Centring black struggle in our organising

Our solidarity has to go beyond mourning

The horrific murders of black people by state agents in the US regularly make international headlines but we are now seeing the largest protests regarding this fact since possibly the civil rights movement. The state has answered with further violence and repression, putting a population already threatened by racialised poverty & the pandemic in obscene levels of danger.

It’s tempting when we see the atrocities brought about by white supremacy abroad to distance ourselves from our role in and responsibility towards them.

In the UK we are no strangers to racialised violence, we just too often refuse to acknowledge it.

The police in the UK carry firearms only occasionally, but that doesn’t stop them from murdering and harassing BAME people in disproportionate amounts. Deaths in police custody and stop and frisk are some of the many ways in which the British state’s structural violence & racism towards marginalised communities manifests itself.

The criminal justice system is even less equipped than the American one when holding the brutality of its police to account: the last police officer convicted for a death in custody happened in 1969. Has every death and serious injury that has happened in police custody since 1969 been under perfectly lawful circumstances, or do we have a deeply white supremacist power structure that promotes racist policing and shields perpetrators from consequence?

Remember Sean Rigg, Dalian Atkinson, Edson Da Costa, Jean Charles de Menezes, Mark Duggan, Sheku Bayoh, Cynthia Jarret  and Olaseni Lewis. Remember Grenfell Tower. Remember Britain’s empire and the colonial past that led to tens of millions of deaths from starvation, famine and war in the global south, and the wealth it brought this country.

As a response to the various BLM protests happening around the UK, the police have weaponised the emergency powers granted to them due to Covid19 to arrest protesters en masse and otherwise detain POC more generally. At least three black men have been tasered by police in the UK over the past few weeks. The most recent in Manchester where Desmond Ziggy Mombeyarara was tasered while holding his five-year-old child and a Tottenham youth who was tasered and fell from a wall as a result and now will never walk again.

The UK needs a Black Lives Matter movement.

The UK needs riots.

The UK needs to dismantle its structure of white supremacy in the criminal justice system and all other aspects of life.

We need to raise awareness amongst white people who to this day benefit from this system. Challenge this racism at home, where we have skin in the game, rather than abroad where it’s easy to point fingers.

Donate to bail out funds in the US. Donate to organisations locally and abroad that are black led, have the expertise and are putting in the work. Donate your labour and time. Talk to your fellow workers, friends and family about systemic racism. Don’t ask black friends what to do, educate yourself. The IWW must look at itself and dismantle racism within our structures at all levels, centring the fight for black liberation not only in our policies, but actively in our organising.

If you are planning to attend protests, make sure you use masks and gloves and maintain social distancing. POC are overrepresented in Covid19 cases & deaths. Make sure you’re not putting POC at risk when fighting for their rights.

Here is a good compilation of various resources including organisations to support, ways to educate yourself, books and articles you can read and groups to follow on social media (by feminist frequency):

ORGANIZATIONS TO SUPPORT (but please do your own research):

UK Black Lives Matter Fund

List of BLM suggested ways to support: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/

Black-Led Org in Minnesota Leading Efforts Against Police Brutality, Paying Bail, Treating Protestors: Reclaim The Block


Compilation of antiracist books: https://bookshop.org/lists/this-list-is-anti-racist

26 Ways to be in the Struggle Beyond the Streets

Watch the documentary: “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution”

Article on history of antiracist feminism in the UK with further reading mentioned: Anti-racist feminism: engaging with the past

This article was written by Auri, a fellow worker, and does not necessarily represent the views of all IWW members

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