I’m not so sure that it did. What I find most fascinating about the recent low-intensity insurrection is not the insurrection itself but the near-total indifference of the ruling class combined with the immediate move of vast sectors of the ruling class to co-opt the insurgency, from the voices of the new clerisy like the New York Times to neo-Rockefellers like Jeff Bezos and neo-Mellons like Bank of America to traditional clerical oligarchs like Rev. Pat Robertson. The most interesting moment of the whole thing was when the true Power Elite/Deep State showed their hand and overruled CEO Trump’s wishes to send out the military to suppress the insurrection.
By Vicky Osterweil
Calls to abolish the police are spreading. Dozens of cities are considering cutting police budgets, and police are resigning across the country. In Minneapolis, where the police murdered George Floyd and the insurrection first broke out, the city council is moving to disband the police department. While this would only be a first step toward full abolition—which would require ending all forms of policing, evictions, imprisonment, courts, and racial capitalism—three weeks ago, that a major city would even consider this was unthinkable.
For many who’ve been fighting for police abolition for years, the sudden uptake of these ideas has been disorienting. Gratifying, certainly, but also surprising and overwhelming. Many respond with frustration, as the meaning of abolition is watered down, reduced to defunding or even less drastic reforms. Black people in America have lived through a partial abolition before: The enslaved overthrew the regime of slavery in what W.E.B. Du Bois called the General Strike of the Slaves, only for it to be reinstituted in all but name in convict leasing, sharecropping, Jim Crow, vigilante white terrorism, chain gangs, and prisons. Abolition not accompanied by a social revolution will just be another in the long history of white supremacist “reforms” that allow this settler state to continue as it always has.