By Nicky Reid aka Comrade Hermit
Exile in Happy Valley
Something happened on May 25th, 2020, when George Floyd’s heart stopped, something revolutionary. As the whole country watched helplessly while a clearly psychotic police officer murdered a bound and incapacitated human being before a captive audience on a Minneapolis street, something snapped. Something in all of us. After decades of watching the police in this country slaughter unarmed Black people with total impunity, America said enough. By the end of the day Minneapolis was on fire, by the end of the week the whole country burned. The George Floyd Uprisings of the summer of 2020 were an unprecedented moment of collective insurrectionary upheaval. It was about race but it transcended race. Unlike the riots of 1968, this wasn’t just a Black thing, this was a revolution thing. People of all races, classes, ages, genders and political persuasions joined each other in the streets in a massive outpouring of rage against the state in general and the armed thugs in blue who ruthlessly defend it in particular.
Cop cars were flipped like nickels, police stations burned to the ground, six city blocks in Seattle declared themselves to be an autonomous zone and essentially seceded from the United States. Protesters laid siege to a federal courthouse in Portland like Dien Bien Phu for over 100 days straight, weathering nightly barrages of teargas, rubber bullets and flashbang grenades until the feds backed down and abandoned their post in defeat. This state of existential panic among the authoritarian class reached all the way to the top. As an increasingly unhinged President Donald Trump unleashed caravans of anonymous federal agents in unmarked cars to disappear protesters in Portland, their comrades in Washington DC checked the commander in chief where he slept, surrounding the White House and shaking its gates like a cage as the most powerful man on earth cowered in his bunker. The illusion of state omnipotence had officially been shattered. People finally really did have the power.
The sharper powers at be knew what they had to do. Law and order would only accent their weakness and stoke the nation’s righteous indignation. In order for the state to survive they would have to give the crowd what they wanted, or at least the temporary illusion of it. Suddenly, across the country, wealthy white liberals felt our pain. The pissed off people on the bottom of this country were showered in promises. Over night the seemingly radical notion of defunding the police had become a downright mainstream talking point. Nine members of the Minneapolis city council stood on a stage strewn with that very catchphrase and promised their enraged constituents that they would dismantle that cities notoriously racist and heavy handed police force. Portland mayor and renowned pigfucker Ted Wheeler pledged to divert millions in funding from his private army. Even the Democratic Party, who had notoriously given our nation’s police state chainsaws with their Clinton Crime Bill, came to us in dashikis on bended knee and offered us the George Floyd Act if we just calmed down. We shouldn’t have listened. We should have kept the fires burning.
Categories: Police State/Civil Liberties