One thing is unambiguously clear: Derek Chauvin being found guilty is the result of a historic popular uprising. Chauvin’s brutal murder of George Floyd ignited a massive resistance from Minneapolis’ Third Precinct into the smallest towns and biggest cities in the United States.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation was proud to participate in this historic movement that brought millions into the streets, many for the first time. New leaders emerged and are now in the struggle for the long haul.
“Justice for George!” was screamed in Trafalgar Square and painted on walls in Port-au-Prince. One senator was alarmed enough to call for the Army to be sent into the streets and the mayor of Chicago pulled up the drawbridges to save Trump Tower. The verdict was an offering from a shaken establishment.
Only seven police officers have been convicted of murder since 2005, despite the thousands they have killed in that time. An exceptional moment caused the system to make an exception to the rule of immunity for police terror.
Because the police have codified their murderous practices, the “iron-clad” case against Chauvin was based on the fiction that his actions were somehow unique, rather than routine police practice. The ruling class is hoping it can define justice on its terms and turn a concession into the “smooth operation of justice.”
The court system is designed to be antithetical to Black humanity. That it was forced to respond to the cry “Black Lives Matter!” is a defeat to the ideological agenda of the ruling class. The system does not want cops to be convicted.
From Ferguson to Minneapolis the lesson is clear, the capitalist system only makes concessions on its police-state agenda in the face of rebellion, at scale. The very logic of a concession is to avoid the consolidation of a rebellion as an anti-systemic force.
Continuing and escalating the struggle, and the people’s level of organization, is the only way to counter the forces seeking to use the Chauvin verdict as a “victory of democracy.” We need to continue the rebellion and draw the right lessons. Rebellions influence the state’s power but do not change who holds it. Revolutions change who holds the power to determine what is done.
Derek Chauvin is headed to prison for his horrific crime, and credit for this victory goes to the historic movement that demanded justice for George Floyd and so many other victims of racist police terror. The success of this uprising will be a catalyst for future struggles to come.