Stop Trump’s coup d’état!
SEP, WSWS, Jun 4 2020

Protesters march in a rally in Detroit, Wednesday Jun 3 2020 (Photo: Paul Sancya/AP)

The White House is now the political nerve-center of a conspiracy to establish a military dictatorship, overthrow the Constitution, abolish democratic rights and violently suppress the protests against police brutality that have swept across Pindostan. The political crisis unleashed on Monday night, when Donald Trump ordered military police to attack peaceful protesters, threatened to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807, and deploy federal troops into states to establish martial law, is rapidly escalating. Democracy in Pindostan is teetering on the brink of collapse. Trump’s attempt to carry out a military coup is unfolding in real-time. There is no other way to interpret the sequence of events that have occurred over the past 24 hours. In a series of extraordinary public statements, high-level political and military figures leave no doubt that they believe that Trump is seeking to establish a military dictatorship. Sec Def Esper stated at a press conference that he opposed Trump’s threat to invoke the Insurrection Act and deploy the military throughout the country. The use of active-duty soldiers to patrol Pindo cities, Esper said, should be a “last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations. We are not in one of those situations now.” Trump, according to an official who spoke to the NYT, “was angered by Mr Esper’s remarks, and excoriated him later at the White House.” The White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, indicated that Esper may soon be dismissed from the president’s cabinet. Responding to Trump’s threats, Esper has reversed himself and ordered 750 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne currently in Faschingstein not be sent back to Fort Bragg, as had previously been announced. Esper’s comments were followed by an extraordinary denunciation of Trump by former Marine General James Mattis, Trump’s first Sec Def. We quote Mattis’ comments in some detail not because we give any political support to “Mad Dog Mattis,” who played a leading role in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but because he provides a blunt assessment from someone who is intimately familiar with what is happening within the military. Mattis accused Trump of attempting to overthrow the Constitution, writing:

When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens, much less to provide a bizarre photo-op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside. We must reject any thinking of our cities as a “battlespace” that our uniformed military is called upon to “dominate.” At home, we should use our military only when requested to do so, on very rare occasions, by state governors. Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Faschingstein, sets up a conflict, a false conflict between the military and civilian society. It erodes the moral ground that ensures a trusted bond between men and women in uniform and the society they are sworn to protect, and of which they themselves are a part. Keeping public order rests with civilian state and local leaders who best understand their communities and are answerable to them.

Mattis concluded his statement by implicitly comparing Trump’s concept of the military to that of the Nazi regime. Adm Sandy Winnefeld, a retired vice-CCoS, wrote in an email published in the NYT:

We are at the most dangerous time for civil-military relations I’ve seen in my lifetime. It is especially important to reserve the use of federal forces for only the most dire circumstances that actually threaten the survival of the nation. Our senior-most military leaders need to ensure their political chain of command understands these things.

None of these military figures are devoted adherents of democracy. Their statements are motivated by fear that Trump’s actions will be met with massive popular opposition, with disastrous political consequences. The NYT reports:

Senior Pentagon leaders are now so concerned about losing public support, and that of their active duty and reserve personnel, 40% of whom are people of color, that CCoS Milley released a message to top military commanders on Wednesday affirming that every member of the armed forces swears an oath to defend the Constitution, which, he said, ‘gives Pindos the right to freedom of speech and peaceful assembly.’

Statements were also released by all the living former presidents: Obama, Clinton, Bush and Carter. These statements were far more circumspect and made no explicit warning of a coup. They called for no specific action against Trump. It was far less an appeal to the people than a cautious effort to dissuade military leaders from backing Trump. On the side of the fascistic cabal around Trump, the NYT published a comment by Senator Tom Cotton under the headline, “Send In the Troops.” This political conspirator declared:

One thing above all else will restore order to our streets: an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers.

Since “delusional politicians” are refusing to do what is necessary, Cotton writes, it is necessary for Trump to invoke emergency powers:

The Insurrection Act authorizes the president to employ the military ‘or any other means’ in ‘cases of insurrection, or obstruction to the laws.’

The political situation is on a knife-edge. Never in the history of Pindostan has the country been so close to a military takeover. Threatening military deployments are still underway. The NYT reported on Wednesday night:

Despite calls for calm from senior Pentagon leaders, the troops on the ground in Faschingstein on Wednesday night appeared to be ramping up for a more militarized show of force. National Guard units pushed solidly ahead of the police near the White House, almost becoming the public face of the security presence. They also blocked the streets with Army transport trucks and extended the perimeter against protesters.

In the face of this unfolding political conspiracy, the Demagog party is acting with its habitual mixture of cowardice and complicity. Not a single major Demagog Party politician has openly denounced the dictatorial actions of the Trump administration. They are doing everything they can to keep the raging conflict within the state out of public view. The line from top Demagogs is that Trump’s “rhetoric” is “unhelpful” and is serving to “inflame the situation.” Among the most pathetic responses to the crisis has come from Sen Bernie Sanders, who merely retweeted the statement of Mattis, to which he attached the comment: “Interesting reading.” During the long-forgotten impeachment trial that was held in January, the Demagogs insisted that it was necessary to remove Trump immediately because he had allegedly withheld military aide to the Ukraine in its conflict with Russia. They advocated the removal of Trump because he was seen as insufficiently aggressive in his relations with Russia. But now, when Trump is attempting to carry out a military coup and the overthrow of constitutional rule in Pindostan, the Demagogs offer no serious opposition to Trump, let alone demand that he be removed from office. When it is a matter of upholding the global interests of Pindo imperialism, the Demagog leaders are full of fire and brimstone. But when confronted with the direct threat of dictatorship, they are meek as church mice.

Underlying their cowardice are basic class interests. Whatever their tactical differences with Trump, the Demagogs represent the same class interests. What they fear more than anything else is that opposition to Trump may assume revolutionary dimensions that threaten the interests of the capitalist financial corporate oligarchy. The target of the conspiracy in the White House is the working class. The corporate financial oligarchy is terrified that the eruption of mass demonstrations against police violence will intersect with the immense social anger among workers over social inequality, which has been enormously intensified as a result of the ruling class’ response to the coronavirus pandemic and the homicidal back-to-work campaign. Nothing could be more dangerous than to think that the crisis has passed. It has, rather, just begun. The working class must intervene in this unprecedented crisis as an independent social and political force. It must oppose the conspiracy in the White House through the methods of class struggle and socialist revolution.

The demonstrations that have taken place during the past week rank among the most significant events in Pindo history. In every region and state, tens and hundreds of thousands of working people and youth, in an extraordinary display of multi-racial and multi-ethnic unity and solidarity, have taken to the streets to oppose the institutionalized racism and brutality of the police. The South—the old bastion of the Confederacy, Jim Crow laws, and lynch mobs—has been the scene of some of the largest of the demonstrations. The protesters are giving voice to the deep-rooted democratic and egalitarian sentiments that are the noble heritage of the great American Revolution of the eighteenth century and the Civil War of the nineteenth century. The only viable answer to the criminal conspiracy being hatched in the White House is to raise the demand for the removal of Trump, Pence and their conspirators from office. This can only be achieved through the intervention of the working class, which should join the protest demonstrations en masse and initiate a nation-wide political strike. No to Dictatorship! Trump and Pence must Go! The SEP and the IYSSE call on all readers of the WSWS to become active in this fight.

After more than a week of nationwide protests, new charges announced against George Floyd’s murderers
Jacob Crosse, WSWS, Jun 4 Jun 2020

Tomas Lane, Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao (Photos: Hennepin Country Sherriff)

Thousands of youth and workers across the country have continued, despite brutal police violence and hastily imposed curfews, to demand justice for George Floyd and all victims of police violence. The demonstrations have continued in every state and internationally with protests slated to last the rest of the week and into the weekend. In an attempt to placate, and eventually suffocate, this growing multiracial movement of workers and youth against state violence, Democratic Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced Wednesday afternoon new charges against the four officers responsible for the murder of Floyd. Derek Chauvin, who suffocated George Floyd for nearly nine minutes, was charged with second-degree murder in addition to his previous charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter with culpable negligence.
Ellison also announced charges for the other three officers, Alexander Kueng 26, Thomas Lane, 37, and Tuo Thao, 34. All three were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder while committing a felony, and with aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter with culpable negligence. The charges carry with them a possible maximum prison sentence of 40 years. Civil right attorney Benjamin Crump, representing the Floyd family, reiterated their demand that Chauvin be charged with first-degree murder.

A massive memorial is planned for George Floyd today in Minneapolis in which thousands are expected to pay their respects. They will do so while the majority of the state remains under curfew and occupation with over 7k guardsmen deployed, mostly in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis & St Paul. Minnesota’s Demagog Governor Tim Walz, who less than a week ago denounced thousands of protesters as “anarchists” and “white supremacists” run by drug cartels “whose one goal was destruction,” welcomed the new charges as “a meaningful step toward justice for George Floyd.” Walz continued, blaming Floyd’s murder on the “disease of systemic racism,” which “is on each of us to solve together, and we have hard work ahead.” In a similar vein, Obama, in a short virtual town hall appearance, stated, “now is the time for real police department reform. Now is the time for real criminal justice reform.” Why his own eight years in office, during which 8k people were killed by police, were not the time for “reform” Obama failed to discuss. In Faschingstein, thousands of soldiers, police and troopers continue to be deployed around monuments and buildings and at intersections throughout the city. In chilling images that will define the Trump administration, hundreds of soldiers, clad head to toe in body armor, remain positioned behind steel barricades occupying the Lincoln Memorial.

In NYC an 8 pm to 5 am curfew is in effect through Sunday. So far, more than 2k protesters have been arrested over the past six days, including some 900 Monday and Tuesday nights. Prior to the enforcement of the curfew last night, New York police have blocked off subway stations, including Columbus Circle, preventing protesters from returning home. On Wednesday, protests and marches were held at Washington Square Park and outside Gracie Mansion in Manhattan, Roosevelt Island, Staten Island, the Bronx, Queensbridge Park and Elmhurst, Queens, Bedford and Bay Ridge in Brooklyn and in New Rochelle. Thousands of protesters began walking uptown from Washington Square Park at around 4 pm and are still on the move at the time of writing. In Crown Heights, Brooklyn, a black man was shot multiple times and killed by police after he had allegedly shot another man. According to police, the man was found hiding behind a tree with a pistol, which he held in the air, but never fired or pointed at the police. Police state that after he refused to drop the weapon, “multiple shots” were fired, killing him.

A diverse crowd of thousands of people rallied on Boston Common Wednesday afternoon in a peaceful protest organized mainly on social media. National Guard members carrying assault rifles and Boston police bearing large sticks and riot gear stood nearby, but there was no confrontation. In the working-class city of Brockton, south of Boston, the situation remained calm Wednesday after protests the previous day in which protesters clashed with police following a peaceful protest. After a rally of several hundred people, some protesters had marched to the Brockton police station where some in the crowd pelted police with rocks, fireworks and frozen water bottles. Police used tear gas to break up the protest and National Guard troops were called in. Protesters moved on to a Dunkin’ Donuts shop, where some broke windows and attempted to burn it down, according to police. Officers mobilized police dogs in an attempt to terrorize the protesters. A curfew put in place at the beginning of the pandemic, from 9 pm to 6 am, is still in place in Brockton.

Columbia, South Carolina
Columbia today had its fifth consecutive day of protests, which has been peaceful and somewhat smaller than in previous days. Thousands have taken part in the past week, gathering at the State House, marching through the streets, defying curfews and clashing with police. Three police cars were set on fire in the initial days of the protests. Thirty businesses in the downtown area were damaged. With the banner headline May 31 that “15 law enforcement officers were injured during the violent protests in Columbia,” the local daily newspaper, The State, seemed to imply widespread anti-police violence. But its article went on to explain that while three officers were reportedly “assaulted” and two received cuts on the face from broken glass, “police said the other injuries were all related to heat exhaustion.” Also on May 31, protesters marching toward police headquarters in Columbia were repelled by tear gas fired on them by a wall of police in riot gear, including members of the Dept of Corrections Special Response Team. Protesters were also fired on with tear gas and rubber bullets at the State House. By the end of the night, an armored SWAT vehicle could be seen driving down Gervais Street, followed by a phalanx of police in riot gear. It was reported yesterday, June 2, that during Donald Trump’s call with governors, South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster asserted without evidence that some of the agitators were being paid and even receiving bonuses in the event they were arrested. The State reported, “A spokesman for McMaster said the governor was referring to anecdotal evidence he has received in private conversations but would not get into the details of those conversations, including what specific evidence he heard or who he was talking to.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, dutifully following Trump’s demands to “dominate the streets,” has mobilized 700 National Guard and 1,300 highway patrol troopers to “support” law enforcement and “aid” police in intimidating workers and youth. DeSantis has declared that “Florida has zero tolerance for violence, rioting and looting.” He described George Floyd’s murder as appalling and called for those officers to be “brought to justice.” On Wednesday, several groups were marching through downtown Orlando, starting at City Hall and mostly moving around Orlando Police Department headquarters; more than 2k people were counted at 5:20 pm.

Protests in Atlanta are continuing for the sixth day in defiance of a 9 pm curfew imposed since Saturday night. Police have shown “zero tolerance” towards these protesters and over the past five days, arresting at least 400 persons including journalists and legal professionals on specious charges including defying the curfew.

On Wednesday morning, the city of Cleveland lifted its curfew, allowing residents to travel in the city’s Downtown and Market District. Cleveland had put both areas under lockdown since Sunday in order to suppress protests that emerged on Saturday in opposition to police brutality. The city administration has also declared that it will continue to impose an 8 p.m. thru 6 a.m. curfew until Friday morning. On Tuesday, a crowd of roughly 150 protesters converged outside the First District police station in the neighborhood of West Park. A number of officers filmed the demonstration from the rooftop and a few National Guard soldiers stood outside the station. A separate protest that occurred the same day marched from the First District station to the Downtown area, monitored by police on bicycles. While there were no arrests from the protests on Tuesday, the city’s chief of police, Calvin Williams, declared that he was working with federal and local law enforcement agencies to identify and investigate individuals that broke the law at protests over the weekend. He has also reasserted claims that the police had arrested a number of people from out of state at the protests over the weekend, despite everyone that was processed at the Cuyahoga County jail at that time having an Ohio address.

In the state’s largest city, Albuquerque, hundreds of protesters have gathered at several sites to hold car rallies, marches and gatherings. Protesters marched June 1 from the Nob Hill neighborhood to the University of New Mexico chanting “Help, I can’t breathe!” and “Hands up, don’t shoot!” under the watch of well-armed police. On Jun 2, protesters marched from UNM downtown to gather at the Albuquerque PD HQ.

San Diego
A 59-year-old grandmother, Leslie Furcron, who was protesting outside of the La Mesa police headquarters, last Saturday was shot between the eyes by police with a bean bag projectile. Furcron survived and was placed into a medically induced coma at a local hospital where she is now in stable condition. The shooting was captured on video and has gone viral. According to the family and their attorney, she may lose an eye. A GoFundMe.Com page has been set up by the family to pay for medical costs expected to reach $1m. The La Mesa Police Department held a press conference on Wednesday where they refused to identify the officer involved in the shooting, citing an “ongoing investigation.”

WSWS reporter Julio Patron spoke with an Air Traffic Controller in Seattle who wished to remain anonymous on the ongoing protests within the city and throughout the country. Speaking about the character of the protests and Trump’s use of the military, Bob stated:

They’ve been gearing up for this for years with the militarization of the police, the expansion of executive powers, the stacking of the courts. We’re living in a future high school history book chapter. I’ve seen at least three cases of reporters being shot or gassed. This is insane. Our president has said he wants to send the Army in, in clear violation of the law, but then laws haven’t stopped the fascists ever. The laws aren’t for them, apparently. I really hope that this crisis does push us towards real socialist change. I’m afraid that the crisis will be resolved or ‘dominated’ before the necessary critical mass is achieved. But all we can do is reach out and work hard. The actions of struggle being undertaken now are actually heartening. It gives me hope that this protest has spread as far as it has. A friend of mine in China said that Pindo news dominates their international coverage right now.

Anger over Pindo police assault on Australian journalists in Faschingstein
Oscar Grenfell, WSWS, Jun 4 2020

Amelia Brace and Tim Myers assaulted by cops live on air

Footage of heavily-armed riot cops in Faschingstein attacking two Australian journalists on live television has provoked shock and anger, providing a graphic expression of the state violence being deployed against mass demonstrations in Pindostan over the police murder of George Floyd. The incident took place on Tuesday morning, Australian time, as Pindo police repeatedly charged a peaceful protest near the White House in Faschingstein. The police riot was directly orchestrated by the Trump administration. It coincided with Trump’s declaration that he would illegally deploy the military against protesters, in what amounted to a coup d’état against the Pindo Constitution. The demonstration was being cleared so that Trump could walk the streets with hundreds of security personnel, before posing menacingly outside St John’s Church with a bible in hand. The two media workers, Channel 7’s US correspondent Amelia Brace and cameraman Tim Myers, were doing a live cross to the “Sunrise” breakfast program, which is frequently viewed by half a million people or more around Australia.
Brace, clearly out of breath, explained that they had already been forced to run a block away from charging police. When the cross began, the cops were again lining up along the street with batons and shields raised. Within seconds, they charged the protesters, who began fleeing.

Brace and Myers were sheltering just off the footpath. As the police stampeded forward, an officer turned to the crouching reporters, battering Myers with a shield before punching him in the face. Brace screamed that they were media. The two were allowed to retreat, but as they did, another officer smashed his baton against Brace’s back. The “Sunrise” anchors were visibly shocked that their colleagues had been attacked on live TV. After they regrouped, Brace stated:

You heard us there yell that we were media, but they don’t care. They are being indiscriminate. They do not care who they’re targeting at the moment.

She later revealed that herself and Myers had been hit with rubber bullets earlier in the day. In addition to the mass live audience, the “Sunrise” segment has been viewed by over eight million people on Twitter. The incident was one of series over the past week in which Pindo police have attacked journalists and media workers, as part of a deliberate onslaught against First Amendment protections of press freedom. On Saturday, the WSWS noted some of the assaults that had occurred over the previous days:

MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi was shot in the leg with a rubber bullet while reporting live in Minneapolis. In Louisville, a local TV reporter and her cameraman were targeted and shot with pepper balls during protests Friday. A freelance photojournalist in Minneapolis was permanently blinded in her left eye after being shot by the police with a rubber bullet.

The response from the Australian political and media establishment has been decidedly muted. Had Brace and Myers been assaulted by police in a country such as China or Iran, the official reaction would have been very different. Calls would likely have been raised for a high-level government apology; demands would be issued for retaliatory action against diplomats; sanctions would be threatened and the media would be full of stories about an “authoritarian regime” attacking “our values” of “press freedom and democracy.” Because Pindostan is the Australian ruling elite’s most significant military ally, and the guarantor of its own predatory operations in the Pacific, nothing of the sort has taken place. PM Scott Morrison, who has closely identified himself with Trump, quietly asked the Australian Embassy in Pindostan to “investigate the circumstances around the footage,” as though there is any doubt about what occurred. Morrison, whose government has refused to condemn the state violence deployed by the Pindo administration, had a private phone conversation with Trump shortly after his unprecedented attack on the Pindo Constitution. The contents of the discussion are not known, including whether Morrison explicitly endorsed Trump’s effective coup. Ensuring that nothing obstructs the Pindo-Australian military alliance was undoubtedly among the topics covered. It appears that Morrison did not even mention the attack on the Australian journalists, with media reports improbably suggesting that, unlike millions of Australians, he was “unaware of it” at the time.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, the Australian government, with the full support of the Labor opposition, has intensified its role as a Pindo attack-dog in its protracted diplomatic, economic and military campaign against China that threatens war in the Asia-Pacific. Morrison and government ministers have echoed Pindo condemnations of the WHO and spearheaded calls for an “independent inquiry” into the origins of COVID-19. At the same time the Trump administration was peddling extreme right-wing conspiracy theories that the pandemic was the result of a Chinese plot. Pindo ambassador to Australia Arthur Culvahouse Jr released a statement on Wednesday, as footage of the assault on the journalists continued to widely circulate online. Issued on behalf of a government overseeing a nationwide police rampage against peaceful protesters, reporters and even random bystanders, it proclaimed democracy and press freedom as “a right Australians and Pindos hold dear,” while vaguely stating that “we take mistreatment of journalists seriously.” Culverhouse had the gall to quote similar weasel-words, delivered by Pindo Sec State Pompeo on 2019’s World Press Freedom day.Pompeo, viewed internationally as a thug and a bully, had only recently orchestrated the illegal expulsion of Julian Assange from Ecuador’s London embassy and the issuing of 17 Espionage Act charges against the publisher. Pompeo has played a leading role in the attempt to destroy Assange over WikiLeaks’ exposure of Pindo war crimes, and is directly responsible for the attempt to extradite him from Britain to Pindostan and lock him up forever in a CIA prison.

The hypocrisy from the Australian political establishment is no less blatant. Federal Labor opposition leader Anthony Albanese branded the attack on the Channel 7 journalists as “unacceptable,” declaring that “in a democratic society, the role of the media is critical.” His party, however, began Australia’s collaboration in the Pindoe-led vendetta against Assange, despite the fact that he is an Australian journalist and publisher. The campaign against the WikiLeaks founder has formed the spearhead of a broader assault on press freedom. The government last year oversaw federal police raids on the Sydney ABC TV HQ and the home of News Corp political editor Annika Smethurst. The unprecedented police operations, accompanied by threats of criminal prosecution, were over stories exposing Australian war crimes in Afghanistan and plans for expanded domestic spying. Labor had previously joined with the Liberal-National government in 2018, passing draconian “foreign interference” laws, making it a criminal offence for journalists to even receive “classified information” and extending jail terms for whistleblowers. The assault on democratic rights, paralleling events in Pindostan and internationally, is in preparation for the repression of social and political struggles by the working class. The Australian establishment has reacted with nervousness to the upheavals in Pindostan. Morrison has declared that there is “no need to import” the mass protest movement against police violence and Albanese has called for “unity” and an end to “division.” Meanwhile, tens of thousands of workers and young people have indicated they will take part in protests this weekend in solidarity with the Pindo demonstrations, and opposing state attacks on Australian Aborigines.

Pindo Federal Bureau of Prisons implements full lockdown amid mass protests across the country
Sam Dalton, WSWS, Jun 4 2020

The lockdown exposes the ruling class’s fear of the ongoing international mass protest movement.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has placed its facilities on full lockdown as protests triggered by the police murder of George Floyd have spread across the United States and internationally. The BOP runs all federal prison facilities which house nearly 13% of all prisoners in Pindostan. This is the first action of this kind since 1995, when a series of prison rebellions beginning in Talladega, Alabama engulfed the system. On Sunday, the BOP sent an announcement to its employees stating:

The BOP has implemented a national lockdown as of 4 pm due to the ongoing unrest and riots nationwide. We will assume lockdown protocols for everyone’s safety and until it is calm around the nation.

The BOP oversees 122 prisons across the country with 165,575 inmates and 36,846 employees. This action coincides with an increasingly acute health crisis within the entire US prison system due to the spread of COVID-19. As of May 27, in all Pindo prisons and jails, at least 34,584 people have tested positive for the virus and 455 have died. In BOP facilities alone, there have been 5,239 cases and 64 deaths. Given the widespread lack of testing, these figures are likely an under-estimates of the virus’ true toll. Despite a widely-publicized release order by Pindo Attorney General William Barr on Apr 23, since the beginning of the pandemic only 3k BOP inmates have been released. This mirrors slow releases across the entire prison system since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. As federal law enforcement agents, BOP personnel have also been intimately involved in the violent and unconstitutional attacks by the capitalist state on protesters across Pindostan in recent days. On Tuesday, Barr directed the BOP to send prison riot teams to Miami and Faschingstein. As early as 7:30 am on Wednesday morning, heavily armed riot teams were seen guarding roads approaching the White House in Faschingstein.

The federal prison lockdown does not only condemn thousands of inmates to indefinite isolation in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Politically, it exposes the ruling class’s fear of the ongoing international mass protest movement. As the Trump administration intensifies its criminal repression of protesters, it fears that conditions in prisons and the mass sympathy for the strike movement amongst Pindo prisoners will combine and lead to a huge wave of prison rebellions. In conditions where the class lines that divide society are becoming increasingly clear and hundreds of thousands have taken to the streets, the ruling class is not willing to take any chances with its prisons. The potential for prisoner unrest has been exacerbated by their criminal mistreatment during the COVID-19 pandemic. The BOP put its facilities into a partial lockdown on Mar 31 more than two months after the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Pindostan. The haphazard response to the pandemic actually led to a suspension of most health services for prisoners, forcing them to remain locked-in place in unsanitary facilities and even condemned many to solitary confinement. Furthermore, arrests, imprisonments and releases without testing have continued through the pandemic, meaning that prisons have acted as vectors in the diseases’ spread through working class communities.

Reflecting the international nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the uniformity of the capitalist class’ callous response, prison unrest has been an international phenomenon since the outbreak of the virus in January of this year. Prison rebellions have been recorded in France, Italy, Brazil, Columbia, Venezuela, Peru, Russia, Indonesia, Thailand, Syria and Sierra Leone. Hundreds of prisoners have died in these struggles. The international nature of the current wave of protests will undoubtedly reignite these desperate populations. In recent months, Pindostan has also seen a recent spate of prison unrest. From the end of Dec 2019, eleven inmates died in a month of violence in Mississippi state prison riots. Despite prison officials explaining the events as a “gang-war,” inmates insist they were instigated by prison guards. These tensions have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. In April, following an outbreak of the virus at a facility in Lansing, Kansas, inmates ransacked offices before the rebellion was contained by guards. Also in April, the Ohio National Guard was called into the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution under the auspice of helping contain an outbreak at the facility.

Historically, prison rebellions have repeatedly coincided with wider social movements and strike waves throughout American and world history. In the late sixties, major prison riots occurred across the US as hundreds of thousands took to the streets to fight for civil rights and protest the Vietnam war. This culminated in the Attica prison riot in 1971 where hundreds of prisoners in New York took 42 staff hostages. After a 4-day stand-off, an assault by state forces ended the siege. During the uprising 33 prisoners and 10 correctional officers were dead. Following the Wall Street Crash in 1929, there were also a series of prison riots from the Crash through the mid-1930s. As conditions continue to deteriorate in prisons and in wider society, prisons and jails will undoubtedly become a focus for class tensions. Pindostan’s incarcerated population are almost exclusively working class and enjoy broad sympathy. Many of the slogans and hashtags used in relation to the current wave of protests have correctly made the link between the struggle against police brutality and the end of mass incarceration. The recognition of the inter-relatedness of these issues must not stop there, however. These issues, which plague the working class regardless of race, ethnicity, or nationality, cannot be separated from their ultimate cause: capitalism.

Use of tear gas by Pindo police may exacerbate COVID-19 pandemic
Meenakshi Jagadeesan, WSWS, Jun 4 2020

Las Vegas Strip, Sunday, May 31 2020. (Photo: Steve Marcus/AP)

The use of significant amounts of tear gas by police against protesters across Pindostan in the last week could exacerbate the on-going coronavirus pandemic. A chilling report published in the NYT yesterday highlighted the fact that the gas, which is being used without hesitation to disperse protesting crowds, directly attacks the lungs, and its corrosive effects could make people far more susceptible to respiratory illnesses like COVID-19. The past week has witnessed day after day of popular protests in hundreds of cities around the country following the murder of George Floyd by four police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25, Memorial Day. Scenes of largely peaceful crowds chanting and marching have been interspersed with those of police and military personnel in riot gear wantonly beating protesters, firing rubber bullets and unleashing canisters of tear gas. Justified by the Trump administration and its fascistic supporters as essential to maintaining “law and order” against “anarchists,” “thugs,” “looters” and “terrorists,” these measures deserve condemnation given that they are fundamentally undemocratic, illegitimate and deliberately disproportionate. What makes the situation even worse is the fact that it is unfolding in the midst of the deadly pandemic. Those looking to Trump and his administration for any clues to understanding the current crisis might be forgiven for thinking that Pindostan has turned the corner and that the coronavirus is a thing of the past. The reality, however, is starkly different.

As of yesterday, the official COVID-19 death toll in Pindostan stood at nearly 109k. The number of those infected with the virus is over 1.9m and continues to increase. These numbers, widely regarded as under-reported, would have been even worse but for the stringent lockdown measures that had been put in place more or less since mid-March. And now, despite the dire warnings of public health experts, those measures are being relaxed around the country. State after state, responding to the bullying tactics not just of the Trump administration, but also the initiatives of Demagog governors, has started opening up, setting the stage for what experts warn will be a far worse wave of infection in the coming months. In this context, epidemiologists have issued grave warnings about the dangers of the ongoing mass protests. Politicians like LA Mayor Eric Garcetti have tried to cast themselves as caring human beings by warning people to stay at home since such gatherings could become “super-spreader events.” It is indeed true that social distancing is practically impossible in such situations, as is a guarantee that all participants would be wearing facemasks or any protective gear. Specific aspects of protest gatherings, yelling and chanting in close quarters, create a situation that is ripe for spreading contagion.

What the NYT report, however, makes clear is that it is not just the gathering of citizens in close quarters that is dangerous. The specific tactics that are being employed by the oppressive arm of the state apparatus seems almost calculated to ensure the continuation, and increased virulence of the pandemic—herding protesters into smaller areas citing “crowd control”; shoving large numbers of people into vans, buses and holding cells; and using tear gas to disperse crowds. The immediate effects of tear gas—coughing, stinging in the eyes and throat that can last for about 30 minutes, are only the tip of the iceberg. A 2012 study conducted by the Pindo Army on the effects of CS gas, the main component of tear gas, found that recruits exposed to the agent had a substantially higher risk of acute respiratory illness several days after exposure. Unlike the physically fit Army recruits, many people on the streets might have underlying conditions and thus the effects of the gas could be even worse. Sven-Eric Jordt, a Duke University researcher who has studied the effects of tear gas, told the NYT that he was shocked at how often tear gas was being used against protesters adding:

I’m really concerned that this might catalyze a new wave of COVID-19.

Tear gas, long used as a riot-control tactic by states, has been linked to higher risk of chronic bronchitis and all kinds of lung ailments. While the research on the effects of the gas has not kept pace with its actual usage, it is considered harmful enough that its use is prohibited in war. Given the nature of the coronavirus pandemic, its use should be considered beyond the pale in any context. Its indiscriminate use by the police, and the incitement to use such tactics by the Trump administration, is yet another illustration of the ruling elite’s callousness and complete disregard for the lives of the working class.

Georgia police officers charged after brutal assault on college students returning from protest
Dan Conway, WSWS, Jun 4 2020

A video of the incident caught on police bodycam.

Charges have been brought against six Atlanta, Georgia police officers involved in the brutal and unprovoked assault of two young college students returning from protests against the murder of George Floyd on Saturday. The two Black Pindo youths, 20-year-old Taniyah Pilgrim and 22-year-old Messiah Young, were driving on a congested street in a blue sedan and were seen interacting with another young man, Chancellor Meyers, who was on foot and apparently targeted by the police for arrest. The police, after tackling and apprehending Meyers, turned their attention to Pilgrim and Young, while Meyers could be heard tearfully proclaiming his innocence in the background. Young, the driver, was filming the incident on his phone, as would have been his right. With Meyers’ horrified screams in the background, Young pled with the officers to leave Meyers alone. Young asked the officers to allow Meyers to get into his vehicle to which one of the officers replied that he could “go or go to jail.” Young then drove away, fearing for his safety, repeating the phrase:

I’m not dying today.

A short distance down the road, the car then got stuck in traffic. The officers easily caught up with Young and barked orders to put the car in park and open his windows, while beating the windows with their batons before completely smashing the driver’s window. The police then repeatedly screamed, “He has a gun! He has a gun!” and then tased the young man, forcing him out of the car. No gun was found in Young’s possession nor in the car after the incident. A second group of officers confronted Pilgrim on the passenger side. Even though Pilgrim screamed that she was exiting the car, police deployed a taser against her anyway. The fact that several of the officers wore gas masks and issued muffled commands that could not easily be understood only added to the students’ horror and confusion. Pilgrim later told ABC News:

I thought both Messiah and I were going to die.

According to statements by lawyers for the pair, Pilgrim was detained in a police paddy wagon for several hours, sitting side by side with three other detained women in extremely hot and cramped conditions. Her requests for a face mask to prevent coronavirus infection were repeatedly ignored. In televised remarks, Pilgrim stated that the officer who led her away glibly told her she and Young were on the verge of being shot before exiting the car. Young informed reporters and interviewers that the arresting officers punched him in the back 10 times after he exited the vehicle and that the arrest and brutal treatment at the hands of the police led to a massive gash on his forearm requiring 24 stitches. Video of the incident also shows an officer tasing Young even after he was already immobilized on the ground. Young also reported that one of the barbs from the taser gun remained in his back for six to eight hours while his requests to remove the barb were repeatedly ignored by police and staff. Footage of the arrest was broadcast on live television and has been widely shared on social media, attracting national and international attention. The city administration was thus compelled to act against six of the officers involved. Arrest warrants have been issued for officers Lonnie Hood, Willie Sauls, Ivory Streeter, Mark Gardner, Armond Jones and Roland Claud. The charges include aggravated assault of Young, aggravated assault of Pilgrim, as well as simple battery and criminal damage to property. Pilgrim and Young were both pleased with the arrest of the officers. Pilgrim told ABC News:

I’m so happy they’re being held accountable for their actions. There was not one justifiable thing that they did.

Young said:

I feel a little safer now that these monsters are off the street and no longer able to terrorize anyone else from this point on.

Two of the six officers, Streeter and Gardner, were terminated from their positions Sunday while the remainder have been reassigned to desk jobs with the department. All have until Friday to surrender with a $10k signature bond set for each. With a signature bond, a defendant will forfeit the bond amount if he or she does not appear in court, but a deposit is not required with the court beforehand. It is typically reserved for minor felony type cases involving defendants with no prior criminal history. However, the city of Atlanta is providing this concession to police officers whose actions led to severe unprovoked injury and trauma and nearly cost the lives of these two innocent young people. It is notable that the two terminated officers having the most prominent roles in the assault, Streeter and Gardner, are both Black. Moreover, the city of Atlanta has a female chief of police, Erika Shields, and a Black female mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, the latter considered to be a serious contender for the vice presidential nomination by Biden. This gives the lie to claims that police brutality is simply a product of white racism even though it is certainly a factor in many instances of police brutality. Biden has been particularly impressed by Bottoms’ “incredible” response to events in Atlanta last Friday in which she publicly lambasted “violent” protesters. “You are disgracing our city. she cried out:

You are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country!

Her response to the officers involved in the assault on Young and Pilgrim, however, was far more muted and conciliatory. She agreed with Shields, who characterized the officers as good men who had just “made some mistakes.” Bottoms’ tenure on the city council and now as mayor has been marked by vicious attacks on the poor and working class, in particular, draconian legislation against panhandling by the homeless and attacks on city workers pensions. Police brutality, as the events in Atlanta make clear, is fundamentally the product of capitalism. The shuffling of personnel within police departments and city halls on the basis of race, ethnicity or gender does nothing to address the problem. Claims that police departments can be reformed, such as the #8cantwait campaign being pushed by Demagog Party activists and Hollywood celebrities, are likewise a dead end. Legislation changing use-of-force methods and requiring more stringent reporting of police misconduct, even if passed, will be largely ignored. The police are now acting, with the instigation of Trump and the full support of both major bourgeois parties, as a domestic occupying army on behalf of the financial aristocracy. Use-of-force restrictions at home will be ignored, just as rules of engagement are ignored in wars abroad. It should be noted that the implementation of body-cams after a wave of high-profile police killings sparked popular protests during the Obama administration did nothing to prevent the attack on Young and Pilgrim, even though officers had their body-cams in operation the whole time. Furthermore, the attack on these two students is not isolated, as the ruling elite is desperately trying to stamp out resistance and assert its authority over the working class. Not only protesters but uninvolved bystanders have been brutally assaulted: Seattle police pepper sprayed a seven-year-old girl, NYPD cruisers mowed down protesting pedestrians, and police fired rubber bullets at residents watching National Guard troop transports drive down city streets, to cite only a few examples.

Anger grows over refusal to bring charges in killing at Omaha protest
Kristina Betinis, WSWS, Jun 4 2020

James Scurlock, 22

As increasingly explosive social tensions grip Pindostan, opposition is growing to Omaha, Nebraska officials’ decision to release a man who shot and killed a protester on May 30. Omaha officials imposed a curfew for three nights following the shooting and the National Guard was mobilized to assist police in suppressing protests on Sunday. During one of Omaha’s recent protests against the police murder of George Floyd and the unending reign of police violence in Pindostan, 22-year-old black youth James Scurlock was shot and killed in a confrontation with white bar owner Jacob Gardner. Official reports indicate that the father of the bar owner pushed someone twice. Another person then shoved Gardner’s father to the ground. When Jacob Gardner went over to his father, the situation escalated. Reports and surveillance video indicate that Jacob Gardner backed up and lifted his shirt to show he had a weapon in his waistband and then moved the gun to his side before he was tackled. He then fired at least one shot, according to reports. A man and a woman tackled Gardner, who ended up on his back in the street. As he rose from the ground with the weapon in hand, Scurlock jumped on Gardner’s back and the two wrestled. Police say Scurlock placed Gardner in either a chokehold or a headlock and after a struggle, Gardner fired over his shoulder hitting Scurlock in between his neck and shoulder, killing him.

Gardner, 38, a self-described libertarian, is a former Marine who had been deployed to Iraq and Haiti. He recently commented on Facebook about having to protect his business over the weekend, according to the Omaha World Herald. He did not have a valid permit to carry a concealed firearm. Since the shooting, Gardner has reportedly been evicted from two properties where he operated bars on Harney Street. The establishments had public complaints of racial discrimination going back several years. Gardner had a history of making public statements on social media voicing his prejudices, having been in the news for negative comments about transgender women. The Omaha World Herald reported Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine’s initial decision to conclude justified self-defense in the killing was made based on “a handful of grainy and graphic videos.” On Monday, Omaha City prosecutor Matt Kuhse also said the security video of the altercation and shooting was the only evidence he reviewed. Kleine chose his words carefully on this matter:

You can’t use deadly force to protect property. Deadly force can only be used if someone is in fear of their own life or serious bodily injury, and they don’t feel like they can retreat safely. Even if they are mistaken, if their beliefs have a reasonable basis, it’s justifiable for them to use deadly force … that’s what the law is.

But after growing outrage over the murder, Kleine announced on Wednesday he supported a grand jury investigation:

I certainly believe in transparency, and I have no problem with any oversight about decisions that we’ve made.

There is broad support for the Scurlock family. A GoFundMe for the family has collected more than $200k in donations. James Scurlock was the father of a newborn girl. His brother Nicholas Harden spoke to local news media KMTV:

There needs to be further investigation obviously. This man fired shots at different people before my brother jumped on him. They’re trying to portray him as someone involved in an act of violence.

Robert Fuller, a witness to the altercation Saturday, told the WSWS the situation was quite different, noting local and state officials seem to have fully and uncritically accepted Gardner’s tale in releasing him without charge. He said:

I had never met James Scurlock before Gardner walked over. I walked over to James, who Gardner was talking to. That’s when his dad was pushed down. I was shoved, I put myself between James and Gardner. It was escalating, they were in each other’s faces. He accused him of breaking windows. But I’ll be honest, I only saw white kids breaking windows. I put my arm up to physically block him and James pushed me away. Things happened fast. He was waving the gun in a really weird erratic motion. He waved it toward me and others. He seemed agitated and ready to fire. James was trying to stop him. At the first shot, I didn’t know what to do. At the second shot I went back over and someone was trying to help him. I saw the look on his face and I could tell that he was dying. I had no idea at the time of Gardner’s history of racism. We called the police who came over in a big group, nine or ten, from a half a block away. I was trying to offer a statement. Shouldn’t I have been removed to make a statement? They said, ‘Get out, or we’ll arrest you for obstruction of justice.’ I was trying to find an officer to talk with, but they were all on edge and I stayed on the outskirts of what was going on. I called homicide and gave a statement to a detective about 35 hours later. By then Gardner was released and, well, no charges pressed.

On why the events took place in this manner, Fuller said:

Well, it’s obvious! He’s a rich business owner in town. Officials think about everything from his point of view. They never once mentioned the rest of us were afraid. We were terrified for our lives and these people tackled him to get the gun out of his hand. This is the whole point of the protests. The irony is overwhelming. It’s why people are marching in the first place.

Police violence against the demonstrations also played a role in this murder. Two witnesses confirmed that, prior to entering the downtown area on Saturday, demonstrators had gathered in Omaha’s traditional area for protest at the intersection of 72nd and Dodge, almost six miles away from where the shooting took place. Demonstrators said police “kettled” the protest of about 1k into a parking lot and broke it up using teargas for the second night in a row. Within an hour, many protesters moved the demonstration to the downtown area, where the shooting eventually took place. Nebraska’s Thug Governor Pete Ricketts, who is from a billionaire family of financiers and political operatives, apologized Tuesday for referring to black leaders as “you people” in a meeting with religious and community leaders, Omaha’s mayor and the chief of police in the aftermath of Scurlock’s murder. The discussion was on legislation governing accountability of law enforcement. A party to that meeting, Pastor Jarrod Parker, voiced his frustration and concern, saying:

That’s why the city is going to go up in flames, Mrs Mayor and Mr Chief. You’re not listening, and you can’t listen because at the top of the state is a racist governor.

Ricketts has pursued viciously reactionary policies as governor, including Nebraska’s first execution in decades in 2018, pioneering the use of the opioid fentanyl to carry out a state killing. In 2015, state congress critturs voted to abolish the death penalty in Nebraska, but Ricketts financed an effort to reinstate capital punishment after the critturs overrode his veto. Contributing $300k of his own wealth to a petition drive organized by several close associates, the issue was placed on the Nov 2016 general election ballot and approved by a 61% majority.

Pindo workers voice support for mass protests against police brutality
Evan Blake, WSWS, Jun 4 2020

Nurses and protesters cheering each other on in NYC

The mass, multiracial and multiethnic demonstrations that have erupted across Pindostan and internationally in response to the police murder of George Floyd are quickly becoming the most powerful protest movement in Pindo history. Demonstrators have courageously defied the increasingly dictatorial moves by the Trump administration, with tens of thousands protesting following Trump’s threat to deploy the military in any city he chooses. The central strategic questions facing demonstrators are how to broaden their struggle as widely as possible and the need to maintain its political independence from the procorporate Democratic Party, which can only be accomplished through the mass mobilization of the entire working class and the development of a revolutionary leadership. As the SEP (US) noted in its statement Monday: The working class, upon which the functioning of society depends, has the power to stop the assault on democratic rights, create a massive political movement to drive Trump from power, break the back of the corporate-financial oligarchy and begin the restructuring of economic life on a socialist basis. There is broad sympathy for the protesters within the working class, with the vast majority of protesters being working class youth of every race and ethnic background. During a march through parts of NYC Tuesday, nurses and other health care workers across the city stood on sidewalks to cheer on passing protesters. In Minneapolis, nurses finishing their hospital shift joined the protests to treat rubber bullet and tear gas injuries. The WSWS spoke with a cross-section of Pindo workers, including workers at UPS, Fiat Chrysler and Amazon, a transit worker in Faschingstein, and a teacher in Pittsburgh. All of the workers voiced support for the protests, while denouncing the criminal response of the Trump administration and the brutal police crackdown against the demonstrators. A young worker at Fiat Chrysler’s Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in suburban Detroit, Michigan told the WSWS:

The murder of Floyd is a metaphor for a system that is putting pressure on us so we can’t breathe until all the life is sucked out us. The crisis we face is not about a particular race. It’s about the way the system continues to exploit workers and strip us of our rights so the rich capitalists can control every aspect of our lives. It doesn’t matter whether you are flipping burgers at Burger King, are a barrister at Starbucks, a cashier at CVS or a production operator at Chrysler. We all have the same problems. Trump wants to become a dictator and use the military as his private militia. The Demagogs claim they are for us, but they aren’t. They want to shut people up as soon as possible too. But what about the rights of the common working people? The working class should have our own party. We’re not the megarich, but we make the products and create all the wealth. So we should be entitled to say where that wealth goes. Race has always been used to divide us. But this is a multirace, multiage movement, and it’s becoming a class movement.

We have to take the anger and energies of these protests, communicate and discuss solutions and speak the truth. We have to be aware of those who want to distract and pit us against each other. These are times to help those in need, not to step over each other but to get in line together and fight. In the protests, you are standing next to someone who feels exactly the way you do. With that power, they can’t conquer us. My generation doesn’t care about race. I work with all types and races of people in the plant. We don’t care who is Jewish, who is Catholic or whatever. If we have common ground, then we stand together. The rich are only concerned with keeping their power and positions safe and keeping the racial thing going. The demonstrations are now growing in other countries, like France and New Zealand. That is great. We have multimedia platforms to connect and broadcast. Earlier generations did not have this access, and we have to capitalize on the internet, which is always a day or two ahead of the news. Clearly their capitalist system is set in stone, and we can navigate and unite against it.

Another Fiat Chrysler worker, at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, commented on the protests:

I think it goes to show how people are tired of racism and of the disparity between classes. It’s not just black people. Everyone is fed up. I think workers are fighting to be heard and listened to, not just passed over. We have to become united and stay united.

An Amazon worker from Baltimore, Maryland spoke about the wave of protests and the outlook of the younger generation. the worker said:

Kids today don’t have it like we did earlier in our lives. There’s more diversity now. They learn how to respect people. Donald Trump acts like he can do whatever he wants. He’s going to pay for it. The Demagogs have put forward Black politicians such as Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to denounce the protesters as violent. They want to divide the protests based on race. It’s the easiest way to control people. The kids aren’t going for that. They’re intelligent, and they have access to a lot more resources of information.

Another Amazon worker in Baltimore said:

It’s not acceptable to be abused by a badge-wearing police officer. It’s happened to me before in my own home. My fiancée at the time was yelling at the cop to let me breathe. I’m encouraged by all the people taking a stand. Trump’s actions against the protesters were idiotic. Amazon employees have to take a stand. We must have rank-and-file committees and cut the ruling class off at the knees.

T-shirt designed by Dylan

Dylan, a UPS worker in Fremont, California, is furious about the murder of George Floyd. Dylan, who is white, created shirts that he gave out to family and friends who are also protesting. He explained his support for the protests, saying:

I see how black people get treated. I’ve been mistreated by the police too. I’ve been beaten up twice by the police, and it’s just awful, especially when you’ve done nothing wrong. I know what that feels like. I hate the police. They are messing people up. It’s more of a poor thing, than a race thing. It’s poor people who get screwed. If people didn’t protest, the officer probably wouldn’t have been charged. He probably won’t be locked up for more than a year and some months. It’s important for the working class to be involved with every issue like this. More working-class people need to be involved. We’re the ones who run everything. If we stopped working, nothing would work, and nothing would stand.

A transit worker in the Faschingstein area said:

The Pindo Constitution states, “All men are created equal.” We know that’s not true in practice. I knew two of the people who were framed in the Central Park 5 case. They were from my neighborhood. White people have stood with us in all important fights. There was the Underground Railroad, there was John Brown. White versus black: it’s all an effort to divide us, while Congress is letting Donald Trump get away with these things.

A retired teacher from the Buffalo, New York area attended the protest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Saturday with her two college-aged daughters, saying:

It was something we wanted to take part in, add our voices to, as all of us shared in the horror of witnessing the murder of George Floyd. The police no longer consider it necessary to give even the pretense that they are here to protect people, that they will respect people’s right to a trial, or that they are concerned about the lives of those they take into custody. Nor are they worried about there being any consequences for their brutality. They understand the Trump administration’s message that cops will be protected at all costs. The police are inculcated with the belief that they are fighting an enemy on Pindo soil, that enemy being the working class! The Pittsburgh protest was mostly youth, and it was noteworthy that no single race predominated. There were blacks, whites, Hispanics, and others, all standing and chanting in solidarity with one another.

At a certain point, the police and National Guard began launching compression grenades and teargas into the crowd, causing protesters to flee and regroup elsewhere. As with the police violence against protesters across the country, the teacher commented:

There was no violence on the part of the protesters, so their attacks were completely unjustifiable. As curfew approached, the Guard began assembling into military formations, as they were going to move in against the protesters. As we began to clear out, we noted the courage of youth, walking with determination into the area of the protests rather than away. The right to assemble and peaceably protest is being stripped away. Protesters are already being subdued by militarized police forces and the National Guard. Trump’s illegal invocation of the 1807 Insurrection Act to use the military against legal protest movements and civilians exercising their constitutional rights demonstrates that we are quickly moving towards martial law and a military dictatorship. The continued protests demonstrate that the working class, especially youth, have no intention of allowing this to happen. Although escalating police brutality has been the catalyst for these protests, the true meaning of them is the need to remove from power the capitalist class and its endless attacks on the working class. The ultimate aim of the protests is to create a society that meets the needs of the mass of people, including the right to employment, education, health care, housing, and the end of environmental degradation and endless warfare.

Canadian establishment shrugs off Trump’s authoritarian power grab, voices “horror” over mass protests
Roger Jordan, Keith Jones, WSWS, Jun 4 2020

The eruption across Pindostan of mass multiracial, multiethnic protests against racist police violence and the Trump administration’s incitement of a vicious military-police crackdown have shaken Canada’s ruling elite. While glossing over the dangerous implications of Trump’s shredding of constitutional prohibitions on the deployment of the military against the American people, the comments of Canada’s political leaders and corporate media underscore that their greatest fear is that the demonstrations now sweeping Pindostan will trigger an explosive upsurge of the class struggle in Canada. Mimicking the Demagog Party’s fecklessness, no political leader in Canada has directly criticized Trump’s decision Monday to arrogate the power to unleash the military against peaceful protesters, in what amounts to a bid to establish a presidential dictatorship. Asked at his daily coronavirus briefing Tuesday for his opinion of the Trump-incited police rampages against demonstrators, the President’s smearing of the protesters as “terrorists” and his vow to “dominate” the street with the military, all Canadian PM Justin Trudeau could muster, after a lengthy 21-second pause, was:

We all watch in horror and consternation at what is going on in Pindostan.

Pressed by a reporter to condemn Trump’s use of heavily armed police to expel peaceful protesters from a park near the White House, Trudeau deliberately avoided doing so, answering:

Canadians need a government that will be there for them, that will support them and that will move us forward in the right direction, and I will do that.

There was one grain of truth in Trudeau’s response: the ruling elite is horrified by the emergence of a mass working class movement in opposition to police violence, state repression, and social inequality. It is terrified that the political and social destabilization of its key military strategic partner will undermine Canadian imperialist interests around the world, and that the wave of protests in Pindostan, the largest since the 1960s, will fan social opposition in Canada, demonstrating the class unity of workers on both sides of 49th parallel. To conceal the class character and significance of the protests, Trudeau, together with Conservative leader Andrew Scheer and New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh, have portrayed them as being almost entirely about race relations. Singh, who described Trump’s role as “reprehensible,” avoided any reference to Trump’s move towards authoritarian forms of rule. Instead, he accused people in general of being “passive bystanders” to “hatred and racism.” As they do whenever confronted with a crisis, Canada’s political leaders and corporate media have responded to the explosion of working class opposition in Pindostan by brandishing their principal ideological weapon, Canadian nationalism. Desperate to insulate and inoculate Canada from the “social contagion” of class struggle, they relentlessly promote the lie that Canadian capitalism is a more “humane” and just society, qualitatively different from the rapacious dollar republic to the south. Susan Delacourt in the Toronto Star observed:

While Donald Trump was lashing out over mass civil unrest in his country on Monday, Canadians were getting practical protest advice from top-level government officials.

Another variant on this theme was provided by the Globe and Mail’s Gary Mason, who placed all the blame for the social convulsions shaking Pindostan on the figure of Trump, who has apparently descended from the sky to infect an otherwise healthy social and political order. Mason wrote:

The Pindo president is the embodiment of white privilege. At a moment in the country’s history that cries out for leadership, that yearns for someone to speak to a country that is hurting and frightened and doesn’t know what tomorrow will bring, he is incapable of such empathy. He is devoid of anything that even slightly resembles the common touch.

While left unsaid, the implication was clear, Canada’s ruling elite has such a leader in Trudeau. The Canadian bourgeoisie’s refusal to publicly acknowledge the class character and social grievances animating the Pindo protests says more about that state of Canadian society than it cares to admit. Over the past four decades Canada, like Pindostan, has witnessed a massive growth in social inequality and brutalization of society. For the better part of a quarter century, it has been almost perpetually at war, and the ruling elite has increasingly sought to criminalize social opposition. The solidarity protests that have been joined by tens of thousands in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Halifax and other cities in recent days underscore that a process of political radicalization among workers and young people is well under way. This has no doubt been further fueled by the ruling elite’s response to the pandemic, which has been to bail out the banks and big business to the tune of $650b while placing workers on rations. More than 7k Canadians have perished from COVID-19, and 25% of the labour force has lost their jobs. As in Pindostan, democracy in Canada is in shambles.

Following 9/11, the ruling elite enthusiastically joined Bush 43’s “war on terror,” including the deployment of military forces to Afghanistan and the erection of a police state infrastructure. Both Liberal and Conservative governments have instituted legislation attacking basic democratic rights and have used the same concept of “domestic terrorism” now invoked by Trump to justify his military crackdown to intimidate and suppress protests. In 2016, a Liberal government minister told big business at a closed-door meeting that the government was prepared to deploy the army against anti-pipeline protests. This discussion was given new life earlier this year during the railway blockades in support of the Wet’suwet’en land rights protest. The blockades were ultimately broken up by the police, but only after substantial sections of the ruling class clamoured for the army to be sent in. The ruling elite’s readiness to abrogate democratic forms of rule has been proven time and again. It was Trudeau’s own father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who seized on two kidnappings by the FLQ in 1970 to invoke the War Measures Act and deploy troops on the streets of Canadian cities amid an upsurge of militant working class struggles. Trudeau continues to defend his father’s political legacy, including the detention without charge of hundreds of leftists in Quebec. In the midst of the 2008 economic crisis, PM Stephen Harper was strongly supported by the ruling elite when he shut down parliament to prevent the fall of his government, using the anti-democratic powers of the unelected Governor General in what amounted to a constitutional coup. This manoeuvre enabled his right-wing government to cling to power for a further seven years and launch a devastating onslaught on the working class, including the virtual abolition of the right to strike, sweeping social spending cuts, the promotion of Canada as a “warrior nation,” and the whipping up of Islamophobia. Harper’s willingness to ride roughshod over democratic rights was enthusiastically applauded by the Globe, which hailed him during the 2011 election campaign for his “bullheadedness.”

Trudeau’s trade union-backed Liberals have picked up where Harper left off in 2015, persisting with austerity, accelerating the buildup of the military, and expanding the powers of the national security apparatus. As in Pindostan, the ruling elite is increasingly promoting the far right. Police and the management of FCL, one of the largest companies in Western Canada, have collaborated with the anti-immigrant, ultraright United We Roll Group in violent attacks against 750 locked out oil refinery workers in Regina. Trudeau, his Liberals, and the dominant sections of the Canadian bourgeoisie were undoubtedly taken aback by Trump’s election in 2016. Subsequently, they lent support to the anti-Russia campaign that was spearheaded by the Pindo intelligence agencies and promoted by the Demagogs, with the aim of removing Trump by methods of intrigue and palace coup. Now they fear that Trump’s provocative actions could trigger a social explosion that could threaten capitalist rule. But their opposition is of a tactical rather than a principled character. Like the faction of the Pindo oligarchy aligned with the Demagog Party, the Canadian bourgeoisie fears a mass popular upsurge of the working class against Trump, far more than it does the POTUS’ turn to authoritarian forms of rule. This is demonstrated by the Trudeau government’s record of close cooperation with Trump and his administration. Within days of Trump’s election, the Liberals agreed to renegotiate NAFTA, which had been one of Trump’s main campaign pledges. Ultimately this resulted in USMCA or NAFTA 2.0, a trade war bloc aimed at the global rivals of Pindo and Canadian imperialism, above all China. In keeping with the orders of Canada’s “newspaper of record,” the Globe and Mail, which insisted Canada must be “inside” Trump’s walls, the Liberal government has worked with Trump’s fascist thugs in ICE to persecute and deport immigrants. The Trudeau government has also expanded Canada’s role in Faschingstein’s three principal military-strategic offensives against China and Russia, and in the oil-rich Middle East, and assisted Pindo imperialism in its intrigues and aggression in Venezuela and elsewhere in Latin America.

Whilst Canada’s ruling elite has bristled at the adverse impacts some of Trump’s “Pindostan First” policies have had on their wallets and geostrategic interests, they have egged on the purported “human rights” advocate and “progressive” Trudeau in his pursuit of closer ties with Trump-led Faschingstein. In her speech on the release of the Liberals’ national defence policy in Jun 2017, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland hailed the “outsized role” that Pindo imperialism has played since WW2 in creating and sustaining an “international rules-based order,” that is, in defending and stabilizing world capitalism under Pindo economic and geopolitical dominance. She reaffirmed Ottawa’s commitment to the Pindo-Canadian military security partnership that has formed the cornerstone of Canadian imperialist strategy since 1940, and which saw Canada serve as a key Pindo vassal throughout the Cold War, and join a never-ending series of Pindo-led wars including in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq over the past quarter-century. But Freeland had to acknowledge that the Pindo-led postwar order was unravelling. Canada, she declared, would therefore need to do more to assist its strategic partner in upholding North American global dominance, including through “hard power,” the waging of war. The deepening social crisis in Pindostan and its precipitous global economic decline, processes which have accelerated dramatically over the intervening three years, are rapidly eroding the material and ideological foundation of Canadian imperialism’s predatory partnership with Faschingstein and Wall Street. Pindostan is no longer a force for global capitalist stability, but a source of increased conflict and friction, as it pursues aggression and unilateralism around the world in a desperate attempt to reverse its decline and beat back rivals. Faschingstein no longer has the economic heft or inclination to enforce a “rules-based order.” It has played the leading role in tearing it down. And how can Canada’s “progressive” politicians cloak the pursuit of profits and strategic advantage in “human rights” and “democratic” rhetoric when Canada’s closest ally embraces dictatorial forms of rule and launches brutal military police crackdowns on peaceful protesters, producing popular revulsion around the world? For the Canadian ruling elite, which has always benefited from a close partnership with the dominant imperialist power of the day, this has created an unprecedented crisis with no obvious solution.

Notwithstanding Trudeau’s desire to accommodate himself to Trump, powerful sections of the ruling circles are increasingly hostile to his strategy, arguing that Canada must pursue an even more aggressive policy. Foreign policy experts are openly discussing the outdated character of the Liberals’ 2017 defence policy statement, since no “rules-based order” to speak of exists. One faction is pushing for an even closer alliance with Trump. In an editorial Monday, the Toronto Sun assailed Trudeau for making “political sideswipes” at Trump on the issue of racism and not “denouncing” the protesters for “violence and riots.” Just two weeks earlier, the Sun suggested that Trudeau’s ouster would be warranted if he fails to take a harder line towards China. While the Liberals have lined up behind Trump’s aggressive moves against Beijing, the Sun and other right-wing forces are angered by Trudeau’s hesitation over excluding Chinese tech giant Huawei from Canada’s 5G network, among other issues. Trump’s shift in the direction of a presidential dictatorship will only throw fuel on the fire of these factional disputes. But whatever their disagreements, all sections of the ruling class are implacably hostile to the working class and, as demonstrated in their response to the events in Pindostan, complicit in the assault on democratic rights. Their principal concern is how best to advance the global interests and ambitions of Canadian imperialism under conditions of the deepest crisis of world capitalism since the Great Depression. In the final analysis, this means escalating military violence abroad and ratcheting up the exploitation of the working class at home. In opposition to this, workers and young people in Canada must unify their struggles with their class brothers and sisters in Pindostan to beat back Trump’s presidential dictatorship and the turn towards authoritarianism and war that is supported by the ruling elites of both countries. This requires building the SEPs of Canada and Pindostan to provide the mass struggles now erupting with a socialist and internationalist program and perspective.

European media outlets fear bitter class struggles in Pindostan
Peter Schwarz, WSWS, Jun 4 2020

The Polish daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita wrote on Tuesday:

The image of Pindostan as the centre of Western civilisation is collapsing before our eyes. Will it be possible to rebuild the old image again?

This sums up the fear of substantial sections of the European ruling class. The claim that capitalist private property and the market economy provided the basis for freedom and democracy, and that altogether this amounted to “Western civilisation” has served as the ideological cement for capitalist rule in Europe, and Pindostan played not an insignificant part in this. In Western Europe and Germany in particular, it was Pindostan through its economic power and democratic traditions that helped revive the bourgeoisie following its discrediting due to its crimes during the war. In 1990, the Pindo model, although somewhat tarnished even then, played an important role in Eastern Europe in selling the restoration of capitalism and its horrific social consequences as a step in the direction of freedom and democracy. Reading through the European comments on Monday’s events, one senses that they are not particularly troubled by Donald Trump’s efforts to establish a presidential dictatorship. Rather, they fear the president’s provocative actions could provoke resistance and class struggles that will endanger the capitalist system and spread to Europe. After all, the social and political situation is no less explosive there. With a few exceptions, the comments acknowledged that the nationwide protests are not just directed against racism, but are motivated by social oppression and exploitation and are being joined by people of all races and ethnicities. They accuse Trump of dividing instead of reconciling. By contrast, they hardly say a word about the mobilisation of the military and the preparations for dictatorship connected with this. The Norwegian tabloid newspaper Verdens Gang wrote:

Once again it becomes clear how unequal Pindo society is. These problems run deeper than Trump, but Pindostan has never needed a unifying president more than now.

Germany’s Süddeutsche Zeitung commented:

When the country goes up in flames, the president ought to mediate and unify. But Trump is incapable of protecting and calming his compatriots.

The Swiss Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) pointed to three key factors it believes are at work, all of them connected:

Racist police violence against blacks, a greater susceptibility of blacks to COVID-19, and an economic crisis that has hit minorities the hardest. Economic disadvantage leads to a lack of access to health care, which allows health problems to become chronic thus increasing the vulnerability to the lung disease. No wonder that frustration is widespread.

Another comment in the NZZ says:

In such a situation, Pindostan needs a unifying figure who can calm the country down, unify it, and lead it forward in cooperation with other political forces. But Trump is polarising the country and inciting people against each other.

The Tagesschau (a news and public affairs programme) on Germany’s public broadcaster ARD commented:

An uprising is the language of those not being listened to. With words of reconciliation, Donald Trump could calm things down quickly. Instead, he is escalating the situation with ruthless Rambo rhetoric.

The suggestion that the situation could be brought under control if only Trump would give up his Rambo rhetoric is of course absurd. As the WSWS has explained in numerous analyses and comments, the preconditions for the current social explosion have been brewing for a long time. The Demagogs have contributed no less to this process than Trump & the Thugs. The gulf between rich and poor increased more rapidly under Obama than any of his predecessors, and police violence continued apace. The Demagogs, much like the European media, fear that Trump could provoke a revolutionary uprising that could no longer be controlled. This is why they are doing everything to evade the issue and suppress the protests against Trump, with whom they agree on virtually every question of domestic, social and foreign policy. Like the German bourgeoisie in 1933, they fear a mass movement of the working class more than a fascist dictatorship.

In Europe, preparations for authoritarian forms of rule and dictatorship are already far advanced. In Hungary and Poland, the parties in power have suspended basic democratic rights. Italy’s far-right Lega, which was in government for a year-and-a-half, responded to Trump’s Twitter announcement that he would classify the Antifa organisation as a “terrorist group,” by marking the post with a “Like.” In France, Macron brutally suppressed Yellow Vest protests with the police and now attacks demonstrations in solidarity with George Floyd. In Germany, the SPD and CDU made the far-right AfD the official opposition in parliament and have implemented its policies in the grand coalition. Anyone who dares to criticise capitalism or resist the growth of militarism is branded a “left-wing extremist” and criminalised. At the same time, neo-Nazi structures within the state apparatus are built and covered up. The crisis of Pindo democracy, which is the underlying cause of Trump’s attempt to establish a personal dictatorship based on the military, is the product of unprecedented levels of social inequality and endless wars. It cannot be reversed on a capitalist basis. The same process is taking place in Europe. The struggle against the fascist danger requires the independent mobilisation of the working class, which must assume the leadership of the defence of democratic rights.

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