Angela Davis speaking out of the roof of a car at the Oakland Port for the ILWU port shutdown
On this year’s Juneteenth, ILPS US commemorates the struggle of enslaved Africans for freedom within the United States—a struggle which rages on until today. We condemn to the utmost extent the U.S. imperialist state which continues to oppress and repress Black people through criminalization, mass incarceration and systemic racism that disproportionately impoverishes and marginalizes Black communities. We especially condemn Trump’s vile public campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the site of one of the most brutal racial killings in U.S. history. Such a pompous and racist demonstration held on Juneteenth, a national holiday that celebrates the Black struggle for emancipation, proves the outright brutality and callousness of the US imperialist state against Black people’s fight for self-determination. Most importantly, ILPS US marches in step with the masses of the United States who take action today and have been actively fighting against police brutality and racist state repression, and are rising up for Black self-determination and liberation.
Juneteenth, also known as Emancipation Day, recalls June 19, 1865 which was the day that approximately 250,000 Texan slaves were notified of their freedom and the end of the Civil War, though their freedom had already been announced in the Emancipation Proclamation two years prior. Today, we recognize that the abolition of chattel slavery was borne through the strugggle of enslaved Africans, not through the moral goodwill of white colonizers like Abraham Lincoln. We remember the legacies of Black abolitionist leaders like Frederick Douglass and Harriett Tubman alongside the masses who took up arms and rebelled against their slave owners throughout this period in U.S. history.
The might of the United States as an economic and political superpower has only ever been possible through generations of mass exploitation. The hoarded wealth of the empire was built on the backs of enslaved Africans, who generated the labor power necessary to build the foundation of this country’s economy. The abolition of slavery at the end of the Civil War was therefore not a result of the humaneness of the White ruling class, but was a material consequence of an increasingly obsolete mode of production that relied on slavery.
Today, we are seeing once again that a system in decay is contributing towards a revolutionary situation. Economic crises compounded with the unrelenting racist violence and terror of the U.S. imperial state, especially against Black people, provide the backdrop to today’s mass uprisings which were set off by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and many others. Neoliberalism has so glaringly failed to address the needs of the people and the masses are fighting back.
In this context of widespread class struggle, we celebrate and draw inspiration from the Black liberation struggle that Juneteenth represents and is very much alive today, from the first slave uprisings to the Black Power movement of which the Black Lives Matter movement itself was drawn from.
We stand with the struggle of Black working-class people and oppressed nations who are setting the pace of revolution in the U.S. We resist the liberal, corporate and reformist attempts to co-opt the masses’ militant struggle and defuse the confrontational outrage against the state. We support the popular calls to defund and seize community control of the police towards a vision of a new society where the bourgeoisie would no longer be in power, discarding the need for the police as enforcers of the status quo and defenders of the bourgeois ruling class.
ILPS US salutes the thousands of people who took to the streets today to take action. Among them is the International Longshore Worker Union that shut down the ports throughout the west coast, a powerful act of solidarity by organized labor with great impact on the world capitalist system. We salute and commit to organizing alongside Black-led, anti-imperialist formations like the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression that are organizing and mobilizing the masses for long-term systemic change.
Black lives matter! Rise for Black liberation & self-determination!
End racist state repression and police terror! End U.S. Imperialism!
Long live international solidarity!