[WSMDiscuss] The US is aflame, the people of the US are afire… : Live Updates on George Floyd Protests : A National Movement. And some questions

John Holloway johnholloway at prodigy.net.mx
Mon Jun 8 02:22:10 CEST 2020



                I love your moment of reflection. I look forward to seeing all the answers.




From: WSM-Discuss <wsm-discuss-bounces at lists.openspaceforum.net> on behalf of Jai Sen <jai.sen at cacim.net>
Reply-To: Discussion list about emerging world social movement <wsm-discuss at lists.openspaceforum.net>
Date: Sunday, June 7, 2020 at 11:19 AM
To: Post WSMDiscuss <wsm-discuss at lists.openspaceforum.net>, Post Social Movements Riseup <social-movements at lists.riseup.net>, Post Crisis of Civilisation and Alternative Paradigms <crisis-de-civilizacion-y-paradigmas-alternativos at googlegroups.com>, Post Debate <Debate-list at fahamu.org>, Post RED <radical_ecological_democracy at googlegroups.com>
Subject: [WSMDiscuss] The US is aflame, the people of the US are afire… : Live Updates on George Floyd Protests : A National Movement. And some questions


Sunday, June 7, 2020

Viruses in movement…, Resistance in movement…, Democracy in movement…, The US in movement…

A moment for reflection ?

[The US is aflame, the people of the US are afire…, and by these and other current reports at least, it would seem that the spontaneous protests that broke out after the police killing of George Floyd are now maturing into a more coordinated movement with some defined goals.  Given the scale of the movement – which is said to be as great as the civil rights movement in the 1960s, and / but which – importantly – has this time around been accompanied by countless solidarity protests across many parts of the globe, and in real life, not just online -, it’s perhaps appropriate to take a step back and take stock.  I am acutely aware that there are others – on this list, and (since this comment has to do with the US) in the US who are in a far better position to do this than I am, but let me ‘make bold’ as they say, and put forward some thoughts – and invite others to come in, not just to respond but to go beyond.

[One thing that is striking for me is that as the US now comes to completing something like two months of lockdown on account of the corona virus pandemic (the period has varied across states), I’ve not seen – within what little access I have to such thinking – much reflection on what roles if any, the lockdown itself played in the current wave of protests becoming what they have become.  Did what John Holloway has referred to on the WSMDiscuss list as a ‘pressure cooker’ effect, play any role in, perhaps, intensifying – and perhaps even increasing the size of – the protests ?  And perhaps even in broadening them, because of the way that the pandemic laid bare the veins of neoliberalism, capitalism, and the state, that certainly builds on systemic racism but clearly also goes beyond that ?  And therefore, perhaps also in sustaining the momentum ?  This is important to think about in of itself; but if so, then what might be the impact of  the lockdown being lifted - which is now already happening ?

[Second, it’s interesting to see that – again, as far as I can see - there also seems no public expression in this very broad movement (as yet, anyway), and also in other related movements that have risen in the US during this time, about using this moment not just to end the systemic discrimination on every front that the pandemic has laid bare – which I am absolutely in solidarity with - but also to put forward alternatives that can break past this moment in history, and that can help us move through the portal that Arundhati Roy and others have so graphically envisioned the moment as having the potential of.  The People’s Strike movement, for instance, which has also shown extraordinary power within a very short time and under extremely constrained circumstances, says :

May 1st 2020 marked the launch of a broad movement to put an end to the systemic madness revealed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But then ?  In relation to the present moment, for instance, should there be policing at all ?  If so, what should be the shape of that ?  If it is at all is required, how can policing become social service ?  (As August Nimtz Jr said, in a recent webinar, is the case in Cuba ?)

[I don’t at all mean to suggest that the visions – and envisioning - are not there; but it’s at least possible that *this other task – and perhaps even possibility - is perhaps getting eclipsed by the more immediate task of addressing and achieving racial justice.  Without pretending at all to be a scholar of US history, just as Martin Luther King Jr turned – I believe – towards the end of his life cut short, to broadening the vision of the movement he led, is there a possibility of the current movements now merging, and opening up transformational visions ?

[And third, there is the crucial question of power : Both of power-over – how do we even begin to build the power to compete with the power and grip of the establishment ? – but also of power-to; of gaining strength, power, and control, individually and collectively, and intersectionally ?

Live Updates on George Floyd Protests : A National Movement

Peaceful protests swelled across the U.S. and around the world this weekend as outrage over George Floyd’s death led to calls for a national reckoning over racial justice

·      New York City will lift its 8 p.m. curfew on Sunday [today]

·      Activists in Washington State call for a general strike to be held on Friday


Here’s what you need to know:
U.S. protests coalesce into a unified push for sweeping reforms.
Tension deepens between the White House and the Pentagon.
Activists call for a general strike in Washington State.
The view from above: aerial images of protests across the country.
‘I’m tired of crying’: In the crowds of protesters, voices of the bereaved.
Global protests against racism gain momentum.
An officer shot an anti-bias expert who was trying to end a clash at a San Jose protest.

“It’s unbelievable that we have to keep doing this” : Protestors march to the White House



Thousands gathered in Washington, D.C., on Saturday to protest George Floyd’s death, racism and police brutality. From speeches to line dances, here’s what we saw and whom we met.  Credit... Emily Rhyne

U.S. protests coalesce into a unified push for sweeping reforms.
Demonstrations that began as spontaneous eruptions of outrage after the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police two weeks ago coalesced this weekend into a nationwide movement calling for police reforms and racial justice.

Tens of thousands gathered in big cities like New York and Seattle and small towns like Vidor, Texas, and Marion, Ohio — in swelling crowds that have been multiethnic, spanning generations and overwhelmingly peaceful. The movement has also spread around the world, with protests this weekend in Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.

The calls for change come as United States faces its starkest economic crisis since the Great Depression, largely the result of measures put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus, which has claimed more than 110,000 lives in the country.

Both the economic and the health crises have disproportionately hurt blacks and other minorities and highlighted the nation’s persistent social inequalities.

Although policing is largely a local matter — and some cities and states have begun acting on calls for reform — one common theme has bound the demonstrations together: Black lives matter.

“Enough is enough,” said Ji’Mie Lane, who marched in a protest along Central Park in Manhattan with her 6-year-old son this weekend. “We want as fair rights as everyone. I’m a mom, and the way George Floyd cried, it just broke my heart.”

Across New York City, peaceful demonstrators defied an 8 p.m. curfew. But after more than a week of images flooding social media of the police cornering, roughly arresting and sometimes beating protesters while trying to clear the streets, the police took a different posture on Saturday, allowing peaceful marches long into the night.

Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote on Twitter overnight that the curfew was being lifted, “effective immediately.”

Many of Saturday’s gatherings appeared larger than previous rallies, especially the one in Washington. At one point it felt as if the entire city had emptied into downtown as lines of protesters snaked their way through side streets while others converged in nearby parks before making their way to Lafayette Square outside the White House.


By early evening, the rally had the feel of a street fair. Ice cream trucks idled on the side of the road, parents rolled tired children in strollers, and people played guitars and harmonicas. Music was playing from the backs of cars. Some people danced.

Although Saturday’s demonstrations were overwhelmingly peaceful, President Trump continued to hammer home a familiar message.

“LAW & ORDER!” he wrote on Twitter on Saturday evening.

The capital’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, has given her own response to the protests: She renamed an area outside the White House “Black Lives Matter Plaza.”


In Photos : Protestors March in Cities Across America


A memorial was underway for George Floyd in Raeford, N.C., on Saturday, as demonstrations in his memory and against police brutality were held nationwide. Hundreds of thousands of people were expected to take to the streets nationwide, in Washington, D.C., and other major cities, as well as in countless smaller cities and towns in between. 

Beyond the U.S., people gathered worldwide to protest racist policing, with huge demonstrations already having taken place in Tokyo and all across Australia, and thousands braving a cold rain in London to gather in Parliament Square. Large protests took place as the day went on in Berlin and Paris, where nearly 20,000 had demonstrated not far from the Eiffel Tower earlier in the week.

As protests continued, cities have begun swiftly turning toward allegations of brutality faced by their own police departments. A hearing was held in Buffalo on Saturday for the two police officers who were caught on film shoving a 75 year old protester to the ground.




Jai Sen

Independent researcher, editor; Senior Fellow at the School of International Development and Globalisation Studies at the University of Ottawa

jai.sen at cacim.net

Now based in New Delhi, India (+91-98189 11325) and in Ottawa, Canada, on unceded and unsurrendered Anishinaabe territory (+1-613-282 2900) 

CURRENT / RECENT publications :

Jai Sen, ed, 2018a – The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking Our Dance. Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press

Jai Sen, ed, 2018b – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ? (Indian edition). New Delhi : AuthorsUpfront, in collaboration with OpenWord and PM Press.  Hard copy available at MOM1AmazonIN, MOM1Flipkart, and MOM1AUpFront

Jai Sen, ed, 2017 – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ?.  New Delhi : OpenWord and Oakland, CA : PM Press.  Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press

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