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Financial Lynching Must Be Part of the National Debate

Courtesy of Pam Martens

U.S. Capitol With Storm CloudsAs we watched the dangerous scenes of protesters interacting with riot police and the ransacking of banks and businesses in cities across the United States this past weekend, a warning from the 19th century abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, came to mind:

“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”

The protests last week and this past weekend were sparked by unspeakable cellphone videos of a Minneapolis policeman, Derek Chauvin, torturing and murdering George Floyd with his knee crushing his throat for almost nine minutes as Floyd lay handcuffed and pinned face down on the ground by Chauvin and three other police officers. Only Chauvin has been charged with third degree murder and manslaughter. The three other police accomplices have not been charged – adding more fuel to the outrage and protests across the country.

Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security in the Obama administration, spoke on CNN on Saturday night, saying that Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s throat was like he was a hunted animal. In fact, Chauvin seemed to be exuding bravado in the video with his hand placed confidently in his pocket in the moments before Floyd became lifeless. Tragically, it reminded us of trophy photos we have seen of hunters and their dead prey.

Floyd’s death comes on the heels of what some members of the black community are calling a string of extrajudicial killings of African Americans by police.

Chelsea Peterson, a white protester in Portland, Oregon on Friday night, told CNN she wanted to “show my solidarity with my black brothers and sisters.” Peterson added: “It was important for me as a white person to actually show up because it is our responsibility to dismantle the systems of oppression that we have created.”


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