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The Long Hot Summer of 2020

Breonna Taylor. George Floyd. Tony McDade. Elijah McClain. Daniel Prude. Deon Kay. 

The list of names belonging to Black people killed at the hands of police steadily increased these past few months as millions of protestors have consumed the streets of major cities across the nation in what some are calling a “long hot summer of rebellion”. Government crackdown ensued as the far-right Trump regime publicly announced war on protestors as agents of the state rolled through cities in tanks adorned in battle gear unleashing teargas into crowds of #BLM protests. In a true reckoning of America’s racist national character, protesters began to topple Confederate statues and monuments. In cities like Seattle and Portland, protests manifested into all-out battles against the police. Videos of the brutal suppression of peaceful protests being shoved, beaten, and kettled served as a crucial mask off moment on the reality of state violence.

As the fascist Trump administration and ruling class controlled media attempted to demonize and criminalize protesters as violent thugs, it became clear how the narrative of deviance and legality was being twisted and weaponized against the growing movement taking shape. Killer cops who murdered innocent Black Americans with impunity  roamed free as protestors were captured and disappeared by officers in unmarked vehicles. As the looting of department stores were reported with such disdain,  billionaires quietly amassed yet more wealth during a global pandemic that has financially devastated so many American families. The toppling of racist slavery-era figures was found more outrageous than the immortalization of these figures in the first place. Certain American cities have larger police budgets than entire countries’ military budgets, yet 1 in 5 American children experience food insecurity and so many remain unhoused despite a surplus of empty units. The twisting of  morality in accordance with the law held less and less bearing as people saw who the system deemed deviant and who it was designed to defend at all cost.  

For many of those indirectly impacted by state violence, the police were finally revealed as a violent terrorist force that served and protected the ruling class above all else. On social media, a culture of activism suddenly erupted. Silence is violence, and the call for all to truly reckon with their own place in this nation was made. As more people reflected on and indicted the reality of American policing, concepts like defunding and abolition became commonplace, concepts that would have been considered fringe and abstract just months prior. 

Divesting police funding and investing in the needs of the masses has become the logical conclusion. The working people understand defunding and divestment most acutely. For years, education has been defunded. Housing programs have been defunded. Food subsidies have been defunded. Reproductive healthcare has been defunded. Amidst this all, the police and military budgets are unquestionably stocked with tax payer dollars with no public benefit. Imagining a reality without police is clearly less of a fantasy and more of a moral imperative. A surge in critical thought and radical consciousness has emerged. The logical conclusions for the obsolescence of policing, prisons, and this entire capitalist imperialist system has been made clear. This should be understood not as a trend, but as a development. While the fight is nowhere near over and many killer cops have yet to be brought to justice, the masses have proved a formidable opponent to the monstrosity that is the American empire by resisting from within- night after night, day after day. While victory is relative, it is with a champion’s mentality that we persist. Revolutionary optimism has taken hold.

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