Protests demanding prosecution of the vigilantes who killed Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Georgia, and the cops who killed Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, and George Floyd in Minneapolis deserve the support of all working people.
Cop and vigilante violence are a threat to the entire working class, and disproportionately target African Americans.
Protests demanding the prosecution of those who carry out these assaults are an essential part of working people’s struggles against attacks by the capitalist rulers on our wages, conditions and rights. They are key to unifying the working class.
And when they grow large, inclusive and disciplined, they can force the capitalist authorities to prosecute and jail the assailants. Authorities in Georgia have brought charges against the three vigilantes who carried out a modern-day lynching of Arbery after weeks of protests. In less than a day, outrage over the cops strangling Floyd led to them being fired.
Vigilante thuggery has long been used by the rulers to terrorize and attack both the labor movement and fighters for Black rights. Murderous Ku Klux Klan vigilante gangs were key to overturning Radical Reconstruction governments in the 1870s that sought to uproot the legacy of slavery and chart a road forward for freed slaves and all working people. Jim Crow segregation was imposed and defended arms in hand by vigilante lynchings and increasingly by cop-backed violence for decades afterward. Vigilantes also targeted Catholics, Jews, and immigrants, and was especially used to target class-conscious workers who sought to join struggles across the color line.
The vigilantes who killed Arbery worked hand in glove with cops and prosecutors, who helped and then tried to cover up for them. One of them, Gregory McMichael, was schooled in brutality working as a cop.
Outrage and protests against the killings of Arbery, Floyd and Taylor reflect the transformation and strengthening of working people resulting from the mighty victory of the Black-led civil rights movement in the 1950s and ’60s that tore down Jim Crow segregation and transformed social relations in the U.S.
As today’s labor battles grow, working people will learn from experience that cops and company goons will be used by the bosses against striking workers.
The rulers claim cops are “front-line essential workers.” They are essential to the bosses to keep workers in check to serve their interests.
Build, join protests against vigilante and cop killings! Help strengthen the unity, self-confidence and fighting capacities of the working class!