THE US National Guard have arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina, with armed-to-the-teeth state troopers lining the streets and turning the city into a war zone against the black working class.
This is after a State of Emergency was called in the wake of yet another police killing of a black American, Keith Lamont Scott. The 43-year-old, who was disabled, was shot dead by police last Tuesday after sitting in his car reading a book, waiting for his son to come home from school. He was unarmed. Since then Charlotte has erupted into civil war, with night after night of pitched battles between workers and police.
The Mayor of Charlotte, Jennifer Watson Roberts, signed an order enacting a curfew which came into effect at midnight on Thursday night and extends until 6am. However at midnight, furious protesters defied the curfew and remained on the streets shouting: ‘No justice! No peace!’
‘The curfew will be in effect each day until the end of the State of Emergency is declared or until the official proclamation is revoked,’ the city decreed. Charlotte has become a class war zone, with the state troopers and military police deploying the same military tactics as were used to impose oppression in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya or Syria. The enemy, as far as the US state is concerned, is the American youth, students and workers who are on the streets fighting for their rights.
During clashes on Wednesday night, a protester was shot and has now died. Eyewitness Gloria Meriweather declared: ‘I was there. We were running past the SWAT team when the person running next to me fell. I looked back and half of his head was blown off. From that moment on we were all just really shocked, trying to get him medical attention, which was also blocked by the SWAT team.’
Keith Lamont Scott is the third black person to be killed in the US by police in a week.
When police accused of the death of Freddie Grey were acquitted, Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson said: ‘Today is a reminder that there is a set of laws, policies and police union contracts across the country that will protect any form of police behaviour.’
The police are part of the capitalist state, in the USA, as in every capitalist country. They are there to protect the interests of the ruling class using class law and deadly force. The core of the capitalist state is made up of bodies of armed men whose job it is to see that the ruling class remains in power, whatever the crisis in society may be.
Today the crisis in the USA has reached breaking point. US capitalism is in a desperate economic crisis. It has never recovered from the 2008 banking crash. Whole cities like Detroit have been gutted and bankrupted. Tens of millions of US workers have no full-time jobs and work for very low pay.
Young fast food workers have organised and are striking for $15 an hour. The US ruling class of bosses and bankers is now hated and loathed by many tens of millions of people. The ruling class has lost its ‘right to rule’. It can only rule through force of arms, and the bullet in the back of the head.
Both the Republican presidential candidate Trump, and the Democratic candidate Clinton, are hated in equal measure. Bernie Sanders, who openly declared himself a socialist, stood against Clinton in the battle to become the Democratic candidate and got millions of votes.
But Sanders, to the horror of his mainly young supporters conceded defeat and backed Clinton. His supporters immediately reacted by declaring that the ‘Bernie Sanders’ political revolution does not depend on Bernie Sanders or any one person and that the revolution will continue.
It is now being transformed from a political revolution into a social revolution. The mass movement of the American working class, of which the Black Lives Matter movement, the supporters of Bernie Sanders, the $15 Now movement and the huge US trade unions are all part, has gone well beyond the Democrats and the Republicans.
What is required now in the USA is the building of a section of the International Commitee of the Fourth International to lead the American socialist revolution to its victory, which will constitute a gigantic leap forward for the whole of humankind!