesh? Would you resist?”
And we can ask the same question today of those who condemn these uprisings: What would you do if space aliens patrolled your community, killing innocents with impunity in the middle of the street? What if they promised every time to do better, while the bodies kept piling up? What if they stopped you on the way to work, or to school, or to the playground with your children? What if they harassed you and abused you and jailed you for petty crimes, or no crime at all? What if you weren’t safe, even in your own bedroom at night? Would you resist? Would you condemn those who did? If not, then you must not let the familiarity of this barbarous system pacify you.
Deep Green Resistance also condemns those who use uprisings like this as an opportunity to act out their macho fantasies. Already, we have seen reports of white “allies” engaging in pointless vandalism and deliberately provoking confrontations with police, or making increasingly reckless calls for escalation. There is no place in a serious revolutionary movement for the glorification of violence and disorder, especially by those who come from communities that will not bear the brunt of the consequences. A world of difference exists between strategic resistance, militant or otherwise, and random destruction; both dogmatic pacifism and reflexive violence can derail revolutionary movements.
The struggle for environmental justice is inseparable from the struggle against white supremacy, just as it is inseparable from the struggle for women’s liberation. And in turn, the abolition of patriarchy and settler-colonialism is necessary to save the land we live on. The dominant culture that is killing the planet cannot be stopped without sustained resistance against all forms of oppression, and we applaud those who are risking their lives to resist white power.
Should any revolutionaries in the area need of support, please reach out to us. We can provide platforms to amplify your voice, training, access to resources, allies, and more.